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Battery Light - all electrical dies?

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 06 Feb 2011, 05:32 pm
BGW BGW is offline
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Default Battery Light - all electrical dies?

I have searched these threads and not seen my PT's unusual problem.

I have an 02 n/a PT, 5 speed with 90,000km (about 55,000 miles). Last week, a problem arose that hadn't occurred before.
At random times, the Battery Light illuminates in my instrument cluster. Usually, it goes off after 10 seconds, 15 seconds. It may come on again in a few minutes, or not until the next time I drive.
When it is lit, my car's electrical system is weak. My wipers slow, the rear defroster doesn't clear and the HVAC slows. As soon as the light goes out, it all returns to normal.
I let the car sit for an entire week (and used my wife's car), and temps got down to -15 Celsius nighttimes. This morning, my PT started without hesitation, so I don't think the battery is the culprit (I don't know if it is original since I have had the car less than 2 yrs). The battery posts are clean and the cables are on tight.
I drove the car this afternoon and the light did not come on. But this evening (in fact just minutes ago) while running an errand (in a snowstorm, I might add!), the light came on and stayed on. By the time I got home (I was driving about 20 mins), the car had no rear defrost, no HVAC, no dash lights, no radio/clock and, worst of all, very very dim headlights. Front and rear wipers had slowed to a crawl. Since I was only a km from home (0.6 mile) I drove the rest of the way, slowly.
The PT is now parked, in a snowstorm swirling all around. Who knows if it will start in the morning so I can get to work.
This PT has been a money pit since I bought it in May 2009. But, against all logic, I love the damn thing. I like being seen in it, I like driving it, I like washing it (even with the rust) and I like just simply owning it. A car with character, in spades.
But what about this battery light? Is the alternator going bad? That would be good news, an easy fix.
Suggestions?
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Old 06 Feb 2011, 05:48 pm
BGW BGW is offline
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Default Re: Battery Light - all electrical dies?

Forgot to mention - I did the key dance and did not get any codes at all. As well, I used an OBD scanner and did not get any codes.
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Old 06 Feb 2011, 05:49 pm
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Default Re: Battery Light - all electrical dies?

If I were in your place I would take it to Sears, Autozone, Pepboys, etc and have them do a FULL charging system check. That way you'll know exactlly what's wrong and we won't be guessing from across the internet, cause that's what it would be---guessing--- since we don't have the car here to put instruments on.

Jerry
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Old 06 Feb 2011, 06:46 pm
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Default Re: Battery Light - all electrical dies?

As stated above you should take it somewhere and have it checked.It does sound like your alternator is going bad though.
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Old 06 Feb 2011, 07:28 pm
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Default Re: Battery Light - all electrical dies?

Charging system troubleshooting's been the same for decades-

You're not getting a charge at times.

Visual on the belt, feel if it's tight.

You might listen to the alternator (area) see if you can hear a bad bearing.

Other wise, it's:
-wiring (There's a fusible link that can and will burn out)
-Alternator
-Regulator (Integral with the PCM, although you can retrofit an $8 old skool regulator easily.

Of you want a factory manual, you'll need to PM someone your e-mail.

And yep, Chrysler Corporation, turning regular people into mechanics for 85 years.
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Old 06 Feb 2011, 11:31 pm
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Default Re: Battery Light - all electrical dies?

Ditto on Uptown's comments. Couple of things that you really want to check, one not so widely known.

That &*($% fusible link has a problem that does not affect most PT's. Over age, from going from cold to hot to cold to hot, it starts to break down. During a really deep freeze it actually can start to "decompose" in an odd way. It will draw in condensation. I don't know how nor do I understand the science of it but it was explained to me as thinking of it as a piece of wood, going from a wooden state to a petrified state. Once it goes petrified, it becomes quite fragile and can shatter. Now how often does this happen? Not very, but it does happen so you might want to find the fusible link. Could be the problem that it's starting to go out and hasn't just popped.

Next, really need to check the wiring at your alternator. Ditto on checking the belt tension. Now I took mine to Advance Auto Parts about two months ago I guess, there abouts, when my car started having odd lights going on and off, intermittent check engine light, and most oddly my passenger seat air bag warning light would stay on for a few minutes longer than all the others. They put a load test on my Alternator and it was perfect, but the battery had a dead cell. Replaced the battery and all the problems are gone.
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Old 07 Feb 2011, 11:50 am
BGW BGW is offline
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Default Re: Battery Light - all electrical dies?

Have the car at the garage right now (Canadian Tire). Sure enough, the alternator is dead.
If it wasn't the middle of winter here I'd try to replace the alternator myself. But lacking any mechanical ability, it's best to have the alternator replaced at the garage. The rates are reasonable enough.
Thanks for the tips everyone!
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Old 07 Feb 2011, 03:12 pm
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Default Re: Battery Light - all electrical dies?

OMFG! You guy get all the snow in the world?
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Old 07 Feb 2011, 03:16 pm
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Default Re: Battery Light - all electrical dies?

glad you found out what it was
and nice pic
now if you dont mind
you all can just keep the snow i have had enough for 1 winter
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Old 07 Feb 2011, 05:05 pm
BGW BGW is offline
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Default Re: Battery Light - all electrical dies?

Quote:
Originally Posted by UptownSport View Post
OMFG! You guy get all the snow in the world?
Chuckle. That's not snow, nowhere near what we usually get. It's been a mild winter. In 2001-02, all records were broken - from Oct through April, we had 21 cumulative feet of snow. That is, if it had not melted or compressed, the snow would have been 21 ft deep. In other words, actual snowfall was 21 ft.
I had a Subie Legacy wagon then. Sure needed it too!

Anyway, I now have the car back. Cost was just under $400 including labour and the alternator. The mechanic told me he had never seen an alternator so damn difficult to get at. It took 4.5 hrs though I was just charged the flat rate of 2.5 hrs.
Everything seems to be fine. Lots of power going to the HVAC, lights, etc.
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