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Thread: Battery/Alternator Issues - Battery Light - Car Stalls

  1. #1
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    Default Battery/Alternator Issues - Battery Light - Car Stalls

    I was driving down the highway earlier and everything was fine up until I pulled onto a side road and had to stop at a stop sign. That's when the battery light came on.

    A couple seconds after I starting rolling again, the light went away. I was back up to 80km/h and everything was fine. Just for fun to see what would happen, I put the car in neutral and let it coast.

    A couple of seconds after the engine slowed down to idling speeds, the light came back on. I pushed the gas while in neutral and it went away without much delay.

    So as soon as the alternator/engine slows down, there is power trouble. I knew I didn't have much time, so I turned off all the electrical things I didn't need and headed for home.

    On the second last road to my house the lights in my car were getting dim and the engine was beginning to sputter. I turned on my turning signal to turn onto my street, and the car stalled completely. I put the car in neutral and coasted down my road and hopped out and pushed it into my driveway as it was slowing down.

    I changed the alternator for a new one. I charged my battery in the mean time while I was switching the alternator. It charged for about 4 hours. I thought the problem was the alternator not charging the battery, but apparently not.

    It started fine and was running fine. About one minute later, the battery light was flickering intermittently ON-OFF .... pause... ON-OFF-ON-OFF like a strobe light. The alternator was turning fine, the belt wasn't too loose nor too snug, it was just perfect.

    Before charging the battery I cleaned the terminals, so that isn't the problem either. Is the problem the battery? If so, once started, why wouldn't the alternator keep it running?

    I'm about 7 hours into this and stumped.

    HELP!

    The car is a 1993 Tercel and I love it... it's my first car... it has sentimental value and I want to fix it

  2. #2
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    One thing you didn't mention is how old is the battery? Is it a sealed unit, or can you add water when needed?

    If the battery is old, it may not be able to hold a charge. It may be due to low water levels in the battery, or it could just be old. Most batteries are good for 4-5 years, so if it's beyond that, swap it out and give it another try.

    *edit* to answer your question on why the alt. wouldn't keep the car running, is that most alts. need a minimum rpm in order to put out any kind of reasonable charge. When you were running the engine in the higher rev range, the alt. was spinning enough to produce a decent charge. On idle, the charge may be low enough that it combines use of the battery, to keep the charge above 12 volts.
    Last edited by ZMan2k2; 07-11-2007 at 05:52 PM.

  3. #3
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    If the battery is toast, it won't hold a charge even with a new alt. Have you checked the Battery volts with the engine off and at idle? That will let you know exactly what is going on.

  4. #4
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    Get the alternator tested at autozone and read the charge of the battery with a voltmeter

  5. #5
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    I'd say the initial problem was your alternator. Draining the battery as a result of it was the last thing the battery needed and it probably kicked the bucket. Batteries can only take so many complete discharges before they can't carry a load anymore.

    Take the battery in to get load tested.

  6. #6
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    Thank you all for your answers!

    The battery is about 2 years old. It is a motomaster eliminator. I added distilled water to the cells, and it seemed to fix the problem. I also brought the alternator to be tested and it was toast.

    So the initial problem was the alternator, and then the battery wasn't recharging properly due to the water levels being too low (3-4" below the filling holes--very bad).

    You guys were a great help

    I took it out for a test run and everything is perfect. I'm trickle charging it overnight now with a 1-amp charger.

    Thanks again everyone!

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