Starting problems

Having problems with your Nissan truck? Search & post here!

Starting problems

Postby Rhino » Fri Jun 12, 2020 11:12 am

This is a bit of a long story so I apologize in advance.

I've been having some trouble starting my XTerra the last couple of weeks. Rather than giving you a detailed play by play, suffice it to say that initially I was able to get a boost to get the vehicle started and i was then able to drive around and perform multiple errands without difficulty. However, when I charged the battery with a charger for a couple of hours, the car started immediately but the battery was flat and unable to start the vehicle the next morning, strongly suggesting it was unable to hold a charge. I consulted a friend and he asked how dirty the battery was; I admitted it had a lot of dirt/crud on it; he suggested cleaning it with a solution of baking soda, which I did. I also found quite a bit of corrosion on the battery terminals and cleaned that up too. Then I charged it for a couple of hours. The next morning - and every time I tried it for a few weeks - the car started fine. I didn't actually have anywhere to go though given the lockdown so I basically just turned the car on, let it run a few seconds and turned it off, aside from one trip to Princess Auto and Canadian Tire to price batteries.

A few days ago, I had to make another drug store run. I hadn't even tried to start the car in a week or so. I tried boosting it, which had worked before but this time, no dice. This time, the car wouldn't start. I got a bunch of clicking but nothing more. Tried it a second time; more clicking but no starting. Tried one more time, got a single click and no starting. I connected a battery charger to see what it said about my voltage levels; it said the battery was fully-charged.

I began to wonder if my alternator, solenoid or starter motor was fried. I found some diagnostic procedures for starting problems online and the first step said to make sure the key was off and measure the voltage between my battery terminals with a voltmeter. I did that and got 0.0!

Does that make any sense? I was expecting to see SOME charge still in the battery but for the number to be somewhat below 12V. Could it really be completely and totally discharged? (In case you're wondering about a meter malfunction or that I had the probes in the wrong places, I found a new AA battery in the kitchen and measured it with the same meter and same DC Voltage range and got 1.6V, proving the meter and the operator were NOT the problem.) Apparently my battery really is completely flat, despite the battery charger meter saying it was fully charged. (It's a very old battery charger, probably 30 years old; maybe the meter isn't very reliable any more.)

If this makes sense so far and my battery really is completely flat, does that now explain why the car won't start even with booster cables? Have I conclusively proved that my battery really is toast? I wouldn't find that hard to believe since it was on the vehicle when I bought it in 2016 and may have been there for years before that. I simply don't know enough about how cars work to see if the symptoms I've had match up with my diagnosis.

Now, on to the second part of my question. I was going to go buy a replacement battery yesterday on the theory that if it didn't fix the problem, I could just take it back. But I had one HECK of a time finding one that would work. Apparently, I need a battery from Battery Group 24, which is a common size. But every battery I saw or could find online had the positive terminal on the right; my positive terminal is on the LEFT.

I thought I could possibly deal with that problem very simply: just rotate the battery 180 degrees so that the positive terminal was now on the left but when I asked a friend, he said that couldn't be done but I didn't quite understand WHY. I'm pretty sure the XTerra cables, especially the positive one, won't reach if the positive terminal is on the right. Has any XTerra owner actually made their positive connector reach to a right-hand positive terminal without having to replace the positive connector with a longer one? What exactly is the problem with just rotating the battery? Obviously, the writing would be upside down but I don't see that as a significant problem.

If I can't rotate the battery and have it work, can anyone suggest where I can find a Group 24 battery with the positive terminal on the left? I've done a lot of googling and came up empty. (Princess Auto had one a couple of weeks ago but they don't show that one in their list of batteries for my vehicle any more. Canadian Tires batteries all have the positive terminal on the right. Walmart doesn't offer any way to search for batteries based on year/make/model: they just show you 15,000 batteries and let you look at each one to see if it is the right one! TSC didn't have any batteries in stock that would go in my vehicle.)

I'd really appreciate some advice on these two points:
    is it definitely my battery that has the problem AND
    where can I find a group 24 battery with the positive terminal on the left (once it is installed and I am facing the battery from in front of the vehicle.)
Rhino
Lugnut
Lugnut
 
Posts: 69
Make/Model: XTerra
Year: 2007
Tim's: Hot Chocolate, eclair

Re: Starting problems

Postby Adam » Fri Jun 12, 2020 11:48 am

There is a group 24 and a 24R (reversed terminals). So that could be the issue there.

It should still start with booster cables though even if the battery is hosed. Have you tried disconnecting the battery and running it off of another car battery through the booster cables only? Don't take them off while the car is running but it would eliminate a short in the battery being the cause.

If the battery is over 5 years old I would just replace it anyway, at least it'll prevent you from being stranded next winter. They don't seem to last as long as they used to. All these short trips and long sitting periods don't help either. I keep a battery tender on my cars if I don't drive them often.
I have too many cars.
User avatar
Adam
Premium Member
Premium Member
 
Posts: 2700
Make/Model: Xterra SE SC
Year: 2002
Tim's: Medium Regular

Re: Starting problems

Postby Rhino » Fri Jun 12, 2020 11:58 am

Do you know which battery group has the positive terminal on the Left? In other words, do I want 24 or 24R? The battery at Princess Auto claimed to be a 24R but it had the positive on the right and they didn't have any 24s. I haven't been able to find anything that confirms that an R means that the positive is on the right.

I'm going to try what you suggest to see if the other vehicle and boost my car without my battery being in the circuit at all. I'll post back when I've tried it.
Rhino
Lugnut
Lugnut
 
Posts: 69
Make/Model: XTerra
Year: 2007
Tim's: Hot Chocolate, eclair

Re: Starting problems

Postby Rhino » Fri Jun 12, 2020 1:40 pm

I disconnected the connectors from my battery and connected the jumper cables from my battery connectors directly to my brother's jeep (with the XTerra battery out of the circuit) and the XTerra started. Out of curiousity, we tried it with the Jeep not running to see if that would be enough to start the XTerra and that didn't work but as soon as he started the jeep, I was able to start the XTerra. I have now conclusively proven that the battery IS the problem, right? If the starter motor, solenoid or alternator on the XTerra had been faulty, I still wouldn't have been able to start the XTerra so it MUST have been the battery all along. Perhaps there is a short in the battery but it doesn't much matter since it is probably something I can't fix anyway. Simply replacing the battery is probably my cheapest, fastest solution as I see it. (Correct me if I'm wrong!)

So, assuming I'm not jumping to conclusions, I think I've satisfied myself that the battery is the culprit and replacing it is the solution. Now I need to FIND a battery!

Was I informed correctly that you cannot rotate the battery 180 degrees to put the positive terminal on the left if it's actually on the right? If that is true, how do I find a battery that has the positive terminal on the left when the local stores don't seem to have such a thing?
Rhino
Lugnut
Lugnut
 
Posts: 69
Make/Model: XTerra
Year: 2007
Tim's: Hot Chocolate, eclair

Re: Starting problems

Postby Rhino » Fri Jun 12, 2020 5:18 pm

Just to finish my saga, I called my local Carquest and asked about battery orientation and he educated me on the whole orientation issue. It turns out that all the pictures I'd looked at - and the live batteries I'd seen in the stores - simply had the positive terminal on the right because that orientation made the terminals more visible because the terminals were closer to the leading edge of the battery. Rotating the battery 180 degrees was NOT a problem! I bought a battery from them, rotated it 180 and installed it that way; both connectors reached just fine. The XTerra started fine and the printing on the battery wasn't even upside down. I've got a self-starting vehicle again!

Bottom line: any of the Group 24 batteries I had seen would have been just fine!
Rhino
Lugnut
Lugnut
 
Posts: 69
Make/Model: XTerra
Year: 2007
Tim's: Hot Chocolate, eclair

Re: Starting problems

Postby Adam » Fri Jun 12, 2020 8:05 pm

Sounds to me like the battery was truly done. I have never had that happen but I have had a bad alternator drain a good battery while the car was not running, had fun finding that one!

Glad you got it running again. If you are going to leave it parked for long periods of time I would suggest getting one of those deltran battery tender things. I leave the "junior" version hooked up to my pathfinder all the time, as it only gets driven occasionally and not at all in the winter.
I have too many cars.
User avatar
Adam
Premium Member
Premium Member
 
Posts: 2700
Make/Model: Xterra SE SC
Year: 2002
Tim's: Medium Regular

Re: Starting problems

Postby Rhino » Fri Jun 12, 2020 8:20 pm

I've never heard of a battery tender before but Google brought me this hit (among others): https://www.homedepot.ca/product/batter ... 1000846237

The description isn't very clear though. Do I have to have it plugged into the house hydro 24/7 and unplug it every time I go somewhere like a block heater? That doesn't sound particularly convenient and I would think the hydro usage would add up over time.
Rhino
Lugnut
Lugnut
 
Posts: 69
Make/Model: XTerra
Year: 2007
Tim's: Hot Chocolate, eclair

Re: Starting problems

Postby Adam » Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:13 pm

That's the one I have. Yes you do have to unplug it every time you drive, but the vehicle I have it hooked up to only gets driven a couple times per month, and not even every month. So it isn't a big hassle at all. If you drive at least once a week I wouldn't worry about putting one on.

My battery has dual terminals so I just used the ring terminals that came with it, and it stays under the hood next to the battery. So you're just unplugging the extension cord.

I haven't noticed an uptick in hydro usage, it can't draw that much as it is not always charging. But all of the classic car guys use these, it was recommended to me years ago by someone in my dad's vette club.
I have too many cars.
User avatar
Adam
Premium Member
Premium Member
 
Posts: 2700
Make/Model: Xterra SE SC
Year: 2002
Tim's: Medium Regular

Re: Starting problems

Postby Rhino » Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:35 pm

Thanks for clearing that information, Adam.

I just don't know how much I'm going to be driving the vehicle in the coming months. If things go one way, I'll be using it almost every day. If things go another way, it might only be a couple of times a month. It's anyone's guess at this point. I'll certainly keep it in mind though.

Thanks for the suggestion. I truly wasn't aware of any such device until you mentioned it. At least I know about it now!
Rhino
Lugnut
Lugnut
 
Posts: 69
Make/Model: XTerra
Year: 2007
Tim's: Hot Chocolate, eclair

Re: Starting problems

Postby Bow_Tied » Sun Jun 14, 2020 10:11 pm

Ya sounds like your battery had a dead short inside or close to it.

I use this over the winter on my classic cars, bike, lawn tractor, and travel trailer batteries: https://www.princessauto.com/en/detail/ ... -p8729188e It often goes on sale for half price. As noted, have to disconnect all the time so not convenient. I suspect if you drive the vehicle 30 minutes a week it'll be a non issue now. If the new battery goes dead I'd be checking for shorts and/or the alternator.
#MoreRon

"Most of the members are people, but there are a few exceptions." - Miner
User avatar
Bow_Tied
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6004
Make/Model: Xterra P4X ZR2 Bison
Year: '15/20
Tim's: Medium DD

Re: Starting problems

Postby Rhino » Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:17 am

Thanks for that suggestion! It seems to offer the same functionality for considerably less than the one Adam has. Is the current $14.99 the sale price or the regular price? Either way, it is priced so low it would practically be irresponsible NOT to buy it :-)
Rhino
Lugnut
Lugnut
 
Posts: 69
Make/Model: XTerra
Year: 2007
Tim's: Hot Chocolate, eclair


Return to Problems & Fixes

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 17 guests

cron