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  #1  
Old 22nd April 2007
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Default Hooray! My car is finally acting up!

Heh heh. So I was driving home from the hardware store today, and going from a stoplight up a hill, and the car stalled. Started right back up again, but then I noticed a few things - At first the abs light came on and the tacho stopped working. A block and a half later the light went off and the tacho caught up again, but then the SRS light started blinking. At a stop sign, I stopped and restarted the car - SRS light still flashing. Also, I noticed that at idle the car is now getting bogged down, esp. during start up, and it is very bouncy (the car normally idles very well).

Ok, so my first instinct, obviously, is that this is a charging issue, even though the battery light has not come on. Take it home (saw an ed. gray SPG on the way home, BTW) and do some diagnostics. First off, the charging light is not burnt out. Second off, I'm getting 13.8something volts at the alt points, but only a steady 13.60 volts at the battery. I've cleaned the radiator ground in the last couple months, but not the alt ground.

Backstory - my battery is a POS - it has acid all over it, and it looks fairly old. Nevertheless, it has always started for me (although slowly, especially when it's been sitting for a day or two). What are the chances that a battery going bad could cause these conditions?

Sooo - for the time being, I'm gonna wait till my car cools off then find the alt ground (not sure where it ends up) and clean that. 13.8 is a little low. If that doesn't work, I might just get some brushes/v.reg and see what happens.

Thoughts? Bad battery? Or definitely just alt?

Andrew
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Old 22nd April 2007
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0.2 volt drop is acceptable. First put a new battery in, then test.
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  #3  
Old 22nd April 2007
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And 13.8 volts at the alt - I know that's "low" but is it still within the healthy range?
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Old 22nd April 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRedBaron
And 13.8 volts at the alt - I know that's "low" but is it still within the healthy range?
The alternator is ok RB

A dead cell with make the alternator work its heart out and get really hot, so is that a symptom?

0.2 or even 0.5 volts is an ok drop in voltage from the alt to the battery, can your battery hold the 12.5 volts when its not being charged?

Switch on your headlights without the engine running and check the voltage again, it should not go below 12 volts for at least 30 minutes.
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Old 22nd April 2007
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Thanks guys! I'm off to autozone now - see what happens.

I've left an interior light on for a while before, and the battery never straight "died" on me. Sometimes if it sits for a day or two it'll go "Chuuuuug, chuuuug, chuug, chug, vroom" so I always figured it was on the out and out. I'm not sure if the alt has been any hotter than it should be.
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Old 22nd April 2007
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Ok, so I went to advance auto parts and got the batt tested - while the guy was doing it he said that it looked like the battery was in O.K. shape, but in the end it tested as "replace" - I figured that I was in the works for a new battery anyway, and this one has a 2 year warranty.

Anyway, popped it in and drove home. SRS light is still on. It blinks for about 3-4 minutes, then it goes solid red. Question - if this warning is triggered, does it need to be reset? Should I try the 'disconnect battery for 20 minutes' trick?

It felt like it was idling a little better, but I noticed that the revs would drop sometimes when I let of the clutch coming to a stop. Normally the revs "gracefully fall to an idle." Also, I felt like I was having to shift faster because the revs seemed to drop faster between gears. I noticed the last time that I started it the revs bounced very rapidly (2-3 times a sec) around the normal level, and then seemed to settle.



I also remembered that just the other day I replaced the (+) connection at the alternator because it was previously being held on by 2 or 3 zip ties (I blew it off one time by accident in a shower of sparks ). I redid the connection (tightened the nuts, checked the wire in the connector) but still - NO DICE. Seems like this sudden hot weather (which I'm loving BTW) kicked something loose in my bay, and I'm not liking it.

Any ideas?

Edit - is it possible that a short (maybe in the contact rings) in the SRS system is causing this problem?

Edit #2 - went to the video store and the car seems to run normally now, SRS light still on, but apparently it needs to be reset by a saab tech. Looks like the batt. did it!
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Last edited by TheRedBaron; 22nd April 2007 at 07:12 PM.
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  #7  
Old 22nd April 2007
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After my transmission swap I now have the same SRS warning I havent had the time to trouble shoot it yet but I noticed it had started after I was messing about changing shiftlinkages and the ignition/shifter housing although that could be a coincidance. I think on start up something in the ignition housing is supposed to initiate the srs system so the light should blink once or twice but then remain off. I am assuiming soming in the system is faulty and the system is not active hence the warning light.

I'll be keeping my eye on this post as you may be more ambitious than me to solve this one....
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  #8  
Old 22nd April 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRedBaron
Ok, so I went to advance auto parts and got the batt tested - while the guy was doing it he said that it looked like the battery was in O.K. shape, but in the end it tested as "replace" - I figured that I was in the works for a new battery anyway, and this one has a 2 year warranty.
haha, they couldn't getcha to get the titanium, could they?
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Old 22nd April 2007
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I went to Sears to replace a battery that didn't hold a charge. They hooked it up and 60 min later I got the guy to check. "Oh it tested OK". He pulls it out and it's leaking acid everywhere. "Uh it appears to have boiled over, friend!"

I think those testers just print out "GOOD" no matter what. Hook a piece of wood, GOOD.

SRS codes are stored and it will flash forever unless you get the dealer to reset it. Usually when the voltage goes low it triggers a code and then thou art screwed.
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  #10  
Old 22nd April 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaverjeff
After my transmission swap I now have the same SRS warning I havent had the time to trouble shoot it yet but I noticed it had started after I was messing about changing shiftlinkages and the ignition/shifter housing although that could be a coincidance. I think on start up something in the ignition housing is supposed to initiate the srs system so the light should blink once or twice but then remain off. I am assuiming soming in the system is faulty and the system is not active hence the warning light.

I'll be keeping my eye on this post as you may be more ambitious than me to solve this one....
I actually read some of your posts on this while searching

I read on saabnet that once something has "tripped" the SRS warning system/light, that it will continue to do the "blink then solid" routine until it is set by a saab tech with the SRS diagnostic tool. If something like my situation happens where the SRS malfunction is not caused by a flaw inside the system (I hope ) but instead by an electrical malfunction, then once the light is reset there shouldn't be any more problems...obviously if the problem was caused by a malfunction in the SRS system (ie with the contact points in the steering column or something like that) then the light will come back on once the malfunction resurfaces.

I also read that if the SRS light is active the airbags will not deploy even in a serious accident - it is a safety measure.

Oh, and Mike - they didn't even give me the option - the only ones I saw on the screen were the one year and two year warranty ones - for some reason the "titanium" didn't fit my car.

900t - I've gotten two batteries tested in my life - one at advance and the other at an NTB - both times they tested as "Needs Replacement." I always figured they read 'fail' no matter what
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Old 22nd April 2007
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Now check the connectors on your Ignition Lock Relay.
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  #12  
Old 22nd April 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Mesthene
Now check the connectors on your Ignition Lock Relay.
Huh? Any particular reason? Just for giggles?

Teach me Jim!

Edit - did some research - good idea!
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Last edited by TheRedBaron; 22nd April 2007 at 07:59 PM.
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  #13  
Old 22nd April 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRedBaron
Oh, and Mike - they didn't even give me the option - the only ones I saw on the screen were the one year and two year warranty ones - for some reason the "titanium" didn't fit my car.
haha, nice! i know we have em that fit, cuz i've looked em up... i think...

EDIT: oh yes, and the testers can, in fact, read good battery
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  #14  
Old 23rd April 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRedBaron
Any particular reason?
You described all the symptoms of a bad battery: high charging rate, poor running, acid boiling out of battery....
The tachometer, SRS light, other warning lights point to the Ignition Lock Relay.
My guess (at a long distance, with little information) is that low voltage from poor contact at the connectors caused the relay to de-energize, leaving you with the SRS light that doesn't recover from the event, but registers a fault. My guess is the fault recorded is a warning light malfunction.

Keep in mind these are all just guesses since I didn't observe the sequence of events, I don't get to do any testing of my own, and you may not have been aware of, or described, all the symptoms.
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  #15  
Old 23rd April 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Mesthene
You described all the symptoms of a bad battery: high charging rate, poor running, acid boiling out of battery....
The tachometer, SRS light, other warning lights point to the Ignition Lock Relay.
My guess (at a long distance, with little information) is that low voltage from poor contact at the connectors caused the relay to de-energize, leaving you with the SRS light that doesn't recover from the event, but registers a fault. My guess is the fault recorded is a warning light malfunction.

Keep in mind these are all just guesses since I didn't observe the sequence of events, I don't get to do any testing of my own, and you may not have been aware of, or described, all the symptoms.
Well assuming that the relay appears to be intact (you mentioned in another thread that they have a tendency to melt down) would there be any other thing to check for in regards to it failing? My plan is to give it a cursory inspection, and if it needs replacing, replace it. If it's fine, I'll just get the SRS light reset and see if it acts up again.

Thanks for your help!
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  #16  
Old 23rd April 2007
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I doubt there's anything wrong with the relay; it's the connectors it fits into.
Check for corrosion and overheating (discoloration of contacts). It probably needs the spade terminals on the relay, and the sockets in the fusebox cleaned. Pry the socket contacts back together for a tight fit after cleaning.

This is wild speculation; don't ask what the next step is.
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