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Discussion Starter #1
12V battery replaced after "Initializing....Please wait to shift" DIC message

I thought I would post my experience dealing with the "Initializing....Please wait to shift" DIC message, in case it helps anyone in the future. I found other threads, but it seemed best to post my own rather than trying to figure out which one of the existing threads to use.

Last week, I unplugged my car to leave for work. I heard two clicks from my charge station, which I thought was unusual. As I got in the car, I noticed the DIC showed a full battery, but with 0 miles. That's odd.

With my foot on the brake, I pushed the start button. I got the dreaded "Initializing....Please wait to shift" message on the DIC, and that was it. The radio functioned normally, as did the interior lights, fan, and the hatch. I pushed start again with my foot on the brake, and now the DIC looked like a normal "on", but the MIL light was on, the battery icon showed 0, and there was a small gas icon. I never got past the initializing message. I couldn't get the car to shut off either.

Having read about the initializing message in the forums before, I searched and found I could turn it off by pushing the start button without my foot on the brake; this got the car to shut off. Using my OBDII reader, I got these codes:

P1E00
P1EBD
P0AF8
P0AC4

I tried to start the car again, but it still wouldn't get past the initializing message. I tried putting both remotes in the microwave to shield them from the car, opening the door, waiting 5 minutes, etc. with no luck. I disconnected the negative cable from the battery, briefly connected a jumper between the two cables, and waited for 3 minutes. I reconnected the negative cable, and the car started successfully.

Suspecting the battery, I drove to Autozone on Saturday to have it tested, but Autozone told me they won't test 12V batteries when installed in a hybrid; I had to remove it and bring the bare battery to them. So this weekend I removed the battery (it's clearly marked with EVLN2 on top) from my car and took it to Autozone to have it checked. It was bad. Not surprised, the car is almost 5yrs old. Unfortunately, they told me they do not carry an AGM battery for the Volt (the battery they have that fits is not AGM).

I called my local Chevy dealer, and the parts tech said he was never asked for one; all he could find was a listing for the battery, but no inventory or price information. He would have to call GM on Monday.

Not wanting to wait, I checked Advance Autoparts, and they did have a replacement in stock. I took my old battery to them to have it tested again (confirmed it was bad), and picked up a new Autocraft Platinum H5-AGM (I actually ordered the battery online to pick up in the store as I had a 20% off coupon which brought the price down to $146). This battery looks identical to the old one, right down to the specs, vent connection, and the mold marks on the case. It also has a partially covered sticker that said "Made in Germany", just like the old one. Sure looks like it came from the same manufacturer. Put the battery in my car, and all is well.

I also wanted one from my wife's car, thinking it was the same age, and just like headlights, when one goes, the other will probably go soon as well. They didn't have another in stock, but transferred one from another store and honored the 20% off coupon on that one too.

So both cars now have new batteries, and hopefully I won't have to worry about a battery problem for a while.

Btw, I used this FAQ for help with torqueing the bolts (thanks, Steverino!):
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?113913-Issues-from-lose-12V-Battery-connections-FAQ
 

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Good info. It is probably a good investment in these cars to just plan on replacing the battery every 36-48 months even if the battery has no issues. That way you are not left with a trip to the dealer or other unknown problems.
 

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I could turn it off by pushing the start button without my foot on the brake; this got the car to shut off.
I thought this was the 'normal' way to turn off a Volt/ELR??
 

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I think adding the float charge feature in 2013 will significantly improve battery life, if you keep the car plugged in. I have an AGM battery in my motorcycle which is always on a maintainer when parked. Got 10 years out of the last one.
 

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Thanks for the post, My Volt is now 5 years old, so I will test its 12 volt battery. but I will not have an auto parts store test it.
In my experiences with the battery tests used in several auto parts stores, the test results are about as good as tossing a coin.
Several times I have had them tell me good batteries are bad and bad batteries are good.

With Lead acid batteries it takes a full cycle test to really know how good or bad the battery is. Quick tests cant really know, sense they start with a battery at an unknown state of charge. I know, because I have experience in testing well over 10,000 lead acid batteries, in various conditions. Lead acid batteries that seem dead may just need a trickle charge to bring them back (unless they have been left discharged for over a month). Batteries that start a car well, could be close to failing. The only way to know for sure is a full cycle test and looking at the charge and discharge curves.

Lead acid batteries that have been kept charged (not over charged) and not discharged significantly for over a few hours more than a few times a year should be able to meet specs for 5 or 6 years (possibly a little longer). Deep discharge types can handle the discharging much better than the regular car type batteries. Lead acid batteries can also develop a "Memory" or voltage depression type of problem (similar to NiCad batteries but not as quickly), and may require a discharged of about 1/2 way or more (and immediately recharged) to reverse this problem.

I will let you know how the test of the 12 volt battery in my 5 year old Volt goes in a week or so. a proper full cycle test of a lead acid battery takes at least five hours with the proper equipment and could take a day or more, if it requires more than one cycle to be sure.

The standard is that if a lead acid battery has at least 80% of its spec. capacity, it is considered good. However I have found that if it is not at least 85% of spec. it will probably fail with in 6 months.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I thought this was the 'normal' way to turn off a Volt/ELR??
If the car is working normally, either way works to shut off the car. I normally have my foot on the brake before I turn it off (habit since you have to have your foot on the brake to start the car).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the post, My Volt is now 5 years old, so I will test its 12 volt battery. but I will not have an auto parts store test it.
In my experiences with the battery tests used in several auto parts stores, the test results are about as good as tossing a coin.
Several times I have had them tell me good batteries are bad and bad batteries are good.

With Lead acid batteries it takes a full cycle test to really know how good or bad the battery is. Quick tests cant really know, sense they start with a battery at an unknown state of charge. I know, because I have experience in testing well over 10,000 lead acid batteries, in various conditions. Lead acid batteries that seem dead may just need a trickle charge to bring them back (unless they have been left discharged for over a month). Batteries that start a car well, could be close to failing. The only way to know for sure is a full cycle test and looking at the charge and discharge curves.

Lead acid batteries that have been kept charged (not over charged) and not discharged significantly for over a few hours more than a few times a year should be able to meet specs for 5 or 6 years (possibly a little longer). Deep discharge types can handle the discharging much better than the regular car type batteries. Lead acid batteries can also develop a "Memory" or voltage depression type of problem (similar to NiCad batteries but not as quickly), and may require a discharged of about 1/2 way or more (and immediately recharged) to reverse this problem.

I will let you know how the test of the 12 volt battery in my 5 year old Volt goes in a week or so. a proper full cycle test of a lead acid battery takes at least five hours with the proper equipment and could take a day or more, if it requires more than one cycle to be sure.

The standard is that if a lead acid battery has at least 80% of its spec. capacity, it is considered good. However I have found that if it is not at least 85% of spec. it will probably fail with in 6 months.
Good info, thanks! I'm sure others will be interested in the results of your tests, so please post back.
 

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I checked Advance Autoparts, and they did have a replacement in stock. I took my old battery to them to have it tested again (confirmed it was bad), and picked up a new Autocraft Platinum H5-AGM (I actually ordered the battery online to pick up in the store as I had a 20% off coupon which brought the price down to $146). This battery looks identical to the old one, right down to the specs, vent connection, and the mold marks on the case. It also has a partially covered sticker that said "Made in Germany", just like the old one. Sure looks like it came from the same manufacturer.
Thanks for posting this. As time goes by, I'm sure more Volts (including mine) will need a new 12V AGM battery. Knowing that Advance Autoparts has them is helpful. I have a variety of auto parts stores near me, including Advance.

I updated the FAQ to include your info, fishhawk.
 

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Thanks fishhawk!

I ordered the Autocraft Platinum H5-AGM battery from Advance for my 2012 today. Shipping to my house was free.

I checked the price with the parts desk of a local Chevrolet dealer, and saved over $100.00 by ordering online from Advance.
 

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So did you at least test the wife's battery to see what state of health it was in?
Or just blindly swap it?

That would be an important data point to add to the pool if hers was not near EOL, what was different about how it was used, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So did you at least test the wife's battery to see what state of health it was in?
Or just blindly swap it?

That would be an important data point to add to the pool if hers was not near EOL, what was different about how it was used, etc.
Advance Auto tested it, and said it was still good. But because Advance had only 2 in the Austin area, Autozone had none, and the local dealer seemed clueless, I decided it wasn't worth it to me to see how much longer the battery would last. The last thing I wanted to deal with is her stranded somewhere because the battery went dead.

The cars are the same age, with similar miles. Mine is in a parking garage by day; hers is mostly at home in the garage by day. I use mine primarily for commuting to work and an occasional 100 mile trip. She uses hers to pickup the grandkids to watch them while the parents work (about the same round trip as mine), with a few more 100 mile trips than I take. The biggest difference is hers was a demo for 19 months before we bought it, while I bought mine off the showroom floor.
 

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I tested the battery in my just 5 year old 2011 Volt and found that it is near to the point where it should be replaced as it is at about 80% capacity. I started a 2nd test after recharging and found that the battery was holding its Voltage about .25 volts higher that it did the first time, indicating that that 1st cycle on the battery actually did it some good as I have never had my 12v battery run down or cycled before.

One thing I did find out about this battery that needs to be taken into account when testing, this is a 60 AH battery, but read and understand the fine print, that says "20 hour rated" that means that if you discharge it in less than 20 hours you need to de-rate it, so I have accounted for that de-rating in the test described below.

I used a .5 Ohm (must be rated for 300 watts or more), with this load a good battery will maintain over 10v for over 90 minutes equaling 85% or better capacity, mine went 85 minutes.

This test could be done with the battery in the Volt but not plugged in or turned on. Use battery jumper cables to attach the battery to the resistor (hang the resistor in free air by the cables, it will get very hot!) it will be drawing around 24 amps from the battery.
Measure the battery voltage directly across the battery. A .5 Ohm 300 watt resistor is available from Digikey one line for about $15, but shipping may cost you another $15. Check the Voltage frequently, more frequently as the battery voltage drops. don't let it go below 10V under this load. When the load is disconnected the Voltage should rebound within 5 minutes to about 11.5 volts, then plug you volt in and turn it on to let the battery recharge to at least 13v before driving (that should not take long with the Volts built in 1000 Watt capable 12v battery charger). If the Voltage drops to 10 volts in less than 60 minutes you should replace it ASAP!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, it wasn't *just* the 12V battery.

I've had a reoccurrence of the same problem, so I took it into the dealer to have them check it out. I went armed with a video of the behavior, and some pictures of the DIC at various stages. They were able to do some diagnostics and concluded "the DDU in the driver motor junction block relay" needs to be replaced. Those words don't match other descriptions I've seen, so it's possible the service advisor (who was having trouble explaining the part) didn't really know much about the part, other than its on backorder. Apparently but the DDU is part of an assembly, and the whole assembly (which mounts on the front of the battery, and has coolant lines going through it) needs to be replaced. The battery will need to be dropped to do the repair. This sounds like a part that has been described in the forums before, but under a different name. The whole repair will be covered under the Voltec warranty.

The assembly is on backorder, but there were some dealerships that had it in stock, so they were going to try and get one of those. In the meantime, I'm driving a 2016 Equinox with 600 miles so I can't complain.

I'd like to update the original post, but the "Edit Post" link is missing.
 

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They were able to do some diagnostics and concluded "the DDU in the driver motor junction block relay" needs to be replaced. Those words don't match other descriptions I've seen, so it's possible the service advisor (who was having trouble explaining the part) didn't really know much about the part, other than its on backorder. Apparently but the DDU is part of an assembly, and the whole assembly (which mounts on the front of the battery, and has coolant lines going through it) needs to be replaced. The battery will need to be dropped to do the repair. This sounds like a part that has been described in the forums before, but under a different name. The whole repair will be covered under the Voltec warranty.

The assembly is on backorder, but there were some dealerships that had it in stock, so they were going to try and get one of those. In the meantime, I'm driving a 2016 Equinox with 600 miles so I can't complain.
Sounds similar to my recent experience. See http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?227426-Mystery-CEL-amp-S1E98-P1EC4-error-codes
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I'm guessing the part will be the same one as was replaced in this thread:
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?13145-Traction-battery-offline-unable-to-move

That thread calls it the "drive motor battery wire junction block relay" which sounds pretty close. Relevant parts diagram here (part #1, uh oh, no longer available, though it looks like sub-parts are):
http://www.tonkinonlineparts.com/showAssembly.aspx?ukey_assembly=839039&ukey_make=1086&ukey_model=15901
http://www.tonkinonlineparts.com/p/Chevrolet__Volt/RELAY-Drive-Motor/6463402/22856646.html

Might have been superseded by:#1 in this drawing:
http://www.tonkinonlineparts.com/showAssembly.aspx?ukey_assembly=1283912&ukey_product=10641833

Ok, that's enough guessing for now. I'll update once I hear back from the service advisor.
 
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Well, it wasn't *just* the 12V battery.

I've had a reoccurrence of the same problem, so I took it into the dealer to have them check it out. I went armed with a video of the behavior, and some pictures of the DIC at various stages. They were able to do some diagnostics and concluded "the DDU in the driver motor junction block relay" needs to be replaced. Those words don't match other descriptions I've seen, so it's possible the service advisor (who was having trouble explaining the part) didn't really know much about the part, other than its on backorder. Apparently but the DDU is part of an assembly, and the whole assembly (which mounts on the front of the battery, and has coolant lines going through it) needs to be replaced. The battery will need to be dropped to do the repair. This sounds like a part that has been described in the forums before, but under a different name. The whole repair will be covered under the Voltec warranty.

The assembly is on backorder, but there were some dealerships that had it in stock, so they were going to try and get one of those. In the meantime, I'm driving a 2016 Equinox with 600 miles so I can't complain.

I'd like to update the original post, but the "Edit Post" link is missing.
Hi fishhawk,

I’m glad the service team at your dealership has been able to diagnose your Volt and discuss the necessary repairs with you. If you’d like, I’d be happy to reach out to them to check on the status of their efforts in finding the repair parts. The Equinox is nice, but I’m sure it can’t compare to your Volt, so I’d like to help get you back into your ride as best I can.

If this is something you’d be interested in, please send a private message with your VIN, contact information, vehicle mileage and dealership name.

Best,

Amber G.
Chevrolet Customer Care
 

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Well, it wasn't *just* the 12V battery.

I've had a re-occurrence of the same problem, so I took it into the dealer to have them check it out.
Fishhawk: I had the problem once when my car was new. Just the act of disconnecting the battery and reconnecting it enabled the car to run normally again.

I subsequently drove it to the dealer, and they replaced some software, and we have never had the problem since. Your problem is obviously different, but I just wanted to point out to anyone finding this thread that the disconnect/reconnect might get them going.
 
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