'04 Corsa battery charging problem - percy
Any thoughts on this battery charging problem?
The car is an 04 1.2 Corsa, warranty ends in May 07.
When we got it at one year old the battery green float was not showing, however after some days and a few miles it was showing.
Occasionally when checking the car the float has not showed, but then it has reappeared later on.
Recently the engine was reluctant to turn over because the battery was down.
I installed a DVM in the cigar lighter socket to monitor the system voltage. It usually started off okay at approx 14V but then faded away to 12V after a few minutes; occasionally it would rise again to 14V. Stopping and starting the engine seemed to start the cycle over again. There was no green float.
The car has been back to the agent three times now, about once every 2 weeks.
The first time they checked it over but didn?t really notice a problem despite me writing a letter describing the fault.
The second time they changed the alternator.
The third time they changed the ?body computer?.
There seemed to be a temporary improvement each time before the problem re-occurred and since the ?body computer? was replaced the green float has appeared again, which means that things have greatly improved.
But 2 weeks later the system voltage seems to show signs of fluctuating again.
Naturally the red ?ignition light? is illuminated at ignition on, then extinguishes when the engine starts until the next starting sequence. And I thought it was there to warn of problems.
Has anybody had similar problems? Is this ropey GM wiring?
Why does the alternator need to be controlled by the body computer, it just seems to be an added complication?
I would be grateful for any thoughts on this.
'04 Corsa battery charging problem - Victorbox
I am not an auto-electrician but I have owned six Vauxhalls all with the OEM battery with the green indicator. Only once have I ever seen the green indicator disappear & that was on a car that had been left standing for five months & the electric clock had drained the battery. From memory when the green cell disappears it means the battery is under 60% charged.

If they've genuinely replaced the alternator I guess it could be a duff cell in the battery & the battery is not holding a charge. I assume you do a reasonable mileage each day? You could have a boot or glovebox light not going off leading to a gradual draining of the battery.

"Body Computer" sounds like a made-up main dealer reception desk name to me! I doubt they changed the main control unit.

I assume your Corsa has had the free Vauxhall recall for the faulty ABS wiring done?

You don't mention having trickle charged the battery yourself, but of course the dealer could have done this when they had it in for a check over leading to a temporay alleviation of the problem to get you off their back. I would disconnect the battery (I assume you know the radio code) & give it a thorough ( possibly 48 hour or more trickle charge ) & if the green indicator is showing see how long it is before the problems reappear.

Assuming the alternator is OK my money would be on a duff battery.


'04 Corsa battery charging problem - jc2
The alternator warning light merely shows some power coming out of the alternator,not how much.
'04 Corsa battery charging problem - Simon
So what it the actual fault with the car? All you have mentioned is that recently the engine was reluctant to turn over because the battery was 'down'. Is this a recurring problem or has it only happened once? How many miles does the car travel on average per week? Is there any other likely reason that the battery went flat like maybe the car had been standing for a couple of weeks? The more info you can give us, then the better off we will be.
'04 Corsa battery charging problem - yorkiebar
Don't worry too much about indiactor on the battery if the car starts ok.

What you need ideally is a reading off the battery at different times.

what is voltage at battery with engine running at idle with and without electrical load ? Both figures needed.

what is voltage at battery at 2500 rpm with and without electrical load ? Both figures needed.

what is voltage at battery 2 hours after turning off engine ?

what is voltage at battery after 8 - 12 hours ( or up to 24 hours ) before starting engine.

These are not auto electricians exact questions but are a very good guide to state of vehicle / battery / charging / starting system and could help point you in direction of help etc !
'04 Corsa battery charging problem - percy
Thanks for your replies and questions.
To recap, the problem seems to be intermittent operation of the charging system. I think the problem has been on-going for some time with the periods of ?not charging? becoming longer than the periods of ?charging?.
I don?t think the battery has a duff cell, more that it doesn?t received any charge when the charging system is in its ?intermittent mode? therefore ends up with the green float missing and reluctant to turn the engine over at the next attempt to start.
The new alternator is cleaner than the old one so I think they have changed it, also I had to re-code the radio when we got the car back. (They were in a rush that week).
When they had replaced the ?body computer? they rang up asking for the radio and immobiliser codes so I presume they had at least disconnected the battery.
I had previously checked the battery for drain and it was very low, less than 5 milliamps so I don?t think there is a problem there.
I have trickle charged the battery on occasion (which restored the green float, only to see it disappear during the next few days of driving) to ensure that the car would start the next day.
The journeys we make are not very long, but our last car (Fiesta) never had any battery charging problems. When the charging system is working there is not a problem.
Yorkiebar, when the charging system is operational, the voltages at all engine speeds and with light electrical demand are around 14.2V and with heavy electrical demand are around 13.5V.
On entering the car after say 24hrs of non use and turning the ignition on the voltage indicated is usually 12.2V if the system has been working okay previously. This may seem low-ish but remember the locks, interior light, fuel pump etc have been energised at this point.
When the system stops charging the voltage quickly drops to 12V and will go lower! It is like disconnecting the alternator!
Interestingly enough something does control the alternator because when the engine is started the battery volts stay around 12V until a delay of 2 ? 3 seconds has elapsed and there is a ?click? from behind the glovebox and then the volts rise to 14.2V.
Unfortunately Haynes hasn?t yet produced a manual for this age of Corsa, but the charging system may be similar to slightly older models if any one out there has one.
The system is certainly working much better now than it was but I am not convinced of its reliability and am keen to finally sort the problem before the warranty runs out.
Victorbox, thanks for the prompt about the ABS wiring recall, I?ll get that sorted out.

'04 Corsa battery charging problem - local yokel
If you had an aftermarket generic battery you wouldn't know you had a problem. There are no other symptoms, so I don't think you have a problem, other than a dodgy green ball!
'04 Corsa battery charging problem - Victorbox
"Victorbox, thanks for the prompt about the ABS wiring recall, I?ll get that sorted out."

My local Vauxhall dealer does the ABS wiring fix which seems to involve sealing up the ABS wiring connectors with sealer (potential fire hazard) at the same time they do the VX recall repair on the faulty batch of 1.0 & 1.2 timing chains. You should be aware your Corsa probably falls into this catagory as well.

Hope this helps.
'04 Corsa battery charging problem - Dynamic Dave
Re: ABS

Details here:- tinyurl.com/y2f4mo
'04 Corsa battery charging problem - yorkiebar
I think the green ball could be a bit misleading, if it wasn't there you probably wouldn't know you had a problem. But.....................

The charging figures all seem ok, but the battery voltage after stabding is a little low, so....

Either something is draining current or the battery is not holding its charge.

Easiest test is to disconnect the battery after turning the car off. Check voltage after 2 hours approx and again before reconnecting. Preferably leave for 8 + hours. Compare voltage again? and post back if possible ?
'04 Corsa battery charging problem - Simon
I too think that the green ball is misleading you. So does the car ever fail to start or not? If it doesn't fail, then I can't see what the problem is.
'04 Corsa battery charging problem - Grease_monkey
On most modern cars now there is a delay before the battery charges (i know this a fact on the 1.25 fiesta i owned once) this is to give the engine a chance to stablise for the want of a better word after starting. You would not want to start a engine up for the electrics to start up straight away.
'04 Corsa battery charging problem - pastyman
Hi chaps,

You may be able to help me, i too also have a similar problem with a Vauxhall O.E. battery fitted to a 1800 Vectra on a 04 plate. Car was used on Xmas eve, gets in the car the day after boxing day, turns the key and not a glimmer of a spark. The car has the elegance package and as such, you cannot leave a light or the radio on because a alarm will alert you and the boot light is only on when the boot is open (Doh!), joking aside, the central locking does not allow you to lock the car when the boot lid is ajar and the car is fitted with a factory fitted alarm, but i wouldn't expect that to flatten the battery after only 2 days, So i can't see why all of a sudden i have a flat battery. In the last two years of owning the car, it has never once let me down, although it is used every day to travel to work, 7 miles each way, it has only 33000 miles on the clock. Is it possible that the battery is shot after only 2 years ?, i am not so sure. A pair of jump leads and a helpful motorist got me out of trouble, but even a couple days later, i still have no green ball showing on the battery.
Suggestions anyone please !

Pastyman...
'04 Corsa battery charging problem - percy
Happy New Year folks and thank you for your thoughts on this Corsa charging problem.
Over the Xmas period the car was unused for 7 days, the green ball showed for all this time and before the car was started the battery voltage was 12.3 volts. The engine started easily and initially the voltage monitored at the cigar lighter socket stayed up around the 14V mark for that day?s usage. So while the battery is not fully charged there is no sign of complete failure or any untoward current leakages.
Next day, the engine started okay and although the battery light went out the charging system did not operate and the voltage was around 11.5V. The car was driven for around 1 mile and then stopped. (This is the first time the fault has occurred from cold).
Trying to restart the engine resulted in a click from the starter solenoid,. However a second attempt got the engine going and the charging system was then back to 14V. In the last few days the charging system has been off and on with no real rhyme or reason and the green ball has disappeared again.
The Haynes manual (up to ?03) shows just 2 wires from the alternator, one to the battery and the other to the ?multi timer unit?. I have not been able yet to ascertain how many connections there are on our 04 model.
Vauxhall customer services are now hinting at an intermittent fault in the wiring harness, so I will be off again to the local agent while the warranty is still going, but I am not very confident of success.
Pastyman, have you checked your charging voltage? If all is okay then I reckon the green ball will take a few days to return. If you have an intermittent charging problem it may not return.
'04 Corsa battery charging problem - percy
Corsa intermittent charging problem ? could be solved?

During the last year this problem has appeared briefly and then gone, never around long enough to really work out what was going on and the car was still under warranty until May 2007.
In April a 200 mile holiday journey was undertaken during which nearly all power was lost on the M1 in twilight conditions. Miraculously power returned and the destination was reached. Next day was a Sunday so I visited a nearby Halfords where the friendly staff checked the alternator charge voltage (okay) and the state of battery charge (okay).
All went well until the return journey on the next Saturday when a dozen miles from home (this time in daylight) warning lights started to appear one by one (never the battery warning light though!) luckily the car kept going (electric steering now u/s so very heavy) and eventually the local VX garage was reached.
I left the engine ticking over while I managed to get a salesman (afternoon now so no technical staff) out to look at all the panel lights and by now the speedo showing 40 mph and the revcounter showing 3000rpm!
He turned the ignition off and tried for a re-start ? no luck just a click!
The car was in for a service on the Monday after so it was left there. Monday afternoon they rang and said ?Come and collect it we?ve fitted a new battery?.
The warranty was all but finished now and the intermittent charging problem now seemed to be a figment of my imagination. However it was decided that the voltage should be monitored and for some time all seemed okay. At one point I decided to remove the alternator to check connections within it and even put some shakeproof washers on the screws fastening the voltage regulator connections. All seemed okay for a long time. Then a couple of instances where the starter motor/solenoid just clicked then eventually engaged and finally during a short journey the voltmeter showed less than 12 volts indicating that no charging was occurring. This state continued for a mile or so until a place to stop was found. With the engine still running I lifted the bonnet wondering what to do, what with a new alternator and a new battery it must be down to bad connections now!
I was not going grovelling behind the engine checking alternator and starter motor connections with the engine running, so all I had left was the leads to the battery. Just pulling at these leads produced a change in engine noise and the charging voltage was now up to 14 volts. As home was a dozen miles further on I decided to keep going. Naturally the fault did not reoccur but now I had a good idea of what it was. All battery connections had always seemed firm enough but there was a fault there. After a day or two and some thought I decided to start the car, turn on as much of the electrical system as possible (to put electrical stress on the large cables and connections between the alternator and the battery) and monitor the voltage at the battery whilst tugging at the connections. Small deviations from the nominal 14 volts occurred but the problem was found when the large positive (black) cable/ battery lug crimped connection was touched ? it was warm!
Luckily I had access to an adjustable crimp tool and (as these are crimps of a hexagonal shape) managed to put some extra ?squeeze? on 3 lands 120 degrees apart. As the positive and negative battery cables are part of the same loom and presumably assembled by the same company I decided to re-crimp the negative cable as well.
Now the connection is not warm and the voltmeter will be in use for a few more weeks to keep a check and hopefully full confidence will return.
Quite how a connection can be as temperamental as this and not appear loose is still a mystery.
'04 Corsa battery charging problem - Theunisse
at the same time they do the VX recall
repair on the faulty batch of 1.0 & 1.2 timing chains.
You should be aware your Corsa probably falls into this catagory
as well.

Didn't know about possible problems with 1.0 and 1.2 timing chains. I was under the impression that the chain cam engines were bombproof - where can I find out more about this?

'04 Corsa battery charging problem - Victorbox
All the Vauxhall dealers have the chassis details - it was in the papers a few months ago - basically a 2004 to 2006 faulty batch of chains if I recall. My VX dealer checks each Corsa by chassis / engine number for the chain & ABS problem as they come in for servicing & does it as the same time ... for free of course.
 

Value my car