Asked in Chrysler LeBaron
What could be the problem with a 1991 Chrysler LeBaron that will not hold a charge with a new battery and alternator installed?
Something is drawing the current out of your battery and this is called a short. A short is a closed circuit that should be open. The circuit should NOT be draining current but because it is, it is causing a constant drain on your battery. They are usually very hard to find and need to be done with a circuit tester, probing wires to try to find where the current is going. An example of a circuit would be when you step on your brake pedal, a switch at the top of your brake pedal makes contact with another contact and when they touch, the circuit is now complete and your brake lights come on. Let off the brake pedal and the connectors separate and the lights go out. Now.....imagine that the connectors at the top of the brake pedal do not separate when you leave off the brake pedal. The lights will stay on until you break that circuit. You have a circuit that is drawing current from yoru battery, and this can be caused by a wire, that the insulation has rubbed off and now it is touching something metal. Where the wire is touching is completing the circuit and it is drawing the current from the battery like if you left the dome light on. The hard part is, trying to locate that wire, or possibly a bad ground wire. I would definitely check to make sure that the new alternator IS putting otu the right amount of voltage. Even a brand new alternator can be bad, I have installed one personally. Have it tested to make sure it is putting out the voltage you need. If it does pass then you probably have a short. If the alternaotr is not putting out enough voltage, then you are using more of the battery then what the alternator is replacing and thus your battery is dieing even though your alternator is putting out some voltage, just not enough. make sure when they installed the alternator and battery make sure they got a good ground. If you can find a circuit tester or a multi meter and can learn how and where to probe, you may be lucky and find the source of your short. It takes patience and a plan so you eliminate one circuit after another. You just don't haphazardly just jump all over the car testing wires. You could and may be lucky and find it but odds are against that. What you are looking for would be like with the key off, and your circuit tester with one wire grounded, you would probe say a light under your hood. Now that light should only be on when you open the hood right? But what happens if it is staying on all the time? You will need to test the wires WITH the hood OPEN but you will want to recreate the circuitry so that it thinks the hood is closed. If you duplicate the condition where the hood is closed in the circuitry and then you probe the "hot" wire and it turns on the light, then you have found a circuit that is not supposed to be drawing current but is. Now why is it? A bad switch? A bad ground? Corrosion leads to a lot of short circuits. Condensation forms in some electrical connectors and leads to corrosion. Well.......it isn't easy diagnosing shorts but try the alternator first and hopefully that will be the culprit. If not........happy hunting.............and pray for patience. Added Comment: I also have a 1991 Lebaron and my car does the same thing as well. I added a remote battery disconnect (is $60 at Canadian tire) and I simply press the button and it saves the battery for me. It's the new tech way of disconnecting the battery cable from the battery when the car sits parked and I press the button again when I'm about to start it and it's saved me alot of time and hassle. Hope this helps.