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Parasites or something else

This is a 2000 Dodge Caravan with 100+ KM. The 2 yr old battery went dead this Feb, since then we have put 3 new batteries in. Charging system tested fine on my test. Checked for parasitic draw and it was 50MA. Eventually took it to a recommended shop. They tested the alternator and thought that it is bad, now the bearing was making noise and also it had a buzz to it sitting in the car. They did not detect any other draw. Now one day later and same thing.



Every morning, the first few starts you get the click and lights dim, then it catches. Only in very cold weather had to jump it, so never completely drained, but then I have been on top of it.



I have disconnected the glove box light, and every other light is out. The starter seems to be fine during the day. The posts have been cleaned.



Any thoughts on how to approach?

How did you test the charging system?

You say the alternator is OK, but the shop says it’s not. What test did you use? What test did they use?

Someone needs to determine, for sure, whether or not the charging system is working. Take it to a parts store and let them test it. This is usually free.

You could pull a different fuse each night and see if one of them is related to the problem.

Charging system before alternator change would put out 13.5-14 volts. This on the automated machines that the shops use would register as good. The alternator bearing was making noise and the buzzing issue was there, so when the shop decided that the diodes are gone, I did not argue much and agreed to the repair. Now it is charging at 14 volts, no bearing noise and no buzz.

On top of that, the car is fine as long as it does not sit for overnight. So while driving no battery lights come on and no trouble restarting the car.

Pulling fuses; sure, but the 50 MA is apparently within specs. Pulling any major fuse will reduce that load and might help starting in the morning, but I am not sure if that would mean that the circuit is bad. It is almost like disconnecting the battery altogether at night.

I don’t know if you have one on a 2000 but my 2002 had an unexplainable dead battery until I was taking out trash about 5 hours after the car was parked and heard the radiator fan start up. It turned out to be a bad fan control module and they were backordered at every local parts store. Got one from Rock Auto and no more problem. Mine was hidden behind the plastic bumper cover just on the drivers side of the grille.

For the next few nights, remove the negative battery cable when you park it. See if THAT solves the problem…If the battery is dead in the morning, then it was dead when you parked it…