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Parasitic electrical drain

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  • Electrical: Parasitic electrical drain

    My battery goes flat if I leave it connected. I've checked for current through lamps, fuses, etc., but haven't been able to pinpoint the cause of the drain. So, I now disconnect the battery every time I put the car away.

    I'm now wondering if my heat indicator (water temperature sender) could be the culprit. Any thoughts on this? (BTW, coolant is smoking off the top rear of the driver's side valve cover; so I'm hoping that replacing the heat indicator might cure both problems.)

  • #2
    The temp sender would not have any current going to it when the ignition switch is in the off position, so unlikely that it is your problem. I would look for a glove box light, under hood light or trunk light staying on first, if your car is equipped with any of those.
    Frank van Doorn
    Omaha, Ne.
    1962 GT Hawk 289 4 speed
    1941 Champion streetrod, R-2 Powered, GM 200-4R trans.
    1952 V-8 232 Commander State "Starliner" hardtop OD

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    • #3
      For my 1961 Hawk it was a failing brake switch. The switch was still working, but when they were off there was still slight current going through the brake lights. Eventually the brake switch failed completely, I replaced it and no more battery problems.
      sigpic
      1961 Flamingo Studebaker Hawk

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      • #4
        I've had the brake light switch problem as well.
        Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

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        • #5
          I had the same problem with my 63 Avanti a couple of years ago. Actually, it went on for 3 or 4 years before I discovered the cause of the problem. I was able to isolate a very slight trickle drain that went away when the fuse for that circuit was removed. It was so slight it was barely measureable. For me it was the interior light switch on the door post--the button that when pushed in turns off the light that comes on when the door opens. After examining nearly everything else in that circuit, decided I should remove those switches and disassemble them. One of them was so corroded that the corrosion bridged the gap that was supposed to create an open circuit when the door was closed. This allowed for a very slight drain--not enough to light the courtesy light bulbs, but enough of a drain to draw the battery way down after about 10 days. After cleaning both switches, no more problem.
          Stan Gundry
          www.AvantiPublishing.com

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          • #6
            If you have installed an aftermarket radio, most of them have an "always on" connection to keep the push button settings alive. They will drain the battery if the car is not driven every few days.
            RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

            17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
            10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
            10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
            4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
            5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
            56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
            60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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            • #7
              "For me it was the interior light switch on the door post--the button that when pushed in turns off the light that comes on when the door opens." I had the same problem in my '57 Champion. Removed the dome light and problem cleared up. I know, no dome light! Car is rarely driven.
              1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.

              "Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think." -Albert Einstein

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              • #8
                I had a similar problem in December and found that my brakes lights were very slightly lit. So I replaced i the brake light switch. I thought I had solved the problem. I hadn't looked at the interior light or glove box light. I'll check them out.

                Thanks.

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                • #9
                  Where is the brake light switch?

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                  • #10
                    Electric winding clock?? Had to put an off/on switch on mine.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by E. Davis View Post
                      Electric winding clock?? Had to put an off/on switch on mine.

                      Good Idea.


                      Allen
                      1964 GT Hawk
                      PSMCDR 2014
                      Best time: 14.473 sec. 96.57 MPH quarter mile
                      PSMCDR 2013
                      Best time: 14.654 sec. 94.53 MPH quarter

                      Victoria, Canada

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GinettaG12P View Post
                        Where is the brake light switch?
                        Need to know year and model to answer specifically. It's tapped into the hydraulic brake system somewhere, either in the master cylinder itself or into a T built into the brake lines. It probably has two red wires connected to it.
                        Skip Lackie

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                        • #13
                          1959 Silver Hawk. It is not at the master cylinder.

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                          • #14
                            battery

                            Originally posted by 64GTHawk View Post
                            My battery goes flat if I leave it connected. I've checked for current through lamps, fuses, etc., but haven't been able to pinpoint the cause of the drain. So, I now disconnect the battery every time I put the car away.

                            I'm now wondering if my heat indicator (water temperature sender) could be the culprit. Any thoughts on this? (BTW, coolant is smoking off the top rear of the driver's side valve cover; so I'm hoping that replacing the heat indicator might cure both problems.)
                            Do a night time walkaround for any teltale lights on. I had a starter that dusted up inside and went to ground also check the horn relay I had both of the conditions that killed the battery.

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                            • #15
                              I put a water proof disconnect in the left side fender well. Used Ancor wire and fittings from West Marine. Also an on-board trickle charger with a fully "Off" state when charged. Just like a block heater in Alaska with a pig tail plug under the front bumper.
                              Studebaker1962

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