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Guest Message by DevFuse
 

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New alternator, new battery, still dies.


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16 replies to this topic

#1 Arty

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 01:14 PM

The other day, of course one day before I started school full time, my car starting acting up with electrical issues. I noticed that the battery and brake lights were on, and after a minute or two, the gauges started going insane. By insane, I mean they started randomly sweeping, then they died... only the spedo and tach, by the way. It started driving noticeably different, then the car died. I knew the battery was dead. Long story short, I put a new alternator and battery in the car, and it eventually did the exact same thing. The battery and brake lights were still on, but when I revved the engine, the battery light actually flickered, sometimes to the point of almost turning off. THEN, the lights went completely off. It seemed to run fine for a bit, then it died again, doing all the same things as it did when I had an old battery and alternator. The belts are brand new and on properly...



ANY IDEAS>!?!!?!?!?!?! :confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused:

#2 Arty

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 01:15 PM

Oh, and it's a 1995 Legacy Outback wagon, 5 speed. It's never really had an electrical issue before. Not since i've had it at least.

#3 bstone

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 02:06 PM

Start checking fuses with a test light. Get a multimeter and check the voltage on the battery with the car on and off. Pull fuses to see where the drain is.

#4 Arty

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 02:07 PM

Start checking fuses with a test light. Get a multimeter and check the voltage on the battery with the car on and off. Pull fuses to see where the drain is.


Any suggestions on which to check first?

#5 Arty

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 02:10 PM

Also, what's the chance that I may have gotten a bad alternator as my replacement?

#6 Mike104

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 02:15 PM

Also, what's the chance that I may have gotten a bad alternator as my replacement?


I've heard of others who went through a number of rebuilt units and did not get a good one until they bought a Subaru reman.

http://www.subarupar...nator&year=1995

$125+shipping

#7 Rooster2

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 02:32 PM

Also, what's the chance that I may have gotten a bad alternator as my replacement?


That was my thought as I read your posts.....that the same problem returned again. I learned a long time ago, that just because an electrical item is new, does not mean that it is good.

Years back, I had a car that the gauges went nuts with crazy readings. The car would still start, but not run very well. It turned out to be a a bad cell in the battery, that produced low voltage output to the car's electrical system. Replacing the battery fixed the problem.

Suggest you go to a car parts store like Autozone, Advance auto, or another chain outfit, that will send a counter parts guy out into the parking lot with test equipment to check your car's charging system and battery output. This is done at no cost to you. I think I would put my car battery on a charger before venturing out to have this done, so the motor doesn't die out, or won't start at the parts store.

Keep us posted on your progress towards a fix.

#8 Arty

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 04:43 PM

I attempted to go to Autozone, but the idiot working there thought it was more important to voice his political and social opinions than actually help me. I'll probably be buying a multimeter tomorrow and testing the system myself.


I'm starting to lean towards a fusible link at this time... but I'll post my results tomorrow or the next day. Any opinions along the way are still appreciated...

#9 Fairtax4me

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 11:43 AM

Find a Napa near you and have them test it.
But in the mean time, check all the ground connections on the engine and frame. Make sure ALL cables are tight and fee of corrosion. Check the main fuse panel cable as well.

#10 Arty

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 02:05 PM

Find a Napa near you and have them test it.
But in the mean time, check all the ground connections on the engine and frame. Make sure ALL cables are tight and fee of corrosion. Check the main fuse panel cable as well.


I'll find a way to limp it to Advance Auto tomorrow... if I can't drive it there, I'll just take out the alternator and have them test it there. Luckily, I have the ol' Camry wagon to cart me around in the meantime. I've checked all the fuses and ground wires... they all seem to be fine.


I also have to ask-
Isn't that a Lincoln LS in your profile picture?

#11 Cougar

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 03:29 PM

You may have gotten a bad alternator or it went bad on you so check it out. One thing you can do is make sure that the alternator field lead is getting voltage to it. From your statements on the trouble I recommend you remove the rear connector to the alternator and then turn on the ignition and see if the battery and brake warning lights turn on. If they do turn on then it sounds like the field lead to the alternator has a short on it. If the lead is ok the warning lights won't work until the the connector is put back on the alternator. The field circuit provides the ground return for the warning lights.

#12 Arty

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 09:18 PM

You may have gotten a bad alternator or it went bad on you so check it out. One thing you can do is make sure that the alternator field lead is getting voltage to it. From your statements on the trouble I recommend you remove the rear connector to the alternator and then turn on the ignition and see if the battery and brake warning lights turn on. If they do turn on then it sounds like the field lead to the alternator has a short on it. If the lead is ok the warning lights won't work until the the connector is put back on the alternator. The field circuit provides the ground return for the warning lights.

Do you mean the wire that has a nut and rubber cap on it? Or the other connection with an adapter and multiple wires going into it?

#13 Fairtax4me

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 11:12 PM

Yeah the field wire is in harness with the plug. The cable that's held on with the nut is the charge lead.

Isn't that a Lincoln LS in your profile picture?

Yes it is. :grin:

#14 Allpar Mod

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 07:31 AM

Electrical issues suck as I'm sure everyone will agree with. They can be very frustrating and time consuming to diagnose. That's why garages and dealers charge a lot for these problems. Very labor intensive, especially the intermittant ones.

This is where I tell the OP to invest in a good digital multimeter. That way you can do some tests yourself. It's not hard to tell if you're getting charging voltage or not by just attaching the meter to the battery terminals and starting the car. I recently bought a new one at Sears for $29 to replace my old Radio Shack one that finally went bad after over 25 years. It would still be working if my nitwit brother in law hadn't dropped it doing what he shouldn't have been doing a while back.

The gauges going nuts when the battery is low seems to be a common symptom with these cars. That's the first symptom I had when my alternator crapped the bed but the idiot light never came on. I have a voltimeter installed permanently now even though the light does, in fact, work. Never trusted them anyway.

If the alternator is good, then you have to do the individual circuit tests. There is obviously a drain then somewhere. Charge the battery fully. Put your test leads at the battery and see your static reading. One by one remove a fuse and see what happens to the reading. Replace each fuse before you go on to the next. A couple circuits like the radio will cause a minor increase in the reading as they drain lightly constantly to power the memory. You are looking for a noticeable increase in the static reading to identify the culprit circuit. This is very time consuming, but will go quicker with an assistant pulling each fuse while you watch the meter.

A common culprit are relays sticking open. This happened to my old truck once. The fuel pump relay stuck open draining the battery in a relatively short time span. Make sure you pull them to see if any are sticking open while having the meter in place. You might want to do this first before getting to the fuses. Might save you some time hopefully.

Good luck!

#15 Cougar

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 10:19 AM

Do you mean the wire that has a nut and rubber cap on it? Or the other connection with an adapter and multiple wires going into it?


Like Fairtax4me stated, the large wire on the alternator is the output lead of the alternator that ties to the battery. The field lead is on the back side of the alternator and it may be a white/red colored wire. I'm not sure about your car. There should be 12 volts on that lead when it is removed from the alternator and the ignition is ON.

#16 Arty

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 08:45 PM

I just wanted to give an update-

I'm pretty sure I've got it figured out. Basically, I think the lead wire (Thanks for the terminology!) was frayed and the two wires inside of it were contacting one another. I simply insulated it with some electrical tape and slapped another alternator on there and things seems better. I've run it through the hardest tests I could... turning on the AC full blast, rear defrost, emergency blinkers, bright lights, reverse lights, stereo, cruise control, cigarette lighter, interior lights, and rolled up all the windows at once, all at the same time. It didn't even seem to flinch. The old alternator also didn't seem like it would create as much conductive resistance when I would spin it by the pulley. If that makes any sense.

So I'll post another update again in a few days, but thanks again so much to everyone for the help.:)

#17 Cougar

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 01:40 AM

It sounds like you got it working. Thanks for the update.




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