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Discussion Starter #1
Suse's at the repair shop. We are trying for it NOT to be the alternator. (I hear those are NOT easy to replace). The new 2-month old battery was DEAD yesterday so I had her towed in and so the mechanic (I know this guy is good and been going there for over 10 years) had recharged the battery and let her set overnight. Ok, he started her up on the fully charged battery and he isn't liking how the alternator is reacting. It IS charging, but there's a voltage drop when hot (I forgot if it was in the alternator or overall power). The battery's fine.

I told him about how I might have nicked the rear defroster grid a bit when trying to remove college stickers and wondered if something was there was doing it. He wants to look into it more and make sure that something ELSE isn't draining the battery when the car is either running or not running before giving me the bad news.

Anyone know what could be running on battery when the car is setting? PATS, I know, but I had everything else, including radio turned off.

The symptoms started up over the past few days. PATS Theft light started blinking rapidly when I started the engine. I would have to wait until all lights went out before starting the engine to ensure the Theft light went out with it. The car would start like "Woooo... click... click... vroom." But she would start. And the clock on the radio would reset to 12:00 after setting overnight. But then the next day you could start the car, with a little effort. Finally yesterday, I couldn't get the engine to turn over at all. But the lights worked. All the power windows, doors, etc. worked. Just not enough ooomph to power the starter. When the tow truck came and hooked up a jumper battery, she turned over like nothing was ever wrong. So the starter is fine.

The battery is only two months old and is still good even after being drained, the mechanic said.

I thought I'd post about it here and maybe if someone had a similar problem can tell me what it was?

BTW, I had an '83 Chevy S-10 pickup truck that lost ALL power, couldn't even put on the lights. We thought it was dead battery. The same mechanic found it was a shorted out light socket and bad ground somewhere in the electrical system. He fixed it all up and all was fine ever since. Wasn't even the alternator or battery.

Sooo... I'm hoping it is a short somewhere? Is there hope? :dunno:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I just heard from the mechanic. He said what you did. So yeah, the alternator is now going to be replaced tomorrow sometime I surmise. She'll be ok.

I was just so perplexed because I always thought alternators would just suddenly die out and there'd be NO charging at all. But this one WAS charging. Just not at all very well.
 

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I just heard from the mechanic. He said what you did. So yeah, the alternator is now going to be replaced tomorrow sometime I surmise. She'll be ok.

I was just so perplexed because I always thought alternators would just suddenly die out and there'd be NO charging at all. But this one WAS charging. Just not at all very well.
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I often see alternators that charge, just not enough. They usually don't fail all at once - normally they die slowly, but most ppl don't notice until they've gotten bad enough that the battery starts dying on them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When I got the car I did suspected that the battery wasn't going to last much longer due to the way it was starting. Though I did back then also suspect the alternator. But when the new battery worked I thought that was the end of that, until it started acting up again. Then I wondered if it was a short in the system because I didn't think of the alternator going slowly.

The older cars I remember some would just die out suddenly. So this was kinda new to me.

Learn something new (the hard way sometimes) every day. LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Update: Suse's back home and doing just fine. :) Glad that deal is over with. I'm just glad it wasn't something that shorted out or something.
 

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A quick way to check your altenator at home so your not having to do into a shop and pay $$$. Buy yourself a multimeter from canadian tire, looking at around $20, little less or a little more. And take your test leads from the multimeter and with the car running take your positive lead and touch it to the positive side of the altenator and take the negative test lead and touch the negitive side or anything else that will provide a good ground. If the multimeter reads anything significantly less than around 12-13 then your altenator is hooped.
 

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A quick way to check your altenator at home so your not having to do into a shop and pay $$$. Buy yourself a multimeter from canadian tire, looking at around $20, little less or a little more. And take your test leads from the multimeter and with the car running take your positive lead and touch it to the positive side of the altenator and take the negative test lead and touch the negitive side or anything else that will provide a good ground. If the multimeter reads anything significantly less than around 12-13 then your altenator is hooped.
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That doesn't prove that the alternator charges properly - an alternator can put out enough voltage, without putting out enough amperage. The only way to test it properly it is to load test it, which can be done on the car by full-fielding the regulator and measuring the amperage output with an inductive ammeter.
 

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Buy a plug-in battery voltage monitor, the guage or idiot light is not that accurate. Your alternator should put out, at a fast idle and above, 13.5-14.5 vdc. If it drops as you turn on lights, fans and other load your alternator is questionable.

http://www.iequus.com/product_info.php?pro...ategory_id=1_40

The earlier model of this just had leds no digital readout, worked great as all you had to do was look for the green light, if it turned yellow or red it was time to check your alternator.
 
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