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Alternator again!? 

 

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 Post subject: Alternator again!?
Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:51 pm 
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Two weeks after having my alternator replaced by the NRMA I'm getting the battery light on randomly. Seems to last only 10-20 seconds or so. Surely the alternator is not faulty again? Any chance this could be the battery as it is a little old now.. ?

Cheers,
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 Post subject: Re: Alternator again!?
Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:39 pm 
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It could be the battery but I would inspect other associated items first. Your alternator light will only illuminate if the battery voltage is higher than the alternator output voltage. Check your battery terminals and make sure they are clean. Check your wires from your positive battery terminal too the back of the alternator. There is a black 2 pin plug in that connection which can cause problems with age. Corrosion and electrolyte from the battery can cause the connection too deteriorate over time. Check your negative battery to engine block cable. Check negative battery terminal too chassis (small green tech screw coolant bracket). Easiest way is to start car and turn on all loads (headlights, high beam, a/c etc). Grab a multimeter on dc volts and measure across each wire eg neg batt term - eng block, neg batt term - chassis (green tech screw), positive battery terminal - B+ (rear of alternator). All these voltages should be under 0.3V. If any are greater than that, it would suggest that the resistance of that wire is excessive and hence has a greater voltage drop. It could be another crook alternator. I have seen reco alt fail in the past (rare) but rule other things out first.

When you say your alternator is faulty again, what were your original symptoms? Did changing the alternator momentarily mask a wiring issue?

Hope this helps

 

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 Post subject: Re: Alternator again!?
Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:25 pm 
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alfy12 wrote:
When you say your alternator is faulty again, what were your original symptoms? Did changing the alternator momentarily mask a wiring issue?


The old alternator was intermittently overcharging. Symptoms were the dashboard crashing (going blank) with associated poor performance. That was an NRMA alternator so they replaced under warranty two weeks ago.

I did a quick check of the cables, they all seemed clean and tight. I'll check the voltage drops as well. Is there a good way to check the battery, under load perhaps?

Cheers,
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 Post subject: Re: Alternator again!?
Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:49 pm 
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I assume your battery is starting your car? If so this would indicate that it is in good condition. A battery with a dead cell or poor charge state will have difficulty starting your car. Get a multimeter on DC volts and check your battery voltage. Should be over 12.5 volts static. Start the car and check your voltage. 13.8 to 14.5 is considered normal. Turn your headlights on whilst car is running and measure voltage. Should be at least 13.5 (typically 13.9/14volts) if voltage regulator is working correctly.

 

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 Post subject: Re: Alternator again!?
Posted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:25 pm 
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alfy12 wrote:
I assume your battery is starting your car? If so this would indicate that it is in good condition. A battery with a dead cell or poor charge state will have difficulty starting your car. Get a multimeter on DC volts and check your battery voltage. Should be over 12.5 volts static. Start the car and check your voltage. 13.8 to 14.5 is considered normal. Turn your headlights on whilst car is running and measure voltage. Should be at least 13.5 (typically 13.9/14volts) if voltage regulator is working correctly.


Hi Alfy12,
I hooked up a voltmeter and went for a drive. When the battery light comes on there is no change in the charging volts. Seems that the battery light circuitry is flipping out? The light was on for 60 seconds or so and the V never dropped below 14.
If it's something in the dash I have no idea where to start looking :) ?

Cheers
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 Post subject: Re: Alternator again!?
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:40 am 
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The 14v that you got at the voltmeter might not have changed that much if your electrical loads were low (no headlights, A/C etc) It would take time for the battery voltage to drop below 14v. It may not be instant. Did you check your voltage drops across your main wiring as I suggested with maximum load? Did you check the cleanliness of your connections at the rear of the alternator? It could be a faulty alternator or regulator/brush block again. The only way to be sure when you have an intermittent fault like this one is too try another alternator or get yours tested on a test bench. You could tell nrma of your problem and ask for another alternator. If the fault was to appear, you could rule out the alternator. I've had similar problems to what you describe with other cars I've had in the past and it was a faulty regulator.

It will all come down to who is reco-ing nrma alternators and how long they are bench tested for.

 

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 Post subject: Re: Alternator again!?
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:49 am 
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Just a question......does the power steering pump leak oil????..ono the alternator?????
This can void the warranty.

 

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 Post subject: Re: Alternator again!?
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 12:27 pm 
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alfy12 wrote:
The 14v that you got at the voltmeter might not have changed that much if your electrical loads were low (no headlights, A/C etc) It would take time for the battery voltage to drop below 14v. It may not be instant.


I did the check whilst driving, light was on for about 20-30seconds. How does the dash battery light work? If it is lit up shouldn't I see something on the voltmeter?

Quote:
Did you check your voltage drops across your main wiring as I suggested with maximum load? Did you check the cleanliness of your connections at the rear of the alternator?


Yep I checked those and so did the NRMA guy. He said he cannot change the alternator as it is charging fine. I'm sure I could demand a new alternator direct via NRMA electrics.

Quote:
It will all come down to who is reco-ing nrma alternators and how long they are bench tested for.


Well if it is failing it will be the second one, doesn't bode well for them :)

cjh wrote:
Just a question......does the power steering pump leak oil????..ono the alternator????? This can void the warranty.


Nah it's all nice and clean. The alternator is only a few weeks old...

Cheers
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 Post subject: Re: Alternator again!?
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:16 pm 
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check the batter light on the dash and the wiring too it on my old fairlane the problem with dash dropping out etc was the wire to the dash light or actually it was the dash light socket
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 Post subject: Re: Alternator again!?
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:48 pm 
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The dash light is connected too your ignition switch on one side and the D+ of your alternator (excitation diodes) on the other side. When you switch your ignition on, +12v is applied to one side of the light but the alternator hasn't produced anything yet so the D+ terminal (back of alternator)is close to 0V (ground) so the light has 12 volts across it (lights up on the dash just before starting). When the car starts, the alternators stator windings produce an output which increases the D+ output to +12v. Now you have 12v on both sides (no potential difference so no current flow) of the light so it isn't illuminated anymore. If your light is coming on, it means you have a voltage drop across your dash light and this can only be caused by the alternator/regulator or associated wiring.

 

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 Post subject: Re: Alternator again!?
Posted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:23 pm 
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Got NRMA to put another alternator in last night (this is the third one under warranty). Light hasn't come on as yet so hopefully it's all good! The mechanic claims the NRMA alternators are brand new but I doubt that claim.

Thanks for your help guys.
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 Post subject: Re: Alternator again!?
Posted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:18 pm 
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rallyboy77 wrote:
Got NRMA to put another alternator in last night (this is the third one under warranty). Light hasn't come on as yet so hopefully it's all good! The mechanic claims the NRMA alternators are brand new but I doubt that claim.

Thanks for your help guys.


A poor condition serpentine belt and/or stuffed tensioner pulley arm can cause alternator charge issues!!

 

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 Post subject: Re: Alternator again!?
Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:03 pm 
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EL__Fairmont wrote:
A poor condition serpentine belt and/or stuffed tensioner pulley arm can cause alternator charge issues!!


Belt and pulleys are in good condition. Did about 500km on the w/e no battery light at all so looks like the alternator was the issue.
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 Post subject: Re: Alternator again!?
Posted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:36 pm 
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Argh it's happening again! :x

I drove back from Canberra and the alternator light was on all the way. The voltage never dropped below 13.5 and was normally around 14. So after two new alternators I still get the light on, must be lose wiring somewhere!? Could it be grounding on one side of the light?
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 Post subject: Re: Alternator again!?
Posted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:05 pm 
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I have had this problem with me EL.

My alternator just stopped working all of a sudden, so we got that replaced. The day after it was replaced the car wouldn't start. usually when the alternator goes it takes the battery with it.

So we got the battery replace and ever since then it has been running nicely, just remember when you replace the battery the computer will need to be reset. my mech said to leave it on idle for 30mins.
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