Screwy electrical. Maybe battery...maybe more - EquinoxForum.net: Chevy Equinox Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Screwy electrical. Maybe battery...maybe more

My G/F's 2013 GMC Terrain SLT started out life with a balky NAV system. It was replaced until it was good again, but recently, she's been having problems starting the car.

I posted this in the old thread I had started (here: http://www.terrainforum.net/index.php?topic=6861.20), but at its heart, it IS an electrical problem....



So, here we are, almost three-and-a-half years later, and her electrical system is going screwy again.

We thought it was the battery at first, but it's weirder.

Sometimes the car starts (MOST of the time it starts), but sometimes it wont. She gets the expected clicking from the engine compartment, and sometimes the whir of the starter motor and engine turning, but not ignition; the engine won't start.

The lights all seem to be the proper brightness, though. And the Nav system lights up, and the headlights come on. The battery warning light (since there's no volt-meter) flashes as it should when I turn the key, but then goes dark, indicating all is good.

We tried this four or five times, with similar--bad--results. I opened the hood and looked at the fuses. Various relay clicks from the fuse box...but I'm not a "fuse whisperer," so I don't know the language.

The sixth time, the relays clicked, the starter clicked and whirred, and the engine caught and fired up. FINALLY! The radio came on, the NAV display was lit and looked normal, BUT....

We noticed two immediate problems. The heating system would NOT turn on (nothing at all--not even the heated seats. No on lights, no response on the NAV screen; it was as if that whole section had been...unplugged. That's why I'm thinking "electrical issue," rather than "battery.'). And the clock in the NAV system was wrong. We drove the ~10 minutes to get home.

I turned the car off, and then fired it up again--no problem. Started right away. AND the heating system worked fine. I didn't look at the clock (I'm too tall--it's under the "awning"), but I'm going to assume that it will be wrong until I set it right.

I want to be able to convince myself that it's just the battery. That would be easy to fix. But my gut is telling me it's something more.


One last "clue": My girlfriend says that the car tends to give her this sort of trouble mostly after she's run the radio for 10 minutes or more with the key in the "Accessory" position. If the battery is bad, this would make some sense. But the car, and the battery, aren't even 4 years old at this point. And I recall my dad's ancient Plymouth Duster, which would blow an engine resistor every time he did the same thing with the radio (Yes, I know: a different time, a different manufacturer. But a much SIMPLER electrical system) so, at least, it's possible that the GMC doesn't like playing the radio without the engine on.


Any ideas, anyone??


Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 09:04 PM
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Re: Screwy electrical. Maybe battery...maybe more

While unusual for a battery to fail early, it is not unheard of. Here are a couple of things to try that don't cost much to try.

A good place to start is the battery and the easiest thing for you to do would be to go down to the local auto parts store and have the battery "load tested. Stores like AutoZone will do this for free.

If you have a digital voltmeter you can test the "at rest" battery voltage. Before starting (or turning the key on) open the hood and locate the neg and pos posts connect the meter and you should see about 12.6 VDC on a fully charged battery. Since the pos post is hard to get at pop off the red cover used to connect jumper cables (see the owners manual for the location).

After starting the car the voltage should jump up to around 14.5 VDC. If you have that you are fairly safe to assume the charging system is OK.

Hope this helps.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Screwy electrical. Maybe battery...maybe more

It does; thanks.

I know I have a voltage meter around here somewhere....
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 09:19 PM
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Re: Screwy electrical. Maybe battery...maybe more

I forgot to add that the radio will run for 10 minutes with the key in the off / lock position (key does not have to be in the ignition switch). Push the power knob in and the infotainment system will play. After 10 minutes the system will automatically power off but can be reactivated by pushing the switch again,

The advantage here is that power consumption (from the battery) is kept to a minimum since unnecessary circuits aren't energized.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 09:27 PM
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Re: Screwy electrical. Maybe battery...maybe more

the battery may be failing,
Are temps low.....? which would weaken the battery further.
it may be good enough to start the car--- but with 10 min of radio and all other modules on-- (and possibly headlights and or brake lights if she leaves foot on brake) while sitting in her car....



There are systems in the vehicle- that will be disabled and or not work properly if the voltage falls below 9.5 volts or so...

an example-- AWD would be disabled if voltage is low.

2013 Equinox&nbsp; LT1 3.6L V6 FWD -&nbsp; &nbsp;60,000<br />2010 Traverse LT1 3.6L V6 FWD -&nbsp;127,000 <br />2003 Trailblazer LS&nbsp; 4.2L I6 RWD- 180,000
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 10:20 PM
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Re: Screwy electrical. Maybe battery...maybe more

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbarrios



There are systems in the vehicle- that will be disabled and or not work properly if the voltage falls below 9.5 volts or so...

an example-- AWD would be disabled if voltage is low.

Rear window defogger will also be disabled when battery voltage is low.


2010 Equinox LTZ<br />4 cyl, FWD, S/R<br />Cardinal Red/Black
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Screwy electrical. Maybe battery...maybe more

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbarrios
the battery may be failing,
Are temps low.....? which would weaken the battery further.
it may be good enough to start the car--- but with 10 min of radio and all other modules on-- (and possibly headlights and or brake lights if she leaves foot on brake) while sitting in her car....



There are systems in the vehicle- that will be disabled and or not work properly if the voltage falls below 9.5 volts or so...

an example-- AWD would be disabled if voltage is low.
It is in the high 20's to low 30's (Fahrenheit), so...that points towards the battery again.

A much cheaper and easier solution!
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Screwy electrical. Maybe battery...maybe more

Swapped out the battery this morning (20 minutes). Car started right up.

Of course, when I tried to start it with the "original" battery, it ALSO started right up. Voltage was 13.5 VDC before starting, and 14.95 VDC while the car was running.

But I changed it.

I will say, though--the "original" battery didn't look so original. She had bought the car, NEW, from a reputable dealership. The battery I took out looked beat. The handles that had once been on it had been removed. There was blue Loc-Tite on the threads in the cross-frame where the front hold-down bolt screws in to. The battery DID say GM and DELCO (only on the label on the top), but so what?

A few months ago, her car had been in an accident (someone rear-ended her, coming out of an HOV lane at an illegal point), and she had the car repaired. Do repair shops still do what I think they might have done? Swapped out the battery? Seems silly.

But, overall--success. So far.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 11:47 AM
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Re: Screwy electrical. Maybe battery...maybe more

You may have uncovered some crucial information to your electrical dilemma.

Let us know how the new battery does after a week or two.
If you are still having problems we will dig a little deeper, good luck.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 12:49 PM
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Re: Screwy electrical. Maybe battery...maybe more

A lot of replacement batteries have the install date or the purchase date etched into the top of the battery somewhere.

Not sure dealers do that though.

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SLT1 Merlot/black. v-6. FWD.<br /><br />Dee Zee running boards.
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