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Discussion Starter #1
About a month ago I noticed our 05 EX-L was rather sluggish when starting. It has an Optima yellow top which I put in over 4 yrs ago when the OEM battery died after repeated discharges from the stupid overhead lights being accidentally left on when the kids head would hit them when getting up (yeah, great design Honda.) So I got out the charger and it seemed to take a decent charge, put it back in, and it was fine for about 2 weeks until the same symptom occurs again. So I figure that battery has just reached the end of its life (4.5 years isn't too bad considering how overloaded the electrical system is in this vehicle) so out to by another one. Installed it, things are back to normal but now two weeks later, back to sluggish starts. Had to get out the charger again and it did take a decent charge.

So obviously it must be the alternator, right? I don't think so, it checks out at 14.5V just like it should. Parasitic drain? Um, no, less than 30mA of residual current when off.

So I'm completely at a loss to explain how something could be apparently draining my battery yet the two main causes check out fine. Is there a charging circuit on these which could have a bad component? That's the only explanation I can think of that would explain normal alternator output and no charging when running. I don't think its actually the starter motor since clearly the battery is discharging significantly over the course of several weeks.

Any help appreciated!
 

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You've probably checked for this, since you've hooked the battery up to a charger, but everything you're saying is consistent with significant corrosion resistance in the charging circuit. How do your battery cables look, corrosion-wise?

Nate
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, actually I hadn't thought to specifically check that, but nothing jumped out at me either. I just wandered down and took a look. Terminals are fine. Wires are wrapped, could only see small sections of the negative cable and noted some minor "greening" on the battery end (but cable under sheath was fine), ground lug end looked ok if a little tarnished.

Had the wife take it to a local trustworthy indy shop today and they quickly diagnosed a starter motor problem. The tech said the armature had flat spots making it require lots more current to turn, thus the slow starts. I asked how this could result in a battery that seemingly wouldn't recharge and they had no explanation, only that the tech was confident this was the problem. Having read about the problem here, I knew he wasn't blowing smoke so I told them go ahead and change it, and I'll just have to see if it addresses the battery problem. They did seem to happen concurrently so it makes sense they'd be related. Maybe it was just not recharging enough due to the heavy starting load. Total was $488 - $249 for rebuilt motor, $210 labor (2.3 @$90/hr) to install+diagnosis, and rest was tax.

Just picked it up a half hour ago and it did start "normally" again. This morning with presumably the same battery charge it was slow, so fingers crossed...
 
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