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2009 Murano, 80k miles; Dead Battery after Alternator & Battery replacement

2422 Views 48 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  VStar650CL
So, as the title says, I recently replaced the alternator and battery after losing power while driving and nearly not making it home. I took the alternator off, with much difficulty, and took it to be tested to confirm that it was at least part of the problem. The auto parts store said that the alternator did need to be replaced. I purchased a new, not rebuilt, alternator from RockAuto (Pure Energy brand, manufactured by Mitsubishi) and put it on a couple weeks ago. Even after charging the battery that was in the vehicle at the time I was not able to get it started. Fortuitously, the battery was just inside the replacement window and I was able to get a new one at no additional cost. They didn't test it or anything but I took the new one home, put it in, and it started right up. So I figured it was fixed. It ran fine for a couple of weeks until yesterday when I went to start it and all I heard was the starter clicking. I had to be somewhere so I just took a different vehicle. When I returned, I tried again to start it even though I knew it wouldn't, and the starter clicked again, and then there was an audible clicking inside the vehicle that would not stop until I disconnected the battery. I'm not sure if that's a symptom of anything as "newer" cars with this electrical wizardry, and this car in particular, seem to do strange things when something isn't right with the electrical system. As a side note, when I was first trying to confirm if the alternator was indeed the culprit, similar to the nonstop clicking inside, the lights came on and stayed on (albeit dimly) until I disconnected the battery.

Long story short, I replaced the alternator and battery with new ones, ~2 weeks later the battery appears dead and the vehicle will not start. Any ideas as to what could be killing the battery? I really don't look forward to pulling the alternator out again to have it tested and I'm not even sure if they can test to see if it's draining the battery when the car is off.

Any input is greatly appreciated because this is quite frustrating to say the least.

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There's a good chance your problem is the battery Current Sensor. When they go south they rarely flatline and cause a code, instead they start "lying" to the control modules about the electrical load and causing chronic undercharging. You can determine if that's the problem by clipping the Sky Blue wire on pin 76 of the IPDM. That's the "smart charging" control wire to the alternator, and clipping it will put the alternator on internal regulation at a constant 14.2~14.5V. If that resolves your issue then the Current Sensor was the culprit. You can either replace it or leave the control wire permanently clipped.
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Thanks for replying. Are you certain that the 2009 model is equipped with a battery current sensor? On the Nissan parts site it says that the part doesn't fit a 2009, only 2016 and up.

Reference: 2009 Nissan Murano Battery Current Sensor - 294G0-1HH0A - Genuine Nissan Part

Then again the picture says it fits 2010-2022 but if you click in the year models at the top it says it doesn't.

I didn't have time to do anything other than confirm the battery is still good today. Will try to take a look at it tomorrow. From the picture it looks like it would be pretty evident on the negative terminal connector if this sensor was there. If I recall correctly there's not much there other than a clamp with a bolt on it. Would it be located somewhere else?
Are you certain that the 2009 model is equipped with a battery current sensor? On the Nissan parts site it says that the part doesn't fit a 2009, only 2016 and up.
Notice the box on the ground cable (and the fact that the cable lists for $145). The sensor is part of the ground cable assembly. P/n for your ride should be 24080-1AA0A.
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Well I've clipped the wire to the battery current sensor. I guess time will tell but I have a sneaking suspicion there's a parasitic draw somewhere. I've been driving it a couple times a week on longer trips than I was previously since I charged the battery and put it back in. I haven't had a problem yet but today the battery read ~11.5 volts with a (cheap) multimeter, but it still started. I just clipped it today so we'll see what happens I guess. Seems ridiculous to have to drive longer trips just to keep the battery charged, it's not like it sits for months or even weeks.

Is there a reliable way to check for parasitic draw on these vehicles? I tried checking by disconnecting the negative battery cable and letting it sit for 30-45 minutes and then measuring the negative post and the negative cable. It said there was half an amp draw but when I connected the leads it sounded like a relay clicked on. I suspect the BCM wasn't asleep yet but 11.5 volts is worrying even with this cheap meter.
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The BCM's hibernate at 30 minutes on the dot. You have to have doors closed (or door switches removed). You can put a charger on the battery while doing the draw test. Generally the draw will drop under 200mA within a few minutes, if it's hanging at half an amp after 5 minutes then you definitely have a draw. Draw testing is complicated because when you pull the fuse for one device it can "wake up" another device. That's particularly true of fuses into the BCM. If you do have a draw and it isn't something silly like a vanity or glove box lamp, the most likely culprit for half an amp is the battery feed for the radio.
To do a parasitic draw test. Use a Digital Multi-Meter that can handle a minimum of 1 Milli-amp and up to 10 amps is needed to perform the test. Place inline between the negative battery post and the end of the negative battery cable. Make sure you turn off all of the accessories and disable the front door switch with a clamp on the door switch.(when the door is open) when testing. Then let the car sit over 30 minute to go fully asleep. If the meter shows over 50-miliamps it's considered excessive. If after 30 minutes your meter is still over 50-miliamps, that indicates a parasitic draw. Make sure you've clamped the door switch at the start otherwise you'll have to start all over and wait another 30 minutes. Then, remove the fuses one-by-one until the draw is eliminated; this will help you isolate the circuit that the draw is on. Leave the fuses out otherwise you may wake up the computer. Get a wiring diagram for that particular circuit and locate all that is powered on it. With the fuse installed, disconnect those items one by one until the excessive draw is eliminated; this will tell you what component is source of the draw.
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I've ordered a multimeter that should allow measurement of those ranges.

It sounds like I'd need to connect the multimeter and then let it sit for 30 minutes for it to go to sleep - is this correct? That would at least partially explain the draw I saw when I attempted the test before.
Yep. You should see a draw under 200mA within, say, 5 minutes. The BCM's hibernate at exactly 30 minutes, and at that point most models will go below 20mA (13mA is probably average). Anything above 40mA is unhealthy.
What would be the best way to connect it to the negative terminal? A small clamp? Too big for standard alligator clips.
I use a visegrips on the post and a pair of alligator jumpers.
It's been awhile since I've messed with this as there was some foul weather and I'm frustrated with the thing at this point, but I wanted to say that I appreciate all the help, advice, and schematics from everyone.

So I went to do a draw test today and of course the brand new multimeter is defective and won't measure amperage. Before I could obtain a different multimeter I tried a different test that involved testing for millivolts across the fuses themselves as shown in this video:

All of the fuses inside the vehicle went back to 0. Some in the engine compartment were at .1 or .2 millivolts. I thought I had found the problem when the fuse for Audio, Front Display, Rear Display, Navi Control Unit, DVD Player, Video Distributor, Camera Control Unit was measuring at ~11 millvolts. #35 on the diagram

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However this reading disappeared and was zeroing out like it should a few minutes later. I don't know if such a problem could be intermittent or the multimeter is the problem. Like I said it's brand new but it wouldn't measure amps but had seemed to be doing fine with volts. I found a really cheap multimeter laying around and hooked it to the negative post of the battery and the negative battery wire as directed. After an hour I was getting a reading of 300 milliamps, obviously a problem but a bit of a mystery to me since the fuse test didn't seem to yield conclusive results. There are a few fuses that can't be tested with the previously described method, they're large fuses that take up the space of several of the smaller regular fuses. They're the lettered spaces in the diagram if I recall correctly. If it's one of these it'll be a real jackpot to track down.

Barring any other ideas, I suppose I'll wait until the replacement meter arrives and see if it will function correctly, then I'll do it the old fashioned way and pull the fuses one by one. I presume that I would need to pull relays as well when trying to get the draw down?

Thanks again for all the help.
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Not relays, but a lot of times it helps to pull fusible links and see which group of circuits is causing the problem. Then you can concentrate just on the group of fuses being supplied by that link. It means consulting the wiring diagram, but it can cut down on a whole lot of fuse-pulling.
It seems the draw is dropping to 340mA after everything goes to sleep. I pulled the fusible links and thought I had it isolated to the one closest to the firewall, labeled BC in the fusible link diagram: Fuse Box Diagram Nissan Murano (Z51; 2009-2014)

Ok, this looked like progress to me. So I started pulling the fuses listed on the diagram that were connected to BC, which according to this schematic were all the ones inside the engine bay. Pulled them all and there was no drop in the draw. I figured no big deal the diagram is wrong so I started pulling the fuses inside the vehicle. When I pulled the fuse labeled "meter (bat)," the draw dropped to 31 mA. I thought that might have still been a little high but a giant improvement. I pulled a few more and when I pulled the fuse labeled "elec parts (bat)" the draw all but disappeared, down to 1mA. So I figured the main problem was the circuit for meter (bat), which as far as I can find out is for the combination meter which I'm assuming is the instrument cluster? It doesn't really matter at this point because the plot thickens of course. I went back the next day since I thought I had it narrowed down and just wanted to confirm it before taking the dash apart to see if it was indeed the instrument cluster. I pulled literally every fuse in the vehicle, both in the engine bay and the interior this time and the 340 mA draw remained. So with no fuses left to pull I disconnected the wire labeled EGI harness in this diagram:

This made the draw disappear. When the cable was hooked back up the draw came back. I confirmed this again today. I'm at a total loss why the draw would jump from where it was initially to now being related to this wire, or if this is indicative of another, larger problem. I'm not even sure what an EGI harness is. Engine harness? Engine, generator, and ignition harness? The part number in the above schematic yields no results on the same website it came from. I don't know if it's just me or the Nissan parts website is incredibly badly designed. Or maybe they don't want you finding parts. If I search for that egi harness part number, it returns with no results saying 'excluded: "24078"'

I'm not even sure that would fix the problem or if it could be replaced without totally dismantling everything.

How's that for complicated?


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I forgot to add that I found this diagram, which suggests that wire is for the starting and charging I'm back to thinking it's a bad (new, not reman) alternator with a stuck diode or something. I was reading online that this is incredibly unlikely but who knows at this point. With this thing I'd say anything is possible.

Still doesn't explain why it would be on the circuit for the instrument panel one day and here in this wire the next. Quite an electrical gremlin.
That wire should only go to the starter and alternator, so unless it's chafed through to something else in the harness, your choices are very limited. Try disconnecting both the starter and alternator main leads. If the draw doesn't disappear from one or the other then your harness has a problem.
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PS - Screwed up AV Units and BCM's both often reset themselves and behave after being disconnected. Very frustrating to track down, but it isn't all that uncommon.
As far as I can tell the alternator was creating the parasitic drain. I tested it twice, once with the main lead to the alternator removed - no draw, and again with the wire hooked back up where there was ~340 milliamps of draw. I don't see what else it could be at this point.

I've got a warranty replacement on the way. I'm wondering if an auto parts store would be able to test and see if there's a draw from the new one before I cram it back in there? Might be outside of the machine's capabilities but would be worth a shot since it's not the easiest job. My luck I'll get this 'incredibly unlikely' scenario twice.
I've got a warranty replacement on the way. I'm wondering if an auto parts store would be able to test and see if there's a draw from the new one before I cram it back in there?
Most parts store testers only check for output and bad diodes, not leaky field circuitry. However, there's nothing wrong with making a jumper hookup to allow plugging the new one into the car before you actually bolt it down. That will be a PITA on a Murano, but probably less aggravating than finding out the new one is bad after bolting it up. Make sure the jumper includes a ground to the alternator body if you do that.
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