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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 13 Cruze Turbo LT 'died' on the interstate yesterday and I had to leave it 75 miles away. I had the head-gasket replaced about 2 weeks ago. And I had recently been getting strange electrical activity, (Service StabiliTrak, etc.) including rough idle and stalling, (also present before the gasket replacement) with online advice causing me to clean the MAF and the Turbo boost sensor. It seemed to help, but only temporarily. Or the electrical problems would stop or change to something else just as strange. But yesterday everything seemed normal so I took the car to pick up my daughter from college. Halfway home I started getting ringing tones and an indicator about oil problems and to shut off car. Well, I was in single-lane construction, (and had been doing 5mph for several miles with A/C on) and it took a few minutes to pull over. Then it died. Temp gauge seemed normal. I pulled oil cap and it was wet with oil and dipstick looked normal except for smoke being emitted. It wouldn't restart. And then the battery was dead. Nothing worked. Once tow-truck got me to a parking lot I asked for a jump just to get the windows up. While I did this I tried to restart it. It did, but I was afraid of other possible damage so I shut it off. Then after the driver left I realized I couldn't get my key out, so I locked it up inside.
So my question is this. Could it have been just a weak battery or alternator causing all the strange electrical issues over the last couple of weeks? It's not been overheated since, but I have been losing water (no evidence under the car.) I've read where fuse boxes are a commonly replaced item that can cause these issues. Do I buy a $200 battery in the hopes that it's the only problem? There are no garages / mechanics in the little town where I left it. It'll cost $400 to tow it home. Renting a tow dolly seems a viable option, but seems a waste of money if it's just a dead battery.
I've seen online that the Chevy Cruze is famous for strange electrical issues, and lots of different 'fixes'.
 

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If it's your original 2013 battery, it's due. Start there.

If the battery is 'newer' take it to an auto parts or battery store and have it load-tested before deciding to buy a new one.

Other known issue is the negative battery cable. Both have reportedly caused all kinds of crazy symptoms like yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! I'm not the original owner so I don't know age of the battery, but I've owned it for a year. An Advance Auto guy said he thought the alternator was more likely the culprit, but I think I trust the advice on this forum more, lol. I'm looking at the Battery Terminal Crimp service bulletin now and trying to figure out if I can find out whether the 'recall' work has already been done. My mileage is still under the alleged 120,000 mile warranty extension for this issue. Coincidentally, we left it parked about a block away from a GM dealership in a town that's 70 miles from here. But that distance also makes it kind of tough to do some basic checks until I can get back to the car.
 

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A quick degradation like this points to the battery hitting its end of life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
At this point, I sure hope so. At nearly $200, a new battery seems to be the cheapest of alternatives. I think I have to wait 'til Monday to find out if the "battery terminal crimp" issue has already been addressed by GM. If not, maybe I can convince the GM dealership (one that's coincidentally close by) to pick it up and check it out. I'll have to take them the spare key because the other one is locked in the ignition in a locked car. The alternative is to rent a tow dolly because I'm not sure I'd trust driving it that far to get home. I know it runs because I started it when the tow driver gave me a jump, but there may a different problem that may present itself again on the way home. Thanks for your help. I'll let you know how it turns out, but I'm sure it won't be until after the weekend. We roll up the sidewalks here, lol.
 

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Left our 2012 at the airport for 2 weeks, when we got back battery was stone dead, first time this happened. Did have jumper cables in the car when a nice gentleman drove by, could have called AAA, but would take some time to get there. Cruze started immediately.

Needed gas to get home, didn't dare stop the engine, may not start again, so left it running, was 2:00 AM in the morning anyway, nobody around, so just filled up, we are still here.

Next morning, tested my battery, had a 2.5 ampere self discharge rate, failed to mention driving home, the voltmeter showed exactly 14.5 volts that is right on the head for 65*F weather. Took it to my in town dealer, showed my results, didn't believe me, car was less than two years old. Wanted to keep my car for a week, stupid, but know they have that special test, name of it skips me right not.

So found a good dealer 12 miles north of me, has that tester, and this are the results.

battery condition 10072014 s.jpg

Took all but 15 minutes to run this test, put in a brand new battery under warranty.

A year later, 40 miles from home, it wouldn't start, removed the ignition key, open the door the third time it started. It got me home, but switching the DCT, the battery voltage was jumping all over the place, should be steady. May read 13.9V in 100*F weather or 15.2V when its 30 below outside.

When I checked the voltage drop across the negative battery cable, I already filed the gap in it on day two, idiots put a positive battery terminal on the negative side, for a zillion years, negative terminal post is 50 mils smaller in diameter, it was loose.

Remove both positive and negative batter cables, is a crimp on the terminal on both sides, used a spur drill just enough to open a hole, you can pull that cable out, bare copper and all corroded. Cleaned that off with acid bright an shiny again, dipped the end in my solder pot and used a propane torch to solder them in, before these cables were dropping over a volt, after with a 50 amp current, less than 10 millivolts.

Also had a problem with this thing.

Cruze ignition relay.JPG

Was getting an excessive voltage drop across closed contacts, the ignition relay, had to cut the case to open it, cleaned the contacts and good to go again, later replaced it with a Panasonic that had a much higher current rating. Did test all the upper relays in the underhood fuse box, rest were all good.

Never stalled after this.
 

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I know we have had issues on our Cruzes with batteries going out and not presenting like a typical dead battery. They just die with no warning in my experience. If battery seems to be 2 years or older, I would start there. My logic being, batteries are a frequent replace item anyway, you just end up replacing a little sooner if thats not it.
 

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My guess is that you've got more than one problem going on.

But I would suggest the following course of action:

1) Have your negative battery cable replaced in accordance with the TSB.

2) Have your battery checked on a Midtronics machine. These are very expensive and not at auto parts shops. Dealerships are required to have them.

3) Proceed to your next action based on the results provided by the Midtronics machine.
 

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When the tow truck driver jumped the car, did you see how he connected? If he connected directly to the battery, then it's probably the battery. If he connected to the car's ground, then it could be the battery cable.

Based on they symptoms, I lean toward the cable, but it's a toss up. See what brand of battery is in the car and what date code. If it's not a Delco, or has a newer date that shows it was a replacement, then I'd take that as more evidence that it's the cable.

From hanging out here, the alternator seems to be pretty solid. I can't remember any replacements.
 

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My guess is that you've got more than one problem going on.

But I would suggest the following course of action:

1) Have your negative battery cable replaced in accordance with the TSB.

2) Have your battery checked on a Midtronics machine. These are very expensive and not at auto parts shops. Dealerships are required to have them.

3) Proceed to your next action based on the results provided by the Midtronics machine.
Midtronics is the name of that tester, saw one at my home town dealer, but apparently they didn't know how to hook up the two battery connections and press the start button. Yes, all dealers are required to have one, even tests self discharge rate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all your input. Yes, definitely more than one problem, and the battery is the least of them. A friend with a flatbed brought it home yesterday (on a Sunday!) and it looks like it has a broken rod in the engine. He's going to tow it to a certified GM dealership tomorrow who'll assess whether it's a candidate for the GM buyback program. Anyone know anything about that?
 

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2) Have your battery checked on a Midtronics machine. These are very expensive and not at auto parts shops. Dealerships are required to have them.

3) Proceed to your next action based on the results provided by the Midtronics machine.
I tried asking this on another thread, but do not remember getting an answer. I have access to both a Midtronics Essential and Midtronics Ultra battery tester, but both require the Siemens (1/ohms or formerly mhos) of the battery. I have thousands of data points, but none for automotive batteries. Do you know where I can get this info? I have already tried using Google.
 

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Thanks for all your input. Yes, definitely more than one problem, and the battery is the least of them. A friend with a flatbed brought it home yesterday (on a Sunday!) and it looks like it has a broken rod in the engine. He's going to tow it to a certified GM dealership tomorrow who'll assess whether it's a candidate for the GM buyback program. Anyone know anything about that?
Welcome Aboard!:welcome:

Try contacting Chevy Customer Care via this forum.
 

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I tried asking this on another thread, but do not remember getting an answer. I have access to both a Midtronics Essential and Midtronics Ultra battery tester, but both require the Siemens (1/ohms or formerly mhos) of the battery. I have thousands of data points, but none for automotive batteries. Do you know where I can get this info? I have already tried using Google.
Try looking through these:

Search Results Midtronics
 

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Thanks for all your input. Yes, definitely more than one problem, and the battery is the least of them. A friend with a flatbed brought it home yesterday (on a Sunday!) and it looks like it has a broken rod in the engine. He's going to tow it to a certified GM dealership tomorrow who'll assess whether it's a candidate for the GM buyback program. Anyone know anything about that?
I can only recall hearing of GM doing a buy back on a vehicle that is with its original owner.

As well, since you recently had the head gasket changed - and sounds as though it was not done by a GM dealer - I'm guessing that you'll have an uphill battle.

Would not the head gasket been been covered at no charge by the powertrain warranty?
 
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