Battery charger for Autos..

Jay H

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Any tips on buying an inexpensive automotive battery charger?

I need to buy a battery charger for a dead battery on my MR2, as well as figure out why it went dead. Two year old '02 MR2, shouldn't be dead unless my alternator is dead or perhaps there is a short somewhere in the wiring when I installed my JLA 300/4 amplifier in there. I need to get to measure how much current is being drawn with the car off. I am only measuring 11vDC with the car off and the built in hydormeter thing is showing the battery needs to be charged.

Haven't driven it in like 2 weeks, being that I bike to work...

Anyway, like to buy a battery charger, looking for recommendations on something inexpensive, it can be a slow charger too, since my bike is my primary transportation...

Jay
 

Dan D.

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Jay,
A few months ago, I purchased a charger from Sears. They seem to make decent car batteries, so I guessed that their chargers would be decent as well. Like you, I don't drive my car much so my battery managed to drain itself. I don't remember the model I purchased, but it was the smallest model that had the option to actually jump start the car in addition to doing the trickle charge for maintenance. I believe it was about $60 normally, and I got it for $40 on sale. Sears seems to put those on sale frequently. Though I haven't used it much since I purchased it, it worked very well.

Another thing you might look into are the solar chargers that plug into your cigarette lighter. They can't really recharge a dead battery, but they can help reduce the drain on a battery that is unused for long periods of time. My problem is that I have a switched cigarette lighter (doesn't work when the ignition is off) so this wouldn't work for me.
 

Zen Butler

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Exide Batteries offers a "trickle charger" part #7001201 for about $14.99. This should be fine. You can find Exide, mostly, at Parts Plus, Auto Zone, Kragen etc.

There are no technical service bulletins that pertain to the charging system on an 02 MR2/Spyder. Although, I found several emmission and powertrain bulletins, I saw nothing that could be related to your symptoms.

An O.E. alternator will run you $309, (don't let them charge you more). Part # 2706002204084. ALthough, aftermarket #'s have been assigned to this unit. This limited vehicle, of course keeps cores scarce. So if you go the aftermarket route, skip Pep Boys, Kragen and the ilk. Look for an autmotive electric rebuilder instead.(You will find this near other automotive repair subjects in the Yellow Pages). By pass the "middle-man" and you can save probably half of the dealer price.

Not uncommon for a Toyota to go through alternators and starters. Especially simple related parts, e.g. alternator bearings, starter eyelets and contacts. Not too bad considering, many of their motors are bullet-proof
 

Jay H

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Sear's 10/2/50 charger

Dan, does that look like the charger you have, it's $40 and on sale... looks like it'll work!


The emissions TSBs probably has to do with the engine management software. I know alot of MR2 folks have problems with the precats. Probably not unique to MR2s, I think a lot of cars have problems with the precats because of the emissions requirements...

Jay
 

Dan D.

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Yup, that's it! It worked great for me and it seems well made. I'm interested to try the jump start feature some time, though I really hope I don't have to.
 

StephenHa

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I got a charger at big lots it's the same manufacturer as the sears one and was 20 bucks (Sears doesn't make anything and rarely knows exactly who does make them)
 

Steve Schaffer

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Jay,

It's entirely possible for the OEM battery on a 2 year old MR-2 to go bad. It's covered under new car warranty for 36 months, free replacement no prorate.

Contrary to Zen's post, oem alternators on Toyotas are nearly bulletproof and usually good for 150-200k miles. His observation is probably due to the fact that for a few years Corollas built in the US used Delco alternators rather than Nippondensos as used in your car. The Delcos typically failed at 30k miles or so and did sometimes have bearing problems. In my experience (30+ years tech at Toyota dealership) the starters on mid-90s Corollas, though they were Nippondenso, did seem to fail at 50-60k miles (usually just the solenoid contacts) as opposed to the usual 150-200k.

2 weeks non-use will often result in a dead or near dead battery on models with high parasitic loads, especially Avalons owned by seniors who only drive them once a month or so, but an MR-2's parasitic load should be somewhere under 30 milliamps.

I'd recommend an overnight trickle-charge rather than a 1 or 2 hour quick charge. If you experience slow cranking on the first start of the day in daily use, the battery is probably bad. Failure at only 2 years old is not uncommon on Japan produced models, the battery sits uncharged for the entire time it ships from Japan to the port, time in port awaiting delivery to dealer, etc, and this idleness early in life has a bad effect on overall battery life.

If you do need a new battery, avoid exide. Toyota issued these as factory-issue replacements for several years and they rarely lasted more than 18 months. About 3 years ago they switched suppliers to Interstate and the failure rate dropped dramatically.
 

Jay H

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I bought the DieHard sears one for $40 and let it charge last night, and I tested the voltage this morning and all seems well, I opened the driver door and heard the SMT sequential hyrdraulics actuate so that is a good sign. Car started fine this morning.. yippee!

Jay
 

Zen Butler

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Jay, glad you're up and running.




WOW!, not quite. It was a generalization, I admit, but based on my 20+ years in the Japanese automotive industry. 5 of which, directly related to the topic. We were, at one time, cousins of sort. I still have a relationship with this corporation.

Many 90- mid 90's Nippondenso (starter and alternators) were a bit short of "bullet-proof." The ND gear reduction starter for the 22R(E), for example, was sub-par by ND's, (now Denso) typical quality.
 

Jay H

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How would I test to see if for some odd reason, my amplifier may be drawing more current than my alternator can provide?

I'm told the parasitic drain of the battery when the engine is off should be less than 75 milliamps which I can measure with my ammeter. I'm just worried that I might have a short somewhere in my stereo wiring that might be draining my battery when it's sitting around.

Then again, I have noticed a slight hesitation when starting my car, ever since it was fairly new... it might have been improperly charged by the dealership before I even took possession of the car.

Jay
 

Jay H

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Nope, I notice no dimming or anything with the amp on, however, wonder if there is a more objective method of checking on this...

Jay
 

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