Weird electrical parasitic draw on 2018 GT Premium PP1

Discussion in 'Issues, Repairs, Warranty, TSB, Recalls' started by What_is_slow, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. What_is_slow

    What_is_slow Member

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    Purchased my 2018 GT Premium PP1 new October 18th 2018, and three days after having it, the battery died. Contacted the dealer and they said the car was on the lot for 7-9 months so it might have been low, and they offered to charge it, and test the battery, charging system, and check for unusual current draw. They charged the battery, ran tests, and they said everything came back normal. Then it had to go to the paint shop for some extremely minor scuffs on the front bumper that the dealership insisted they have corrected to provide me with a flawless new car. Let my car there, and then the next day, the body shop called the dealer stating the battery was dead. The paint shop had it for roughly a month (a whole other story) and had to constantly keep jumping the battery. In the middle of that month of paint repair, the dealer had replaced the "charging system", which I am assuming is just the alternator. The battery has still been dying on occasion, so I sent it back to the dealer, which said they could not see anything wrong. So I took the car back, drove it, went to start it the next morning, dead battery. I jumped it and drove it to the dealer and requested a new battery that they put in without any question. That was on 1/8/19.

    For those who dont have stargard in their car, you can monitor the voltage while driving, and it will occasionally record a "Heartbeat" which shows the voltage. When when driving the car, the voltage is anywhere between 14.65 and 14.77. When it is parked, it has gone as low as 11.7 volts. This is with a new battery, and I hope its not a lemon battery. The car has been starting fine with the low voltage, but it seems to be getting significantly lower every day, even with the new battery. At this point (1/12/18), I have not had to jump the car. Does anyone know what the lowest voltage the battery will be to turn the engine over? I have read that ford has a "smart charging system", and maybe with the new battery, the lower voltage is "normal", but I have no idea since I have not had the car functioning properly long enough to know. The only mods that I have on the car were put on after the dead battery issue. Roush intake, MBRP Cat back, throttle spacer, and wheel spacers. The only thing that would have any affect on the electrical system is the intake, which should not need power when the car is off. I also disabled the wifi, in case that was causing the issue.

    -Car has not died while driving
    -Car has had dead battery many times (8 hours after a 2 1/2 hour drive)
    -Car has new "charging system" (unsure why they replaced this before the battery)
    -Car has new battery
    -Car has no electrical modifications
    -Car has is driven daily

    A friend of mine who is an electrical engineer says that the fact that the battery voltage drops from 12.6 to 12.07 volts in a matter of 4 hours says that there is something that is causing a draw. With all of the electronics that are in these cars, it could be anything. If the battery ends up dying again, I will be forced to bring it back to the dealer. Has anyone encountered similar problems with their cars? Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. Dr. Norts

    Dr. Norts Well-Known Member

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    #2 Dr. Norts, Jan 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
    Your alternalter output voltage with the car running shows that your battery is really low after starting.

    11.7 is really low, either you have a bad cell within the battery or all the cells are really low. Either way your plates are most likely sulfated and a charger with a battery repair feature would be a good thing to do once you figure out what the drain is.

    After the repair cycle the battery may lose some water just pop those top caps off and get some de-ionized water and fill each cell up to the bottom of the fill tube. After adding water, put the charger back on it on AGM/cold mode if your charger has it. This floats the battery at a higher voltage and will help to equalize the cells after adding water to them.

    A regular ford battery will have a resting voltage around 12.6 - 12.7 volts (I've seesn some 12.4-12.6v completely healthy) @ 20 degrees celcius.

    There are correction factors as you get colder / warmer. Your battery however is in the failure range and is doing damage to it, sulfating the plates if it's sitting for extended periods of time at that voltage. Anything below 12.4 volts for extended periods will cause plate sulfation and compounds as the voltage gets lower.

    Regardless you have something causing a parasitic drain 100%

    So now how to find that little energy sucking bastard.

    1. You'll need a multimeter

    2. Disconnect your postive battery cable and place your multimeter set to read DC mA (DC milliamps)

    3. Connect the negative lead of your multimeter to the postive battery cable that is now disconnected

    4. Connect the positive lead of your multimeter to the positive post of the battery

    ***When your meter is connected to the battery (or in series with the battery to the positive battery cable, make sure you don't touch the end of your lead or the battery cable to anything that's grounded. You'll create a direct short across the battery and if you thought your electrical issue was bad now... Use a piece of rubber to create a safe insulated work area***

    5. You'll see the current draw in mA or even Amps if it's that bad on the display of your meter

    6. Pull fuses one by one until you see the current draw drop substantially and when you do you've found the circuit causing your parasitic drain.

    7. If the parasitic drain only drops by half, keep pulling fuses as it's very possible to have more than one parasitic drain / sneak circuit. A bad ground can cause tons of fucky things to go on, same as a wire with some broken insulation. Both can be the cause of it and will manifest in the same way. Parasitic drain.

    Don't start the car or turn ignition on unless the lights and HVAC and stereo are all off. Your multimeter will be fused for AMPS with a 10 amp internal fuse. You'll blow the fuse. If you started it I wouldn't even want to know what your meter looks like after taking a few hundred amps lol. Just don't start it with it hooked up in this configuration.

    Ford is dumb and should have done this troublershooting first and foremost before throwing parts at it. Thing is electrical trouble shooting is an art and for a dealer it's much easier to throw parts at it and pray lol. I'll try my best to get you fixed up though.

    If you have any questions about the process or have any doubts PM me and I can walk you through it. Sounds scary but is actually pretty easy. It's really as easy as the 7 steps above.

    The dealer probably won't be much help and you would probably do a better job yourself sadly.
     
  3. abbeynormal

    abbeynormal Well-Known Member

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  4. Dr. Norts

    Dr. Norts Well-Known Member

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    Op.. how are you measuring your battery voltage? Are you using a multimeter are you just using the gauge display on the dash?

    for some reason that gauge display on the dash when the car isn't started always reads low around 11.7 to 12 volts

    Put a multimeter set to DC volts across your positive and negative terminal of your battery and let me know what it says.
     
  5. ugstang17

    ugstang17 Well-Known Member

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    You mentioned Stargard. Is this a dealer added antitheft device? Then that would make it an aftermarket add on. If you choose to look for the current scavenger I would start first by disabling this if/when you see you have a parasitic current loss at all.
     
  6. GT Pony

    GT Pony Well-Known Member

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    The voltage fluctuations are because of the smart electrical system. The voltage goes high when the battery calls for charging, and the voltage will start to decrease as the battery becomes fully charged. Seeing around 12 volts at idle just means the battery is fully charged.

    I've monitored my on-dash voltmeter alot while driving around, and have noted this behavior after installing a new battery. When my factory battery was going bad, the voltage was always above 14 volts on the dash no matter how far I drov , which actually mean the battery is going bad. A health battery will cause the voltage to decrease as the battery takes a charge while driving for awhile.

    Only thing you need to verify for sure is what the parasitic draw level is when all computers have gone into "sleep mode". It should typically be around 20 milliamps or less .
     
  7. OP
    OP
    What_is_slow

    What_is_slow Member

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    Thanks for the info. I did see this information on another thread and I was going to try it but then roughly 45 minutes after posting the original post, the car had a dead battery. The dealer is currently in possession of the car once again and has brought up the lemon laws and how this will fall under it if they cannot find where the draw is coming from. I will post an update when I get more information from the dealer. Thanks again for taking the time to explain everything. I do not know much about electrical.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    What_is_slow

    What_is_slow Member

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    I was going off of what the stargard was telling me on my phone. It seems to be more accurate than the Ford Sync app. I understand it can and will fluctuate but sometimes in 12 hours it will drop .03 volts, and other times it will drop 4.0+ volts in under 4 hours. This occurs in identical conditions. I live in San Diego so it does not get cold enough for the temperature to be a problem.
     
  9. OP
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    What_is_slow

    What_is_slow Member

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    Currently the dealer has the car so I cant check what it reads. I was going off of the stargard app which seemed to be fairly accurate. I will update the post when the dealer informs me of what the issue is.
     
  10. OP
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    What_is_slow

    What_is_slow Member

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    Yes, it is an anti-theft. The dealer has the car so I am waiting to hear what they say. The dealer said that they are going to contact stargard if they see that the draw is coming from that system. This was something that ford offered me for free when I bought the car new. Apparently this specific dealer has put them "on hundreds of vehicles in the last year, and have had no electrical issues with the system", however, I too am skeptical. I will update the post when I hear back from the dealer with their findings.
     
  11. OP
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    What_is_slow

    What_is_slow Member

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    That was my gut instinct as well, however, the car is currently on its second battery (original and new ford replacement). I have had battery issues in the past that mimic these, that turn out to be the battery but this one even has the dealer stumped at the moment. The battery was replaced last Tuesday, and was dead by Saturday morning, driven daily, and garaged. The dealer is working on the car now so hopefully I will get a definitive answer ok the issue. Thanks for the info. I will update the post once I hear back if/when the dealer has found the cause.
     
  12. ugstang17

    ugstang17 Well-Known Member

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    ^^^ Just remember that it only takes one bad one to cause you the problem. That said, this doesn't make the whole product a POS. It makes those building the product human just like you, me, the techs at the dealer, and everywhere else. You can't eliminate human error you can only try to minimize it. That's what warranty is for. If we wer ecapable of perfection everything would come without a warranty.

    I understand having a theft system on a car after living in SD for 7 years. I just always avoided owning the 10 most stolen models...and couldn't afford a Mustang GT even if I wanted one when I lived there. Only had one break in on my cars and that was my own stupid fault (long story). Sure miss LaJolla, 98.1KIFM jazz, Carne Asda Burritos, great sea food, and warm sun on my face in the winter.
     
  13. OP
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    What_is_slow

    What_is_slow Member

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    Of course. I am a mechanic myself and completely understand that human error is a factor. I do not at all think that Ford is producing a bad product. I’m really excited to get the car back, hopefully fixed. I just hope that on this 4th round of having it at the dealer, I can have a solution. I’m not hoping for a lemon law, I just want my car back working properly. I bought it 3 months ago almost and between the dealer and paint shop, I’ve had my car only half of that time. Since there is no one else that has had this problem that I can find, I believe it is some small issue causing the draw and will get fixed. I have faith that the ford techs will be able to find out what the issue is. I will update the thread when I hear back from the service manager.
     
  14. ugstang17

    ugstang17 Well-Known Member

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    I was referring to your stargard device with regard to product. I find plenty of tech bashing on this site by people who don't have a first clue to what is involved in problem solving complex equipment. They act as if everything should be as simple as performing an update and cycling power. I've been troubleshooting for decades. Doesn't make me perfect it only makes me more experienced than some and still less experienced than others while still remaining human. Stay cold. LOL!
     
  15. GT Pony

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    It's pretty easy to check for parasitic current draw. If they find excessive draw, then disconnecting any aftermarket electrical devices is the first thing to do to confirm the source of the draw. Anyway, good luck ... hope it's a simple find and fix.
     
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  16. steveo1960

    steveo1960 Well-Known Member

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    Rule #1 is no aftermarket anti-theft devices. Even if installed by the dealer. If someone wants your car bad enough they will flatbed it. As for the key cloners and so forth, a simple switch that cuts the fuel pump will suffice. Hide it well. Something like a hidden GPS might be useful. Even still, like I said, if there is something special about your car, it's gone already and no $50.00 alarm is going to help you.
    How many times do you hear an alarm going off?
    Do you ever pay attention?
    Nobody does. The crooks know this.
    IMHO the downside, like current draw, not being able to get into your own car, poor installs causing problems etc are just not worth it.
     
  17. Dr. Norts

    Dr. Norts Well-Known Member

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    Vampire taps are an electrical Gremlins best friend.

    I guarantee when they installed that system they used a handful of them. It's quick and easier than splicing and soldering but IMHO they are garbage and create more problems than they save time.
     
  18. OP
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    What_is_slow

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    Not trying to support the people bashing the anti-theft devices but my dealer called today and said that the Stargard module was the problem. There is a loose connection inside the box causing the intermittent draw. Thanks for the input everyone.
     
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  19. OP
    OP
    What_is_slow

    What_is_slow Member

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    The Ford app informs me when my alarm goes off and I keep my car garages at home and work.
     
  20. Cobra Jet

    Cobra Jet Well-Known Member

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    So I had to be curious to see exactly what Stargard is... and for others wondering the same, here:
    https://stargardgps.com/

    Seems the system is similar to the LoJack design (tracker in the event of being stolen).

    Those systems in some States offer the vehicle owner up to a max 25% annual discount on the theft provision of your insurance policy. I had LoJack before and in NJ, the max discount is 25%, which is a fairly good savings if you own the vehicle for quite some time. So if you were not aware of that aspect, let your insurance company know about it and see if you get a discount.
     
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