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Noob with a '65 Spit and a Problem

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Sneaky Pete Avatar
Sneaky Pete Silver Member Pete Passon
Mooresville, Indiana, USA   USA
Hi all! I purchased a '65 Spitfire over the weekend. Car ran great on the 15 mile drive home. Took the car out last night and it started rough...as if the battery was worn down. Drove a few miles and parked in the driveway. Attempted to start it and the battery was dead. Jumped it and she fired right up. I'm new to the British cars but know they can have electrical gremlins. I'm not sure if something is draining the battery when off but I'm leaning that way since it started right up with a jump. Or could it be a bad alt? The car has an aftermarket radio. I noticed a red light on it just before I put the car cover on it. Could the radio be the culprit?

Thanks in advance! I'm have had German cars for over 15 years and looking forward to learning about this Spitfire.

Pete

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grubscrew Avatar
grubscrew grub screw
The suburbs of, Winfield, Maryland, USA   USA
Sure, a radio that draws constant power can drain a weak battery.

Sure, a weak alternator can poorly charge a battery...and by the way your 65 would have a generator not an alternator unless it was converted.

PS- why does your profile say the car is a 1970?

PPS- welcome aboard. Posting photos is mandatory for admission!



Dave
1970 Spitfire Mk3
FDU 78359L
34/11 (Jasmine yellow/Black interior)

1962 Triumph TR3B
TCF 575L
Signal Red/Red interior

70spit Jon B
Camas, WA, USA   USA
If it runs well once started and removed from the jump power source then your alternator is probably fine. Your battery may be weak and/or there may be a drain somewhere. If the battery is old I'd start there. If not then give it a good charge (many auto parts stores will do this for you if you lack a charger) and see if it drains quickly, like over a day or two. If it does then you may need to start looking for the source of the drain.

The stereo's standby power drain shouldn't be enough to drain your battery that quickly unless something is very wrong with the stereo.

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skyking1231 Avatar
skyking1231 Silver Member Frank Strobel
Mt. Sinai, NY, USA   USA
1975 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Lil' Rose"
easy...take battery out and bring to FLAPS..... have them check it...could be a bad cell....the red light on batt...will drain battery...but not overnite. I have a wire bypassing my battery disconnect..that is used to keep the memory on the radio. battery never died.

Sneaky Pete Avatar
Sneaky Pete Silver Member Pete Passon
Mooresville, Indiana, USA   USA
In reply to # 1489833 by grubscrew Sure, a radio that draws constant power can drain a weak battery.

Sure, a weak alternator can poorly charge a battery...and by the way your 65 would have a generator not an alternator unless it was converted.

PS- why does your profile say the car is a 1970?

PPS- welcome aboard. Posting photos is mandatory for admission!

Appreciate the responses. The car is a '65 and profile is corrected.

lef2wander Avatar
lef2wander Gold Member James Thomas
hatfield, ma, USA   USA
Generator or alternator. And now probably the battery as well. Your car will run at least as far as you drove it just on the battery. 15miles plus...

If you can start it again. Measure the voltage at the battery terminals. 14+ with a weak batt. would
be an indication that the alt/gen is ok.

Doug in Vegas Avatar
Doug in Vegas Douglas D
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA   USA
In reply to # 1489827 by Sneaky Pete I'm not sure if something is draining the battery when off but I'm leaning that way

Disconnect the plus side of the battery and hook up a test light between the battery post and the battery clamp you just disconnected and see if it lights.

If the test light even so much as glows you have something drawing power.

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Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
I have fitted a battery disconnect switch to disconnect the power supply if need be.

If you had one fitted it could help solve this problem.

Sneaky Pete Avatar
Sneaky Pete Silver Member Pete Passon
Mooresville, Indiana, USA   USA
In reply to # 1489865 by Tonyfixit I have fitted a battery disconnect switch to disconnect the power supply if need be.

If you had one fitted it could help solve this problem.

There is a disconnect on the battery from the PO. I never thought the battery would loose charge overnight. I'll get a tester on the way home and start to fiddle with it.

Thanks guys!

PS......this place is friendlier than the Porsche forums smileys with beer

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Growe58 Avatar
Growe58 Greg Rowe
Hatfield, PA, USA   USA
Welcome aboard! It is also worthwhile checking the battery cable terminals; sometimes a bad connection there is masked by the clamping of the jumper cables. If this is the most challenging electrical problem you ever have with the car, consider yourself lucky indeed! spinning smiley sticking its tongue out

Sneaky Pete Avatar
Sneaky Pete Silver Member Pete Passon
Mooresville, Indiana, USA   USA
In reply to # 1489873 by Growe58 Welcome aboard! It is also worthwhile checking the battery cable terminals; sometimes a bad connection there is masked by the clamping of the jumper cables. If this is the most challenging electrical problem you ever have with the car, consider yourself lucky indeed! spinning smiley sticking its tongue out

Thanks for the welcome! Good point on the terminals! The car was rarely driven the past 3 years. It had bad gas and I'm sorting through that. Some seafoam should clear somethings up.

Another issue is the speedo / odo doesn't work. That should be a cable, yes? Annnnd it does have a oil leak. I'm thinking the oil pan and valve cover seals may have dried up.

lef2wander Avatar
lef2wander Gold Member James Thomas
hatfield, ma, USA   USA
Oil leak from a spit no way.

Alot of them leak. Some are lucky to have none.

kaatmanduu Avatar
kaatmanduu Silver Member Mike Stevens
Grass Valley, California, USA   USA
It doesn't leak, it marks it's territory! Get the battery checked, who knows how old it really is. See of the cells are at the proper level if its not sealed.

Lizzard d id
san jose, ca, USA   USA
In reply to # 1489874 by Sneaky Pete The car was rarely driven the past 3 years.
Thats not good for a battery . I'd look into the battery .

In reply to # 1489867 by Sneaky Pete I never thought the battery would loose charge overnight. I'll get a tester on the way home and start to fiddle with it.
The standard old school test is to charge a battery all the way up and then let it sit for a day , then do a voltage test . If the voltage isn't good after 24 hours of sitting unused then its a funny battery . There have been many batteries that will show well when freshly charged that fail to read well after sitting 24 hours . Your battery might be good enough fresh off a charger and then crappola after sitting a bit .


In reply to # 1489874 by Sneaky Pete I'm thinking the oil pan and valve cover seals may have dried up.
They might swell / soften with some engine use , they might not .



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-10-03 04:44 PM by Lizzard.

TriumphFan Avatar
TriumphFan Jim S
Cumming, Georgia, USA   USA
1967 Triumph GT6 MkI "Cantankerous"
That is the same thing that happened to me when I bought my '69 Spit in 1980. Ran great all the way home and then wouldn't start the next day. Replaced the battery and then just had to contend with the usual, other electrical gremlins. Batteries are disposable nowadays anyway. Three years is about the lifespan. Replace it or you'll be doing this all the time. And then use a battery tender...I've had good results with those. Your mileage may vary...
Welcome to the madness.
Jim



"If you didn't build it, it's not really yours"

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