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Hi,

 

My son's 2000 Legacy is doing something strange. About every two weeks or so it will not start and needs to be jumped. Once we jump start it we can get it home but while driving the flashers flash and he gets other strange lights flashing. We charge the battery overnight and the car is fine for about ten days to two weeks. Could this be the alternator failing? He is not getting any warning lights telling him it's not charging??

Or are these cars prone to having a slow electrical drain I should be looking at?

Thanks!

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If I don't start& drive  my 2000 obw about once a month the battery goes flat in it.  That is normal with an older battery.

Screwy lights are another thing.   Start by really cleaning and scraping battery terminals and cables. Any ground wires you see should be looked at and tightened.  Have a parts house come out and see what your alt. output is.   Yes, a failing alt. can drain your battery.  If you think you need an alt.   Start on craigs list I believe I have seen a 2002 wagon being parted out in moses lake.  Next try a wrecking yard. If no luck there then look for a private independent alternator rebuild shop and have them repair your original and give it back.  Absolute last choice is buy whatever the parts house has...   I've had nothing but bad luck from them.

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Yeah, he drives it everyday but not for long distances. We replaced the battery last year so I'd be shocked if it was bad already. I was thinking I'd pull the alternator and take it to Autozone or something and have it tested.

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3 hours ago, Sent112 said:

Yeah, he drives it everyday but not for long distances. We replaced the battery last year so I'd be shocked if it was bad already. I was thinking I'd pull the alternator and take it to Autozone or something and have it tested.

take the whole car.. not just the alternator.. have them test the charging system right there in the parking lot. Advance Auto will do this for free, not sure if Auto Zone does or not.

You want the WHOLE picture of the charging system - both at idle and under a load (lights, blower motor, etc).

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On ‎9‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 6:07 PM, heartless said:

take the whole car.. not just the alternator.. have them test the charging system right there in the parking lot. Advance Auto will do this for free, not sure if Auto Zone does or not.

You want the WHOLE picture of the charging system - both at idle and under a load (lights, blower motor, etc).

I tried that last night and when the guy hooked it to the tester it told him there wasn't enough battery power to perform the test. The voltage read barely over 12v without the car running. I tested it myself before I left for Autozone and got barely over 12v not running and tested it again running and it was the same.

I think I'll try taking the alternator to them to have it bench tested next??

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you might consider finding a local rebuilder to go through your alt. if it's bad. Might take a few days but, you'd have a better unit than typical rebuilts.

or, get a used one from car-part.com .

 

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Battery quality has gone WAY down in the past 10 years. Even AAA is telling people you can now only expect 3 years from the average new battery. Less for cheap ones. 

If you want quality it's available but the price is higher. You need an Odyssey 35-PC1400. Will run you about 3 bills now. But they have a 12-15 year design life and often outlast that. 

GD

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2 hours ago, 1 Lucky Texan said:

you might consider finding a local rebuilder to go through your alt. if it's bad. Might take a few days but, you'd have a better unit than typical rebuilts.

or, get a used one from car-part.com .

 

Are the remans really that bad for these cars?

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6 hours ago, Sent112 said:

I tried that last night and when the guy hooked it to the tester it told him there wasn't enough battery power to perform the test. The voltage read barely over 12v without the car running. I tested it myself before I left for Autozone and got barely over 12v not running and tested it again running and it was the same.

I think I'll try taking the alternator to them to have it bench tested next??

Put a proper charger on the battery over night to get a full charge on it - then take the whole car in to be tested immediately. It is better to have it tested in the car than on the bench. I have had alts test fine on the bench, but prove faulty when tested in the car.

Repeated battery drains WILL kill a battery much faster than "normal" usage does, so do not be surprised if the battery is shot. A bad battery will kill an alternator and a bad alternator will kill a battery.

And yes, the aftermarket remans are junk for these cars. I had one for my 95 Legacy rebuilt at a local to me shop - it cost a bit more, but he used high quality parts, not the cheap stuff most remans get in them - and he guaranteed his work.

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15 hours ago, heartless said:

Put a proper charger on the battery over night to get a full charge on it - then take the whole car in to be tested immediately. It is better to have it tested in the car than on the bench. I have had alts test fine on the bench, but prove faulty when tested in the car.

Repeated battery drains WILL kill a battery much faster than "normal" usage does, so do not be surprised if the battery is shot. A bad battery will kill an alternator and a bad alternator will kill a battery.

And yes, the aftermarket remans are junk for these cars. I had one for my 95 Legacy rebuilt at a local to me shop - it cost a bit more, but he used high quality parts, not the cheap stuff most remans get in them - and he guaranteed his work.

I'll have to do that because I took it out and had it tested last night and the bench test said it passed...

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11 hours ago, Sent112 said:

I'll have to do that because I took it out and had it tested last night and the bench test said it passed...

as an added note - the one I ended up getting rebuilt locally was so borderline that even in the car with a full charge on the battery it tested ok... but on the drive home my dash lit up like a Christmas tree with flashing lights.. pretty much all the warning lights were flickering - just a mere 20 minutes after being tested. Sure sign of an alternator issue.

I swapped in an aftermarket alt while I had the stock one rebuilt. Once I got that one back, the aftermarket came out & went on a shelf.. I think I still have it out in the garage, lol.

when I took the stock alt in to the re-builder, set it up on the counter, a diode literally fell out on to the counter. Guy says, "Well, there's your problem - those are supposed to be inside, not outside" :rolleyes:

Edited by heartless

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Well, I charged the car overnight and took it back down there. The tester was still saying the battery voltage was too low to test. Wonder if their tester is goofy?

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Another question.....Even with the headlight switch in the off position his headlights come on every time the car is started, day or night. And they go off when the E-brake is pulled. Is that normal for these cars?

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1 minute ago, Sent112 said:

Another question.....Even with the headlight switch in the off position his headlights come on every time the car is started, day or night. And they go off when the E-brake is pulled. Is that normal for these cars?

Yes. 

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1.  make sure the battery terminals are clean.  end clamps are clean and tight.  Are they?  many times they're not very solid. 

2.  battery - is it getting fully charged - are these short trips and it's never getting a full charge? 

fully charge it via a battery charger or another car/jumper cables and test it immediately - what do you get?  does the car then start up just fine with a fully charged and tested battery?

3. alternator - test it after verifying connections/terminals/clamps are perfectly clean and tight and see what voltage you get. 

4. draw a line across the crank pulley and see if the line separates after some driving.  replace crank pulley if it has separated.

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Get an Odyssey and a dealer reman alt. Be done with it and move on to more important things. All the time being wasted is staggering. How much do you charge per hour at work? Your time is worth more than dinking around with charging system tests at auto parts stores. Those monkeys don't know $hit. And they sell $hit too. 

GD

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On 9/20/2018 at 4:35 PM, Sent112 said:

Are the remans really that bad for these cars?

+1 avoid those. aftermarket alternators, starters, fuel pumps have a high failure rate. not worth the risk.  they are no better than just ordering a used one from a junk yard, just get two used ones before you get an aftermarket.  "new" "lifetime warranty" is all meaningless, don't let it fool you. 

this repeated draw down is reducing the life of your current battery.  

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4 hours ago, Sent112 said:

Another question.....Even with the headlight switch in the off position his headlights come on every time the car is started, day or night. And they go off when the E-brake is pulled. Is that normal for these cars?

yes, it is called daytime running lights.

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