Escalade battery dead w/beeping even w/neg cable removed

   / Escalade battery dead w/beeping even w/neg cable removed #1  

Gale Hawkins

Super Star Member
Sep 20, 2009
Murray, KY
1948 Allis Chambers Model B 1976 265 MF / 1983 JD 310B Backhoe / 1966 Ford 3000 Diesel / 1980 3600 Diesel
The wife went to start the 2003 (110K miles) Escalade 2WD with tow package and the battery was dead. We have had it about 6 months with NO issues and it is an awesome vehicle. It was driven yesterday and has been setting as much as five days at a time during the snow and the battery stayed up fine.

I put the B&D charger on it and the amperage jumped around at first then went to charging the max charger setting. Once the charger started to taper then the amperage again started varying over a 6 amp range all the way down to about 1 amp.

There was faint clicking under the hood and I though it was the B&D charger changing modes but it was every minute or two.

After removing the neg battery cable the clicking under the hood (not yet pin pointed the source for sure) which is not very loud at at all.

When I screwed a post terminal into the battery where I removed the neg cable and reconnected the battery charger the amperage read was just over 1 amp and stable with it dropping .1 amp at a time.

Clearly there is a relay, etc putting on a varying load but how the clicking continues is beyond me with the 12v power source removed unless there is a cap or something holding a charge at this time.

It sounds like it is coming from mid engine (alternator or to the left of the alternator). When I go around to the right side of the engine (pass. side) the sound is very faint. The battery charger was sitting over the center of the radiator and the clicking seemed to be coming from that location but my hearing is shot which does not help with trouble shooting.

Anyone ever experienced something like this with a GM truck of this era? Thanks for any thoughts. I now think the battery is NOT the issue since it is out of the loop and the clicking continues.
   / Escalade battery dead w/beeping even w/neg cable removed
  • Thread Starter
I got some help and the beeping is from the nearby MH due to a low smoke detector battery.:laughing:

Still no idea what is draining the battery and making the charger amperage bound around. Isolated the battery went to full charge and I have a Desulf mode cycle in progress.
   / Escalade battery dead w/beeping even w/neg cable removed #3  
i recently had an issue where both batteries in my 01 gmc would be dead when i went to use it. the batteries were almost six years old and they did not test out, so i replaced them anyways. after hooking them up i went and got my keys. when i got in i noticed the heater fan blower was running. the ignition was off, the key was not in and the fan switch was off - but it was still blowing air. i had to replace the blower motor resistor under the dash. the relay in the resistor pack was occasionally turning the fan on with no key and the fan switch and ignition off. it was pure luck that i caught it running - usually it turned itself on when i wasn't in the truck.
   / Escalade battery dead w/beeping even w/neg cable removed #4  
My wives wrangler hood light stayed on all the time killing her batteryI finally found it one night when I thought she had mood lights put under it the light was shining on the ground with the hood down its unplugged now:laughing:
another friend had a problem with his Chevy truck and we narrowed it down to the abs pulled the fuse and phantom load went away

   / Escalade battery dead w/beeping even w/neg cable removed #5  
Does have the original delco battery in it? If it does, it is 7 plus years old. Get rid of it. That is probably your problem. If the battery is newer this is how I would proceed: 1. Check voltage of your battery. A fully charged battery will be about 12.6v. If it has removable caps, I would check each cell with a Hydrometer. You can get a Hydrometer for about 10 bucks. This will absoluty tell you the state of charge of each cell. If it is a replacement Delco you won't be able to access the cells because they are sealed. Big batteries take a long time to charge on the little home units when the are dead. So if you have a dead Delco, let it charge up fully before testing. 2. When fully charged, the next proper test is the load test, but this requires a load meter, which you are not going to want to buy. So after charging turn on your battery loads, such as lights, open doors, turn key to on etc. After a few minutes try to start the truck. If it cranks quickly the battery is probably ok. I would prefer a proper load test but thats the way it goes. 3. If the battery has a good cranking speed after the load, check the charging system voltage now, it should be 14.5v running. Here I would load the battery with my tester an check amps output of the alternator, but you will have to be satisfied if you see 14.5v at the battery. 4. Shut down the engine, turn off all accessories, make sure all lights inside and out are turned off, check glove box lights, cig lighters, rear domes, etc. Remove pos terminal and hook ampmeter in series with the battery and the pos wire. You should see less than a half a amp after a few seconds to a minute. Allow time for onboard computors to power down and go to sleep. Most cars have less than .25 amp draws. This test will tell you if you have something draining your battery.
   / Escalade battery dead w/beeping even w/neg cable removed
  • Thread Starter
Thanks. Here is were we are at now.

The Super Start battery looks relative new but the date was not punched out.

I have reinstalled the negative cable and the charger is now behaving normally. We will see if it discharges again. Using the B&D alternator test on the charger it tested GOOD at idle.
   / Escalade battery dead w/beeping even w/neg cable removed #7  
Lots of good info here. First thing is the battery. Second is the cables. Then check connections. I have seen lots of alternators do just what you are describing. A small load will give you fits. On jeeps the first place you look is the headlight switch, common issue.

I have seen this with many GM trucks if a trailer was left hooked up. Reason being many have a constant 12V hot wire on the 7 round plug. The trailer brake system will drain the battery. Don't ask me how I know this. Ford uses a relay so its only hot when the truck is running.

Many things to look for but I am sure you will find it.

Reminds me of my new refrigerator we bought in 2003 when we moved into our current home. Wake up to frozen milk and drinks. Repair man put in new thermostat, cleaned unit, other parts, ect over a 2 month period. Once night the baby was crying so I went down to make her a bottle. Did not turn the lights on and the seal on the door was glowing. Turned out it was a bad switch on the light. Bulb made enough heat to fool the thermostat to tell it to run and in turn froze up the drinks. Drove us nuts, just like phantom voltage loss in a vehicle.

   / Escalade battery dead w/beeping even w/neg cable removed
  • Thread Starter
I asked kids to recall what happened the evening before the dead battery. Since they are on the road about an hour each day they use the time to listen to books their mother selects for them to. That evening like many times before they parked and continued to listen to the book. The CD continues to play IF you do not open any door for 15-20 minutes which they did but being near the end and wanting to return it to the library soon the key was turned back on so the CD restarted. When they finished the key was turned off and removed and they came into the house.

After lunch the next day the wife found the dead battery on her way to work and had to jump into the old Towncar that thankfully I had put the charger on a couple days before just to top it off since the 1.5 amp charger hard wired to the battery had died but after church it was replaced. It is needed because it is not the daily driver anymore. We did check the alternator with the B&D charger just now and the output tested OK.

After lunch the Escalade痴 battery was still at 12.7 volts so it after about 12 hours it had not discharged. I am going to let it set another day just to be on the safe side before she starts driving it again.

My guess is the CD or some other changing load did not release when the key was turned off the night the battery ran down. It was a fast cycling load because the charger was going from 1 to 6 then 4 than back to 1 amp read out with only 2-3 seconds between each charger readout change after the battery was recharged.

I have asked them to turn off the CD at the dash before removing the ignition key. If something is failing it will get worse but it may just be one of those one off kind of things.

After all of these years this is the first time I have seen a charger readout jumping like that for NO known cause. We know the alternator has good output and with the battery connected over night it did not discharge. Time will tell and thanks for the input. I did learn some new things from the input.
   / Escalade battery dead w/beeping even w/neg cable removed #9  
I think in the long run you will find it was a bad connection or battery cable somewhere. You may have corrected it for the time being by just removing the cables from the battery and reattaching.

   / Escalade battery dead w/beeping even w/neg cable removed
  • Thread Starter
I think in the long run you will find it was a bad connection or battery cable somewhere. You may have corrected it for the time being by just removing the cables from the battery and reattaching.


I expect it being the most complex vehicle we have ever owned you may be correct.