mietzesmart

Electrical issue - PLEASE Help!!

24 posts in this topic

 

I've been having a lot of problems with my '06 450 CDI Passion. The battery light keeps coming on after the engine has been idling for about 10 seconds, and never goes off again. I took it for servicing, and was told that the aftermarket stereo & amp were causing a drain - not true, because I've removed both from the car. Here are some more details:

 

  • I'm on my THIRD alternator in 3 years (replaced 1 year ago, car has only been driveable for 3 months since!!) so I doubt it's the alternator
  • Brand new Smart battery installed 3 weeks ago, driven once since (back from mechanic, battery light came on about 15 min into my trip home)
  • The only issue I can see with the battery is that the bolt for the bracket that holds it down has been sheared off (see red box in photo), so the battery slides around a fair bit, and the bolt hole is very rusty (I wire brushed it). Also, the ground connection to the frame is rusty as well (see green box in photo), and I cannot remove the washer, so I'm not convinced that the ground has proper contact with the frame.
  • No error codes
  • Used multimeter, battery puts out about 13V (I think? I don't know much about electrical stuff)
  • Last week when testing the battery with the multimeter, I turned the car off. Then tried to start again, and got the immobilizer key on dash. Pulled key, locked/unlocked doors, tried to start, got the immobilizer again. Repeat x3 before giving up.
  • 2 days ago, I brought my portable power pack and jump-started the Smart, started fine, no battery light. Let it idle for 5 minutes before unhooking the jump cables. Battery light came on within 10 seconds of removing the jump cables.
  • I can't find a parasitic draw anywhere (doesn't mean there isn't one, just that I can't find anything)
  • All fuses good
  • I've also been having an issue for over 2years with a drastic loss of power when on the highway. The car won't go more than 90km/hr, even in 6th gear. I used to keep it in 5th for maximum torque. Replaced turbo TWICE, did EGR valves, replaced clutch, transmission ok, and no error codes.
  •  

Please help me figure this out! I've spent over $3,000 fixing this car in the past 1.5 years alone, and I'm not putting any more money into guesswork. If I can't figure this out, I have to get rid of the car. I'd like to keep it, but I'm out of ideas on what to check or do to figure out what's going on.

 

**Photo from Evilution

Battery.JPG

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Sounds like SAM issues, do a bit of research on the SAM connector issues (corrosion problems). It could also be a lack of knowledge on the mechanics side. Are you going to a known smart specialist or dealer? Just because a part is sold to you as being "new" doesn't mean it is quality, some rebuilt alternators are very questionable in quality. There are many things that could cause these issues, and you suggest the negative battery cable is corroded points to a poor mechanic, it is a $10 part to replace that cable and clean the contacts, one should do that before replacing any other parts. Is the belt tight on the alternator? 

Error codes using which kind of scan tool? OBD2 ones are not "good enough" to find the codes in a smart, it will find major ones but not all of them, the factory software is needed for proper diagnostics. 

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I take the car to SuperSmart - he used to work at Mercedes, and scanned the car using the MB software.

 

It's possible that the alternator isn't of good quality, but he's been getting alternators from the same place for years, so I think it's fairly unlikely. Wouldn't a faulty alternator show up when the car is scanned?

 

The corrosion on the battery, I agree. I'm going to try and find a replacement ground wire. The bracket will be a problem, though, because the bolt sheared off level with the frame, so short of drilling the broken piece out, I can't reattach the bracket. I'll go and try to take a picture to show what I mean.

 

As for the SAM, I agree, it seems like a wiring problem. I'll look into it - maybe Evilution has instructions. 

 

The alternator belt: I can only assume that it's tight - SuperSmart is very good, and I can't see him missing something like that, especially after all the problems I've had with alternators over the past few years. However, I could try and check it, if it's not too difficult to access (clearly, I'm no mechanic! :) )

 

 

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Here are pictures of the battery corrosion I mentioned

 

IMG_20161018_174826_hdr.jpg

Edited by mietzesmart
replace picture

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What is the voltage on the battery when the car is running? It should around 14v - 14.75v. If it is 12-5 to 13v check the positive wire around the starter and just above it  to the alternator for corrosion on the wire, that might the problem. 

Also check the ground from engine the to frame. the above picture the battery looks fine the battery bracket has rusted due to something else, for the bracket find some one with a nut anchor kit or buy one that will fix that problem

Edited by Wild!

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Go out to the car and remove the battery hold down bracket right now!

If it contacts the Positive Battery post it will short the battery to ground potentially causing a fire.

As to your charging problem:

On the back of the alternator the electrical connector with the green and white wires.

One of them is connected to the ECU and can override the internal voltage regulator inside the alternator.

I agree with wild, replace the engine ground cable at the rear of the engine, connecting the engine to the frame behind the rear crash bar.

Check every ground wire in the engine bay for corrosion, main engine ground, grounds above the intercooler, small ground wire above and forward of the oil filler cap, below fuel rail.

canman

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Buy an M6 stainless steel Rivnut to fix your missing battery clamp stud.  Crimp it in position using a long set screw or threaded bar, a couple of washers, flat bar with 6 mm hole and a connector nut.  Explanatory photo to follow.

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Thank you everyone for your helpful suggestions - I'll look at it again tonight and see if I can see any corrosion around the SAM and/or engine bay, and also the alternator belt.

 

I'll let you know what I find out - thanks again!!

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15 hours ago, tolsen said:

Buy an M6 stainless steel Rivnut to fix your missing battery clamp stud.  Crimp it in position using a long set screw or threaded bar, a couple of washers, flat bar with 6 mm hole and a connector nut.  Explanatory photo to follow.

 

That sounds doable, but the old stud was sheared off practically level with the frame (broke because of rust, I assume) - how do I get the piece of the old stud out? If it were anything but a car, I'd just drill it out, but I'm not sure if that'll work here? In the photo I took of my battery compartment, you can see where the clamp stud used to be, and the rusted end is still in the hole.

 

19 hours ago, mietzesmart said:

Here are pictures of the battery corrosion I mentioned

 

IMG_20161018_174826_hdr.jpg

 

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Drill out stud and make hole in plate.  Hole must be right size to accommodate rivnut.

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DIY rivnut tool:

DIY_rivnut_tool_s.jpg

It is advisable to apply lube to threads when tightening coupling (connector) nut.  Note a standard nut will only strip the threads. Long set screw or minimum  8.8 threaded bar is best.  In case of threaded bar fit two nuts made up tight at end opposite rivnut.  Do not use bolt since bolt threads are too short.  Obviously, whoever made above sketch does not understand difference between bolt and set screw.

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On 10/19/2016 at 7:50 PM, cadillacman said:

I went to see her car ... public parking lot ... not a place to dismantle things

The corrosion is a non-issue.

removed the containment strap for the time being.

 

The turbo is a mystery ... MAP is 99 ... accelerate, and it is still 99 ... 2nd gear ... still 99 ?!!?

But could not remove panels for a proper looky ... MAP sensor is connected tho.

 

The electrical ... wow ... depressing, really.

Battery DateOfManufacture is 0216 ... really new.

She's gonna charge it up at home, and have it 'tested' at CrappyTire.

Battery does NOT deplete when the car is not running.

So , likely not a battery problem ?

 

The system voltage dropped from 10.5v to 9.4v with the car idling for about 10 min.

Alternator must be toast ?

Alternator not turning ?

Alternator not connected correctly ?

Car did sit not-running for a couple months ( clutch Fork failure ) so rusty alternator could be an issue.

 

Will see this W-E ... we will take off rear panels to look at Alt and Turbo

 

 

 

Here are the battery test results:

 

IMG_20161021_000616.jpg

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i would lean towards alternator....but one part in original post throws me off..where they said it was fine running with the booster pack and light returned 10 seconds after removing boosting device

 

 

i can see it happening though if if its one of those booster packs that is boosted to a higher voltage than normal batteries

 

 

side note ...i suggest sourcing the next alternator from somewhere other than where the first 3 came from (after removing it and getting a quality shop to run it on an old fashioned test bench to verify fault)

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You can test alternator in Star.  You can also replace regulator in alternator.

My guess is the problem is not the alternator but rather a wiring issue.  No way can you burn out 3 alternators in a short time unless there is a wiring fault somewhere.

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You can ignore DF terminal since that is just a signal output to glow plug controller with info about alternator load at any given time.

To test if alternator is in good order, just connect a 10 watt bulb in series from battery plus to D+.  Check engine ground strap and alternator fixation bolts first.

I'll see if I can find the diagram you require.

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Wiring diagram of heater booster as requested.

 

Wiring diagram of heater boosterL.pdf

 

Glow plug ECU controls the electric cabin heater.  To avaid overloading alternator there is a load shedding system built in.  Glow plug ECU needs therefore to know what is the load on alternator at any one time. Load info is sent from DF terminal on alternator.  DF has nothing to do with alternator voltage regulation.

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8 hours ago, tolsen said:

Glow plug ECU controls the electric cabin heater.  To avaid overloading alternator there is a load shedding system built in.  

 

On my new-used 2005 Cabriolet, the cabin heater light turns off after about 15 seconds while the car is idling. Haven't tested it at higher engine RPM.

 

I thought that there could be a mechanical defect with the switch which I also have read can occur to the switch cable.

 

After examining the schematic I see that the heater load is divided.

 

In proper operation this suggest to me that portions of the electrical load are shed, but I was wondering if the entire heater circuit could be shut off so that it has to be reset.

 

I was wondering if others have noticed this issue or do I just have a cable which needs readjustment.

Edited by smartdriver

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34 minutes ago, smartdriver said:

 

On my new-used 2005 Cabriolet, the cabin heater turns off after about 15 seconds while the car is idling. Haven't tested it at higher engine RPM.

 

 

If I recall correctly; unless a "Mod" has been implemented, the supplemental electric heat will not run at idle. I believe it kicks back in at 1,500+ RPM.......similar to the AC System

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Thanks for your reply.

 

In my case, the heater light turns off and the switch has to be reset to turn it on again.

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Electric cabin heater will work on reduced heat at idle as long as there is available power.  You can see from the wiring diagram it has four PCT heater elements.  One rated at 140 Watt and three at 210 Watt.  I tested the elements in heater many years ago by rigging up four diodes such that they would indicate whenever each of the four elements were supplied.  Mine output 210 Watt at idle.

 

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