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  #1  
Old 10-10-2008, 09:18 AM
bshill bshill is offline
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Question 2002 Chrysler Sebring LXi Sedan - Battery Replacement/Access Help!

My 2002 Chrysler Sebring LXi Sedan has been great, and I've never had any major problems with it...until this past week. The safety shut-off did not work (or did not work fast enough) when I left on one of the interior map lights, and my battery died.

I have jump-started the car, and I've gotten the battery to charge somewhat; however, the battery isn't holding a charge very well, and I have to be careful to keep it from dying again. Given the age of the vehicle, and that I've never replaced the battery, though, I think it's time for a new battery.

The problem is, I can't figure out how to access the battery for replacement! I can clearly see that the battery for my 2002 Sebring sedan is buried under the fuse panel, and can only access the terminal extenders from under the hood. I've searched the web exhaustively, and with the exception of trying to order a paper service manual, I've had no luck finding any definitive guidance for accessing and replacing the battery. There have been some cryptic responses posted here and there, such as remove the wheel or remove the bumper skirt or fender, but nothing clear. And certainly no advice as to how to remove the bumper or fender (I think I can handle the wheel based on general experience).

So...my first forum question is this: How do I access the battery compartment so that I can remove the old dead (or dying) battery and replace it with a new battery?

Ordinarily, I'd have AAA tow the thing to the dealer and let them do it, but unfortunately I don't have an extra couple hundred dollars to spare on extra parts and labor in addition to the cost of the battery itself. I've tried AAA's battery replacement service, but they've been no help so far. Many thanks in advance for any help anyone could give me in this situation!
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2008, 10:38 AM
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peg leg peg leg is offline
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Default yup

Remove the wheel, to access the battery compartment.
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  #3  
Old 10-10-2008, 11:49 AM
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1973Swinger 1973Swinger is offline
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Thats funny, my 03 has the battery right on top near the drivers side windshield, mine is the coupe though. My Interpid was like yours though, you had to remove the wheel and there was an access panel in the wheel well.
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  #4  
Old 10-10-2008, 01:52 PM
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If it's the same as my old 2001 300M you need to remove the wheel to get access to the inner fender /wheel well which had a panel that screwed off. Shows what happens when the design em on computer terminals and since its a "lifetime" part we can bury it here.
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  #5  
Old 10-10-2008, 03:13 PM
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pishta pishta is offline
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Ditto, turn wheel hard right to stops on my Breeze and you can access battery panel in front side of wheel well. Or take off wheel.
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  #6  
Old 10-10-2008, 04:19 PM
bshill bshill is offline
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Thanks, everybody - I was not expecting to see so many responses so soon! I am pleased to report that all hope may not be lost for the battery...I hope. <=-/

I just returned home from driving the Sebring downtown for an appointment, followed by some errands, and was pleasantly surprised that after an hour sitting in the parking deck, the car started on the first try. I first thought this was a fluke, since the car had been off only an hour, and it had been in the cool shade of the garage, but after driving and idling my car around town for the next 2 hours or so, I had to leave it parked in the sun outside my wife's office. It started up this time, also without a problem, in fact more stongly than in the garage.

Soooo, I'm wondering, as a follow-up question, is it your experience that these batteries can recover from being depleted as mine was after receiving the charge it gets from driving around for several hours, including the freeway? Or, am I only setting myself up for a delayed disappointment when I try to start the car tomorrow?

If I can avoid spending $100+ for a replacement battery, that would be ideal. I met a neighbor earlier who let me borrow a 6 amp charger and I've hooked it up for the afternoon.

I can tell this is a Mopar battery installed, so it must be a factory original (I am the second owner and bought the car at 12,000 miles in 2005), and I've noticed many complaints about bad batteries in this model car from many owners on this forum and elsewhere, including multiple replacements within 6 years...Perhaps the battery has outlived its expected life based on the experience of others? Another thing I thought of today was that I've not been driving my car nearly as much lately as I used to, and I've also kept it garaged since we moved to Austin recently. Could the battery have been weakening all along before, but I'd just driven the car enough so that it wasn't a problem?

Is it possible that the driving and charging today could solve my problem with the battery for good, or for a long while (assuming I remember to turn off all my lights going forward)? Or, should I go ahead and buy a new battery to replace it now?

Is there anything else I should check that might be causing trouble with the battery and/or electrical system, while I'm in the car repair mode this weekend? I seem to recall hearing once that a bad fuse can sometimes sap power from the battery while the engine is not running. Perhaps a bad fuse contributed to the dead battery in addition to the map light and was enough to push it over the edge?
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  #7  
Old 10-10-2008, 06:34 PM
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peg leg peg leg is offline
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Default Your battery

Has reached the limit of it's life. Good grief, it's old and tired. My Cummins original batteries lasted eight years.
modern auto batteries don't usually give much warning before they die.
I doubt you have any complaints about the good length of service you got from yours! By all means, with colder weather coming, get a new one. $100 bucks is more than you should pay for good ones. I bought one for the Demon today, group 24, good qauality, for $63.00.
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  #8  
Old 10-10-2008, 09:54 PM
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pishta pishta is offline
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Us the 6A Charger until the needle wiggles over 0 or overnight, but the poor battery will NEVER be as good as it was before the complete drain down. That is the surefire way to kill a good battery, itll only bounce back to about 90% of its former glory, every deep discharge kills about 10%. Deep cycle batteries are built for this abuse, but not car batteries. Batteries are 50 bucks at Costco. Cheap insurance that the car will start the next morning, just skip that Sat night at the buffet and bar, thats an easy $50 nowadays.

Things have a finite lifespan, the farther you get past that, the luckier you can feel. My wife told me her Hyundai was the worst car she ever owned, I asked how many miles were on it when they gave up on it, she said 280,000!!!
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  #9  
Old 10-29-2008, 09:01 PM
bshill bshill is offline
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Default Thanks all - now just need access

Thanks for the helpful replies. I'm going to replace the battery as soon as possible. Fortunately, we have a garage to keep the car out of the cold, but since I found the $53 battery at Costco, I'll be changing it sooner than later.

Just as soon as I can get a jack so that I can access the battery compartment...
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  #10  
Old 10-30-2008, 01:02 AM
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ehostler ehostler is offline
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I was driving past autozone the other day. I noticed that they offer a free battery replacement service. It might be a good option.

Also, make sure that the costco battery is a group 75 battery and not a group 86 battery. The group 86 won't fit without modifications to the heat shield.
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Last edited by ehostler : 10-30-2008 at 01:09 AM.
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  #11  
Old 10-30-2008, 04:21 AM
bshill bshill is offline
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Sounds interesting, but then again, that's what AAA said, too...until they saw where the battery was. I think I'll phone ahead...
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  #12  
Old 02-03-2009, 09:42 AM
paolo paolo is offline
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I did this same thing last night. The wheel had to come off (not just turned) cause there was a fastener to remove behind the wheel to get the inner fender off.

Those little fasteners (not screws) were a bugger to get off until I figured out that you wiggle and remove the center pin to get the entire fastener off.

And I don't know if the battery warmer jacket is installed in all cars or just those sold in Canada, but if so, you need to follow the wire from the jacket to the block heater plug and disconnect it before removing the battery.

All in all (including pushing the car back into the driveway to work on it) it took me 60 minutes and was fairly easy.

Last edited by paolo : 02-03-2009 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Clarity
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