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Spiffy

alt not charging... charge, brake fluid, e-brake, stop lamp are all lit...

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so I replaced my alternator on like tue/wed because it suddenly blew the regulator and was overcharging... picked up an exchange from carquest...

 

this is the 3rd alternator I've had this year... I replaced the original because it wasn't handling a load very well (lights, windows, stereo, signals)... then that one stopped charging very well and would only charge at idle with no load... then the last one that was overcharging...

 

so now the charge, brake fluid, stop lamp, and parking brake lights are all lit up, and I'm reading under 12v on the gauge... also when I accelerate it jerks harshly like it's cutting out and dying, but real quick spurts...

 

it stopped doing it for a day, then started, then stopped for a few hours, and now I've been driving it for a day and half and the warning lights won't go back and it doesn't look like it's charging...

 

I'm about to try replacing the round connector on the alternator because when I was putting this one in I noticed that the connector and the wire were very carbonized and there was a lot of discoloration deep down in the stranded wires...

 

the plug connector seems to be in good shape, since it's covered in that anti-corrosive grease that comes on the alternator... although I guess I'm not totally sure that the connectors are getting a good grip on the spades on the alternator... *shrug*

 

I've already checked the charge fuse and fusable links and they're all good...

 

do you think the alternator could have gone out again? or do you think it's just a bad connector problem? could that bad connector be causing my electrical system to eat alternators? I wire-brush it every time I take it off...

 

can I test the voltage off the alternator right at the round post to see if it's running 14-16 volts? that'd tell me if it was the alternator or the connector I suppose...

 

troubleshooting advice?

 

thanks!

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ok, so I replaced the connector and that didn't make a difference at all... ):

 

next?

 

 

 

I'm about to try replacing the round connector on the alternator because when I was putting this one in I noticed that the connector and the wire were very carbonized and there was a lot of discoloration deep down in the stranded wires...

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Check all the grounds in the engine bay. There is one to the rad support from the engine by the battery, theres another from the tranny up to the tire support. Make sure theres no corrosion in the wires themselfs.

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I'll check those ground connections when I get home... but I would think that if those were bad then I'd have trouble starting the car because it couldn't ground the starter reliably, but it starts just fine, just doesn't charge...

 

but since so many unrelated warning lights came on it seems like a widespread type of problem... *shrug*

 

of course maybe the alternator is the cause of the problem, but I won't be able to return/exchange it until a normal workday...

 

 

 

Check all the grounds in the engine bay. There is one to the rad support from the engine by the battery, theres another from the tranny up to the tire support. Make sure theres no corrosion in the wires themselfs.

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Sounds like the alternator again. How old is your battery? If it's more than 5 years old, I'd suggest replacing that since there's a possibility that an intermittant open circuit inside the battery could cause the alternator to fail. While you're at it, make sure both heavy wires and connections to the battery are good and tight at both the battery end and car ends.

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but since so many unrelated warning lights came on it seems like a widespread type of problem... *shrug*

 

Thats normal stuff when one of these alts goes kaput. If all of your wiring is up to snuff, I would suspect the alt again. Its not uncommon to get a string of crappy rebuilds from the chain parts stores.. Its kinda like getting axles that click right out of the box. Happens all too often.

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the battery is only 3 months old... I bought it after the first replacement alternator died, cuz I didn't want to stress the newer new alternator too much...

 

I'm thinking it's the alternator as well... maybe I'll take it to a different location this time so the guy behind the counter doesn't give me too much crap... (: for all this hassle I should have bought a new one from subaru... (but those are probably expensive)

 

I still need to check the hidden ends of all the heavy wires... there's not really any corrosion at the battery terminals, just a bit of the usual road grime...

 

 

Sounds like the alternator again. How old is your battery? If it's more than 5 years old, I'd suggest replacing that since there's a possibility that an intermittant open circuit inside the battery could cause the alternator to fail. While you're at it, make sure both heavy wires and connections to the battery are good and tight at both the battery end and car ends.

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It is good you replaced the bad connector since it was causing problems. That may be why you have been replacing so many alternators. A bad connection there will cause less power to get to the battery for charging. You may also want to check for any voltage drop on the alternator output wire to the positive battery post using a voltmeter. There should be no more than around 0.1 volts (100 millivolts) on the lead.

 

The reason the warning lights come on also when the alternator is having a problem is because they are in the power supply circuit to the exciter in the alternator so they light up when the alternator has a problem.

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I replaced the alternator and that fixed everything... it was the first time one had gone completely out like that on me... other ones have just had voltage problems, not a total failure...

 

the new connector seems really secure and is all shrink-wrapped up nice and tight... but I could use another rubber boot to put over it...

 

 

 

It is good you replaced the bad connector since it was causing problems. That may be why you have been replacing so many alternators. A bad connection there will cause less power to get to the battery for charging. You may also want to check for any voltage drop on the alternator output wire to the positive battery post using a voltmeter. There should be no more than around 0.1 volts (100 millivolts) on the lead.

 

The reason the warning lights come on also when the alternator is having a problem is because they are in the power supply circuit to the exciter in the alternator so they light up when the alternator has a problem.

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