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darkshines
02-12-2011, 04:50 PM
Battery is one month old - as far as I know the alternator has never been replaced. Just rolled over 80k miles.

Car ran perfectly until yesterday morning when I went to start it and absolutely nothing happened. Horn was not functional, no interior lights, no power unlock, nothing. I quickly checked the battery connections, seemed ok - got a jump start and it worked fine. I went to run some errands, during which the car was not shut off, not until I returned home. I immediately tried to turn it back on to see if it was working fine, and it would not turn on, same issues as before, no power seemed to be getting received from the battery, yet the car is completely capable of driving and starting when jumpstarted. I suspect when I was running errands, the vehicle was only running off of the alternator.

I should note that during all these periods where the car is dead, I get an intermittent moment or two of power where an interior light will function, my dash lights up or my horn will work fine, then it's gone immediately.

I had the battery checked, 12.7V with the engine off, leading me to believe no connection was being made to the battery. Again, I brushed the battery terminals and the cables, tried it, nothing. Any ideas? I'm hoping it's not the alternator, I'll have that checked on Monday. Until then, I'm going to check the ground that comes off the battery cable. I have a buddy coming by tomorrow with a voltmeter.

Are there any other grounds I should check, or anything else I should check period so as to rule out other issues?

I should say I haven't had any electrical troubles whatsoever recently, it was completely out of the blue - aren't alternator failures usually gradual?

KhellendrosxS
02-12-2011, 05:41 PM
The factory red boot is notorious for building up corrosion on the *inside*. Try cutting that boot off because chances are that youll find nothing but green powder inside.

As you can imagine the powder does nothing for helping the battery charge or send the proper amps the the starter so while you might get it going with a jump its not helping the problem.

Stevo
02-12-2011, 06:11 PM
Possible Short somewhere i think? I dont think it would be an alternator as you would be able to start the car but the car would die shortly after as the alternator would not be recycling energy around the car and would be running straight from the battery. Try either A. cleaning your wires or B. just straight up replacing them

Malaclypse
02-12-2011, 06:31 PM
If the car runs fine after you jump start it from the battery, your electronics are fine. if your cables were bad enough to cause the "no power" concern you have, the car likely wouldn't run.

Sounds like that battery you bought was a pos. Try having it warrantied.

darkshines
02-12-2011, 07:19 PM
The factory red boot is notorious for building up corrosion on the *inside*. Try cutting that boot off because chances are that youll find nothing but green powder inside.

As you can imagine the powder does nothing for helping the battery charge or send the proper amps the the starter so while you might get it going with a jump its not helping the problem.

I'll give that a shot. That's just the red boot off the positive cable, right?

Possible Short somewhere i think? I dont think it would be an alternator as you would be able to start the car but the car would die shortly after as the alternator would not be recycling energy around the car and would be running straight from the battery. Try either A. cleaning your wires or B. just straight up replacing them

I'm not very familiar with a short - how would I go about finding one? I'll try the wires and whatnot very soon and will update then.

If the car runs fine after you jump start it from the battery, your electronics are fine. if your cables were bad enough to cause the "no power" concern you have, the car likely wouldn't run.

Sounds like that battery you bought was a pos. Try having it warrantied.

Well it runs fine after I jump start it, but judging from my dash gauges dimming and the fact that the battery reads full leads me to believe the car was never pulling power from the battery at all. I'm not sure if I misread what you were saying - correct me if I'm wrong.

The only way they will exchange it is if it is unable to charge or provide power or there is something otherwise wrong with it. The report had it testing above the stated CCA, had 12.7 V, and tested healthy in all operating tests, leading me to believe they must have tried discharging it and charging it at the very least.

I'm not sure if any of this is worth mentioning - sometimes when I intermittently receive power, the lights seem to flicker or at least not be at full brightness, same with the interior lights. It all sounds like a faulty connection somewhere, and I'm really hoping that's the case.

KhellendrosxS
02-12-2011, 07:59 PM
I'll give that a shot. That's just the red boot off the positive cable, right?



I'm not very familiar with a short - how would I go about finding one? I'll try the wires and whatnot very soon and will update then.



Red boot is positive, correct.

Im almost positive you arent dealing with a short circuit. If you were, your battery would be dead due to grounding out...and probably catching fire and/or blowing multiple fuses.

darkshines
02-13-2011, 02:56 AM
Red boot is positive, correct.

Im almost positive you arent dealing with a short circuit. If you were, your battery would be dead due to grounding out...and probably catching fire and/or blowing multiple fuses.

I just realized I misread my battery diagnostic print off. It read back 12.7 V, but it is very discharged and only contains 2 AH. A fully charged car battery is around 30 or 40 AH, isn't it? I'll just type out exactly what the report said:

DISCHARGED BATTERY - Battery is discharged

MEASURED - 603 CCA

VOLTAGE - 12.67

AMP HOURS - 2.0

BATTERY MEETS OR EXCEEDS INDUSTRY SPECIFICATIONS - CHECK
BATTERY PASSES TEST FOR EXTREME TEMPERATURE PERFORMANCE - CHECK
BATTERY IS GOOD - RETURN TO CUSTOMER - CHECK

~~

If I knew the battery was fully discharged, I wouldn't have left until they made sure there was some power in it. Leads me to believe the battery was not being charged by the alternator, so I'm back to assuming it's the alternator, too bad. OR, it's just the battery and they're unable to realize it. Which makes sense, the car is able to run completely fine being jumpstarted by another battery..

Bad voltage regulator? That would explain the undercharged battery, no? Any other symptoms of a voltage reg?

I'll still check the red boot first thing in the morning and update then. Thanks for the prompt replies everyone.

KhellendrosxS
02-13-2011, 06:05 AM
There is an inline fuse coming from the alternator to the battery that may have blown. Dont ask me where it is though. When mine blew I just went to Lowes and bought some 4 gauge wire and some ring terminals and heat shrink and made my own cable back to the battery.

Have you checked the voltage/amperage output at the alternator?

AaronGTR
02-13-2011, 07:15 AM
The fuseable link is way down at the starter motor and is a large blue wire. The power wire from the alternator goes to the post on the starter first, then another cable goes from the same post up to the positive terminal on the battery, then to the underhood fuse box. Yeah, I know... real round-about way GM routed it.

Anyway, if the voltage regulator is bad it should be pretty obvious. I had mine go out on me once. The alternator still worked but if I ran any accessories in the car the voltage would drop and it would slowly discharge the battery so next time I went to start it, it was dead.

Try this. If you have a multi-meter, unplug the power cable from your cigarette lighter behind the center console so you can insert the probes in the plug and get a vehicle voltage reading. Start the engine and see what you are at, then start turning stuff on. A/C, radio, headlights, etc.... if the voltage keeps dropping instead of stabilizing then the alt is bad. Mine started out at like 13.4 volts and ended up at 11.2 or so, and it should be almost 14 volts.

darkshines
02-13-2011, 11:00 AM
There is an inline fuse coming from the alternator to the battery that may have blown. Dont ask me where it is though. When mine blew I just went to Lowes and bought some 4 gauge wire and some ring terminals and heat shrink and made my own cable back to the battery.

Have you checked the voltage/amperage output at the alternator?

Just getting up to check the thread before starting on the car. Will update within an hour or so.

I should be getting 13.5 - 14.5 off the alt when the car is running, correct?

Shall I check the resistance too? Should be less 0.2?

The fuseable link is way down at the starter motor and is a large blue wire. The power wire from the alternator goes to the post on the starter first, then another cable goes from the same post up to the positive terminal on the battery, then to the underhood fuse box. Yeah, I know... real round-about way GM routed it.

Anyway, if the voltage regulator is bad it should be pretty obvious. I had mine go out on me once. The alternator still worked but if I ran any accessories in the car the voltage would drop and it would slowly discharge the battery so next time I went to start it, it was dead.

Try this. If you have a multi-meter, unplug the power cable from your cigarette lighter behind the center console so you can insert the probes in the plug and get a vehicle voltage reading. Start the engine and see what you are at, then start turning stuff on. A/C, radio, headlights, etc.... if the voltage keeps dropping instead of stabilizing then the alt is bad. Mine started out at like 13.4 volts and ended up at 11.2 or so, and it should be almost 14 volts.

My cigarette lighter didn't work when I bought the car, and since I don't smoke or use it for auxiliary power, I never got around to fixing it. I don't think it's a fuse either.

Any other ways I can check, other than the cig lighter?

Your bolded bit sounds quite a lot like my problem, doesn't it?

Thanks for the prompt replies again, be back in an hour.

darkshines
02-13-2011, 11:37 AM
UPDATE

After leaving my battery out of the car for the past 20-odd hours, I threw it in this morning and it started up fine. I'm letting it run right now in efforts of charging the battery up a bit more.

I have no idea why it wouldn't have worked the past two days but worked fine this morning. Should I be worried it won't start again?

If the alternator was unable to charge the battery, and they provided a bit of a charge to the battery yesterday while testing it, then that could explain why it would have started this morning, and presumably won't start later today - this is why I am concerned. I'll try to start it up again in a few hours and see if it's all gravy. Will update then.

Again, thank you everyone. Even though I haven't been active in the community for a while, I'm glad to see it's still around and as helpful as ever.

darkshines
02-13-2011, 12:36 PM
2ND UPDATE

I let it run for a while and drove around the block a few times before parking it. After parking it, I tried to restart it - nothing.

I then unplugged and replugged battery - nothing. Checked all the connections again, unplugged/replugged battery - started up perfectly. What gives?

It's so intermittent when it will start up or not, I now have no idea what the issue could be. The fact that it's so intermittent leads me to believe it might be a grounding issue and the circuit is only being closed under certain conditions, but really I have no idea. I'm having someone come by in a few hours with another battery testing machine - he said he'll give it a load test and test my alternator afterwards. Hopefully I'll have some news soon.

KhellendrosxS
02-13-2011, 05:08 PM
Perhaps your ignition cylinder is going bad. Do you still get your chimes and lights on the dash when you turn the key to the ACC position?

Do they go out completely when you try to start the car?

darkshines
02-13-2011, 07:25 PM
3RD UPDATE

Had the battery load tested with engine off, 12.67V but only 50 CCA. The shop said it tested at 603 CCA yesterday, but I only gave them my battery, so I'm not sure if they would test it under load or not. I don't know if it matters, but the guy who load-tested my battery just hooked the leads of the batt-tester up to the ends of my battery cable while they were attached to my battery. I'm not sure if that would interfere with the results or not.

Assuming the shop was telling the truth, then my only thought is that my car drained the battery of what little power it had post-testing, and for some reason my vehicle's charging system is unable to recharge it, whether that's an alternator fault or something else.

How could it have cranked out 603 CCA yesterday while only containing 2 AH?

Perhaps your ignition cylinder is going bad. Do you still get your chimes and lights on the dash when you turn the key to the ACC position?

Do they go out completely when you try to start the car?

95% of the time when I put the key in absolutely nothing occurs. No dash lights, interior lights, sounds, no nothing. Interestingly enough, the last time I shut the car off today before it wouldn't start again, it immediately lost all power, as the gauges all froze at their positions. Then power repeatedly came and went until the gauges returned to their positions, and after that the battery seemed completely dead. It seriously just kept losing and regaining power, for a half a second at a time, after a few of these cycles all the gauge needles had worked their way back down to their original spot, and after that it seemed as if the battery was completely out of juice. Like it used its last legs powering the gauges. So weird.

Also, I checked the red boot. No corrosion or anything of the sort. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. Did a visual check on the ground coming off my battery (-) as well - looked fine. I'll have the car up on a jack tomorrow and take a look at the starter.

thanks again

Malaclypse
02-13-2011, 08:13 PM
3RD UPDATE
How could it have cranked out 603 CCA yesterday while only containing 2 AH?


Depends on the kind of tester they used. Some testers don't subject the battery to a load at all. I don't know how they work exactly but I can tell you that a small handheld tester will not be truthful.

If the tester is about the size of a battery charger, its a proper carbon pile tester. That particular kind will load the battery for its test. They used to be manually controlled and relied on the technician using it to asses the condition.. recently though they're all automatic.

If they used a hand held tester, the results can be skewed. And no, hooking up the tester to the battery when its still in the car won't affect the result enough to cause a 600 to 50 CCA discrepency.

If you wanted to check your car for drains, go buy an ammeter that reads down to 1 mili-Amp. Disconnect the battery cable and hook the meter in line. After 15 minutes the meter should read less than 25 mA. Any more than that and your car will kill batteries either overnight or within a few days.

AaronGTR
02-13-2011, 09:14 PM
I still think you should check the voltage output of the alternator as well. If your cig lighter circuit isn't working, just find another place to hook up your tester. Any place you can get positive and negative power while the car is running. If you have to do it in the engine bay, have someone else inside the car work the controls.

Also check your battery cables as someone mentioned earlier. I had a similar problem once... battery had juice and was fine but the car wouldn't start and the gauges and lights were just flickering, or off completely. Happened out of nowhere one day and left me stranded. Came back for the car next day and after messing with the battery cables some more it started right up. There was a very little bit of corrosion on the positive cable and terminal, but I wire brushed them anyway, and it never happened again.

darkshines
02-13-2011, 11:28 PM
Depends on the kind of tester they used. Some testers don't subject the battery to a load at all. I don't know how they work exactly but I can tell you that a small handheld tester will not be truthful.

If the tester is about the size of a battery charger, its a proper carbon pile tester. That particular kind will load the battery for its test. They used to be manually controlled and relied on the technician using it to asses the condition.. recently though they're all automatic.

If they used a hand held tester, the results can be skewed. And no, hooking up the tester to the battery when its still in the car won't affect the result enough to cause a 600 to 50 CCA discrepency.

If you wanted to check your car for drains, go buy an ammeter that reads down to 1 mili-Amp. Disconnect the battery cable and hook the meter in line. After 15 minutes the meter should read less than 25 mA. Any more than that and your car will kill batteries either overnight or within a few days.

This was the battery tester they used at the shop where I bought the battery:

http://www.midtronics.com/home/products/transportation/chargers/GR8.aspx

It was the GR8, either the 1200 or maybe the 1500. Regardless, you get the point.

The one the guy brought by my house today was a small handheld one. He owns a part shop and said he just grabbed the one they use for testing there. He dialed in the battery's rated CCA, then hit start and it said applying load/testing, then 30s later it said "FAIL", and it read 12.67V and 50 CA.

I'm going to assume there's a difference between an ammeter and a multi-meter? I'm having a friend lend me a multimeter for the next few days. Should I inquire about an ammeter? He's an electrician..

I still think you should check the voltage output of the alternator as well. If your cig lighter circuit isn't working, just find another place to hook up your tester. Any place you can get positive and negative power while the car is running. If you have to do it in the engine bay, have someone else inside the car work the controls.

Also check your battery cables as someone mentioned earlier. I had a similar problem once... battery had juice and was fine but the car wouldn't start and the gauges and lights were just flickering, or off completely. Happened out of nowhere one day and left me stranded. Came back for the car next day and after messing with the battery cables some more it started right up. There was a very little bit of corrosion on the positive cable and terminal, but I wire brushed them anyway, and it never happened again.

Alright, I'll check the alt tomorrow. Correct me if I'm wrong, as far as the battery cables go:

the one that's attached to the + batt post runs one wire to the fusebox, and another to the starter, which has one running to the alt +?

and the cable attached to the - batt post runs wire to the chassis ground, and where does the other wire coming off it go? sorry, I'm at work now and just trying to get a mental image of what I gotta do tomorrow.

Sorry to be a pest, thanks again. Ill check the thread again soon.

AaronGTR
02-14-2011, 06:22 PM
That's correct on the battery wires. Both the ones coming off the negative post are ground. Been a while since I looked at a stock setup, but iirc one goes to the frame and one goes to a post on the transmission I think. They are basically paths for electricity to return to the battery, so one does the engine and transmission (grounds your spark plugs, sensors, etc), and the other grounds everything else that connects to the chassis (interior electronics, lights, etc).

darkshines
02-16-2011, 04:34 PM
LAST UPDATE

Checked all my grounds, battery cables, fused link, everything was A-OK.
Put the battery on a trickle charger, MM read 12.7. Fired it up, voltage from alt steadily dropped.

Test at local shop confirmed alternator was no longer producing sufficient power to charge the battery.

Replaced alt, and everything seems golden now. I suspect it's been gradually failing over the past year or so - the car cranked over better than ever before.

Thanks for the help everyone.

Ceej
02-20-2011, 03:38 PM
Well since this thread is already on its way there is no point in making a new one.

My friend just got my others friends 99 GASE. For about 3 years he only drove it in the winter, so it would just sit in the driveway unused. I think it was unused one or two years before he started using it.

We are having similar issues with the car. If we charge it all day, it will barely start up and run. As soon as we take the charger off, car dies. We tried jumping it with my car, started the same, and as soon as we took off the cables it died.

Would this be the alternator or it is possible that all of the wires are just focked inside? We haven't looked at any of the inner wires because we have no clue which ones go from the alternator to the battery.

AaronGTR
02-20-2011, 04:44 PM
Definitely an alternator and/or battery problem. Same process as rest of the thread... get them tested and replace if necessary. Check all the cable connections for corrosion and wire brushing them would be a good idea anyway.

Ceej
02-20-2011, 04:46 PM
He also talked to an uncle today who works at a shop. The battery is basically new, so were ordering an alternator. Sucks because the thing only has 66k miles!

AaronGTR
02-20-2011, 04:48 PM
Voltage regulator went bad on mine at 58k. If the car was sitting out in the weather for a long time without ever being run and the engine warmed up, that would certainly be worse for it. Cars don't stay in good shape very long if they aren't properly stored. ;)

Ceej
02-20-2011, 04:51 PM
Yeah it literally just sat in the driveway for who knows how long. Its all sunburned and messed up on the exterior lol