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We have a 1996 Mercury Tracer Trio, 1.9L engine, and on 3...

<< Back to: rec.autos.makers.chrysler FAQ, Part 1/6

Question by charlie_sheila
Submitted on 4/19/2007
Related FAQ: rec.autos.makers.chrysler FAQ, Part 1/6
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We have a 1996 Mercury Tracer Trio, 1.9L engine, and on 3 occasions (1 yesterday, 1 about two weeks ago, and 1 about 1 - 2 months ago, the car wouldn't start.  The indications were that we had a dead battery.  The first time, the car had been sitting for at least a week or two, and I tried charging the battery overnight.  It wouldn't hold a charge, I returned it, and got a new one (for free, at Sears, it was about 2 yrs old).  

Second time, my wife went into Walmart for groceries, came out, and it wouldn't start.  I put a nice set of brand new jumper cables on the car to jump it from our other car, and the current was so high it was melting the insulation and turning the clamps red hot (at the connection point).  But after a short time of charging, amazingly, it started right up and ran normally.  I figured it could be a [relatively] "slow" current leak and the high current was just because the battery was very low and charging very fast, or it could be a short in the starter or something that only occurs occasionally, when it stops in a particular position(s).  The former doesn't seem likely because it sat overnight (or for multiple days) multiple times and started the next time needed, and here it only sat for an hour or two while she was in Walmart.

Third time, my wife was working for about 2.5 hours, came out, and it wouldn't start.  Same dead battery symptoms.  She walked home, and called me at work to tell me about it.  I had a class last night and we didn't remember the car when I got home, until bedtime.  On the way to work this morning I went to the Tracer and disconnected the battery.  It sat until about sundown. I put the jumper cables on the disconnected battery, charged it from our other car for maybe 10 minutes max, connected the battery, reconnected the jumper cables, and once again it started right up and ran normally.  

Does anyone know what the problem is likely to be, and (if possible) how to verify it?  I'm a little hesitant to spend the time and the money to replace the starter just because I have a hunch that that might be the cause of the problem.


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