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November 29, 2007


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The New York City High School Math Teacher

Somewhere, somehow, the electrical system is shorting. Possibly in the air conditioner compressor, possibly elsewhere, like in the starter motor. There should be a fusebox around the dash somewhere, and, in the manual, it should have the annunciation of each of the fuses. If the air compressor is alone on its circuit, disconnect it. If you're still having problems starting, it's not the compressor (which shouldn't be actuated anyway).

I've had similar problems with a balky starter motor on a Chrysler, which needed lots of amps to turn over toward the end of its service life. And, coincidentally, the deep-cycling killed a battery shortly before the starter got replaced. I'd replace the starter, which isn't a big deal.

The New York City High School Math Teacher

The more I think of it, the more I think your starter is to blame. Deep cycling lead-acid batteries causes extreme shortening of battery life. Sticky, balky starters can make an enormous drain on startup, and I can definitely see the damaged batteries not giving up the amps. Also, damaged batteries don't take charge well, and, combined with a minor short, like in the air compressor, can go dead.

Yeah, definitely replace the starter. See if there's a compressor short too, anyway - or a short anywhere, for that matter. It's a simple matter of testing the fusebox linkages with an ammeter, to look for inappropriate draw.


Yes, I eventually arrived at the same conclusion (after posting to the German Galaxy/Sharan/Alhambra board). I don't have an am-meter but I will get one.

The good news is that the service garage around the corner managed to get all the parts into the car that I had shlepped in from Germany - stabilizer rods, filters, belts of all sorts... the car drives nicely now and doesn't rattle anymore. That makes me happy. Of course, even with repeated asking, they would not check the battery outage while pulling single fuses (woman talks about cars to me, must be crazy and will be ignored).

Oh, well.

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