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Ej22. The battery is completely dead. Jumped it and drove for about 45 min. And was dead next morning again. After getting jumped, it’ll run but dash volt gauge starts dropping. 

The alternator tests good. It’s got a new AGM battery. I’ve replaced the wire to the positive terminal from the alternator with a newer and heavier gauge. I checked every ground I can find. 
 

For some reason the alternator just isn’t charging the battery. Anybody have any direction to point me in? 
 

Thanks a bunch 

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Posted (edited)

I would point you back in the direction of the store that sold you the alternator...

Who tested the alternator?

 

Edited by brus brother
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The alternator isn’t brand new. It just seemed like the culprit so I took it to an oreillys to have tested and they said all good. 

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Posted (edited)

The harmonic balancer failed.

Draw a line across the face of the crank pulley with chalk or grease pen or paint. After driving it for a bit check the line. If the line is “broken”, or discontinuous, replace the harmonic balancer (crank pulley)

but wait!!!!  We can’t assume the diagnosis is spot on or complete so it wouldn’t be surprising if this is something else yet...

Unfortunately this type of symptom is to rife with issues to assume that the alternator is good even given that you had it tested. 

1. is it an aftermarket alternator?

subaru dealers sell alternators for $80 for that car. Go there if you end up needing one  reasonable cost and aftermarket is trash - all of them  

2. Can you put a multimeter on the alt post and tell us its output voltage while idling?

a loose belt can cause low alt rpm and lessen charging as well but you’d hear noises or have additional symptoms you havent described. 

Edited by idosubaru

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had a similar problem with my 95 Legacy at one point.. was having charging problems.. alt would test as fine, in the car, at the parts stores - multiple times at different stores....

I got frustrated and yanked the darn thing out and took it in to a local starter/alternator rebuilder... when I put the alt up on the counter a couple of bits fell out (diodes?).. He was like, yup, you need an alternator rebuild.

 

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Our 95 had a broken carbon brush that rides on the slip rings. It would charge fine at an idle, but would quit charging at higher RPMs. I think that was due to vibrations.

Check the voltage at an idle and at higher RPMs. It should stay at 13.8 volts with headlights on or off.

The alternator has a built in voltage regulator that can also cause the non charging problem. And it, or leaky diodes can also drain the battery.

I have seen several aftermarket reman alternators output over 20 volts and that causes a lot of problems and repairs.

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Posted (edited)

oh, and to the OP - get a proper charger on that battery - do NOT rely on the alternator to recharge a dead battery.

Alternators are not meant to charge dead batteries, they are meant to maintain a charge on a good battery.

a bad battery can kill a good alternator, and a bad alternator can kill a good battery.

you need both in good condition for things to work properly.

Edited by heartless

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Thanks so much for all the responses! I just got back and think its all sorted now. After a jump I went back to the same oreillys to return a borrowed tool, and figured since a different kid was working and I had the car there I might as well have it tested in the car while running. This time it said the voltage regulator was bad. Apparently this one came from an oreillys originally and it was swapped out for free. So we'll see tomorrow, but it seems like I'm back on the road at least. 

Maybe I should still get one from Subaru. I definitely don't have a habit of using parts from places like oreillys, I have a local import parts store where you can get most things at a slightly higher, but in my opinion, very well worth the price. Do the ones from subaru pretty last forever then?

 

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you do have options, used alt from wrecking yard or LKQ or car-part,com . DB Electric or Maniac have alts and maybe kits for rebuilding. At one time, Subaru offered some fairly inexpensive alternators for certain older year models....someone else will recall details on that.

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I've had an alternator or two go out, and have done just fine with replacements from the wrecker.  Generally speaking, if the shaft is turning and you're getting 13.5 volts on the battery posts, you're good.

 

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7 hours ago, bratlife said:

Thanks so much for all the responses! I just got back and think its all sorted now. After a jump I went back to the same oreillys to return a borrowed tool, and figured since a different kid was working and I had the car there I might as well have it tested in the car while running. This time it said the voltage regulator was bad. Apparently this one came from an oreillys originally and it was swapped out for free. So we'll see tomorrow, but it seems like I'm back on the road at least. 

LMAO !!!!- I was thinking about user error, employee error, 3rd party circumstantial error......but that takes too long to write so I just said:

10 hours ago, idosubaru said:

Unfortunately this type of symptom is to rife with issues to assume that the alternator is good even given that you had it tested.  

 

7 hours ago, bratlife said:

Maybe I should still get one from Subaru. I definitely don't have a habit of using parts from places like oreillys, I have a local import parts store where you can get most things at a slightly higher, but in my opinion, very well worth the price. Do the ones from subaru pretty last forever then?

Subaru ones don't last forever, but used ones have the same or less failure rate than new aftermarket.  The aftermarket supply is so bad (all of them) that *aftermarket is no better than a used Subaru alternator*. My anecdotal experience is that the fried computers/controllers/fusible links I've seen have always been an aftermarket alternator that does it.  Subaru's more often loose a bearing, or have inadequate charge rather than over charging. 

used Subaru is as reliable as aftermarket(maybe better), less likely to blow !()%* up....and they're cheaper.  There's literally no reason to buy an aftermarket one, even if Subaru used ones have a small failure rate.  

Subaru dealer for $80 (1996 legacy atlterantor - though you didn't say what vehicle you have) or used for $25-$45.  Used might sound better after you've already dumped cash on the aftermarket but used is inexpensive and a great option as they said:

4 hours ago, 1 Lucky Texan said:

you do have options, used alt from wrecking yard or LKQ or car-part,com . DB Electric or Maniac have alts and maybe kits for rebuilding. At one time, Subaru offered some fairly inexpensive alternators for certain older year models....someone else will recall details on that.

 

2 hours ago, jonathan909 said:

I've had an alternator or two go out, and have done just fine with replacements from the wrecker.  Generally speaking, if the shaft is turning and you're getting 13.5 volts on the battery posts, you're good.

 

 

8 hours ago, bratlife said:

 I definitely don't have a habit of using parts from places like oreillys,

Print this out or memorize it: Electronic parts like alternator/starter/fuel pump and axles are ***by a long shot*** the worst parts you can buy from an aftermarket parts store *for a Subaru*.  Many other aftermarket parts have plenty of useful scenarios in Subarus.  Don't rule your local parts stores out totally, they offer a good service and support the local relationships and economy which is a good thing for both of you. 

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It's now been a few days, did the replacement alt from Oreilly's solve the problem?

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2 hours ago, NV Zeno said:

It's now been a few days, did the replacement alt from Oreilly's solve the problem?

Yes and No?

Probably due for yet another Free Lifetime Warranty replacement after a few days. If not today then surely down the road.

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Yes! it did solve the problem. And yes I'm trying to get a new oem one right now, but I only found one left at a dealer. looks like they're not making them anymore. But I didn't have to drop any cash on the cheapo remaned from oreillys. Since it was bought at an oreillys from the previous owner, they swapped it out for free, AND gave me twenty bucks because the part numbers had changed and the new one is twenty bucks cheaper! I have no idea how that all happened, but I wasn't gonna argue about it. Now I'm at least back on the road, and I got twenty bucks toward a real one when I find one. 

 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, bratlife said:

Yes! it did solve the problem. And yes I'm trying to get a new oem one right now, but I only found one left at a dealer. looks like they're not making them anymore. 

Ah, crack!  After 20 years of buying those I guess I can’t be surprised but....dang !

Those $70 units are not new Subaru alternators. They are Subaru remanufactered. Subaru provided inexpensive alternators to mitigate some issues those years. Many in junk yards and used Subarus have these reman units already.   They’re not as good as new but I’ll take them over aftermarket.  So if you can’t find one you’re not totally missing a great product. 

Edited by idosubaru

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Posted (edited)

if you can get your hands on a used genuine Subaru unit, you can always have it rebuilt by a local independent rebuilder (starter & alt shop) - that is what I did with my 95's unit.. yeah, i put a parts store one in temporarily while I had the original done and it worked fine for that.. Once i got the rebuilt unit back, it went in the car, and the parts store unit went back in the box & up on a shelf - still have it, i think, lol

all in all, it was a little bit more cost wise to have it rebuilt locally, but i ended up with a much better unit than the parts store one, and i supported a local business.

Edited by heartless
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Posted (edited)

There are a lot of bad alt rebuilds out there. I had to go through 4 before I just bought a used one and it worked.

Edited by nipper
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Rebuilds are not what they once were. They used to replace all the parts they could,now they just replace whats bad. So what may have been borderline at the time may have failed in short service.

 

Also "Testing of an alt, if its not done on the car (the old fashioned way) its useless.

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So I found one from a dealership, but sounds like its a remaned Subaru alt. Not sure what that meant. But sound like while it might not be the best option, its pretty good and worth the money? Theres just les and les of these Subarus left in yards and used in general. Especially that might have original parts still in them. I would definitely prefer to have an original and pay my local little family run shop (a place I've had many things like my Toyota alt and dist rebuilt at) to rebuild it, but I can't spend all that much time finding an old original one. 

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Might  have a Subaru original for you, good or to have rebuilt.  I'd need a picture of the top plug.   I'm in Colorado Springs.  USPS Flat rate $18.

Larry

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8 hours ago, bratlife said:

its pretty good and worth the money?

Yes.

Alternators are rebuilt because of bad bearings, brushes, regulators or diodes.

If the one at the dealer only had the brushes, bearings and or diodes replaced and still has the OE regulator, it will be a good one.

If the regulator was replaced with an aftermarket one, then it is questionable of longevity of the proper charge voltage.

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Much lifetime warranty stuff is slapped together with minimal attention to quality and the customer becomes the 'final QC'. They can win by the law of averages but 30% or w"ever of their customers may lose. And when a problem is happening to you, it's happening 100% of the time.

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On 4/7/2021 at 1:32 PM, lmdew said:

Might  have a Subaru original for you, good or to have rebuilt.  I'd need a picture of the top plug.   I'm in Colorado Springs.  USPS Flat rate $18.

Larry

Thanks but I already ordered one form the dealer. Got a pretty good price on it and its rebuilt by them and sold as "new" even though he said it has technically been rebuilt, so I'm assuming (hoping) that it's pretty legit. It's originally manufactured by Hitachi for Subaru. Seemed like a pretty good bet, so I went with it. 

Thanks a ton everybody for all the info!

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3 hours ago, bratlife said:

Thanks but I already ordered one form the dealer. Got a pretty good price on it and its rebuilt by them and sold as "new" even though he said it has technically been rebuilt, so I'm assuming (hoping) that it's pretty legit. It's originally manufactured by Hitachi for Subaru. Seemed like a pretty good bet, so I went with it. 

Thanks a ton everybody for all the info!

I think thats what I finally did as I was on a roadtrip when it failed (many times) and got tired of all the BS. The price was reasonable too as it was a Subaru Rebuild.

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10 hours ago, bratlife said:

Thanks but I already ordered one form the dealer. Got a pretty good price on it and its rebuilt by them and sold as "new" even though he said it has technically been rebuilt, so I'm assuming (hoping) that it's pretty legit. 

If you got it from a Subaru dealer it is of course legit. That’s the exact alternator referenced in my first reply in this thread.

Any manufacturers dealership isn’t in the market of providing questionably sourced and variable parts.

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