Engine shampoo = eletrical headaches!

Last Wednesday I had my 89 Cutlass Supreme's interior and engine completely steam cleaned and shampoed.
That same day, I had some strange electrical things happen. First, my
drivers-side power window did not work at all. Second, my "FASTEN SEAT BELTS" light would light-up full or half-dim sometimes all by itself even though I had my seat belt on. My shock sensor for my alarm would cause the alarm to go off by itself.
Then, on Friday morning, I tried to start the car to go to work and found that the battery was so completely drained that it wouldn't even CLICK or turn-over at all! My digital dash, which normally shows 5-bars for the battery when not running showed NONE! It was that dead...
So I got it boosted Friday after work and took it for a 45 minute drive on the highway to get it charged-up. Since then, everything has started to get back to normal. The power window now works fine, the "FASTEN SEAT BELTS" light no longer comes on, and the alarm is working perfectly. Plus, the car started fine every try on Saturday and Sunday. Although on both days I did notice that the voltage wasn't as high as it normally was before the engine was shampoed, especially at idle.
Then, today, going out to go to work AGAIN, the car battery was dead!! Wouldn't even attempt to turn-over it was so drained! It had only been parked for about 15 hours over night. I got it boosted and drove to work, arriving a few minutes late.
Now, I am convinced that SOMETHING is draining the battery when the car is shut off. I believe this is known as a "parasitic drain".
The battery, an Interstate Megatron, and alternator, a GM Delco, are both fairly new, about 1 year old, and both were replaced at the same time. Before Wednesday, I had absolutely NO charging or starting problems, so I know for a fact that the cleaning did something to cause this.
Anyone have any advice or possible solutions?
THANKS!:)
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On Mon, 23 Aug 2004, bigbossfan80 wrote:

Never a good idea.

And that's why.

Don't do it again!
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Steam cleaning an engine compartment is not recommended. All those electrical connections now have expensive boots and other designs to keep water out. A steamer overpowers those and puts water and chemicals where they shouldn't be. With modern electronic systems and multiplexed wiring, the consequences can be expensive. If it dries out and all the problems go away, you dodged the bullet.
As for the battery, you need to put it on a slow charger overnight. The alternator is a maintainer, not a charger. Go buy a *fully* automatic charger that has a 2-amp setting and let it charge overnight. Then start it and check the voltage at the battery terminals. Should be about 13.5 volts (13.2V minimum) or more with the engine running and the battery charger not connected. Keep jumping it off and you will have more problems.
On 23 Aug 2004 11:12:53 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.ca (bigbossfan80) wrote:
||Last Wednesday I had my 89 Cutlass Supreme's interior and engine ||completely steam cleaned and shampoed. || ||That same day, I had some strange electrical things happen. First, my ||drivers-side power window did not work at all. Second, my "FASTEN ||SEAT BELTS" light would light-up full or half-dim sometimes all by ||itself even though I had my seat belt on. My shock sensor for my ||alarm would cause the alarm to go off by itself. || ||Then, on Friday morning, I tried to start the car to go to work and ||found that the battery was so completely drained that it wouldn't even ||CLICK or turn-over at all! My digital dash, which normally shows ||5-bars for the battery when not running showed NONE! It was that ||dead... || ||So I got it boosted Friday after work and took it for a 45 minute ||drive on the highway to get it charged-up. Since then, everything has ||started to get back to normal. The power window now works fine, the ||"FASTEN SEAT BELTS" light no longer comes on, and the alarm is working ||perfectly. Plus, the car started fine every try on Saturday and ||Sunday. Although on both days I did notice that the voltage wasn't as ||high as it normally was before the engine was shampoed, especially at ||idle. || ||Then, today, going out to go to work AGAIN, the car battery was dead!! || Wouldn't even attempt to turn-over it was so drained! It had only ||been parked for about 15 hours over night. I got it boosted and drove ||to work, arriving a few minutes late. || ||Now, I am convinced that SOMETHING is draining the battery when the ||car is shut off. I believe this is known as a "parasitic drain". || ||The battery, an Interstate Megatron, and alternator, a GM Delco, are ||both fairly new, about 1 year old, and both were replaced at the same ||time. Before Wednesday, I had absolutely NO charging or starting ||problems, so I know for a fact that the cleaning did something to ||cause this. || ||Anyone have any advice or possible solutions? || ||THANKS!:)
Texas Parts Guy
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Yes there is probably water somewhere it shouldn't be causing you grief. It seems the window and seatbelt have dried out but there is still some more water somewhere that needs to dry out.
If you want to narrow it down, check the amps across each of the fuses (by removing the fuse first, any fusable links, etc. This will tell you which circuit is draining. I hope things dry out for you soon, but keep a charger on your battery in the meantime.
You may also want to check the integrity of your electrical connections under your hood, especially around your alternator. Who knows what could have been blasted by the steam cleaner. If your voltage is less than 13.5 while running, your alternator or connections to it and the battery are likely the problem.
If you need more particular steps in troubleshooting because your problems persist, please post back.
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Rick De Visser wrote:

Hi...
Might also be worth 10 second effort to check the belt?
Dunno what high pressure steam might do to it, but it surely can't be good :(
Take care.
Ken
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You 'had' it steam cleaned and shampooed? Who did the work? Take it back to the bone-heads who handled the hose. Why bother doing this sort of thing?(Shampoo)Unless you've got some serious engine work ahead. Engines don't care if they're a little grimy, there's no performance issues with a regularly dirty engine and engine bay. In your spanky clean bay, look for evidence of shorts, look for connectors still wet.
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I've cleaned engines in several of my vehicles without any problems but MAYBE a little spudder till they dried out. I always used Degreaser and the hose at the car wash, never steamcleaner and shampoo

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Take a volt meter, and start the car. Then test the voltage of the battery with the engine running. It should be around 14 volts. Then check the battery with the engine off, it should be around 12 volts. It could be either:
1) Your battery is dieing. 2) The amperage your alternator is putting out isn't enough to completely charge the battery, draining the battery.

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I have used tire foam and the garden hose for years with no problems at all. Had to be the pressure and steam that jacked things up. The "shampoo" that was used may have caused an advers effect on the belt strtching it out, and then resulting in no charge to the battery.

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Best bet is to spray every snap connector you see with a WD 40 type product. If you spot green electrical connectors, unplug,apply some fine valve grinding compound to the connector, and plug / unplug many times, follow up with more spray oil to flush away abrasive. Modern cars have so many electrical connectors that time spent maintaining them will pay off big down the road.
I use Castrol Super Clean, and hot water to clean filthy engines. Once it's clean, Simple Green, and warm water will keep it that way
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