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Mike S.
Mike S., Chevy Mechanic
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 6796
Experience:  ASE Certified Master Technician
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I have a Chevy Tahoe 2004 experiencing battery drain.

Customer Question

I have a Chevy Tahoe 2004 experiencing battery drain.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Unhook the alternator and see if the light goes out.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay give me a few mins. Thanks
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
nope stays on, disconnected the big wire and the plug in set.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
a couple days before this happened, I noticed when I would lock or unlock the doors that both front parking lights came on for a period of time. Prior to that they didn't do that.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have checked every light with the doors locked nothing I can see is on. There is no glove compartment light.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Are you sure this engine isn't a 5.3l? Anyhow, the owners manual says there are 3 fuse boxes, 2 of them inside, perhaps you just missed one or never knew it was there.

There is the Instrument Panel Fuse Block, on the driver’s side edge of the instrument panel and there is the center instrument panel utility block is located underneath the instrument panel, to the left of the steering column.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will go look under the steering Colum. BRB
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

I read that. So, at this moment you have every fuse, relay and circuit breaker pulled, the alternator disconnected, the doors shut, hood closed, key out and there is still a drain?

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

You know you should really be using an ammeter, because the test light doesn't give you an accurate reading although it can be used if you don't have an ammeter, it's just that you don't know how bad the drain is.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I pulled and replaced each fuse and relay one at a time watching the light, it didn't even dim. I can not locate another fuse panel under the steering Colum only thing there are a couple modules. It's a pretty bad drain because when I hook the positive terminal up I get sparks.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I just noticed my driver side heated seat indicators were flashing and flickering when I just stated the vehicle to be sure it was still charging. about 14vdc.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

No, you can't do it that way. What if there are 2 drains? Plus, the computer and anything with memory will always show a drain, although it should be small and that is exactly why an ammeter should be used, cause the drain might be 12 volts but it might only be .001 amps, which is ok.

You have to pull every fuse, circuit breaker and relay and leave them out and look at the meter after pulling each one, plus make sure the door are closed or push in on the door jamb switch nd also allow 30 minutes for all the modules to go to sleep once you hook up the test light or ammeter.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay, let me search I have a nice craftsman meter around here somewhere.. Give me a little bit..
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Yes, that box by the steering column houses the circuit breakers and relays, but they still need to be pulled when testing for a drain.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

The maximum drain should be no more than 50 mA, that's 0.050 amps.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you possibly have a picture of it?
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

If the link don't work and they ask you to signin or signup, I here is the manual, it's compressed though, so you need winzip or WinRAR to unzip it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have been all over that manual. No help.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

I do see the seat circuit breaker in that box.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

What do you mean no help? Did you look at page 5-114 and see that fuse/relay box?

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

An owners manual is just that for the owners. It shows limited info but it had what you asked for and what I was looking for, them fuse boxes. It don't have wiring diagram, which I can get but first I need to know what fuse, circuit breaker, or relay is experiencing the drain.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ugh, so I need to pull the instrument cluster out to get there? Can't see it from underneath.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Let me see if there are instructions on accessing that fuse box. Hold on.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

You see now the repair manual is saying there is a fuse box on the right side of the instrument panel and here is that section,

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

It appears that is in addition to the others.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Here are the Electrical Center Identification Views

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Make sure the MBEC 1 fuse (50a) in the underhood fuse box is pulled. It feeds that relay box and the right door and seat circuit breakers.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Also, pull the SIR fuse, it feeds that relay block too and the inside rearview mirror and air bag modules.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Here are the power distribution wiring diagrams starting with the last page to the first,

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Sorry, a couple were skipped.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I found a cheap amp meter I had but the battery died, it was showing 3.97amps
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ha, found another cheap meter.. When the fuse marked 4WS (15amp) is removed with the amp meter in line at 3.92 amps. It drops to 1.76amps and then to 0.01 amps.. What is that 4WS fuse for?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
In the fuse box in the engine compartment .
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

no wonder it was throwing sparks.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

I'll look it up, in the meantime what did you mean by " It drops to 1.76amps and then to 0.01 amps"? What made it drop both times?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Seems like it was discharging or something. It's listed as: Rear Wheel Steering Control Module, Evaporative Emission (EVAP) Canister Vent Solenoid
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

that 4ws feeds the rear wheel steering control module and the evap solenoid. It's on this page

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Put that fuse back in, get a reading then unhook each of those 2 items and check the meter after unhooking each one.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What 2 items do I unhook? don't understand.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

The Rear Wheel Steering Control Module and the Evaporative Emission (EVAP) Canister Vent Solenoid.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

The orange wires.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

So am I to understand this has rear wheel steering?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No it is an SUV front wheel steering :( Chevy Tahoe
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Then I suppose you won't be able to find a Rear Wheel Steering Control Module.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ha your guess is as good as mine.. So what if I leave the 15amp fuse out?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
According to Autozone The Evaporative Emission (EVAP) Canister Purge Solenoid Valve is located in the EVAP canister, above the rear of the muffler.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

So no QUADRASTEER. Leave the fuse out and see if the check engine light comes on. If so or you experience any engine performance problems, then you better gain access to that orange wire and unhook it. It's possible the solenoid is bad anyhow.

By the way, is or was the check engine light remaining on past bulb check?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I had a check engine but that was relative to tighten fuel cap issue which doesn't bother me. Where is that orange wire located>?
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Autozone must have given you the wrong info. The vent solenoid is back there but the purge solenoid isn't. It's on the engine. Wo, wait a minute. We weren't suppose to be looking for the purge solenoid, but the vent solenoid and yes it is back there.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

here are the instructions for replacing it which includes disconnecting the wiring,

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

That orange is shown in them instructions as #1.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Removing the fuse should do the same thing right?
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

That was for the 2500 series, this is for the 1500 series.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

I thought you were trying to find and repair the drain?

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

No, removing the fuse will not do the same thing. what if the short is in the orange wire in between the fuse and that solenoid?

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

I see autozone sells that vent solenoid for $25.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Well, I am done here. I think we have narrowed it down to that vent solenoid circuit. It all depends now on whether or not you just want to remove the fuse or find and repair that circuit or replace the solenoid. I am going out to work on my car now. I'll check in on you later to see if you might have any more problems but I believe you have it narrowed down now. Don't frget to rate me well and good luck.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok will reply back when I replace that thing probably today or in the morning. Hopefully this is the problem. Thanks
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

you are welcome. You should test it first though by disconnecting that wiring connector, that most likely includes that orange wire. If the ammeter drops below 50mA when you do that, than yes replace that solenoid. If not, then the problem is with that orange wire.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ugh, Okay left to go to autozone. by the time I was at the end of my drive way the AC was pumping 120 air.
Put the fuse back in, disconnected the battery for a few mins and it started to work but in 5 mins it was back to blowing hot air..
Now what?
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Do you have all of the fuses, relays and circuit breakers all back in now?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
as they were before.
I even switched the AC relay with the headlight one (same part number). no go
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Is the ac compressor engaging?

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

You never did confirm what engine was in this.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Initially but then it stops in about 2 mins.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
5.3 v8 flex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
AC was working fine prior to our troubleshooting :(
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Ok, here is the wiring diagram for the compressor, Check those 2 fuses with the test light.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Is the ac compressor engaging?

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

If the fuses are ok, try grounding that relay wire going to the pcm and see if now the compressor kicks on. the dark green/white wire at pin 43/connector 2 of the pcm.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Went ahead and checked all 10 amp fuses, all good.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

You are not answering my questions.

Is the ac compressor engaging?

Plus, you cannot just look at a fuse, you have to test for voltage. Especially since that IGN E fuse isn't hot until the key is on run.

Now, if the fuses check out, try grounding that relay wire going to the pcm and see if now the compressor kicks on

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Ok, I see you did anwser it

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

I am not an ac man myself. I suspect the next step would be to check the ac pressure.

Anyhow, back to the battery drain, what's up with that?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Told you twice, when I first start it does for about 60 seconds.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Yeah, I got that.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was on my way to autozone to get the part (that fuse out) I ain't driving 40miles with the heat blowing :(
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This all appears to be electrical issues. I'll go try and locate that wire and ground it.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

40 miles? Order it online.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Ok, I am going out now. I'll check back in from time to time.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It sounds like the blend door is closing then I get the hot air. Shut the engine off restart and have cold air for about 30 seconds then heart the little thud under the passenger side lower dash. Restart same thing. Blows cold every restart for about 30 seconds till I hear the little thud.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

It's going to remain warm if the compressor doesn't stay engaged anyhow. Did you look around for a solenoid closer or are you going to at least test that solenoid. Like I asid, I am not an ac man, so that I don't know much about.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Just checking in. Are you sure that compressor isn't just cycling off and on?

Have you disconnected the orange wire from that solenoid yet?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I told you all of that earlier. I really don't think your Expertise is quite up to parr!! Here is my resolution to the AC problem and it's working fine. (as a GM man you should have known this!):
I used the reset procedure that I got from the GM dealer. (pull fuse, reinstall fuse, turn key so system has power and wait for a minute or so for calibration) I pulled the HVAC 10 amp fuse in the fuse panel under the hood. Re-installed the fuse, and the stuck my head under the dash to watch the actuator while I turned the key on (1 click short of engaging the starter to get power to the climate control board and fans). I was able to see the actuator move all the way to 1 side, pause, then move all the way to the other side, pause, and then end up somewhere in the middle. Before I cleaned the actuator, I also tried this procedure, but the actuator would only go to one side, and stay there. I'm guessing there wasn't enough connection to give the climate control board any feedback on what position it was in. I waited another minute or so to ensure the sensing of the actuators was complete, and then started to play with the different fan settings and vent positions. Everything was then working as it should!!!!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm guessing that most people who indicate they have climate control issues after a battery going dead, or battery replacement as I did along with disconnecting the battery for periods of time (while testing drain problems).
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

What do you mean my expertise isn't up to par? I told you I wasn't an ac man and I did locate the problem with the battery drain and I am not even there.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Went to autozone and got the part for the initial problem of Battery drain : Since is raining here I plan on installing it tomorrow. (that fuse is removed to prevent battery drain overnight).
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Ok then, that is what I was originally working on. I am not an ac man.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You should have known battery disconnections would cause a reset needed for the AC. UGh
Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

No I shouldn't. That is ac.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Have you disconnected the orange wire from that solenoid yet?

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

I'm going back outside before it starts to rain here.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Well? I still don't have an answer to that and you just said and I quote "I told you all of that earlier.", then you insulted me.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

So that's it? I spend all day with you and I told you I am wanting to work outside here and am here on the pc for a little while and you ignore me?

I am trying to get this battery drain problem fixed or at least know what has to be done but you quit right at the most important spot.

I cannot answer any ac problems, I just don't know enough about it.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

Ok, I am going back outside now.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 1 year ago.

I'm back in now.

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