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Premium Member
2004 Forester 4EAT
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5,462 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My car has developed the oddest problem. When it sits over night, it looses all electrical power. It doesn't discharge the battery, but the car just loses power. The radio presets are gone, the clock resets, etc. Then, when I got in to start it, it would not start. I had no lights on the dash, no radio, no nothing. I got out, popped the hood, grabbed my meter, and checked the battery. It had 12.70 volts. I got back in to try and start it again and had a faint door ajar light, but it still would not start. I got back out and put my meter on the battery so I could watch the voltage while turning the key. By the time I got back in the car again, all the dash, radio, interior lights were working as normal. I turned the key and IT STARTED! I turned it off, on, off, on, and no problems. WTH MAN!? If you have any ideas, I don't even know where to start with this one.
 

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Premium Member
2014 2.0XT Limited CVT
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416 Posts
Loose battery cable or post? Maybe when you applied the meter to the battery the second time you jiggled something enough to cause a connection.
 

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Registered
2010 2.5X Limited 4-speed Auto
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1,979 Posts
Bad battery cable(s) ...
Bad connection between the cable(s) and the battery terminal (s) ...

That's where I would start.
 

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Premium Member
2004 Forester 4EAT
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5,462 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So most of you were right. This problem went away for a month after posting this, so finding it was impossible. But then.... It decided not to start yesterday.:woohoo: I was able to wiggle the cables individually and recreate the problem. My problem is between the positive cables and the terminal. I'll replace the terminal this weekend.
 

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Registered
2010 2.5X Limited 4-speed Auto
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1,979 Posts
Before replacing anything, remove the cable clamps, clean the inside of the clamps and the outside of the battery terminals, and then reinstall the clamps and tighten securely.

If you do need to replace the clamp, replace the whole cable. It's likely the cable under the insulation is corroded. Personally, I'd just replace both cables.
 

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Premium Member
2004 Forester 4EAT
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5,462 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The cables look good. They actually bolt to the terminal. The terminal is not original, and frankly looks like crap. I could probably get away with just cleaning it up, but I am no fan of the terminal. It's worth $5 to just be done with it.
 

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Registered
2003 Forester XS auto
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640 Posts
Many cheap terminals are not manufactured with the correct taper on the post hole, and end up making very little contact that then overheats and goes high resistance. Or they are the same size for both pos and neg.
 

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Registered
2010 2.5X Limited 4-speed Auto
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1,979 Posts
Many cheap terminals are not manufactured with the correct taper on the post hole, and end up making very little contact that then overheats and goes high resistance. Or they are the same size for both pos and neg.
So true, on both accounts.

For some things, top quality is the cheapest in the long run.
 

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Premium Member
2004 Forester 4EAT
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5,462 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I bought the oem style. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I didn't get it changed out. If it goes like the way I usually do things, I'll change it in some parking lot, in the rain, with nothing for tools but a pair of old pliers.:icon_rolleyes::icon_redface: I really do need to get my crap together.:biggrin:
 

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Registered
2003 Forester XS auto
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640 Posts
I bought the oem style. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I didn't get it changed out. If it goes like the way I usually do things, I'll change it in some parking lot, in the rain, with nothing for tools but a pair of old pliers.:icon_rolleyes::icon_redface: I really do need to get my crap together.:biggrin:
The space around the spare tyre is meant for tools!

Once you've stood on the roof of a 4x4 looking in all directions at waist high vegetation, 8 hrs drive from anything, with the back left suspension in bits, three leathermans and a set of pliers, you learn to overcompensate.
 
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