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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
[:(!] After almost a year of completely trouble free driving from my 2000 ZX3 some issues have popped up. The first being the battery light that initially went on and then away and is now on all the time. The alternator was replaced in Jan ('11). I searched potential issues on FF and noticed the car gives out a rock solid 13.5-13.8 volts at idle. I replaced the serpentine belt and tensioner, cleaned the grounds, checked alternator connections (looked good) and cleaned battery terminals. What I did notice is that the positive terminal is missing a second connection out of the "T" looking part and I do not know where it must of gone to (heavily corroded). Car runs fine but occassionally has a rough idle which drops rpms. Even while driving the volts are @ 13.5. I am losing my mind with this and could really use some advice.[ffrocks]
 

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i had that same issue and it still ended up being the alternator, my battery when the car was off tested 12.6, and 13.5 at idle so i didnt think it was my alternator either until i was driving down the rd one day and the car just shut off
 

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Go to an advance auto parts and get your battery and charging system checked its all free. It could just be that your battery may be being overcharged. which could trigger that light.
 

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Remans for our cars are total crap. I wouldn't be surprised if it gave up the ghost after a year. Unless you bought a brand new, also known as incredibly expensive, then you might be playing the warranty game.
these types of statements bug the hell out of me..

alternators can go bad after 1 day. the can be complete crap from the factory or the refurb shop. mine went bad after 4yrs and then I replaced it again 3months ago. granted im running a 200 watt system but still.
i think you might just have gotten a bad alternator..
 

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What reman did you buy? auto zone or advance auto?

they both offer lifetime warranty's ive heard horror stories about auto alternators but i haven't heard anything about advance auto's parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the reply guys. Alternator was re-built by an local alternator/starter re-build shop. Took it to Autozone, said all was ok??![scratch] Should I just replace it anyway or continue driving while monitoring the volts?? New thing I noticed is that it does idle slightly higher than normal?? [?|]
 

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Yea mine is doing the same thing at the moment, I have some nice thick ground wire that im going to use to replace the grounds and i'll see what happens. It definetly affects the idle when the battery light comes on though, just like it's pulling power off the car.
 

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these types of statements bug the hell out of me..

alternators can go bad after 1 day. the can be complete crap from the factory or the refurb shop. mine went bad after 4yrs and then I replaced it again 3months ago. granted im running a 200 watt system but still.
i think you might just have gotten a bad alternator..
I'm generally not one to make this kind of blanket statement, but the chain store remans for our cars are junk. It has everything to do with cost cutting measures taken during the rebuild process, such as Chinese parts installed by Chinese workers. That would explain the price differential between a new alternator and the remanufactered ones.

I know of several people that had to go through three or more of these, playing the warranty game, to get one that works. I also know at least one local mechanic that won't even install them.

On the other hand, if you go to someone that rebuild alternators locally, especially if they offer a warranty on their work, then you are dealing with someone that can't afford to replace your alt.'s internals over and over and over. They survive on word of mouth and a razor thin profit margin, so they live by the motto, "Do it right, or do it twice."
 

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I just had the battery the battery light coming on in my 2000 SE wagon. The cause was fuse 10, in the power distribution under the hood, was blown. This fuse is for the "battery voltage sensor, diagnostic plug". I was thinking my alternator was bad, but it was putting out 14.4v. Since I noticed this right after the fuse blew for the power door locks, due to the drivers door actuator going bad, I started looking at the what fuses there were in the manual. I saw this, checked it and was very happy. Hopefully this will be your problem also.
 

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That's a LOW voltage, since a fully charged battery with no load on it should read 13.63.

"Normal" system voltage when the battery is charged up should be around 14.2 or thereabouts - extra voltage is necessary to put some charge onto the battery. There are some exceptions to this rule, but NOT on anything you are likely to be working on... (18 Wheelers for example run a lower voltage when charged up, since they often run all day long, a higher voltage would result in overcharge of the batteries...)

After the std. comment that a known good, fully charged battery being installed is the ONLY way to get definitive answers on a charging system's operation - I'm going to preach AMMETER again, 'cause a voltmeter only tells you PART of the story - direction and amount of current flow is what REALLY matters....

Luck!
 

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I went through this too. If the dash is reading 13.xx volts, it's too low. When I installed my new alternator, it read 14.xx volts all the time.
You are running on borrowed time, it will give up on you.
 

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Yea i just checked mine today and its around 13.6 or so at idle and if I turn the blower fan on for a split second it jumps down to 12.9. Im guessing I better get on this alternator. However I had a problem a few years back from the wire that ran from the alternator to the starter i believe it is. I may not have replaced the wire with a thick enough one. Im gonna try that first and see where it gets me.
 

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Here are the correct specs for a fully charged battery.A charging system that is operating normally should produce about 13.5 to 14.5 or more volts at idle. If the charging voltage is less than 13.5 volts, the alternator is not putting out enough current to keep the battery charged. You should have the alternator tested (or bench tested at an auto parts store). If the current output is not up to specifications, replace the alternator.

The standard automotive battery in today's vehicles is 12 volts. Each battery has six cells with 2.1 volts. A car battery is considered fully charged at 12.6 volts.

A fully charged battery should read about 12.6 volts. If the battery reads 12.4 volts or less, it is low (discharged) and needs to be recharged.
Battery Voltage and State of Charge:

12.68v . . . . . . . . . . 100%
12.45v . . . . . . . . . . 75%
12.24v . . . . . . . . . . 50%
12.06v . . . . . . . . . . 25%
11.89v . . . . . . . . . . 0%

(NOTE: these readings are at 80 degrees F. Battery voltage readings will drop with temperature roughly 0.01 volts for every 10 degrees F.)
(At 30 degrees F. a fully charged battery will measure about 12.588 volts, and at zero degrees F it will measure about 12.516 volts.)

And from my own experience , the local rebuilder is your best bet. Its usually the voltage regulator that goes out on our cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the replies guys! I am wondering if the missing wire on the positive battery cable might have anything to do with this? Terminals and all look good but on the "T" side of the terminal there "was" some old corroded wire that literally disintegrated off. Anyone have any pics of what or where it went?[?|]
 
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