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Hi guys. New to this forum here. I have a 2001 impala 3.4 and the battery keeps dying on me. I bought a brand new battery, alternator, and starter for it. I checked the ground that is on the transmission and it looks good. Every time I start it up it’ll drive for about 30 minutes tops and then it dies. First all the electronics then the car itself. The car then charges back up and I can turn it back on after a little bit of time. Battery light is on on my dashboard if that helps any. This is my only car and I can not afford to buy a new one. Anybody know why my car keeps dying?
 

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Sounds like a parasitic draw on the battery.
Do you have a multimeter to check voltage?
 

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No I don’t, but if I get one how do I use it? Or should I just take it to a mechanic have and them do it?


The more work you can do/learn to do on your own will save you a lot of money. YouTube is your friend here. Look up “How to find a parasitic draw on car battery” and multiple results will show up.
Least expensive will be a harbor freight multimeter. If you have a coupon you can get it free with the purchase of something else.
Easiest to test with two people: put the probes on the battery terminals. While someone watches the battery voltage, the other person pulls the fuses and reinstalls them one by one on either side of the front doors. If there is a voltage increase when the fuse is pulled, that is a draw on the battery. Of course if the interior lights are on and that fuse is pulled, it will show a draw so keep that in mind.
The instrument panels/cluster sometimes has a parasitic draw on the battery when off. I don’t know of any other common problems in this area.
 

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Also have you installed the alternator?
 

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Get a cheap volt meter and check engine running battery voltage, it should be around 14 volts. Or Advance Auto will walk to parking lot and test your battery/charging system free. Sounds like you battery isn't charging.
 

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Get a cheap volt meter and check engine running battery voltage, it should be around 14 volts. Or Advance Auto will walk to parking lot and test your battery/charging system free. Sounds like you battery isn't charging.
What confuses me is that when it dies I can go outside about an hour later and start it so it’s charging somehow.
 

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What confuses me is that when it dies I can go outside about an hour later and start it so it’s charging somehow.
A battery will rebound a little bit but it won't last long. Check your engine running voltage. A cheap volt meter is about $10.
 

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Is it possible you got a bad alternator out of the box? As others have said, get it checked out to see if you have out put voltage. I would suspect the answer to be no. Given that battery light and runs out of juice when driving around.

Pat
 

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Is it possible you got a bad alternator out of the box? As others have said, get it checked out to see if you have out put voltage. I would suspect the answer to be no. Given that battery light and runs out of juice when driving around. Pat

I agree, it sounds like a bad alternator, since it dies while driving. It seems like the alternator is not recharging your new battery. A bad alternator can kill a good battery.
 

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I disagree with most here. I do not think this is the alternator. If the alternator was not working, and the battery got drained enough that it died while driving, it makes no sense that the battery somehow recharges itself magically while the car is off, enough that it can be started again. I guess some more information is required about what you mean when you say "The car then charges back up and I can turn it back on after a little bit of time." Are you charging it with a battery charger? Or does the battery just seem to have a charge on its own.

Have you checked that your battery terminals are tight and clean? Sounds like you have a bad connection somewhere. When things got hot, they expand and lose connection. When the engine compartment cools down, they are tight enough that you have connection again. I see you checked one ground on the tranny, but you should check the others. There is usually a main one that goes to the chassis somewhere. Take the bolt off and clean the terminals...looking for corrosion.
 

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I disagree with most here. I do not think this is the alternator. If the alternator was not working, and the battery got drained enough that it died while driving, it makes no sense that the battery somehow recharges itself magically while the car is off, enough that it can be started again. I guess some more information is required about what you mean when you say "The car then charges back up and I can turn it back on after a little bit of time." Are you charging it with a battery charger? Or does the battery just seem to have a charge on its own.

Have you checked that your battery terminals are tight and clean? Sounds like you have a bad connection somewhere. When things got hot, they expand and lose connection. When the engine compartment cools down, they are tight enough that you have connection again. I see you checked one ground on the tranny, but you should check the others. There is usually a main one that goes to the chassis somewhere. Take the bolt off and clean the terminals...looking for corrosion.
No I didn’t charge it. It just charges itself. I’ll go out tomorrow and check for more grounds. The wire that plugs into the alternator was bare and I think that’s what killed my charging system the first time, so my grandfather cut the wire and put it back together and put rubber on it. Could it be that wire? Maybe I just need to replace it? I don’t know what to do.
 

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Maybe send some pics so we can see what you are describing.
 

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No I didn’t charge it. It just charges itself. I’ll go out tomorrow and check for more grounds. The wire that plugs into the alternator was bare and I think that’s what killed my charging system the first time, so my grandfather cut the wire and put it back together and put rubber on it. Could it be that wire? Maybe I just need to replace it? I don’t know what to do.
Ah more to the story! VOM and check the voltage with the key on. One wire should be excitation voltage which is lower than battery and the other is voltage sensing. No voltage should show until unit is plugged in and the alternator is charging on the sensing wire.

Pat
 

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Hot engine slow crank..when the engine is cold it crank up fine..If I drive it to go get gas it cranks really slow.
 

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Hot engine slow crank..when the engine is cold it crank up fine..If I drive it to go get gas it cranks really slow.
Then it appears the slow cranking is not due to a low battery (caused by parasitic draw). So I'd say the starter is going bad.

What engine is in your Impala?

Back in the day, slow cranking was common on high compression big blocks. After shutting them off, the motors would heat soak and be very difficult to re-start until they cooled off. But I'm not aware of any such issues with the motors in recent vintage Impalas.

Doug

[Edit]One other thought: Inspect the wiring going to the starter and be sure all the connections are clean and free of corrosion. It might be that you have a corroded connection that works OK when it's cool, but has high resistance when it heats up. That's only a theory :) But before you buy a new starter, you might check the wiring first.
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