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Re: Battery drain on '87 5kS

   We just installed a brand-new DieHard battery, but there is some type of
   Anyone ever had this problem before?  Could I be looking at possible
   alternator and/or starter repairs?  Let me know if any of you have any
   ideas.  TIA...

I recently installed a DieHard in my UrQ (it's becoming a rite of owner-
ship to install a DieHard in all of my vehicles...), and really strongly
recommend them -- they've always been an improvement over the OEM battery.
I'm not saying they're the best by any means, but they beat anything else
I have found...

That aside...make sure the contacts to the battery itself are good and
clean. "Naked eye" inspection really doesn't do it, surprisingly...get
one of those battery-post cleaners and scrape down to clean shiny lead
on both post and cable. The "wire brush" type work, but there is also
an interesting battery post cleaner that uses four cutting blades ar-
ranged in a conical holder that cuts nice clean smooth flat surfaces
both on the posts and [matching!!] cable clamps. HIGHLY recommended, if
you can find one (and no, I don't remember where I finally found mine,
sorry; it might have been Sears...).

Make sure the clamps are firmy affixed (they're [usually] soft lead, so
you don't need to GORILLA them down, they easily deform/mold themselves
to the post configuration...).

Do NOT use any of those "corrosion inhibitor" glops on the terminals,
mostly what they do is eventually inhibit a good clean connection!

Since your car starts right up with a jump-start, your ground/starter
connections are probably OK, but they're two more good points to check 
for a clean tight connection. Grounds seem especially problematical,
in my experience -- wire brush the cable lug and the body/frame con-
nection point until they're clean and shiny bare metal.

Make sure you're getting an absolute minimum of 13.5 volts to the bat-
tery terminals, and preferably over 14 volts (15 volts or more however
and you risk overcharging the poor thing...).

If it's not one of those sealed batteries, you can buy a cheap hygro-
meter to measure the "charge" of the battery -- make sure that is good.
If you can't do that, you can tell a fair amount about the condition by
using a very accurate voltmeter (most any of the current digital units
will suffice, even the $20 RadioShit specials), but I misremember the
"calibrations" table. I can look it up, or if you have any of the Bent-
ley "maintenance/repair" manuals, it's probably listed there in the
electrical/battery section. You may well have gotten a bad battery, or
the fools at the store may have forgotten to fill it with acid, or ...
(remember too that "new" batteries need to be charged when you first
install them, they come "half" [less than fully, depends on a lot of
factors] charged or so over the counter! A day's driving around usually
suffices, assuming your charging system is up to snuff.)

Good Luck!