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I recently changed the battery in my 88 spider. It would die after sitting a few days. I got it checked and sure enough it was dead. I replaced it and the problem was solved. My car is just a weekend drive so recently it sat for a few weeks and when I went to start it, it was dead. I jumped it, drove it for an hour and everything is OK again. I checked for any lights left on etc.. and could not find anything. I was wondering if there is a common problem others have had like this. (battery draining) Hopefully this was just a one time thing but I think it probably wasn't. Any help would be great.:confused:
 

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Dead batttery

Batteries can discharge over a short period of time. In my experience, 5 weeks is a LONG time for any battery to sit.

If you are going to leave the car for another long period of time, remove the battery cables from the battery. That tends to help a great deal. Be careful reconnecting them. They can spark and cause the battery gasses to explode, rare, but a possibility.

Also, make sure it has enough distilled water/electrolyte. Auto Part stores sell 'battery test kits' with bulbs and things. Use the cable brush, keeping the contacts and cable ends clean. There is a kind of battery lube that keeps corrosion down, as well as those green and red felt rings that fit around the battery posts.

If you remove the batttery: Batteries that sit on concrete floors for a period of time can discharge to ground over a short amount of time! Found that out myself.

I know this is not the answer you wanted, but, batteries are still finicky things, even in 2007!

Anyone want to help me with this? Am I blowing smoke, or is my street-wise information worth something? These are tips I have been taught over the years.;)
 

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Tend to agree with Robert... also, there is a neat little gadget, if you leave your car sitting for periods of time, and if they are sitting outside... you simply place this solar panel in the windshield and connect the other end to your cig lighter... it will keep a trickle charge going to keep the battery charged. My daughters Jetta had this, seemed to work pretty neat... but the vehicle has to be outside.

I'll also add... make sure your glovebox is shut completely... might be surprised to find it's not and you are slowly draining the battery via the glovebox lamp.

Ron F.
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Another possible drain is the footwell (interior) light. They are 2 or 3 position lights. One is supposed to rock the lens to switch between 'auto-on', 'always-on' and (maybe?) 'always-off'. If the light in the passenger footwell gets kicked to the 'always-on' position it can go un-noticed.

A battery disconnect switch costs less than $10.

Or maybe you just need to drive your Spider more often!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I just remembered I did go into my glove box prior to leaving my house for a week. maybe the light was on... I know I closed it though... I will check that tonight.
 

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If you are going to leave the car for another long period of time, remove the battery cables from the battery.
Install a disconnect switch (on the neg terminal). Turn off when parked for the night. And hook up a battery tender in the vicinity and hook up each time it's parked - you'll double the life of the battery and it'll always be at full charge which the Spica likes. They only cost about 30 bucks
 

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Sounds to me like you have a bettery drain. I keep four cars licensed to drive, and live alone, so you can imagine I will go weeks without staring one or the other up. I often leave them six weeks and have no battery trouble.

Loosen one of your battery terminals and lightly brush the terminal against the battery post. If you see sparks (they may be tiny and you might see them best in subdued light), then you know something is using power somewhere. You can begin to track it down by systematically removing fuses to show you which circuit is a culprit.

Of course, this is taking for granted the charging system is ok.
 

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I'm with Dietrich. Five weeks should not be a problem. Something has to be draining the battery, and it's best to figure it out now, as it might be something leading to a failure that will strand you somewhere. Disconnect switches are great for cheap anti-theft, and trickle chargers are terrific for winter storage (I keep one on my Indian--poor thing has only been on the pavement about 4 times this summer) but neither will solve your problem, they only treat the symptom.

Tim
 

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The radio circut in my '85 drains enough in 2 wks to prevent the Bosh from allowing the starter to spin. I gave up trying to fix the problem. Get an auto Black & Decker battery tender at Walmart, about $17.
 

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I had this problem with my S4. An ammeter test at a battery terminal showed there was a small power drain somewhere, sometimes. I eventually discovered a faulty wire in the feed of the fuse box light, which would sometimes switch it on. [The fuse box light, not the interior lights]. I took the bulb out (and placed in the hole meant to hold a spare bulb, so I can use the fuse box light if need be) - problem solved. Worth a look? Good luck. Tony
 

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Don't Make Sparks!!!

I had the same problem in my '89 - I had it off the road for several weeks to rebuild the suspension and it was dead when I got it back on the road.

First thing - DO NOT pull the battery lead and tap it to create sparks. I spent years working as an electronics technician and I can assure you that sparks can lead to blown up electronic components. The Bosch injected cars use a controller box that is not cheap to replace - DON'T TAKE CHANCES!!!

If you don't have an ammeter (multimeter with amps), find someone who does and borrow it. Remove a lead from the battery and place the meter leads between the battery terminal and the cable ("in series") to measure amps. This will tell if you have current flow, which will eventually drain the battery. Then you can remove fuses, one at a time, to isolate the problem. Disconnect your clock when doing this, as the clock is designed to pull a little current. When the current draw drops to 0, then find out what that fuse serves, and start looking for problems.

In my case, I found that the radio was pulling .7A when the car was turned off. While most cars provide a battery lead for the radio's memory and a switched lead for power to the sound system, Alfa has one lead that is direct to the battery - you can turn on the radio when the car is turned off.

I routed the main power lead (red wire on the radio) to a switched lead at the fuse box. So now, when the key is turned off, the radio turns off, but the yellow wire is still connected to provide 12V to the memory.

The new setup only pulls about .09A. This should prevent loss when parked for long periods - I'll find out during this winter's project...

BTW, the charger or removing ground will work, too.
 

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The interior rocking lights and the glove box light are classic battery drains for the Alfa Spider. I also found (like Geo4 did) that the radio is powered by a hot lead. I turned the sound all the down on my radio once and forgot that it was on, leading to an overnight battery drain (several, actually, before I figured it out!).

I read some excellent articles on lead-acid batteries that were linked on one of these discussions. One of the important things that I learned was that these batteries function better and last longer when they are constantly and consistently charged. If a car is driven every day and the electrical system is well-maintained (i.e.: no battery-draining shorts), the charging happens. Otherwise, the battery will benefit from being kept in a full state of charge, like lowmileage suggested.

Here, check out this website: Battery FAQ
 
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