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help with 99 outback charging issue/dash warning light issue

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The car died while driving today of apparent dead battery, put a new one in and drove it home. Dad checked the alternator and thought it was bad and put a used one on that he doesn't think is working either.

 

I peeked at it when I got home and there are no dash warning lights when the key is turned on...

 

it runs fine with the recharged battery, still not sure if it is charging, will get a multi meter but what's up with the warning lights?

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if the altenator is really scewed up the lights may not work. Charging issues can do weid things. Dont run the car with a bad alt too long, you may ruin the battery.

 

 

nipper

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I did pull a battery cable and the car died (poor mans amp meter) so no charging. I'll take the alt in and have it tested, that should tell me if it's just two bad alternators or an issue with the harness.

 

Would either of those cause the dash warning lights not to light up when the key is turned on prior to start up?

 

Thanks

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running car w/o battery, even for a short time can blow diodes in your alternator, I've done it before...

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The car died while driving today of apparent dead battery, put a new one in and drove it home. Dad checked the alternator and thought it was bad and put a used one on that he doesn't think is working either.

 

I peeked at it when I got home and there are no dash warning lights when the key is turned on...[...]

I'd start by checking at the under-dash fusebox, specifically fuse number 15. While if that fuse is blown it will cause more than what you mentioned to be out, you may not have noticed the other things as of yet.

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Many of the warning lights get their ground through the alternator field circuit, so if the alternator or wiring to it is messed up that could cause problems.

 

You should not disconnect the battery while the engine is running to check the alternator. It could damage the ECM as well.

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There should be a direct connection between the aternator output lead and the positive battery terminal. To check if it is ok you should have no more than around a 0.1 volt difference between those points when the engine is running.

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Just in case anyone thinks my post above (#6) was some kind of joke, let me try again. Fuse number 15 in the box above the driver's side kick panel is a prime suspect. That fuse has a 10 amp rating, and is first in the lowest row. It's marked on the cover as "METER - SRS LAMP", but that might be misleading; it handles power for several things, two of them being the alternator field and the dash warning lights.

 

I'd suggest checking that fuse before spending hours troubleshooting this problem. If it's not that, you won't heve wasted much time. Naturally, if it's blown, the next thing to determine is what caused that.

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