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Old 17th September 2007, 12:35   #1
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Default help. Zen fails to start

hi, I am a new car user. so I will try to put my question in the best possible way.

I use a Zen which is around 9 yrs old. Living in Pune, with cluttered roads and being quite used to commuting on my bike, I rarely get a chance to drive the car. Usually it is on the weekends. Also interms of fuel expenses this suits me. So my car is parked for prolonged periods.. say 5-6 days at strech. But whenever I get a chance, I start the ignition and let the engine idle for a while.

yesterday (after about 2 weeks of rest) when I tried to start the car, I found that is started well in the first instance. I let it idle for 30sec or so. Then I turned off the key. Then when I tried to start the car, it would not start. Also When I turn ON the key, there is a gradual decrease in the frequency of sound from something revolving(that of crank???)

I got the battery charged just about a 4 weeks ago. So I dont think it is the battery. The make of the battery is Sonic (is it good or bad??)

Looks like I might have to jump start the car.

I would like to know if something else can be done. I want to get my hands dirty so that I can learn. Also if there can be any precaution taken so that this incident doesnt repeat. Thanks
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Old 17th September 2007, 15:14   #2
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Rockrider, I think you should check the fuel pump, also it is advisable to drive the car for alteast 20-30 in a week, if possible at a streach for things to remain good, the more the car runs the fitter it remains.
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Old 17th September 2007, 16:15   #3
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The gradual decrease in the cranking points to only the battery. Like #MusicManaman points out, driving the car is better than resting it.
You will start developing other sort of problems like
Dried up machine parts (due to insufficient lubrication as oil does not move around)
Dried up oil (dust and grime and settled oil making it useless for lubrication)
Gooey fuel (our fuel is not the purest and you will find that petrol will start separating into layers with gooey stuff in the bottom)
All of these will start screwing up other parts of the vehicle.

Unfortunately only the battery will show the first signs and the rest of the vehicle will show signs only after much damage is done.
If you really do not find use for the car for more than once a week, sell it and use an auto/cab.


Finally,
IDLING DOES NOT CHARGE A BATTERY. IDLING CONSUMES BATTERY.
The popular misconception is that the battery starts charging as soon as the engine starts turning. No, that is not the case.
Apparently, the battery charging voltage is reached only after the engine RPMS rise more than idling speeds and at idling speeds (a) The battery does not get charged (b)if your idling is very low , the battery supplements the dynamo to make the spark plugs work.
So, next time you try to charge it, press the accelerator down a bit or best take her out for a spin.
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Old 17th September 2007, 21:06   #4
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rockrider, all indications are your battery has run out.
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Old 18th September 2007, 09:51   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Venkatesh.C View Post
Finally,
IDLING DOES NOT CHARGE A BATTERY. IDLING CONSUMES BATTERY.
The popular misconception is that the battery starts charging as soon as the engine starts turning. No, that is not the case.
Apparently, the battery charging voltage is reached only after the engine RPMS rise more than idling speeds and at idling speeds (a) The battery does not get charged (b)if your idling is very low , the battery supplements the dynamo to make the spark plugs work.
So, next time you try to charge it, press the accelerator down a bit or best take her out for a spin.
Venkatesh, i beg to differ on that. The battery is on charge all the time. Just use a multimeter & you will see this to be true.

@rockrider... ithink you need to ride that car of yours a little bit. Just take it for a 3km ride everyday (at least) specially since it is an old car.
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Old 18th September 2007, 11:33   #6
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I am still not conviced that it is the battery. The reason is that all the electricals are functioning well. The headlights, indicators, horn and even the stereo.

Do these equipment run at with low battery as well? If that is the case, then I will take the battery to the service station. Also it hasnt been too long since I got the batter checked.


And yes, got the lesson. Venkatesh, thanks for listing the possible damages. And I agree with each one you guys. I Will take better care of the car.
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Old 18th September 2007, 11:37   #7
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Thanks for your valuable inputs. Thanks Venkatesh for pointing out the possible damages. I will take care of these things in future. Will take my car for a spin regularly.

I am still not convinced that it is a battery problem That is because it has been less than a month that I got the battery recharged. All the electricals are functioning fine. Checked the headlight, Indicators, music system and horn. The battery indicator is on. is it possible that these electricals work even when the battery is down (with the engine off)? If yes, then I will take the batter to the service station.

Thanks again for your suggestions.
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Old 18th September 2007, 14:29   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venkatesh
IDLING DOES NOT CHARGE A BATTERY. IDLING CONSUMES BATTERY.
The popular misconception is that the battery starts charging as soon as the engine starts turning. No, that is not the case.
Apparently, the battery charging voltage is reached only after the engine RPMS rise more than idling speeds and at idling speeds (a) The battery does not get charged (b)if your idling is very low , the battery supplements the dynamo to make the spark plugs work.
So, next time you try to charge it, press the accelerator down a bit or best take her out for a spin.
OH NO!
EL is right!
Im sure u haven't checked with a multimeter.
Anyways, I like the confidence U show although what U say is wrong.
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Old 18th September 2007, 14:34   #9
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On the older cars with a dynamo (DC), the battery would not charge at idling RPM. All the newer cars are fitted with an Alternator (AC) and this will charge the battery even at idling.
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Old 18th September 2007, 14:55   #10
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OK. Thanks EL and @Nitrous, I stand corrected. Obviously you guys know and do this better. I was not myself very very sure and thats why i had put in an 'Apparently' in my original post. - No more defences.
and no, i have not checked with a multimeter. Guilty as charged.
Does the alternator always charge at idle for all cars? No exceptions?
Does it then mean that the alternator generates more current /voltage than is demanded by all the sparkies that it can supply leftover to the battery for charging?
Thanks folks for the corrections. Passing on incorrect info is worser than not passing any. I will take care in future
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Old 18th September 2007, 16:22   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockrider View Post
I am still not convinced that it is a battery problem That is because it has been less than a month that I got the battery recharged. All the electricals are functioning fine. Checked the headlight, Indicators, music system and horn. The battery indicator is on. is it possible that these electricals work even when the battery is down (with the engine off)? If yes, then I will take the batter to the service station.
please be convinced that it is your battery. the current needed for the power to crank an engine is way off higher than all the other equipment working in unison (unless you have an ICE demo car)

take your car for a short spin,.. after all, anything unused will rot
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Old 18th September 2007, 16:27   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockrider View Post
The battery indicator is on. is it possible that electricals (headlight, horn, music system) work even when the battery is low (with the engine off)? .
in my case, they are. do you guys still think the batters is the reason why my car isnt starting?
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Old 18th September 2007, 16:40   #13
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Originally Posted by gbpscars View Post
please be convinced that it is your battery. the current needed for the power to crank an engine is way off higher than all the other equipment working in unison (unless you have an ICE demo car)

take your car for a short spin,.. after all, anything unused will rot
okay. will get the battery checked/charged. Thanks.

please ignore my multiple posts. As I am newbie my post are being moderated and they dont appear for a while. and when they appear, I cant delete em.
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Old 18th September 2007, 21:42   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Venkatesh.C View Post
OK. Thanks EL and @Nitrous, I stand corrected. Obviously you guys know and do this better. I was not myself very very sure and thats why i had put in an 'Apparently' in my original post. - No more defences.
and no, i have not checked with a multimeter. Guilty as charged.
Does the alternator always charge at idle for all cars? No exceptions?
Does it then mean that the alternator generates more current /voltage than is demanded by all the sparkies that it can supply leftover to the battery for charging?
Thanks folks for the corrections. Passing on incorrect info is worser than not passing any. I will take care in future
Cool, Venkatesh, it is all about learning here. I have made many bloopers in my time too with my experience. Yes, as said by someone else, the older cars with the dynamo needed to be revved up all the time to charge, like my late father's old pennant & amby, but the newer cars with the latest alternators charge your battery at idle with headlights, ac , stereo & your pants on.
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Old 19th September 2007, 07:41   #15
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Rockrider, a good idea would be to push the car and see if it starts, if it does start then take it for a 10-15 km drive, but make sure you don't turn the car off when away from home (you may get stranded), turn the car off when back home and see if the car starts again, if the battery and alternator are fine, then the battery should get charged by this streach of a drive and if the car does not start even after pushing, then the problem may not be the battery and may lie else where.
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