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'90 Ls400 Electrical Issue (accesories Won't Work Until Car Is


fencera
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I am in New Haven, CT and for the last week has been reasonably cold here (this morning it was in the teens). Now that is is cold, I have started to have a strange electrical issue come up.

When I go to unlock the car (ie: after sitting all night), the remote unlocking won't work. I have to use the key to unlock the doors, and then only the driver's door will unlock. Once inside the car, the central lock/unlock refuses to work as does the remote trunk release, gas release and radio/cd player/tape player. It seems that everything else in the car is working except these items. I can hear relays clicking when I pull the releases/push the lock unlock, but nothing is happening. There is no response whatsoever when I push the power button for the stereo (or individual functions on the faceplate ie: radio, tape). The windows, mirrors, tilt/telescope and seats all work fine.

Turning the car off then back on has no effect.

After taking the car for a short trip to the grocery store when I came back to the car, the remote unlocking wasn't working again and it took a few minutes for the radio to start working again. The temp needle had fallen to the first bar.

After the engine has gotten to being about 1/3 up the thermostat on the dash, these functions gradually start working. ie: the stereo will stay on for a few seconds then turn off and after a few tries start working completely normally.

The car has over 300,000 miles, everything else about it works perfectly and there has been no recent work that could have affected these systems.

Clearly this doesn't seem to be a fuse given I can hear clicking relays and things eventually do work.

Also, clearly the temperature of the engine should not play a role in the functioning of these accessories.

However, the physical temperature of various parts of the car may play a role? ie: something is sticking? Although I doubt that the cabin warming up gets all the way back to the trunk latch and gas cap...

The only other idea that came to my mind was that the battery voltage is low and while the car starts, takes a while before it is high enough to get everything working. This seems rather far fetched.

Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

-Andrew

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I feel your battery is on its way out and the cold is really killing it. I believe that is what's happening, since there is not enough voltage to go around the computer shuts down non-essential systems and lets you run the engine until it has the power to run them. Cold weather is death on car batteries and if yours is more than 3 years old that is the culprit, it seems you need a better battery for cold weather, and the one you have is about to go. Also check your battery terminals for corrosion etc. they go hand in hand with a bad battery.

CPR

CPR

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I feel your battery is on its way out and the cold is really killing it. I believe that is what's happening, since there is not enough voltage to go around the computer shuts down non-essential systems and lets you run the engine until it has the power to run them. Cold weather is death on car batteries and if yours is more than 3 years old that is the culprit, it seems you need a better battery for cold weather, and the one you have is about to go. Also check your battery terminals for corrosion etc. they go hand in hand with a bad battery.

CPR

CPR

Thanks for the response.

The battery is one year old, but when recently tested with an oil change, did register as "marginal" on their tester machine. I am at a loss as to why the battery (auto craft titanium) is so weak after a year. It does seem like a reasonable cause for the problems despite the fact the car starts. It just seems to odd to me that these particular systems don't work.

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