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01 Charging system/battery/alternator Issue

 
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Old 12 Feb 2012, 02:32 am
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Default 01 Charging system/battery/alternator Issue

Hello all,

This is my first post on the forums, I've found this site really helpful since I bought my 2001 PT Touring Edition back in Sept '11. I bought it used from a private owner for $2500. Though the vehicle had 140k miles on it it did have all of its scheduled maintenance performed and according to the dealership info its been in for all necessary repairs due to recalls. It's been almost 5 months since I have had the car and I am experiencing problems with my charging system.

I put in a new battery on 12-26-11: My battery died, and because the light never came one while driving i assumed it was just an old battery and put a new battery in.
car worked fine until 1-17-12: when the battery light illuminated while i was driving. I went home called the shop scheduled a time to bring it in. I had to get a jump to get it to the mechanic. The mechanic charged the battery ran some tests said it was fine, but i knew it wasnt so I told him to keep the car over night and check it again. The next morning i was told the alternator was intermittently failing. so a new alternator, belts, passenger side motor mount and 547.08 later I got the car back and it ran great up until a few days ago. I was once again stranded with a dead battery and no warning. got a jump to get home and call the mechanic.

I'm scheduled to bring the car in on Monday, I jumped started the car again today it hopes of letting it sit and charge the battery but the battery light came on and the battery wont charge up while the car is running.

Also:

the car has the fog light issue, service records indicate the switch has been replaced once already in 2006 however the fuse in the engine compartment was pulled before i bought the car, and the dash was still indicating when the fog lights were turning on and off. obviously the switch went bad again. i pulled the interior fuse so the dash indicator wouldnt stay on while the car was turned off.

the car was also displaying a check engine light and P0551 fault code, along with a random blinking of the led display on the radio all of which went away when i adjusted the steering wheel up from the lowest possible position. I have never experienced any issues with the power steering while the check engine light was on.

is there anything i can do in the mean time to figure out whats wrong with my car or should i just keep my fingers crossed and hope the brand new $265.00 alternator they put in was bad?

edit:
I forgot to mention that both times this dead battery issue has occurred i noticed that the air intake above my battery is really hot as well as the battery. the headlight on that side doesnt always work ( i often have to bang on the outside of the car to get the light to go on) not really sure if any of this is related or not...

Last edited by NicoleW; 12 Feb 2012 at 03:01 am.
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Old 12 Feb 2012, 08:18 am
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Default Re: 01 Charging system/battery/alternator Issue

Nicole, welcome t the forum.

It sounds like the PT might have been in a crash during the time the first owner had it. Sounds like your not doing any work yourself so someone needs to take the air filter and battery out and check all the wiring. One of the battery wires might be rubbing against something and shorting out the battery and wiring for the lights. Also check out the battery terminals and heavy cable from the battery on both ends for any corrosion that might have built up and not allowing the voltage to flow.

The Multi-function switch is a known problem but usually a one time replacement does the trick. Doesn't mean it can't happen again but the pulled fuse is a dead give-away that someone didn't want to do it a second time.

Also the wiring from the radio and other functions runs down the steering column and owners have had the problem of the harness being stretched when the steering wheel is adjusted. If you can live with having the steering wheel UP and not putting pressure on the harness, that's the way to go. Otherwise the under column panels have to come off and harness has to be traced to where it's rubbing or pulling to make it lose contact.
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Old 12 Feb 2012, 12:20 pm
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Default Re: 01 Charging system/battery/alternator Issue

That makes sense-


You might also check the voltage- PCM (aka 'computer') controls voltage.
If it fails to do this, it will boil acid out of battery.
(You don't need to replace the PCM, really, really old Mopar regulators work just fine and are pretty simple to wire in.)
In this case I don't believe it would fully explain what's occurring, but voltage
simple to check.
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Old 12 Feb 2012, 02:30 pm
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Default Re: 01 Charging system/battery/alternator Issue

Thank for the replies...

I had already suspected it had been in a front end collision and repaired without going through insurance, in fact there is evidence on the of this on the front left of the bumper.

I can live with the steering wheel up a little bit to avoid the annoyance of the blinking radio led.

and Ill be sure to let the mechanic know about my headlight that is shorting out occasionally.

There is a slight bit of corrosion on the positive cable connecting to the battery so I'll also have the mechanic check out all the wiring when I bring the car in. I just wish that they would have checked all this out the last time I brought the car to them.
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Old 12 Feb 2012, 03:18 pm
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Default Re: 01 Charging system/battery/alternator Issue

In all reality, the best person to work on your car is you.
No one else has the time or inclination to give the TLC to clean items like they need to be.
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Old 13 Feb 2012, 06:19 pm
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Default Re: 01 Charging system/battery/alternator Issue

well i got my car back today and the mechanic said he replaced the negative terminal, no charge since he should have caught this the last time he was working on the car. Kind of makes me wonder if the alternator was actually bad the first time I brought it in.

Hopefully this is the last time I have to bring the car in for this issue. In 3 weeks if the car dies on me again then I will have to take it to a different mechanic. Unfortunately I'm not mechanically savvy so I can't exactly do the repairs myself; If I tried I'd probably break something else in the process.
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Old 13 Feb 2012, 10:43 pm
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Default Re: 01 Charging system/battery/alternator Issue

Sounds like we jump to the (been in crash) excuse way to often. When its way more likely to be poor service from mechanics or the lack there of. And also model specific issues. Not to mention some of the DIY stuff. These are the leading cause for a vehicle to be traded. In my experience accident damage is usually a visual issue more than any thing if poorly done. The stuff that cost me the most time and money is poorly executed mechanical repairs by professionals and DIYers. I find some pretty good cars under all that (fixing it to death).

Last edited by Busted_PT; 14 Feb 2012 at 05:13 pm.
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