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Looks like I get to join the club: Neg battery cable

998 Views 7 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  skills4lou
We are on a vacation to the OR coast this weekend, and took the Cruze. Yesterday about 10 miles before we arrived at our Airbnb the 'battery saver active' message came on. I switched the display over and it was showing 12.2 volts. That slowly dwindled down to 11.9, then came back up to 12.0 the last couple of miles. Thankfully we made it, AND I found a small charger in the garage to charge the battery back up.
Doing a little searching on here this morning, it appears I likely have the bad negative battery cable. Go Chevy...
Anyhoo, there's a Napa in Tillamook that can make me a new cable, so I'm going to hope it'll start and run long enough to get there. Once that's replaced I'll have them test the battery and alternator also, just to make sure. Typically I'd do it all myself but I have limited tools along with me. :)
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2012 Cruze Eco
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32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update: Napa didn't have the right connections, so new parts will be here from Portland in the morning to finish the fix. I cleaned the connections up and installed the OEM cable (date on the sticker is 10/2011 so I know is the original). No issues today so far...
 

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2015 Cruze 1.4L engine 6 speed AT
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1,262 Posts
It is crazy not to replace the 11 year old battery. That battery has already lasted much longer than it should have.

Also, if need be you could just double up the battery to frame connection with any generic battery cable. Just ensure you run it through the sensor loop with the OE cable.
 

· Registered
2012 Cruze Eco
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32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Today: no crank, and the battery is sitting at 12.2V. Fun games while on vacation. So what else is needed for the ecu to command the starter? I’m hoping to get the cable today, but maybe I can check something else and at least get it to crank over?
Update: it doesn’t seem to be the starter relay, I swapped out with another and still nothing. The fuse is good also. All other electronics seem to work, just not getting a signal to the starter relay as far as I can tell (with very limited tools). I have a wedding to attend this afternoon so I probably won’t be able to play with this pos until after.
 

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2012 Cruze Eco
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32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
New battery cable is installed, and starter tested for power. Both battery positive and starter solenoid are getting appropriate power, so I’ll need a new starter. Thankfully, it’s a manual so I can ( and did) bump start it. Of course once I got it running the starter works fine again
 

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2012 Cruze Eco
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32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Update: I’m more than halfway back home now (Post Falls, ID). The last 70 miles or so the battery light was on and the last couple of miles the ignition was cutting out. I was tired of driving and let my wife drive at Kennewick, but that only lasted maybe 10 miles before it completely died. Thankfully it did start back up, because at that point I’m planning to drive until it dies completely, then light a match and walk away. The weird thing is this whole time the dash electrical hasn’t slipped a beat. Only the engine.
So I got to thinking along the way that there’s really a very tiny chance that both the starter and the alternator are going to die at the same time. I was trying to figure out what is common between the two, and I kept coming back to the battery cables. When I pulled off the interstate it was still running, so I pulled into a truck stop to gas up, and let the engine keep running. Dashboard was showing 11.7v at that point. After topping up the tank I decided to futz around with the cables and just see if I could get anything to change. At that point I finally figured out that the starter and alternator share a common cable up to the main fuse on top the battery. I wiggled the alternator and…no change. I wiggled the starter terminal a bit and got instant results based on the engine sounds alone.OK, now we are getting somewhere! Of course at that point wife has made it clear that we are getting a hotel, because no way in hell she wants to get stranded on one of the passes we still have to go over.
So, we are now checked into a hotel. After getting settled I went back out to the car and started back in, this time with my 13mm. I disconnected the positive cable at the battery top, then at the alternator, then the starter. I couldn’t quite get the cable up enough to inspect the ends because the main negative cable is tied together with the positive at the starter. So I reached down to loosen the nut holding the negative cable on the stud and knew instantly I had found the whole problem: some chucklehead didn’t even tighten that nut finger tight. I pulled it apart, got the cable harness up enough to inspect and found what you see below. I took some time to clean it all up, put everything back together and she’s all fixed. Starter cranks over better than before, system voltage went up to 14.6 and stayed there for 10 minutes or so while I let it run to keep charging.
Now the only thing left is to examine all other engine grounds and figure out if I smoked anything else because of missing that main ground.
Hand Finger Automotive tire Nail Thumb

Automotive tire Synthetic rubber Bicycle part Grey Rim

Automotive tire Finger Automotive wheel system Thumb Gas
 
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