All electrical starts to fade out at higher RPMs. What could it be? - Focus Fanatics
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:10 PM   #1
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All electrical starts to fade out at higher RPMs. What could it be?

I recently been having an issue with my 02 zx3. The car starts up with no problem & drives fine. The problem is when i got my headlights on at nite, i noticed that as the RPMs go higher, my headlights start to flicker & get very dim, along with the interior lights dimming as well. And if the a/c or heater is on high, it drops down & almost sounds like its off. Then, as i let off the throttle to shift gears, the headlights brighten up completely, along with the interior lights.
Now i looked it up & people say its the alternator but i replaced the alternator about 5 months ago. Also, i had a friend check the battery with a voltmeter when the car was running & it read the normal reading at idle & the normal reading while pushing the throttle a lil.
After reading all the above info, do you know what it is or could be?

I'd really appreciate the help.
Thanks,
Eric <focusONthis>


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Old 02-26-2013, 10:28 PM   #2
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I have the same problem.
Haven't found the issue yet, hours of dataloging done and nothing jumps out at me other than what's going wrong.

I swear it's the alternator getting weak, but datalogs don't reflect this. If the alt was getting weak I should see charge Duty Cycle rise over time. It hasn't, same as it's always been.

But the thing my car has in common with yours is the problem. Wiring and such are different, mine is rear mount battery and rewired starter/alternator. Kinda adds more faith that it is the alternator.


FWIW, I describe it as acting like the WOT alternator cutout option you can turn on with a custom tune.
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:51 PM   #3
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Well it's good to know I'm not alone on this but it sounds like its gonna be hell trying to find out what's the problem. Well I'm gonna do what I can to find out the problem.

If anybody else has any ideas, post them.
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:27 AM   #4
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Mine did that for about 4months then the alternator went out completely. After the alternator change no more fading headlights at 4000rpm and above. I did read that you couldn't nail it down by looking at the data. I'm not certain what the actual mechanism behind the fading lights is other that the alt not charging at high rpms and the car running off the battery.
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:30 AM   #5
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altenator.....have it load tested
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:22 PM   #6
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For one member with this issue a couple years ago I suggested using a spare power adapter in the lighter socket as an easy way to hook up a voltmeter to watch system voltage as he drove, separate from any of the car's systems. In his case it showed an intermittent problem that he hadn't been able to duplicate with the car at rest.

The "Local Rebuilder" that's often recommended here could bench test it for you, but if the recent replacement is under warranty you may be stuck in the repeated replacement "Groundhog Day" scenario of poor rebuilt alternators that is unfortunately all too common....

Good Luck getting it solved!
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:25 PM   #7
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So how do I test the alternator? I don't feel completely comfortable with working on electricals so I get a lil nervous when I do. Haha! I'm sure u understand.
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:27 PM   #8
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And I bought the alternator with warranty at autozone. Do they check the part at the store?
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:06 AM   #9
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We have seen lots of crap alternators out there so you were better off rebuilding the one it had. Thats what I did and so far no more issues (knock on wood). At this point I would have yours tested and try for a warranty return but, like someone said it might start feeling like groundhog day with constant bad alternators. I'm not so sure the rebuilt Motorcraft ones are any good either. A friend of mine got a NAPA one and it was fine.
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by <focusONthis> View Post
And I bought the alternator with warranty at autozone. Do they check the part at the store?
Take it to autozone, they will load test it in the car. I'm guessing you bought a remanufactured unit from Autozone. Every one I have bought from them had a shelf life of 8-12 months before it had to be replaced again.

If you can afford it, and you are keeping the car for a while, get a new alternator from a place like rockauto.com.
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