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rbettica
10-10-2004, 09:11 PM
When I was driving home tonight the power would occassionally flicker on and off. I had the head unit on and the lights on thats it. I turned the head unit off to see if the problem would continue or if something else would cause the power to flicker. Useing the power windows caused the power to flicker. The car did this a few times in the past few months but never like tonight. The power must have gone on and off at least 20 times in a 10 minute drive.

Any ideas? Possibly something causing a short in the electrical system?

02andahalfgt
10-10-2004, 09:26 PM
Battery/alternator maybe?

rbettica
10-11-2004, 06:13 AM
the battery was just replaced since the terminal fell out of the one that came with the car

02andahalfgt
10-11-2004, 02:56 PM
Check all the fuses/connections? I'm running out of ideas, sorry lol

magyver
10-11-2004, 03:56 PM
make sure the battery connectors are tight, then check the cables coming from it.. if it was a short anyplace else, a fuse would blow, so check around the battery area, lift lines and hoses to check for wear marks

MetaGTP1
10-11-2004, 04:02 PM
Do you have a power amplifier in the car? Also as mentioned previously, check the alternator. :)

andrewe77
10-11-2004, 04:17 PM
I concur that it's an alternator problem.

dj2229
10-12-2004, 01:34 PM
My car started dying on me while driving. So I replaced the battery. The negative terminal was all messed up. Basically it just came right off the battery. Cleaned off the connectors and all the same problems. Was getting worse and worse like it could have been an alternator. Tap the breaks, headlights would dim...click the key to the accessories and the dash lights were very dim. I keep trying that and then randomly the lights would be bright like usual and the car would start fine. One nite my car was completly dead. Im thinking alternator. I unhooked the battery and hooked it back up and BOOM full power. Battery was fully charged. That cant be an alternator could it? They dont "come back from the dead" Im pretty sure. Serpentine belt looks healthy. I have to think its a grounding issue? If it is, how easy or hard is it to replace the battery cables in these cars? Hope this helps with the problem solution. Thanks all

Panacea
10-12-2004, 01:40 PM
I say alternator/battery as well.

rreite2233
10-12-2004, 01:58 PM
I concur that it's an alternator problem.

I agree as well ... if your alternator is running fine you could unplug your battery while the car is running and it would continue running as if nothing happened.

Now on the other hand, if you have a huge sound system or some of those lights all over your car ... there could be other problems.

sl0w_GT
10-12-2004, 02:05 PM
i am having the same exact problems dj2229 like every once in awhiel...and when i disconnect even one terminal on the battery and reconnect it everything runs like new again...but then my tranny does that SHI**Y 1-2 shift

dj2229
10-12-2004, 02:06 PM
My car had nothing the nite it was dead. No lights, keyless entry didnt work, couldnt pop the trunk..nothing. Put the battery charger on, battery didnt take a charge. It was full power. I simply unhooked the battery cables and hooked them back up. Full power. The symptoms before this all happened would point to it being an alternator. The car was losing more and more power. But if it was an alternator, why on earth would the battery be completly full power? Wouldnt the alternator eventually drain the battery dead? Im very green when it comes to fixing cars so I may be way off there. I just dont see it being the alternator if the car sometimes has full power and sometimes it doesnt. Please help. Thanks all

dj2229
10-12-2004, 02:07 PM
I noticed that as well. Doesnt this have to be a grounding issue?

gaultma
10-12-2004, 07:16 PM
on my 96 grand am it happened to be a lose wire that was in the fuse box located next to the battery. Id check all the major cable connections and make sure they arent corroded or lose before starting to replace things.

mcgrady
10-12-2004, 07:29 PM
I agree as well ... if your alternator is running fine you could unplug your battery while the car is running and it would continue running as if nothing happened.

Please do not ever do this to your car. This will explain why.

----------------
Every now and then a customer will come in with an electrical problem, either starting or charging, and tell me he knows the alternator is working because he unhooked the negative battery terminal while the car was running and it didn't shut off. Apparently the look on my face must be sufficiently horrified because after a few seconds they usually say, uh, did I do something wrong?

I suppose this alleged test dates back to the Model T Ford and probably wasn't valid then. It is rather the equivalent of setting a woman on fire to determine if she's a witch or not. The answer won't much matter. As the negative battery cable is pulled away, a tremendous voltage arc occurs. The alternator starts to both overcharge and burn with nowhere for the voltage to go, and every circuit in the car is desperately hunting for ground. Think of all the computer processors, diodes, solid state circuits, relays, and modules all getting an enormous voltage spike. You may as well fly a kite into a thunderstorm and hook it up to the back of your PC. Heck, BMW says you can blow the radio in their car with just a jump start.

So please, if you believe nothing else I've written, do not disconnect your negative (or positive) battery cable while the car is running. It is not a valid test, it tells you nothing, and is likely to cause future electrical problems.
-------------------

Source:
http://www.thecarconnection.com/index.asp?article=7030

sl0w_GT
10-12-2004, 07:37 PM
Please do not ever do this to your car. This will explain why.

----------------
Every now and then a customer will come in with an electrical problem, either starting or charging, and tell me he knows the alternator is working because he unhooked the negative battery terminal while the car was running and it didn't shut off. Apparently the look on my face must be sufficiently horrified because after a few seconds they usually say, uh, did I do something wrong?

I suppose this alleged test dates back to the Model T Ford and probably wasn't valid then. It is rather the equivalent of setting a woman on fire to determine if she's a witch or not. The answer won't much matter. As the negative battery cable is pulled away, a tremendous voltage arc occurs. The alternator starts to both overcharge and burn with nowhere for the voltage to go, and every circuit in the car is desperately hunting for ground. Think of all the computer processors, diodes, solid state circuits, relays, and modules all getting an enormous voltage spike. You may as well fly a kite into a thunderstorm and hook it up to the back of your PC. Heck, BMW says you can blow the radio in their car with just a jump start.

So please, if you believe nothing else I've written, do not disconnect your negative (or positive) battery cable while the car is running. It is not a valid test, it tells you nothing, and is likely to cause future electrical problems.
-------------------

Source:
http://www.thecarconnection.com/index.asp?article=7030


yah i was talkin to my mechanic on the phone while i was at autozone the first time my car screwed up and after my battery tested positive the guy at autozone tol dme to take off the battery terminal while the car was running and my mechanic yelled in my ear "THAT GUY IS A MORON!!! YOU CAN'T DO THAT WITH COMPUTER CONTROLLED CARS IT'LL SCREW EVERYTHING UP"

sl0w_GT
10-12-2004, 07:38 PM
finally i found someone with the same problem as me...everytime i try explaining it to someone they look at me like i'm car illiterate...and you can't SHOW them because it happens every once in a while

dj2229
10-13-2004, 06:10 AM
Hey Slow. I have gone over this problem with a few folks in the area and I actually got better information and solutions from the Non-mechanics. I have always brought my car into the dealership for problems, only because they have got to see every problem imagineable. At least thats what I thought. THey were SOOOO convinced it was a fuel problem. I guess I'm going to just check all the connections and go from there. Good luck to ya

2002AmSE
10-13-2004, 08:27 AM
Tap the breaks, headlights would dim...click the key to the accessories and the dash lights were very dim. I keep trying that and then randomly the lights would be bright like usual and the car would start fine. One nite my car was completly dead. Im thinking alternator. I unhooked the battery and hooked it back up and BOOM full power. Battery was fully charged. That cant be an alternator could it? They dont "come back from the dead" Im pretty sure. Serpentine belt looks healthy. I have to think its a grounding issue?


Grounding issue, take a continuity tester and see if your battery post ground and alternator case are common ground or not.

The headlights dimming with the brakes, or high load(aka windows or rear defroster) is normal at idle speed to about 1200rpm.


I need you to explain your definition "flicker" because to me flickering is different than dimming, if dimming is happening than its a voltage drop.

If you want to see if your alternator is good or not go get it tested, test your battery too. Autozone can do a load test for you, but that means you need to bring your alternator into the shop to do a load test. They also make handheld load testers but these arent capable of a large load but will at least let you know if it is working or not. An easier way to see if its completly dead or not would be to take a voltage meter and see if its around 14 volts or if its below 13(below 13=not charging).

i am having the same exact problems dj2229 like every once in awhiel...and when i disconnect even one terminal on the battery and reconnect it everything runs like new again...but then my tranny does that SHI**Y 1-2 shift

It is normal for the car to have soft limpy shifts after a PCM reset, it will relearn the shift patterns after about 300 miles of city driving.




...If when you said flicker that your entire cars eletrical system actually was blinking/flashing quickly, that would be something different than dimming, are you talking about a dim or is it truely flickering??

dj2229
10-13-2004, 09:10 AM
The exact scenario is this. Pull car up at nite and face a wall or something. Tap the breaks and you would see the headlights flash. What I mean is they wouldnt stay constantly dimmed if I held the brakes down. They would just go low for a split second and then back to normal. But this was a sign of low power. About a week after noticing this is when my car was altogether dead. When i put the battery charger on it, it wouldnt take a charge saying the battery was fully charged. Like I said earlier on, when I hooked the battery back up I got full power back. But now its doing the same things. The power coming back tells me that its not an alternator. Only other thing I can think of is a grounding issue, maybe a cable is malfunctioning? Do you know if this is something I could do? After my initial look into the motor, it appears that it might be difficult to remove the old cables. Thanks for everyones help.

rbettica
10-13-2004, 09:22 PM
I cleaned the battery terminals and made sure everything was connected properly and it seems like the problem has gone away for now. Thanks for all the help.

sl0w_GT
10-13-2004, 09:24 PM
I cleaned the battery terminals and made sure everything was connected properly and it seems like the problem has gone away for now. Thanks for all the help.



It'll be back trust me...i've done the same things and it came back later on down the road

rbettica
10-13-2004, 09:31 PM
I found it interesting that the problems started occuring in the past month or two because I took the system out off my car a few months ago so there hasn't been much of a strain on the power system. My system only consits of a 200 watt @ 4 ohm amp run at 3 Ohms and a 100 x 2 @ 4 ohm amp with a 1 fared cap.

sl0w_GT
10-19-2004, 09:52 AM
YAH! i took the system out of my car too and it happened about a week later
i had a 1800 watt amp and two 12's and it worked fine....and what DJ2229 was saying about the headlights flickering if yu have the radio on it'll totally shut off while the brakes are applied and when you left off of em the radio comes back on

rbettica
10-19-2004, 09:58 PM
when i had the radio on the power flickered when i was stepping on the gas, I don't think it happened when braking

it also did it while stepping on the gas and using the power windows.

one of these days ill replace the alternator
im starting a new job soon so ill be getting a better system and will need to replace the alternator anyway

dj2229
10-20-2004, 02:22 PM
What I did was this. I cut off the top of the positive battery cable because it was full of gunk from the previous battery basically falling apart. Got that done and the car ran perfect for the last week and a half or so. No the problems are starting to come back again. So here is my latest conclusion. Both times that I have disconnected the battery and reconnected it, it seemed to have fixed the problem for at least a week or so. Now they are coming back. I now am guessing that this could be some sort of sensor issue maybe? I know when you disconnect the battery that will reset the computer. Any more ideas from anyone is greatly appreciated.