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Electrical/Charging issues...

2715 Views 13 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  downest
So the block swap is leaving me with some gremlins...

Last night I took a friend to autozone to get some parts and return my axle core. I popped the hatch and forgot, I pulled the core out behind the seat. When I came out I noticed the light was on in the hatch, so I shut it. When I turned the car on the battery light came on, so I switched my X50 to read system volts, and it was fluctuating in the low to mid 11s. I haven't had time to do much with it, I drove a few minutes back to the shop and then home. I also went out once last night, a total of maybe 10 minutes driving, taking it easy on the fresh motor. Whenever I get in the car it's around 11.6V, and it doesn't change much running.

I drove over to class tonight, and it was the same, but when I left, I started the car up and it was fine at 14.7V or whatever. On the way home, it dropped again, the battery light came on, and the voltage got too low for the X50 to read (I think below 10.6V). Something smelled like electrical fire/cooking, so I drove right to the shop, maybe 1/2 mile away, and pulled in, turned the car off, grabbed a fire extinguisher and sweated for a few. The X50 now reads 11.2 and the starter is very slow, slower than usual with that voltage.

So I couldn't get it to start again. I checked the connections to the alternator, and the positive battery cables, everything is fine, no breaks, no hot wires. I took the battery out and it's charging, I want to start it and see if I can located the short or whatever. The alternator is about a year and a half old from NAPA, it's never given me any problems before. All engine grounds are solid and in good condition.
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I wonder if its something with the cold. The Saturn's alarm is going off, even though it was disconnected a few years ago and the battery is dead.
what is this x50 you speak of? Do have some kind of onboard digital voltmeter in your car?

imgoingforit said:
what is this x50 you speak of? Do have some kind of onboard digital voltmeter in your car?

Passport 8500 X50... radar detector :p

I charged the battery up and started it... seems fine :shrug: I think I was smelling the resistors in the blower motor, I played around with it and I only notice it when I have the fan on 1-2.
Damnit! Did it again! I'm thinking bad alternator?
I am going to have to agree with you and say alternator. I had a problem very similar to this. I checked everything over, and could not figure it out. Finally my battery light stayed on all the time, after a couple days, I went and replaced my alternator and it solved the problem.
Yeah I think I have a spare... this one should be lifetime warrantied through NAPA, but I bought it last summer at home in NH, I may have to call them up or something since I doubt I have the receipt.
I found that some places will still warrenty them without the receipt. I dont know if you guys have Oreilly Auto parts out there, but they have always did it for me.
The NAPA regional distributor is my local store here at school, I'll see what they can do.

It bothers me because it seems like it has to do with pulling the engine out, it's a really weird coincidence.
I know it, it seems like everytime I do one thing, it causes another issue that I have to hunt down lol.
I was just talking to Scott (rex2nr) and he suggested that I might have spilled a bit of coolant in the alternator when the O-ring was replaced because it was leaking. The alternator gets wet, like when I wash the engine bay, but maybe the coolant directly on it is beyond what it can do? I also imagine the coolant doesn't evaporate off as fast as water would...
kinda the same thing happened to my car... built the new motor like 4 weeks ago and every thing was fine... and i started smelling burning things so i unpluged my whole system and checked over every thing and come to find out that i was frying my battery that i had bought 3 months before......... and i replaced that and every thing was fine. might be your same instance... but without the system if you dont have one
I think I killed anernator alt once cleaning the enging bay, didn't run the car after hosing it off, I think that's what did it. Not burning it off or something like that, water inside the alternator over night.
Wow, I just had a brain fart while typing this, now I'm not sure if that's what happened or if I'm confusing something else with it.
I need to go to sleep.
I got the alternator replaced under warranty today. They tested the old one at NAPA and said it failed 1 out of 4 times, so it was intermittently working i guess. For what it's worth, my original one was a Denso, the broken one was a Mitsu, and the new one is a Denso. No problems now, finally driving my car again feels good!
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