Question about 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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New battery. left lights on & had to charge.

1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee....new battery. left lights on & had to charge. left sit for 3-4 days afterwards and battery dead again

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There seems to be a no charge state in this case. i recommend checking the charging system. use the procedure below to isolate this issue.

Wear protective eye wear and clothing and remove all jewelry when checking your battery and charging system. Jewelry is a good conductor of electricity and is not recommended. Most batteries wear out every 3 to 5 years and need to be replaced. Always replace your battery with an equal replacement battery to assure proper operation. Automotive batteries have a +positive terminal (red), - negative terminal (black). Electricity is stored in the battery and then supplied to the vehicle when the engine is not running. While the engine is running the vehicles alternator charges the battery for future use. (Note: never disconnect the battery while the engine is running. If the battery cable is disconnected from the battery a spark can be generated which can cause the battery to explode or a major electrical malfunction to occur.)

To check a battery surface voltage, remove the positive terminal protective cover. Connect the +positive side meter lead (red) to the positive side battery terminal. Connect the - negative (black) side meter lead to the negative battery terminal. With the vehicle not running and the car sitting over night the battery voltage should be between 12.5 and 12.8 volts.(You will need to use a voltmeter for this testing procedure)

The alternator is rotated by a drive belt driven by the vehicles engine while it is running. Electrical voltage and amperage are generated to recharge the battery and supply voltage to the electrical system of the car. The alternator is held in place with mounting bolts. There is a main electrical wire on the rear of the alternator that supplies voltage to a main voltage junction box. If your alternator is not charging properly, your battery will slowly drain down from operating all the electrical systems in your car and stop the car from running.(most non charge states will be the cause of a loose belt or a low tension rate, due to a mis-adjusted alternator. make sure you have enough tension in the belt for full rotation of the alt pulley)

Next, you will need to check the alternators output with the Amp meter.

Testing the amperage output of the alternator is good for measuring the amount (not the level) of voltage the alternator can produce. This test can be tricky because if the alternator is weak it can still show it as producing amperage. Which is good, but if the voltage is low, it will still allow the battery to go dead. To check the amperage output of an alternator an amp meter is needed. Once the meter is connected start the engine. Next turn on all electrical accessories and raise the engine idle to about 1200 RPM. The alternator should output the max amperage it was designed to produce. Example: a 90 amp alternator should output about 88 amps. Note: An alternator cannot sustain maximum output for long periods of time. If the alternator is forced to operate at maximum output it will overheat and fail. An alternator is designed to operate at max amperage output only for a reasonable amount of time.

((Connect the voltage meter lead the same way you would in a battery static voltage check, Start engine (do not drive) at engine idle the voltage should be between 13.6 to 14.3 volts. If not the alternator may need replacing.)))

NOTE_ Ok, if everything checks out Ok with the above inspections, and you charging system is working correctly, this will lead to a battery drain issue. Use thsi procedure below to isolate the drain.

Here is the procedure I use to isolate a battery drain. Remove negative battery cable from the battery. Using a 12-volt test light, hook one end to the negative battery post the other end to the negative battery cable you just disconnected. The test light will glow or "light" if there is a drain. If the "light or glow" is faint, that is probably normal draw for the clock or computer. If the "light or glow" is bright, then there is a large drain. That should be corrected. Now start removing and replacing the fuses one by one until the light goes out; that one will be the circuit with the drain. Remember to hold in the button in the door jam for the interior lights.

Posted on Nov 16, 2009

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