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Old 01-25-2013, 10:03 AM   #1
bitz767
 
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Car electrical gone crazy

I had to have my 2010 3 Door manual towed into the shop last night because the car died while driving on the road.

Back in December I was having what I thought was battery issues. The car wouldn't start/no dash lights or anything at random times. I would leave town for the week, get to the car and it would start up fine, then I would try to leave an hour later and it was dead. After the first time this happened, I unplugged my subwoofer, heated seats, and phone charger from the car becuase I thought it might be some of my wires that were draining the battery. But after unplugging those things, it kept happening. So I went and got a diehard platinum battery and the problem seemed to be fixed until yesterday.

On my way to work, the electronics in the car just up and cut off for about 2 seconds, while the engine still ran. I thought it was strange and continued in to work. Then on my way home, same thing happened about 2 minutes into my commute. Lights went out, dash went dark, but the engine kept running. It went back to normal after a second or two, then kept cutting off more frequently (every 15 seconds or so) until the engine started to hesitate when the power went off and within a mile of the first cut off driving home, it cut the engine as well as the power. As my car is a manual, I had the clutch in, pulled to the side of the road and noticed that the starter was trying to get the car going. Once I let the clutch out, it stopped (Strange). So I pulled the key out and was going to try and start it up, but as soon as I put the clutch in, the starter would activate until I let go of the clutch (even without keys in the car). Turning the key would only get a few lights on the dash to come on, then off again after a while.

The car is at the dealer now. It is at 52k miles so no warranty (I assume). I have a 3rd party extended warranty that I hope will cover it.

I'm thinking its an alternator or a short somewhere in the system. Any thoughts?
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:07 AM   #2
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Sounds like you have added electrical accessories? (subwoofer, heated seats)

First thing I would do is eliminate them as the source of the problems.

I try to warn people NOT to install things like that in the first place.

Oh and while we're at it DONT spray and wash the engine with a garden hose unless you want trouble with that.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bronsin View Post
Sounds like you have added electrical accessories? (subwoofer, heated seats)

First thing I would do is eliminate them as the source of the problems.
:
After the first sign of the electrical issue, I removed all connections for the subwoofer and the heated seats, but the problem persisted and got worse.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:24 AM   #4
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Do you have a remote starter or alarm system?
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:26 PM   #5
bitz767
 
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Do you have a remote starter or alarm system?
neither
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:52 PM   #6
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No CEL?

Sounds like you have done everything possible that I can think of.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:51 PM   #7
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check engine ground cable, cables on batteries, and a long shot considering you conditions but check the positive feed cable from the alternator.

Had the same conditions on a friends SUV, the connectors on the battery stretched and oxodized and would randomly do the same thing your describing.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bronsin View Post

I try to warn people NOT to install things like that in the first place.
I agree. The only electrical related item I'm going to add (more that temporarily charging a cell phone or laptop), whether I end up adding it to this Yaris or a future Yaris, is a JL audio 4/300 amplifier I have in storage.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:45 PM   #9
bitz767
 
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Got it back from toyota today. Looks like Sear's screwed up the ground cable when they installed the new battery back in December. They said the chassis ground was broken. Now I have to take my bill from Toyota over to Sears and make them pay it.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bronsin View Post
Sounds like you have added electrical accessories? (subwoofer, heated seats)

First thing I would do is eliminate them as the source of the problems.

I try to warn people NOT to install things like that in the first place.

Oh and while we're at it DONT spray and wash the engine with a garden hose unless you want trouble with that.
Bronsin: How are folks suppose to keep the engine clean....alternative to a garden hose?.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:03 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by bitz767 View Post
Got it back from toyota today. Looks like Sear's screwed up the ground cable when they installed the new battery back in December. They said the chassis ground was broken. Now I have to take my bill from Toyota over to Sears and make them pay it.
Good news at least the problem is solved!

Sears is a scurvy place to have your car worked on maybe except for tires. You would think they could be trusted to instll a battery however...
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:12 AM   #12
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Bronsin: How are folks suppose to keep the engine clean....alternative to a garden hose?.
By washing the engine down with a garden hose you are risking water dammaging/shorting out parts of the electrical system, thus making the car so you cannot drive it. Fixing this problem, even for a competant honest shop, can be expensive and time consuming. If they can fix it at all.

I will leave to your imagination what putting this problem in the hands of an incompetant, dishonest business is likely to result in.

But to answer your question it is not necessary to clean your egnine so it is like the outside of the car. I ride motorcycles and people who own them like the bike clean. They wash the engine all the time. Then it wont run right or maybe even start. I cant tell you how many times I have been called to fix this problem without success.

My advice is get the idea out of your head you need to wash the engine!
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:30 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bronsin View Post
Good news at least the problem is solved!

Sears is a scurvy place to have your car worked on maybe except for tires. You would think they could be trusted to instll a battery however...
Perhaps in PA and NJ, but Sears did a great job for me re a battery in TX (install fine and got 3y and 85k+ out of a 1y battery) and 21k miles later an alternator in MN.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bronsin View Post
By washing the engine down with a garden hose you are risking water dammaging/shorting out parts of the electrical system, thus making the car so you cannot drive it. Fixing this problem, even for a competant honest shop, can be expensive and time consuming. If they can fix it at all.

I will leave to your imagination what putting this problem in the hands of an incompetant, dishonest business is likely to result in.

But to answer your question it is not necessary to clean your egnine so it is like the outside of the car. I ride motorcycles and people who own them like the bike clean. They wash the engine all the time. Then it wont run right or maybe even start. I cant tell you how many times I have been called to fix this problem without success.

My advice is get the idea out of your head you need to wash the engine!
What about the old school practice of steam cleaning the engine? I've never heard of anyone having any electrical problems re a properly steam cleaned engine.
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