Strange car problem. Need talkbass mechanic expertise.

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    2001 Hyundai Tiburon. Didn't use it for 2 weeks. Went to start it. Nothing. 100% dead. Used my wife's car that night, then remembered the same thing happened last year when I left the car for a while, and later it started. Went back to the car when I got home and tried again. Nothing. Turned the key again... got a faint, faint light in the dashboard. Turned the key again and the light got a tiny bit brighter. Did a series of turning the key, resting for a few seconds and doing it again.... and all the power was back on. Car started, no problem. Wasn't like a weak battery or starter problem, it was like from completely dead not even any power to TRY to start the engine, to starting the engine with no problem.

    Car was fine till about a week later. If the car was running and I stopped and tried to restart it, it was completely dead. Dashboard clock and radio resetting itself dead. If I wait and keep trying to start, eventually power would come back.

    Last night after rehearsal I couldn't start it. No power at all, again, and turning the key wasn't helping. I got a friend to help with a boost. Hooked the cables up to my car while he was pulling his car up.... got back in my car (before he even opened his hood), and I had full power. Headlights, radio, everything.... car started. No problem.

    When I got home I turned it off and tried to start it again. Dead. Turned the key again and got a very faint glow on the dashboard oil light. Turned it again it got a little brighter. Tried to put the car in neutral for no good reason (fiddle with things) and when I hit the brake, the oil light went out. Tested this several times, and it kept happening. Also noticed that every time I turned the key and shut it again, about 2 seconds after I did I heard a quiet electronic like whirring sound coming from either the engine or the dashboard (my hearing is totally shot). Would last about 10 seconds and then stop.

    I plan to get it started today by fiddling with it, or AAA, and get it to my mechanic, but I'd like to have at least an idea of what the hell is going on first.

    Any thoughts? Ya'll figured my problem out last time. Thanks much, in advance.
  2. Mktrat

    Mktrat Seriously, are we not doing phrasing anymore?

    Apr 9, 2013
    The Mitten
    Does it already have a tort guard?

    If not that should help. (sorry couldn't resist)

    Seriously though, electrical issues SUCK!! like you don't already know right?

    Check the crank sensor....

    Best of luck.
  3. nojj

    nojj Guest

    May 20, 2013
    That whirring is your fuel pump.
  4. Truktek2


    Sep 5, 2008
    Queens, NY
    Make sure your battery cables are on tight.
  5. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I would bet money you just have a bad/loose battery cable.
  6. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once...

    Feb 24, 2013
    Cars these days have so much electrical / electronic stuff that there are computers in them whose job it is to keep track of the other computers. Yes, really...

    So there's usually some kind of dynamic power controller that does electrical load monitoring, powering stuff on and off as needed or not, with the intent of preserving the battery charge balanced against the convenience of having stuff 'on' all the time with phantom power (that stuff that always runs even when it's "off" so you can still turn it on with a remote, for instance...)

    There was a recall for a relay in the power controller in my Titan recently.

    So my guess would be that the power controller is going into some kind of 'deep sleep' power conservation mode when it shouldn't - or not waking up when it should. A 2001 might be a little old for this level of technology - I think it started becoming more prevalent a few years later. But maybe Hyundai was being advanced for their time - and maybe early versions of the technology weren't as sophisticated as the newer stuff. So I could be off base but it might be something like that...

    In keeping with the other responses - one reason it might think it has to shed electrical load is that it is sensing low battery voltage - either due to bad connection issues (check both the battery terminals at the battery and the ground lead where it connects to the chassis...) or because the battery is fading. 2001? Original battery? Good run if so, you probably got your money's worth... Older than 5 years? Could be time for a good load test...

    As much as winter gets everybody's attention for dead batteries, and it's definitely dangerous being stranded in the cold, my experience has been that it's summer's heat that is actually the death knell for most batteries.
  7. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I'm waiting to see what Mike N. has to say.

  8. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Did you say original battery?? Wow! I'm usually buying a new battery every 2-3 years. I'm inclined to think it's battery related. Battery...battery connections.......

    My car, 2001 Nissan Maxima, has one of those special battery connectors that is connected to some sort of module that I guess monitors the power distribution process. This piece broke loose once while I was on the highway. Car went completely dead! Coasted over to the median. Was able to secure it temporarily until I got to a Nissan place the next day.
  9. Tony Flow MMMM

    Tony Flow MMMM

    Dec 4, 2012
    I'm putting my money on a bad battery cable/clamp. It seems to be changing with temperature and such, also when you hookjper cables its sending power via a different path (outside of the battery clamp) I had a very similar issue, after getting starter rebuilt, new starter, I decided let me actually try cleaning the battery terminals. Upon removing the clAmp it broke in half.
  10. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    Before all the computerized stuff, I would say it is an internal problem in the battery. One of the connecting links between the cells may be broken and intermittent.

    Now - I don't know enough about the new stuff to know if there is some kind of power controller that can cause this.

    Suggestions - To determine if it is the battery or not -
    Borrow another battery, or buy a used one for testing and see if the problem goes away.
    Keep a voltmeter in the car and see what the battery reads when it is "dead". Check when key is off and and when you are trying to start it (under load).

    Good Luck!
  11. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Inactive

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Put a load tester on the battery.
  12. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Moderators Local A440 Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    Under the flight path
    As others have said, battery or connections thereto is my top suspect.

    Deal with the easy stuff first. Thoroughly clean the terminals - I've known almost-invisible black gunk to seriously impact a battery's ability to crank the engine. Also, is this a maintenance-free battery? Most cars do have them, although my 2007 Nissan came with a non-sealed battery. If your battery is NOT MF, it might be time to check the electrolyte level and add distilled water (not too much) if necessary. That said, if the electrolyte level is low enough that it would impact the ability to start the car, the battery's toast.

    Do you own a voltmeter? A fully charged battery is 12.8V at rest. 11.8V is fully discharged.

    If you can get the car running (by jump-starting it, or a new battery), take a voltage reading then as well, just to check your alternator output. I suspect this is fine.

    What is the date code on the top of the battery? If it's more than four years old, you can consider a new battery in your immediate future. Although it's possible there's more going on than the battery, you kind of have to start there.

    You said that when you hooked up the cables to your battery, before the other guy had even opened his hood, that you got full power. This makes me think that you have a loose or corroded connection - maybe the added grabbing power of the cables gave you a good enough connection to start the car.

    Good luck.
  13. sloasdaylight

    sloasdaylight Inactive

    Feb 4, 2009
    Tampa, Florida, US
    You could have a loose connection between your hoofinator valve and the carburetic catalyst that's preventing the alternator from sending power to the starter manifold which is causing excess back pressure going into the throttle body manuflector, causing a short between the alternetic pressure regulator and the battery.
  14. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    I'll go with the "Change the battery" angle. That and make sure that all contacts (cable ends and battery poles) are cleaned and tight. You may even have corrosion built up on the connectors which could cause similar issues.

    Wait, wasn't there a thread on TB like that once? where there were like 7 pages of "it's the battery"?
  15. +1

  16. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    another possibility i have not read yet:

    intermittent short in the ignition switch or wiring thereof.
  17. I had a similar issue years ago. It ended up that one of the battery connections had corroded away from underneath. It could not be seen from casual inspection because the top was OK. It wasn't until I disconnected the battery and pulled the cable off that I could see that much of the metal was gone. Unloaded voltage measurements were OK but you couldn't push any current through the tiny conductor path left. Voltage would drop once you turned on the lights (or of course THE STARTER).

    So disconnect your battery and inspect the cable clamps for corrosion on the battery side. Heck just grab em and twist now and see if they are simply loose.
  18. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    Anyone with a car, and a set of combination wrenches should own one of these:

    Clean everything, and put some of these on the terminals:

    Disconnect the negative terminal first, and re-connect it last so you don't blow up your battery if you short the positive terminal to ground with the wrench!

    For added protection, finish with this:
  19. Yeah, those anti corrosion washers are great. I have installed them every time with a new battery. The battery I had that corroded was on a bought-new VW Jetta that didn't have them. I never thought about it until the day it failed. I have used the anti-corrosion goo also and it works good.
  20. nojj

    nojj Guest

    May 20, 2013
    I'd try a Hyundai Forum,
    I use one for my elderly Sonoma, works out well.