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Brakes, Electrical, Engine, Exhaust
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Sep 20, 2012 (2:30 pm)
will post this here, in case anyone has suggestions.
my son has a 2000 Acura TL with him at college. 170K, but runs great. Until last weekend. Driving along, starts to lose electric (dash getting wonky, warning lights coming n (ABS/TCS etc.). runs rough, and dies. Gets a jump, makes it a few blocks, ties again. Gets towed to Honda dealer, they can't even jump. Put a new battery in, fires right up. They test the alternator, and say it is charging, so good to go.
2 days later, after a few mile drive to the store, starts doing the exact same thing, then totally dies and won't restart. almost made it to the dealer (1/2 mile away!), so needs another tow.
well, I talk to them today (he left it last night and they say it started right up, and is running fine. Battery was charged, and alternator is putting out. So they were driving it around the lot, trying to get it to act up, but nothing. Said they looked at the obvious stuff (the grounds they could see, loose cables I assume) and nothing. No fault codes stored either.
so , it does not seem to be any of the obvious culprits, and of course these intermittent issues can be nasty to track down, but if anyone has ideas on out of the box items to look at, it would be appreciated.
#5583 of 5686 Re: dying car [stickguy]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Sep 20, 2012 (6:25 pm)
faulty voltage regulator?
#5584 of 5686 Re: dying car [Mr_Shiftright]
Sep 20, 2012 (6:40 pm)
cars still have voltage regulators? I remember changing one on a 1985 horizon. though I am sure if they still exist, they are a whole lot more expensive and complicated!
hopefully, that is something logical for them to check (assuming you easily can).
#5585 of 5686 Re: dying car [stickguy]
Sep 21, 2012 (3:33 am)
Still sound to me like it might be the alternator. The car runs fine for a day or day when the battery is new, right? And then you start to lose electrical power?
When it dies, were you able to put it on a charger and see if recharging the battery helps?
We had an '85 Caprice wagon. I replaced the alternator belt on it one day. After doing that, the car would run fine for a day or two or three, then start to die from losing electrical power (dash would dim, headlights would dim, etc). Charge up the battery again and all would be fine for a day or so. Anyway, I discovered that the alternator belt was the wrong style, and was slipping on the alternator pulley (even though there was no telltale squeal). So the car was essentially running off the battery alone, which of course would discharge over time. Replacing the belt solved the problem.
#5586 of 5686 Re: dying car [srs_49]
Sep 21, 2012 (5:07 am)
It did (per the dealer) turn out to be a dying alternator that would work sometimes. Finally failed while they had the car. so, cross fingers that the new one will cure the problem.
#5587 of 5686 Re: dying car [stickguy]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Sep 21, 2012 (7:26 am)
Well a regulator is listed for the car---it might be built into the alternator however.
#5589 of 5686 Electrical, or something more obvious?
Oct 08, 2012 (7:45 pm)
2004 Ford Escape.
126k give or take....
Headlights (low&high) and odometer back lighting flicker rapidly-very noticably, like mild strobbing. NOT like when they dim&brighten when idling. Battery is new, as well as alternator&starter (auto shop tested&all GOOD!...told me cars just act "funny" sometimes-it's been a month&no change at all!!). It has become VERY noticable while driving (begins within 5 mins of starting the truck). Any ideas are much appreciated, as I'm rather frustrated with the auto shop.....
#5590 of 5686 Re: Electrical, or something more obvious? [salarae61080]
Oct 09, 2012 (11:08 pm)
As a wild guess, I would think the 'new' alternator has a problem or you have loose connection/s. What appears to be overcharging (higher than normal voltage could cause the brightness) could be coming from the alternator. I have no idea where the voltage regulator is at in your car. I think it's been many years since this component has been a separate item. On some cars the regulator is inside the alternator. In some it is now part of one of the main 'computers'.
It could also be as simple as a loose connection. With new battery, alternator, and starter there are several places that might not have been tightened down correctly. The high resistance from a loose connection might be forcing the alternator to throw out higher than usual charging voltages.
First, you need someone to go over all the stuff that was replaced. Looking especially for loose connections. Then might demand the alternator be replaced. I saw a 'test' of an alternator several years ago. They spin the drive up, then push a screwdriver into a hole in the back. If the alternator then puts out the max voltage and amps, it passes. No real test if it might be overcharging all the time, etc. As I said, this was a GM alternator about 20 years ago.
#5591 of 5686 General pre-purchase question
Nov 12, 2012 (3:53 am)
I understand that some unscrupulous sellers, usually curbstoners will hide a blown head gasket by the addition of some sort of sealant to the coolant. This temporary fix usually fails sometime later leading to an expensive fix or ruined engine.
Is there any way to detect that this was done? Does this require a trip to the shop or is there some "paper towel" test that can reveal this type of fix so you can eliminate a lemon early on before you have to spend the time and effort on a mechanic?