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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone. I've got the worst problem, as per subject. I have looked for threads on here but can't find anything yet to help ( there's a lot to read through ). Anyway, 3 garages have looked but declined to help ( including an ex Chrysler dealer ) and now I'm on my own. The drain is up to 3.5 amps with everything off, but only when the car has got really wet. Obviously this flattens the battery overnight. Once it has dried out, the drain is only 0.25 amps, which is OK. So, I've got a short ( when wet ) somewhere in the electrical system. Whoopee. Needle in a haystack doesn't get close. There are no codes thrown up ( even when wet and the drain is showing ), and everything works just fine when dry, so I've got no clues. On the off-chance that anyone has been here before, I would welcome any suggestions, sane or insane. Car has done 78,000 miles and is in excellent shape otherwise. I'm considering fitting a kill switch and taking chances with no alarm on wet nights.
 

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A possible way to isolate the area might be to monitor the current drain when it’s playing up and pull fuses one at a time till till you get a drop in the current drain. That might at least identify which circuit the issue is on.
 

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Thanks Saabman, this will indeed be my first port of call ( and one that the 3 garages wouldn't do for some reason ??? ). I'm just waiting for delivery of a 20 amp multimeter ( mine only goes to 10 ) and then give the car a good soaking ( car wash might do it ). I will post my findings in case it helps anyone.
 

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Intermittent problems are the worst.

Another way to do it is to measure the voltage across each of the fuses. Blade fuses often (should) have a small hole above each terminal so you can stick a multimeter probe in.

I haven’t had a chance to look through the chysler documentation yet but I’ve seen in VW documentation they list the expected voltage drop across the various fuses specify for tracking down issues like this.
 

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Intermittent problems are the worst.

Another way to do it is to measure the voltage across each of the fuses. Blade fuses often (should) have a small hole above each terminal so you can stick a multimeter probe in.

I haven’t had a chance to look through the chysler documentation yet but I’ve seen in VW documentation they list the expected voltage drop across the various fuses specify for tracking down issues like this.
This doesn't works to test battery drain. You can only test voltage on that circuit or test for a blown fuse.
 

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You measure the voltage across the the two terminals of the fuse. The voltage measured will be related to to the resistance of the fuse wire and the current through it. It will be in the order of millivolts.

Current through the fuse is the voltage across it divided by the resistance of it. I=V/R
 

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You measure the voltage across the the two terminals of the fuse. The voltage measured will be related to to the resistance of the fuse wire and the current through it. It will be in the order of millivolts.

Current through the fuse is the voltage across it divided by the resistance of it. I=V/R
Even worst!

Voltage across terminals of the fuse would be zero, unles you are measuring a blown fuse.
 

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One thing I saw on YT was a person using a thermal camera (attached to his cellphone) to view his fuse and relay box to see which fuses/relays were "warm" while the electrical drain was occurring. The "warm" ones gave him a clue as to which circuit was drawing power. The thermal camera attachment is not cheap but perhaps it would be possible to borrow or rent one.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone, these ideas gives me something to look at over the weekend, and maybe all the little clues will add up.
 

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Our 2010 Grand Caravan STX had the problem with battery drain. It's actually the hard drive that would be activated in temperatures slightly above freezing while the van was parked with radio and everything turned off... Easy fix was to simply remove the stereo's hard disk drive unit. It is screwed into the back of head unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Invader, that's another job I'll add to the list of things to check but my focus now is on water. The drain disappeared after the car had thoroughly dried out, and everything was fine. It has rained a lot over the past couple of days, but the drain is still not there. I am suspecting that it's when the car is driven in the wet that the offending article gets shorted out, so I think that under-body and engine compartment will be where I find the culprit. The needle is still there, but the haystack may have got a bit smaller.......
 

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Well, the weekend ended up as a nightmare. To start with, things looked good - the car had got wet again but started easily, and everything was working. I checked the battery for voltage and it showed 11.8 V - a bit low, but certainly enough to power things up. I then checked for a current draw ( disconnected battery of course ), and it was showing 3.5 to 4.5 A with everything off, which was not good, but that was the fault that I knew about and was going to try to track down. I had to stop then ( other jobs.... ) so I re-connected the battery and checked that the car still started and that everything was working, which it was. I left it like that for a couple of hours, did my other jobs, and returned to do my fuse checks. But the whole thing was dead. The battery was still showing 11.8 V, but absolutely nothing worked - no lights, no alarm, nothing - I can't even lock the car now. I tried jump starting it ( although I figured it was pointless ), but nothing.

Does anyone have any ideas about this total electrical failure ? I have disconnected the battery before on a few occasions, but never had this happen.
 

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Well, the weekend ended up as a nightmare. To start with, things looked good - the car had got wet again but started easily, and everything was working. I checked the battery for voltage and it showed 11.8 V - a bit low, but certainly enough to power things up. I then checked for a current draw ( disconnected battery of course ), and it was showing 3.5 to 4.5 A with everything off, which was not good, but that was the fault that I knew about and was going to try to track down. I had to stop then ( other jobs.... ) so I re-connected the battery and checked that the car still started and that everything was working, which it was. I left it like that for a couple of hours, did my other jobs, and returned to do my fuse checks. But the whole thing was dead. The battery was still showing 11.8 V, but absolutely nothing worked - no lights, no alarm, nothing - I can't even lock the car now. I tried jump starting it ( although I figured it was pointless ), but nothing.

Does anyone have any ideas about this total electrical failure ? I have disconnected the battery before on a few occasions, but never had this happen.
Put a charger on it. Your voltage reading isn't making any sense. Jump starts sometimes don't work if there's a defect in the battery, but a battery charger will do the trick. I have seen that happen a couple of times in the past two years, on two different vehicles.
 

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Well, the weekend ended up as a nightmare. To start with, things looked good - the car had got wet again but started easily, and everything was working. I checked the battery for voltage and it showed 11.8 V - a bit low, but certainly enough to power things up. I then checked for a current draw ( disconnected battery of course ), and it was showing 3.5 to 4.5 A with everything off, which was not good, but that was the fault that I knew about and was going to try to track down. I had to stop then ( other jobs.... ) so I re-connected the battery and checked that the car still started and that everything was working, which it was. I left it like that for a couple of hours, did my other jobs, and returned to do my fuse checks. But the whole thing was dead. The battery was still showing 11.8 V, but absolutely nothing worked - no lights, no alarm, nothing - I can't even lock the car now. I tried jump starting it ( although I figured it was pointless ), but nothing.

Does anyone have any ideas about this total electrical failure ?
I have disconnected the battery before on a few occasions, but never had this happen.
Vehicle should crank if battery is jumped.

More likely one if the battery clamps is corroded/loose.

Check battery voltage directly at the battery posts. Then check voltage at the batteey cables clamps and compare.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks guys, appreciated.

Jeepman. I'll get a charger on it tonight. I presumed that because there was voltage enough, it should still start up, or at least power lights and things. But I'm up for any suggestions.

Levy. Battery clamps are in good condition with no corrosion and good connections made. Reading is the same when meter probes are touching posts or clamps.#

Regarding the fact that it won't crank when jumped ( BMW 540, engine running, so plenty of oomph - I've done this before on the Voyager ), is there a "master" fuse that could be the culprit ? I've looked through the fuse box and can't identify one that would fit this failure mode.
 
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