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My 348 has been sitting in my garage for the winter, warm and cozy. I've started it on occasion to keep things lubricated and to hear the music. Generally its been left alone for 1 or 2 weeks at a time without starting. At one point it went nearly a month. There has never been a problem. She rolled and started immediately every time. Last Thursday we had a rash of beautiful weather that caused me to take her out for the day. We cruised a total of about 120 miles. I pulled the top and enjoyed every minute. After re-aquainting myself with the majesty of her, I sadly put her back in the garage to wait for the next moment.

Today was that day. I rushed home from work with the knowledge I would be handsomely rewarded. Pulled the car cover sank into the seat turned the key and....nothing. No dash lights, no seatbelt mouse, nothing. The battery was stone dead. I put the charger on her and let it run at low and high amps for a while. Later, after it was nearly to cold for a top off cruise, I turned the key and she sprang to life. I let her warm and idle for a while to reset the codes. We went for a short spin to make sure everything was fine. dash lights we all extiguished at idle, battery light came on at 2000 RPM followed by check engine lights. A few miles and revs later, the lights went out (indicating the battery was now fully charged) and everything was fine.

Now the questions

What could be the cause for the battery to go stone dead after only 5 days when it worked effortlessly the entire winter? What systems should I investigate to make sure they are NOT drawing when the key is off? How do I isolate systems to find the culprit? What could I have turned on during my drive last Thursday that won't shut off.

Batteries don't just die. They must be discharged. A battery that has been discharged to often or for to long get contamination of the plates within the battery that prevent it from holding a new charge. When your battery will not accept a charge or hold it for a reasonable amount of time, replace it. Certain Models of Ferrari (early 348 and others) have issues with the charging systems due to inadequately sized (rated capacity) alternators. A weak battery can easily damage this already suspect machine. Don't screw around, buy a new battery to save thousands in alternator replacement fees. Don't wait for it to prove its bad. Most decent Battery retailers will gladly load test them for you.



To Isolate systems

install multimeter on battery posative terminal to read DC Amps
Start the car and note amp reading
shut off the car and note amp readings
starting with the most likely things like aftermarket stuff (stereos, amplifiers, fog lights, etc...) remove fuses and relays one at a time noting amperage readings.
when you pull the offending fuse / relay, you have found your culprit.

Trace the offending system starting with the most obvious, find blown light bulbs, loose or shorted wiring, crimped wiring, bent or broken connectors, and other things that don't look right. Fix , tape, or replace the problems noted. re-install fuse / relay and check amp meter.
 

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I would guess the alternator may not be charging your battery enough. I would rule out the battery since it took a charge from your charger. Then again, it could just be some contact points on your alternator. Good luck.
 

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clean your terminals (battery and alternator) look for burnt or coroded(sp) wires and pinches in the wiring.
 

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Do you have a volt meter? If so see what the voltage with the car running. My guess is it's 12 something volts which is not nearly enough. If it's less than about 13.5 you have issues in my book as ideal is 14.7 volts. Also you could take your alternator to a parts store and have them test it for you. I hate to say it but I know they do that at Auto Zone for free. Not that I would consider getting a replacement their for your car. Also i am pretty sure they should have a load tester at the Auto Zone which you could just drive to and have them hook that up to your car and see what it says.

Best Regards,

Thomas Carey
 
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