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Electrical Problem..don't hate on me!


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11 replies to this topic

#1 deed

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 05:04 PM

1991 Loyale wagon suffering from the dreaded intermittant starting problem...battery about 3mos old...starter and solenoid 4/02.
When the battery was newly installed...voltage on dashboard was reading high....but has settled down now to half way on the dial....one day I was driving all the indicator lights came on...car kept running...only happened once. Recently, the cars indicator lights light up when the key is turned but sometimes nothing happens...well maybe I can hear a relay clicking. This morning we went out to look more closely...I turned they key on..lights come on...relay clicks...car doesn't start. Try again and it starts right up....try again and now not even the indicator lights turn on...dead as a doornail! Any ideas where to start? Thanks

#2 torxxx

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 05:06 PM

sounds like the voltage regulator went out in the alt. and then it over charged your battery, killing it. When you said the voltage was running high, something like 18 volts perhaps?


This happened to my buddies 92 loyale last weekend. He just bought the batt. and then fried it.

New alt, new batt problem solved

#3 archemitis

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 05:15 PM

i agree. you can melt your battery like that.
change the alternator, or voltage regulator.

#4 Skip

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 06:13 PM

Please don't hate me for thinking you have two problems here.
First clean or replace all battery terminals and inspect the wire to connector connections on the cables.
You may have popped a fusible link also. They are in the small black plastic box fastened to the rad. overflow bottle (must be tested with an ohm meter)

Now to the problems

One:This is the some what commom bad ignition switch start contacts.
This causes the starter solenoid to pull in (the click your hear)
but is not passing enough current to pull the relay closed completely. Sometimes the second or third try will "make it".

The test for this is to use a jumper wire when in a "click click" mode
from the positive battery terminal to the starter solenoid connection. I can email you a picture of where this is if you like.

If you find this the case Two solutions are often employed.

a) a relay is used to operate the starter solenoid, this relay is closed by the start contacts (they still pass plenty of juice to do this)
I can post or email you the wiring diagram for this.

B) a "never fail" push button is installed, pushing it in times of no crank will get it to turn over.

Two: you have, for some reason, an intermitant alternator problem or problems.

The "all lights on" show you have seen is an indication of no output from the alt.
You also speak of an over charge condition.
I'd spend 20 bucks for one of these so you can keep a "real eye"on the voltage (13.4 to 14.2 is normal for these)
Cigarette Lighter Voltmeter

The overvoltage condition can cause other problems
from gassing the battery to overvoltage on some electrical componets
(from head lamps to the car's brain the ECU)
email if you want more detailed explainations of these condiditons
Hope this helps.


#5 torxxx

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 06:28 PM

to test the voltage regulator, watch the volt charging gauge.. If it goes up and keeps going past 14 volts when you rev the engine, the voltage reg is shot

#6 deed

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 06:40 PM

First of all...I am amazed at all the help...Thank-you. I was watching the voltage gauge on my car and was concerned that it was charging at 18! But I thought that since the battery was new and I installed it right off of the store shelf that it may need some topping off and the voltage regulator was doing its job...especially when the voltage dropped back down to 12 on my dial....but that was after almost an month. I just went out and checked my battery....the cells are exposed...the caps had not popped off, but there is obviously a problem with 'boiling over'. I think I found my fusable link...is it the little black box that says red, green and other wire colors on it? Will check it closer in a minute....but wanted to ask ...before all you east coasters go to bed....is the voltage regulator a part of the alternator? I haved owned this Sub for 8 years and have never replaced anything but batteries and starter....So should I replace the voltage regulator along with the alternator.....and I guess yet again another new battery?

#7 Cougar

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 06:44 PM

Along with the other good suggestions to check for problems there is a possiblity that the fuselink, that Skip mentioned, may just have a bad connection. I had the same kind of problem you are having except about the overcharging. The contacts for the fuselink on my car had become loose and burned. This caused the power to be intermitant.

#8 torxxx

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 07:19 PM

Yes the red green and black are fuseable links.
In my past, I've burned out links. They've burned up completely so you could tell just by looking at them.

One other thing you can check, is pull the steering column cover off and on the back side of the key ingition there is two screws take those out and pull of the ignition wire bundle and the lil plastic/alum. take a flag head and turn the switch. If it doesnt click into the on spot, or it just keeps turning, that switch is bad.

But since you said its overcharging I'm pretty sure its the voltage reg/battery thats bad.

The voltage reg is internal to the alt., but they are replaced able if you if you have the time to do it.

When you go to get parts next time bring the batt with you and have the parts store test it for you. It is usually free and it takes about 30 seconds

#9 RedLance

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 08:30 PM

My dads 84 sedan had a weird intermitant start problem, like Cougar said. He had to remove the little black box that the fuseable links are in, and replace a burnt connector inside it. This wasn't just the connector on the end of the fuseable link, but rather the part that the fuselink connected to.

Something else to look for.

RedLance

#10 Cougar

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 09:24 PM

You may be ok with using the battery still but you should have it checked to see if it is still ok.

As far as the alternator goes, I would replace it with a remanufactured unit. The voltage of the charging system should never exceed more than 15 volts as the high end, as it will cause damage to the battery. Whenever the voltage goes beyond that you need to find out why and fix the problem.

The fuselinks handle a lot of current normally. I think the red one handles the most if I remember correctly, so when there is a small resistance at the contacts it can cause a lot of heat and damage them over time.

#11 deed

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Posted 22 February 2004 - 01:00 PM

Here's what we did....took out the battery, refilled the cells with distilled water and charged it overnight....by this morning it was in the OK range. We took out the alternator/voltage regulator and reinstalled new new one ($73.00) put the battery back in...held our breath and turned the key...my blessed Sub turned right over. My friends tell me my car engine sounds like a sewing machine, but it sounds great to me.
What I learned.....
1. listen to your intuition...if a gauge looks different find out why.

2. don't assume....my battery was new, my alternator light hadn't come on but once during a very strange event...that I promptly refused to think about ( Dr. Phil would call that denial...and no it didn't work that well for me!)...so I didn't check my battery or any of my charging systems....I almost replaced my starter and solenoid and was headed toward the ignition switch!

3. Find a good place to get advice from people who know what they are talking about.

Thank you all so much for all your knowledge and experience that you are willing to take the time to share. Dee

#12 Cougar

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Posted 22 February 2004 - 01:33 PM

Your welcome for the help and thanks for the feedback. Glad you got things fixed up and for not too much more money. Sounds you got a good deal on the alternator and didn't spend money on things that were really ok.

If you haven't checked out the fuselink connections you should do that just to be sure there is no other problem there. This could cause your intermitant power problem.

As far as gauges go, I like to remember where the normal range is for them while running. Since they can be the first indicators of a problem, it is good to check things when you see something that is not normal, even if it is a short duration.

Happy & safe drive n'




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