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Old 02-09-2020, 01:14 AM
cmartin cmartin is offline
 
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How are you testing batteries?

Long standing issue I can get my head around. ~2004 Acura tsx. One day charging light comes on and it wipes out the battery. I put in new battery and alternator (reman). ~14v running, case closed. Then the charging light starts to flicker a month or so later. Light comes on occasionally for a second, maybe 2, sometimes. I test the battery and it comes back charge. Rinse repeat. I've tested voltage when running hot and cold, everytime ~14v. The main power harness had some corrosion, so I replaced it, new from alt to battery to fuse panel. What a fun job.

So, how can I test the battery and charging system correctly? This should be simple but ..... intermittent alternator output? Just always reads right voltage when I test it? Failing battery?

thank for any ideas

I've used a version of this for lots of jobs and its been a simple, easy tool thats never failed me, until now.

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Old 02-10-2020, 02:23 AM
Mike87911 Mike87911 is offline
 
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You might try a Cigarette Lighter Voltage Meter so you can watch the charge voltage as you drive the car in different conditions. I see Walmart has one for $8. It might give you some insight.
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:02 PM
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FWIW.
Are the battery connections side post connections? If so, a very annoying problem I once had an earlier truck was that the crush washer on each connector compressed enough after several battery changes, that the bolt holding the cable to the battery bottomed out, and cracked the battery case at the bottom of the threaded hole. The resulting battery acid would slowly leak out and penetrate into the main battery cable(s), casing corrosion of the internal copper, that you couldn't readily see until you peeled back the insulation. The corrosion on the copper causes increased resistance, which interferes with the battery's operation and charging. I ended up having to replace the POSITIVE cable.
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:32 PM
cmartin cmartin is offline
 
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Thanks, good ideas. I ordered a voltage cig lighter thing.

Top post battery, but might be worth looking at. Post on new battery was pretty thin so I added a shim. Both sides are clean. Cables are new.
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:24 PM
cmartin cmartin is offline
 
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Good call on the gauge. Normal operation was ~14.1v for ~20. Then it dropped to ~12.3v and didnt go back up until the car was restarted after work. Then it was back up to 14.1v for ~45min. Seems like a failing alternator to me.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:45 AM
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Same symptoms with the reman? Hmm....I might follow through the B+ / sensor line if it has one. The alt might not be able to see the control voltage.

You mentioned some crunchy connectors.
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:03 AM
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I'll throw this out there for consideration too. Just because it's new doesn't mean it works. One of our service trucks went through three re-manufactured alternators before our mechanics found one that was good. Workmanship and QC on some of this stuff is non-existent. Taking the alternator to a specialty shop and having them spin it up under load is the best way to eliminate the alternator as a possible cause.
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Old 02-13-2020, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboPooch View Post
I'll throw this out there for consideration too. Just because it's new doesn't mean it works. One of our service trucks went through three re-manufactured alternators before our mechanics found one that was good. Workmanship and QC on some of this stuff is non-existent. Taking the alternator to a specialty shop and having them spin it up under load is the best way to eliminate the alternator as a possible cause.
The AdvanceAuto near me has an alternator tester, and they test for free. Was actually able to confirm an erratic alternator a while back.
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- 1979 RX7 enduro
- 2017 F350 (tow monster)

Gone but not forgotten
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- 1991 944S2 (in car heaven...)
- 2001 Chevy Suburban 2500 (FIL's beast now)

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Old 02-13-2020, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboPooch View Post
I'll throw this out there for consideration too. Just because it's new doesn't mean it works. One of our service trucks went through three re-manufactured alternators before our mechanics found one that was good. Workmanship and QC on some of this stuff is non-existent. Taking the alternator to a specialty shop and having them spin it up under load is the best way to eliminate the alternator as a possible cause.
Good points. If the alt is in a running vehicle you can do the same tests at home so to speak. Spin it up, add a load and measure the outcome is what a tester does. You can do the same in the car using the seat heaters, blowers and lights to add load and watch the response. (Seat heaters are power pigs BTW)
Good format testing will reveal the truth in the car or not. Testing for things like excess AC and the like can reveal alt internal issues. Testing for load response can reveal outside the alt charging issues.

Way back in the day I had a drinking bud that was deep in Precision Alternator co in VA. He admitted that a large # of alt cores they got from shops, dealers and DIY passed load testing. So many they had a color code for them.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:30 PM
cmartin cmartin is offline
 
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Thanks for the input, much appreciated. I testing with some load but only blower and lights, good idea about seat heat.

I swapped the harness from the alt to bat to fuse panel, no more crunchy connections!

Years ago I took a SC alt to Advanced or Autozone. The poor guy freaked out and didnt know how to setup the machine. I brought back the alt in the fan housing, he was still freaked out but was able to test. I forgot all about them, need to check if they still have the machine.

The really tough/frustrating part has been it always worked fine when I checked it!
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