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 Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?

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Rickw
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:15 am

First i would do as Derek suggests and clean, wirebrush all your connections. Under the hood as well as under the rear seat, Then if you still have issues, which i suspect you will based on age of the car and battery.
Then my suggestion is to bring it to the AC Delco dealer for a load test and see what that test shows.
If they think your going to buy a battery (which you will eventually, because it is the best you can get for the car) they won't charge for the test and inspection of your wiring.
If it fails the load test then save your penny's and get one from them when you can. The 880 cca will be OK
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BMD
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Tue Apr 27, 2010 3:58 pm

Had the battery load tested and as suspected the battery had a dead cell with a voltage reading of 10.75 and 0 CCA. So I got the replacement 79-6yr, 840 CCA AC Delco vented battery.


Last edited by BMD on Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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The Carpenter
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PostSubject: Battery Drain   Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:21 am

hello, I'm new to this site and I just purchesed a 1996 rivi sc,leather sunroof ,wood grain ,very beautiful car.But i'm having trouble with the batt not staying charged.The previous owner saya he checked everthing,even took out all the bulbs,had alt checked everything ,but no problem solved.And I can believe him,he's my father in law please help if any one has an answer.I cant wait to drive it.and its also the only car i have beside a work van
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:01 am

The Carpenter wrote:
hello, I'm new to this site and I just purchesed a 1996 rivi sc,leather sunroof ,wood grain ,very beautiful car.But i'm having trouble with the batt not staying charged.The previous owner saya he checked everthing,even took out all the bulbs,had alt checked everything ,but no problem solved.And I can believe him,he's my father in law please help if any one has an answer.I cant wait to drive it.and its also the only car i have beside a work van
This problem usually comes up when someone has installed the wrong battery in the car. You are not the first to notice.

I posted a note about Riv batteries here:

http://rivperformance.editboard.com/t321p135-faq-good-battery-replacement

on page 10.

What you need to do:

1) don't get into a "who is right" contest with your father in law. Read the note above about Riv batteries for background. Most people are not aware of the technology GM put into the batteries.
2) be aware that the RIv has a high parasitic load and will kill off any battery with less capacity than what is spec'd.
3) be aware that the Riv will kill off a standard lead-antimony battery after a very short while
4) be aware that the original batteries last a VERY long time, and it may simply be the case that it is time to get a new one.
5) be aware that the OE battery will test "good" even if inadequate UNLESS you actually use a modern tester and test for the level of cold cranking amps (CCAs) - the spec for the Riv is 450. New batteries for the Riv are 800CCA or better. What happens is the battery will hold a charge but if there are not enough CCAs (proxy for reserve capacity) then when you park it the drain weakens it enough that it won't work. When parked the Riv is still powering the delayed exit lights, the remote key fob receiver, the radio clock, and a bunch of other stuff.

What to do:

- inspect the battery, make sure the terminals are clean, no corrosion, tight.

- make sure the cables are original. The original cable has a thermistor built into it. That thermistor helps regulate the charging. If it is gone bad the battery won't charge right. If somebody cheaped out and put in a common cable, or replaced the positive terminal with one not having a thermistor, the battery won't charge right. I think you can still get the proper cable from GM dealer, or from RockAuto.com; they are NOT cheap. You are looking for p/n 88864208 or 12157068 - I forget which - and it may well cost you $200. Rockauto.com has pictures of the cables on their site.

- Do you have the right battery? You need a Group 79 battery with the vent tubing that feeds thru a grommet on the floor. Other batteries won't work right (see the link above) except there is a write up on this site for fitting an Optima battery that reportedly works. You have to fab a mount for it from one of those inexpensive plastic cutting boards.

- if you battery is a proper Group 79 but when fully charged is putting out less than 450 CCAs you need to replace it. A shop with a quick charger (a Sears for instance, or a Goodyear/Gemini or Firestone) can charge up your battery in about an hour then test for CCAs. If your battery is bad they will want to sell you one, it will run ~$150 or so. You may need to go to a local Interstate, Deka or other wide-line battery dealer or distributor to get one, the Group 79 batteries are available but not that common. Your local WalMart or AutoZone may or may not have one. What often happens is that when the original battery goes bad a store may install a Group 76 or other side terminal battery because they don't have the 79. Never do that if you can help it. It will run but it will fail (quit holding charge) after some months.

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The Carpenter
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:05 pm

I checked it its a group 79 but it hasnt drained on me yet I'm just going on what he told me
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:55 pm

The Carpenter wrote:
I checked it its a group 79 but it hasnt drained on me yet I'm just going on what he told me

then take it to a place that sells batteries like an AutoZone or a Sears and have it tested.

A battery that falls below the 450 CCA spec will still start and run the car but will fail if drained out or if in severe (bitter winter) conditions. If your battery does not meet spec it's less of a headache to replace it before you are stranded.
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:56 am

Maybe your alternator is going out?
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:02 pm

Sorry to revive an old thread, but I have a drain issue going on with my brand new battery.

I suspect this wacky wiring tapped into the fuse box? Would you guys agree?

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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:52 am

What are the wires connected to, and what other wiring modifications can you find/tell us about on the car?

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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:13 pm

As far as I know those are the only wiring mods I have found. I'm not sure what they're connected to. I saw your mention of disconnecting the positive battery cable, and hooking up a ammeter between the positive battery terminal and the positive cable.

I might try and see the reading while those two wiretaps are connected and then do another amperage reading after removing them and seeing if they are indeed the culprits.

What should the amperage pull be with the doors closed and the lights off?
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:34 pm

Another thing that popped into my head, I had the hood open the week the battery was attached. However, the under hood bulb is not connected. Is there something else that would be monitoring the hood being open and pull a lot of current?
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:24 am

In a word, no. The underhood light won't even turn on unless you have the parkinglights or headlights on.
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:37 am

sniperdude wrote:
As far as I know those are the only wiring mods I have found. I'm not sure what they're connected to. I saw your mention of disconnecting the positive battery cable, and hooking up a ammeter between the positive battery terminal and the positive cable.

I might try and see the reading while those two wiretaps are connected and then do another amperage reading after removing them and seeing if they are indeed the culprits.

What should the amperage pull be with the doors closed and the lights off?

I don't. Know for sure but not that much. All that is on are the retained accessory power and remote locking receiver. Just to be sure, check for dumb stuff like the radio being on but volume turned down, and mistakes like connecting an aftermarket radio or amp to the un-switched side of the car's power bus. - finally -- if the headlight delay is set long, over time it will poop out the battery.
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:13 pm

OK, so I measured the amperage between the cable and terminal two ways. While the door was closed, and while the door was open.

This was tested without the doors locked, so the security is off, but that's the exact way I left it for a week when the battery died.

Interior lighting on, passenger door open - 3.26 amps
Interior lighting off, passenger door closed - 0.20 amps

After removing tapped fuse wires:

Interior lighting on, passenger door open - 3.25 amps
Interior lighting off, passenger door closed - 0.02~0.16 amps

Not a big difference at all. Does this seem like a lot of idle draw?

I'm not sure, but it seems like the tapped wires weren't pulling much of anything. I'm still not sure of what they are exactly, I'll have to look more into that this weekend.

Perhaps the reason why this happened, the battery was brand new, but it sat in the car for four months. It wasn't plugged in, but perhaps this was long enough for the charge to deplete. When I started the car last weekend, I ran it for five minutes at most, which may have been enough to deplete whatever charge was left in the battery and then I left it plugged in for the week while it was sitting there.

It had less than a single volt when I brought it in to AutoZone to get them to test and recharge the battery. They said it took the charge just fine, and it's sitting at 11.85V as of this morning when I tested.

I guess the best thing I can do is take the car out for a spin to let the alt charge up the battery again, and let the car sit for a day and see how much the voltage drops by measuring voltage across the terminals.

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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:53 pm

Apparently what's considered the peak allowed draw when the car is idle is 50mA. I'm pulling approx 200mA. So something's up.

I might have to leave the meter hooked up and wait 30 minutes for the car to go to sleep properly to accurately measure the idle amperage.
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:29 am

Do you only drive short (under 30 min) trips?
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:23 pm

I noticed that the mA dropped significantly after 5 minutes. It dropped from 140mA to 14mA. A relay clicked after about 5 minutes and then entered sleep mode.

I need to measure the voltage on the battery tonight, since it's been sitting outside since Sunday night, but if it's within spec, I'd be willing to say that it's alright.
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:59 pm

I have a 95 Riv (series one SC engine) totally stock with no electronic additions. Just installed a new battery since the old one would drain after the car sat for several days. The car still has a drain with the new battery. If I use the car every day there doesn't seem to be a drain.

I noticed quite by accident that the horn will blow even with the ignition off. I have never had a GM car do this. Usually the horns won't work unless ignition is in "on" or "run" position. Could this be the problem? I am thinking that perhaps the accesory mode is still on even when the car is off and the key is removed. Just wondering.


Last edited by designer1962 on Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:24 pm

designer1962 wrote:
I noticed quit by accident that the horn will blow even with the ignition off. I have never had a GM car do this. Usually the horns won't work unless ignition is in "on" or "run" position. Could this be the problem? I am thinking that perhaps the accesory mode is still on even when the car is off and the key is removed. Just wondering.

Every car I've been in allows you to do this. I don't think it's an issue.
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:19 pm

Is it true that the horn will work on a 95 Riviera even with the car off and the key removed? That's a new one on me. I've never had a GM car where that was the case. Key has always had to be in on or accessory position in order to blow horn. Learn something new every day here. Thanks
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:23 pm

I've owned many GM cars, from 1950's to current and have never owned one that needed the key on to activate the horn. I believe I have worked on a few European cars that the key needed to be on for the horn to work, but I may be mistaken.
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Drain Issue. Any Advice?   Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:08 am

Harvey I've noticed in some european cars over the years the horn is switched with the key. All the american cars I've ever been in the horn is always live. From 60's through today.
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