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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Drove my 1996 900 SE turbo home yesterday afternoon. Went out to start it this morning and it started right up! Forgot something inside the house. Turned the car off and when I came back to it I heard one click and then no start.

I opened the hood and checked the battery cables, wiggling them around. I get back in the car and still no start. I get out and mess with the battery cables again. Back in the car and BOOM starts right up. From there I continued to turn it off and attempt starts several times over and over. Sometimes it would start right up, others it would not start every time. I'd either have to keep trying or get out and mess with the cables before attempting another start. Again, it continues to start and not start off and on.

With no real place to go today I decided to keep the car off the road and do some research to try and narrow down my problem.

***Keep in mind, the battery is not very old (and I cleaned and made a strong connection to the battery this morning) and the headlights, dash lights, interior lights, door locks... everything have full power! ***

So, about an hour ago I head back out and try and start it. It almost started the first time but didn't quite make it. Now, after this time, the car is dead. No lights, no nothing... no crank to turn over, nothing. I get out and mess with the battery cables again and as I am messing with them the interior lights turn on inside the car, bright as ever. I get back into my car... dash, lights, etc. look like full power. I attempt to start and I hear one click before the car dies and I get nothing again! I go over this procedure several times:
1. car dies
2. get out and mess with positive battery cable
3. interior light goes on and all interior dash lights, headlights, etc. power up full power.
4. try to start car and one click before she's dead. All interior and exterior and exterior power is gone after that one click.
5. move positive battery terminal again, interior lights up.
6. try to start... same thing... you get the idea.

Now she sits and waits for me to figure her out.

Any ideas? I think I'll start with checking out the battery cables and connections to other components before I get too worked up. Could it be the alternator? I'm doubtful because of the power it receives. Could it be the starter? I am clueless but capable of repairing my car if I know what the problem is. This one is just out of my ability to determine.
 

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Another case of a dieing battery ?
Does she spin o'er slow or fast ?
These( and all vehicles) need a battery condition indicator ,AKA voltmeter...
And this is but a small part of the diagnosis, we must start at a logical point..place...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
When she was spinning it was fast. Then it stopped spinning all together and would die. No juice whatsoever. When I barely touched the positive cable near the battery connection point, the interior would light up. Once I got back in and turned the key to the on position. All dash lights would light up beautifully. Once turned another notch to start the car I get one click and no power until I touch the positive cable again.

Sorry if I am repeating myself, its just so weird how this is going.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Also... the battery is only about a year old, not even. When there is power to the car, it appears the battery is holding a good charge. It's strange because once I turn the key to the start position I get one click and power is out like hitting a switch (until I touch that positive terminal again).
 

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Could it be your starter motor?
Next time it does that clicking noise tap the starter motor with a hammer (They get a sticky spot in them and seize).
But most of all, some where there is a dicky connection(I think). Get in there and check every connection. Battery to stater, Battery to earth
 

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Try installing new cable ends on your cables. I had a car once that did the exact same thing. The connection on the positive side where the cable met the terminal connector looked fine on visual inspection. I un screwed the two bolts that hold the cable to the connector and found severe corrosion. To the point where there was almost no contact between any wire strands that were actually left and the terminal itself. Cutting back the cable and installing a new connector solved the problem. The fact that the car is turning over fast and the lights come on bright when you wiggle the cable suggests that the battery itself is fine. Go over every single connection from the battery to the grounds. Take them apart and look for signs of corrosion. It is possible that there is something internally wrong with the battery itself, but that would be unlikely on a battery that's less than a year old.

Chris
Southeastern PA
2002 9-3 SE
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the replies!

I went out and removed corrosion on the positive cable, re installed the new terminal connector and the engine stopped doing the one-click no power deal. Then it just started to crank over and over without starting. It turns!!!

I do have low fuel. Maybe 30 miles on the computer screen. I put in about a half gallon from the garage and will hit the gas station to make sure it continues to drive. It appears it was having a hard time starting, like it wasnt getting enough fuel, but I have started this car many times with only 30 miles left and no problems. I doubt if there is anything else wrong that it would be my fuel pump. I had that replaced about 2 years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Okay, so after removing the corroded positive wire and reconnecting the terminal to the battery, the car has been starting fine once the gas got to the system, etc. I just drove it 10 miles one way to Advanced Auto Parts to get a system test done and then drove it home 10 miles with no problems.

Here is the printed report they provided me with.
What do you guys think I should do to prevent the car from breaking down on me? Should I do the same thing to the negative cable? Could this by why the test is showing slight problem?

I put the car on ramps and checked the wiring to the alternator and starter and they seem fine! Not dirty or anything.


 

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Since your positive cable was corroded, suspect the negative as well. A corroded ground will have the same effect as a corroded positive. Again, at times the connection may look okay visually, but be corroded inside the connection itself. I would remove all the grounds, sandpaper or wire brush down the ends and the points where they are grounded. I would also just cut back and replace the negative terminal end to the battery and then bring it back for re test. I always smear a little dielectric grease around all my battery / charging connections just for good measure.

Chris
Southeastern PA
2002 9-3 SE
 
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