1999 Toyota Corolla with electrical drain?

If I don’t drive my car for longer than about 18 hours, it doesn’t start. this has been going on about 2 months. It starts normally otherwise. The battery was recently replaced (twice, about a week apart, I was told that when they plugged the computer in, it told them the first battery was faulty, but the problem just occurred again with the new battery. I was also told that they tested the drain on the battery and that it was insignificant.) but the problem continues. Depending on how long I don’t drive it, there’s less charge in the battery. For example, at about 18 hours the lights/radio will turn on and the car will click like it’s trying to start. But today, after 48 hours w/o driving, there was only the smallest amount of light turning on in the dash and overhead and no clicking. About 2 months before this problem started I got a remote car starter, but was told by different mechanics that this was unlikely related. In the process of getting the remote starter, the daytime running lights were deactivated (on purpose). There was also an issue with the running lights NOT shutting off after the car was shut off (after getting the remote starter) but this issue was resolved (but now the auto door locks don’t work). It was determined that there was possibly a faulty circuit board ( I have the part number, but not in front of me right now. I can get it if it seems relevant) Not sure if this is related, as it still doesn’t explain how the car is getting drained w/o there being a significant detectable drain, but there you go. The car starts right up after being jumped and then runs normally, and restarts normally, as long as I don’t let it sit too long.

You need someone with a meter and the knowledge to use it to spend a little hands on time with your car. They should be able to track down the problem.

It seems that the battery isn’t being charged at engine speeds above idle rpm. The alternator’s job is to charge the battery. If the alternator’s charge voltage (and current) is checked with the engine at idle, it may show charging; but, raise the engine rpm (say, driving rpm), and the voltage (and current) will be too low to charge the battery (less than 13 1/2 volts).
Have the alternator checked out at idle and checked at higher rpms. It’s easy to do with a voltmeter. Current output can be checked with an ammeter (or, charge gauge).

Thanks! I will mention these ideas to my mechanic.

I’m going to assume whoever installed the batteries tested the charging system. If that’s not true, it needs to be done.

I think the problems began with the installation of an aftermarket remote starter, which required the deactivation of the DRLs (why?). The running light problem and the door lock problem all came after (or as a result of) the remote starter installation.

SOMETHING is draining the battery (assuming the charging system is OK), and your mechanic is going to have to test each circuit until he or she finds the problem. This may be time-consuming and expensive, and could have been avoided. The electrical system on this car has been modified (messed with) too much, and it all seems to revolve around the remote starter installation.

Just out of curiosity, who did the installation, and does the remote starter work?

The person who sold me the starter installed it and it works fine. He has been very helpful throughout this whole process and hasn’t charged me anything for the hours of work he put into it since. The DRLs were shut down b/c they wouldn’t shut off after the car was shut down after the starter was installed. So first, we cut the wire to the DRLs. however, if i turned the headlights on, the running lights still wouldn’t shut off after the car was shut off UNLESS you pressed on the horn or flashed the high beams or something that put a drain on the electrical system. After they checked all the circuit relays they eventually found that after uninstalling the part mentioned above (relay integration 82641-AB030) the running light issue resolved, but then my door locks stopped working. We reasoned that when they installed the starter the first time, and unplugged the battery, they rebooted this circuit, which didn’t reboot correctly. So it wouldn’t shut down the running lights unless you drained it ( by flashing the high beams, etc). when they removed the part and reinstalled it, it effectively rebooted it again, this time with a different outcome (no door locks, but running lights shut off fine)…or, at least, that was the theory.

How about leaving a multimeter with a recording feature set up to monitor amp draw over a 24 period, my Fluke 87 will do this but I must look at how to set it up for a specific time period. Perhaps something is waking up at a incorrect time.

Perhaps my question is not relevant due to info provided in this thread but it is hard to pull out.

Did you ever get this resolved or at least acurately diagnosed? I am having similar problems with a 99 Lexus (and had a remote starter as well) and would love to be able to direct my mechanic appropriately.

well, i unplugged the remote starter, which lengthened the amount of time before the battery dies, but it still happens. I brought it to the garage and they checked the alternator and (regular) starter which were both fine. I’m bringing it back to the remote installer to get the whole thing taken out. The next thing is that maybe I will buy an amp meter and start checking circuits, otherwise I might have to pay some what alot in labor to do it.

Purchase a digital meter that will be able to handle up to a 10 amp current load. You can get one for under 50 dollars and it will be some of the best money you will ever spend. When you get the meter let us know and we can help you pin down the trouble. Normal current draw for most cars while it is parked and things have gone into the sleep mode is around 25-35 milliamps, some vehicles may be more but it shouldn’t go above 80 milliamps.

These instructions can help you find the drain: http://www.aa1car.com/library/battery_runs_down.htm

I paid about $330.00 for my fluke 87 and I don’t really use it. My workhorse meter is a no-name 19.00 meter.

thanks for the advice! will let you know how it all works out!

So, the drain (0.5 amps) was found at the fuse that leads to the auto door locks and the relay integrator (which is for the door locks) mentioned way back in my first post. So, we pulled out the fuse and that seems to be that. The car started no problem after 24 hours of sitting today, so thats’ a good sign. I’m currently watching a replacement intergrator part being sold on ebay, awaiting a reply to get more info on it and trying to decide if I want auto door locks or not. thanks for all of the help!

Good work. Have you made sure the trouble is with that device by disconnecting it and then checking the current drain again?

[From a Toyota Tundra forum:]
Re: How do I replace the Integration Relay?
The Toyota shop manual shows the integration relay being located in the junction block just below the fuse panel at the lower left dash panel. I just went out to the garage and looked into the fuse panel and it look like the lower dash panel has to come off and the junction block assy unbolted to look at the backside of it. That’s all I can tell without tearing mine apart and the manual didn’t seem to have any more definition. If you’re extremely flexible you might be able to hunker under the dash just below the hood release and look upward or use a mirror. The junction box is white in color.

The integration relay is an integral part of the fuse box. It is not a separate relay like for the fog lights etc. The integration relay is actually a circuit board that has to be removed from inside the fuse box. In other words, the replacement part is actually a circuit board, not a relay. To add to the confusion, yes, there are actual relays soldered to the circuit board.

yeah, that is confusing. The folks who installed the remote starter offered to replace the part for me for free if I got the part, so I will probably have them do it, as they already figured it out when trying to dx the problem n the past. I might just live w/o autolocks.