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as the alternator turns

Old 02-06-2019, 07:12 PM
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as the alternator turns

It's been 9 months and only maybe 2k miles of "no electrical problems" since a new battery + Autozone Duralast Gold alternator + new ground cable seemingly resolved electrical issues here:

https://maxima.org/forums/4th-genera...new-one-3.html

since then all the gaskets up top have been replaced - there is NO oil on this alternator

today the battery, brake, and ABS lights came on while entering freeway Not illuminated when stopped in gear but otherwise. ABS light turned on with more revs but off back at idle. I got where I was headed and shut it off.

headed home on surface streets: i expected the battery to die en route, as all the lights were still lit when revved above idle. However halfway home - all the lights went out and did not re-illuminate.

i don't have it in me to look at voltage on the pole tonight.

what else just could be driving my electrical system problems (extraordinarily short alternator life span)? Ignition switch?

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Old 02-07-2019, 08:24 AM
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12.7 volts at the battery at rest

14.36 volts at Alternator pole (both at idle and revved)

14.30 volts at battery at idle

Becaus I'm stupid, I will take this car out today. I already did several stop and go cycles and couldn't reproduce the issue.

"Alternator, heal thyself"
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:54 AM
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out tha hood, on the freeway 80 mph, downshift right on time and pass at 5,500 RPM, into the work hood - no lights, no issues
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:59 AM
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^^^ well that's weird ... and disconcerting.

Intermittent, unexpected and un-telegraphed alternator failure.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:37 PM
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mine had a problem with the battery light illuminating bright and the brake light not so bright, was the battery terminal was bad. Once replaced, car is back to normal. Try testing that but my ABS never came on tho
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by User1 View Post
Connections are indeed important.
true because mine was so badly corroded. Car wouldnt even try to start. It was basically make a nasty noise and start honking really low. Had no choice to replace
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by User1 View Post
Quarterly or biannual checks will keep things like this at bay. Ensure all electrical connections are clean! Cars these days are all about electrical and computer systems.
Yup i do. I put that cleaner stuff. But something tells me ill need to replace the negative terminal soon because it looks kind of bad. Oh well hasnt given me problems yet.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by User1 View Post
Quarterly or biannual checks will keep things like this at bay. Ensure all electrical connections are clean! Cars these days are all about electrical and computer systems.

This is what i was talking about. Just driving and u see the battery light on and brake light. This was a bad alternator
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by User1 View Post
How did you get a definitive diagnosis for the alternator?
it was many things that were old in the car lol. We first changed the battery. Car still wouldnt start right. The starter was also old because of all the years of driving. Then those lights came on like i showed and that was the alternator. Ha then the battery cable and then the ignition switch
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by User1 View Post
How did you get a definitive diagnosis for the alternator?
but to answer your question the alternator was low on charge thus causing those lights to come on. Battery and starter were brand new so that was the only option.
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by User1 View Post
How did you get a definitive diagnosis for the alternator?
Originally Posted by User1 View Post
Alright well sounds like you should get a few more miles out of it now!
yes still trucking! Haha but don’t let it get to that point. None of that really would of happened had it gotten regular maintenance so we were stuck with all those problems. Ha it left me stranded once cause it wouldnt start
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by User1 View Post
By process of deduction!
yes a very pricey one!
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:42 AM
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this is day two for me post-lights going away. still no issues.

my negative ground cable is "new" and is torqued down to spec both under the battery and at the block.

this lifetime Houston, TX car doesn't have any corrosion issues like I hear Yankee examples sometimes do

i have not been poking around at any electrics in the recent- or even not-so recent-past

I don't know where an intermittent ground fault could be coming from except...ignition switch
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by reallywildstuff View Post
this is day two for me post-lights going away. still no issues.

my negative ground cable is "new" and is torqued down to spec both under the battery and at the block.

this lifetime Houston, TX car doesn't have any corrosion issues like I hear Yankee examples sometimes do

i have not been poking around at any electrics in the recent- or even not-so recent-past

I don't know where an intermittent ground fault could be coming from except...ignition switch
you can tell if you have a bad ignition switch. When you turn the key it wont crank or start for sometimes once or a few times. Then it will start like on the next try.
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:17 PM
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Did you clean all the grounds, including the one under the battery tray and the one going to the block?
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DBear View Post
Did you clean all the grounds, including the one under the battery tray and the one going to the block?
Originally Posted by reallywildstuff View Post
my negative ground cable is "new" and is torqued down to spec both under the battery and at the block.
Where else to check? Thanks.

BrianA

Last edited by reallywildstuff; 02-08-2019 at 08:20 PM. Reason: un-helpful, sorry
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Old 03-11-2019, 01:15 PM
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"Org Father - my battery and brake lights are on again today. Its' been three weeks since my last alternator post". "post" - get it ?

Since that time (even though the "problem" seemed to go away on its own) I replaced the ignition switch with (until today) uniformly positive seeming results. To confirm: the battery, ground cable, alternator, and ignition switch are all "recent".

It'd been so long without a light or a problem that I took the voltmeter out of the car - just a few days ago. Maybe if I put it back in the console the problem will go away again...?

My frustration with fantastically short alternator life spans continues.
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Old 03-11-2019, 01:24 PM
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I understand completely,

I replaced my alternator less than 2 years ago and put 2K miles since. Brand new Bosch 125 amp earlier 4th gen version in a 99.

The other day.... Battery Light (no Brake light but the bulb is fine). Tested the battery 12.08 volts not running, 11.57 running.

Starters and Alternators are the Achilles heel of these cars! It really sucks that no matter how much you spend, it's a matter of time and sometimes that time is weeks or days.

Don't mind me.... I'm PISSED right now!
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Old 03-11-2019, 03:03 PM
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So, Hitachi makes a new alternator for the 98-99 Maximas and I30s @110 amps. They made the OEMs. $195 on eBay shipped.

Nissan has the original Hitachi rebuilds: 2310M-0L706RW Somewhere around $250. OUCH!

Rock auto has Hitachi Rebuilds about $130 after sending the core back.

2K miles for this crap AGAIN!


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Old 03-11-2019, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by KP11520 View Post
So, Hitachi makes a new alternator for the 98-99 Maximas and I30s @110 amps. They made the OEMs. $195 on eBay shipped.
show me, please
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Old 03-11-2019, 03:37 PM
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Last edited by KP11520; 03-11-2019 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 03-11-2019, 06:32 PM
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The lights went off - again, just like they did 3 weeks ago. Again, this time, just like last - before it “healed itself” - dash lights were normal at idle, but battery, brake, and ABS lights lit up at any revs above idle.

This is a highly intermittent “low voltage” condition - I have yet to get the meter on it when the dash lights are on, however during those times the sound from the head unit (a clarion cx-501) cuts out (like theres not enough volts to drive either it and/or the bose amps, which I am still using).

not to sound like a broken record but if the alternator had dumped, it would still be dumped. What causes an intermittent voltage drop like that?

bad battery cell?

on the way home I played the radio and ran the AC - no lights, no drama. Got it in the driveway and parked. Revved to 5k - and the battery light illuminated / radio cut out once. But I couldnt get that condition to repeat.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot over
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Old 03-11-2019, 06:47 PM
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If revving it up brings it on even temporarily, maybe it's because at higher revs the alternator is putting out more watts and overloading the voltage regulator.

Something about the components in the voltage regulators seems to be pervasive with the high incidence of failures from both new and rebuilt it seems. Maybe components overheat and then recover.... for a while until they fail completely.

Probably cheap non Japanese regulator components. Chicken Chow Mein components.

That's why I'm thinking new Hitachi. Japanese electronic components. (The good stuff like OEM was 20+ years ago, hopefully)

Maybe the OEM originals were over spec'd with top components and why rebuilds never last anywhere as long. Maybe a Nissan Rebuilt gets us there?

I just want to be done with it and reliable already.

Last edited by KP11520; 03-11-2019 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 03-12-2019, 03:04 PM
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I put the meter back in the console and drove this today - however there was not a single indication of any problem whatsoever.

Now how can that be ?
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Old 03-12-2019, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by reallywildstuff View Post
I put the meter back in the console and drove this today - however there was not a single indication of any problem whatsoever.

Now how can that be ?
I guess you didn't read my last post. All I can think of.

Anyway, the lack of responses is telling me: Good Luck..... You'll need it!
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Old 04-22-2019, 10:02 AM
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It's a month later. This issue (brake and ABS lights on, radio not producing sound - seemingly an "undervolt" condition associated with a failing alternator) has come and gone a couple of times since. I've been carrying around a voltage meter - but each time its healed itself before I got to a stopping point / could get the meter on it.

However I've got another killer little observation about this particular science experiment: the issue has, to date, only begun to manifest itself while passing through (either above or below) the US 610/ US 59 interchange (the Galleria) in Houston, TX. This is near my work - and its cropped up both arriving at work (10 minutes into a drive) or just leaving work (2 minutes in). It doesn't freak out EVERY time I pass under that intersection (twice a day) - but its only done it WHEN I pass through.

This car mostly does city street driving, with some freeway speeds for short distances. However I took it (and the kids) to NASA last week - 40 minutes one way on the highway to Clear Lake and NO LIGHTS and NO PROBLEMS at all.
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Old 04-22-2019, 10:34 AM
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Did you replace/recrimp the pos and neg wire clamps? Have you checked resistance or voltage drop between the alternator post and battery post?
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Old 04-22-2019, 11:30 AM
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The last time I checked it it looked like this:

Originally Posted by reallywildstuff View Post
12.7 volts at the battery at rest

14.36 volts at Alternator pole (both at idle and revved)

14.30 volts at battery at idle.
The negative cable is new. I checked all the positive connections = OK. New igntion switch = crazy lights-on condition has repeated since replacement.
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Old 04-22-2019, 11:59 AM
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"Oh my Goodness" and "I sh*t you Not" - I composed my last post from the parking lot as I was leaving my lunch spot.

The dash lights came on again/the Bose amp cut out again on the way back to work...RIGHT AS I was passing under US 59.

It was still malfunctioning in the parking garage at work - when I realized I took the voltmeter out the car earlier to use for something else. CURSES! And did I think to get Video? of course not...

Maybe it will still be doing it by the time I get home - that has yet to happen before.
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Old 04-22-2019, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by reallywildstuff View Post
The dash lights came on again/the Bose amp cut out again on the way back to work...RIGHT AS I was passing under US 59.
I know a good priest...

You check the voltage drop with the car running, one multimeter cable on the alternator post, one on the battery positive post. See what voltage you get.
Also check resistance, then wiggle the cables while checking resistance.
I replaced my battery, alternator, 3 starters for an intermittent no start/ headunit & ECU reset. It was the cable clamp connections all along.

Last edited by marianm; 04-22-2019 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 04-22-2019, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by marianm View Post
I know a good priest...

You check the voltage drop with the car running, one multimeter cable on the alternator post, one on the battery positive post. See what voltage you get.
Also check resistance, then wiggle the cables while checking resistance.
I replaced my battery, alternator, 3 starters for an intermittent no start/ headunit & ECU reset. It was the cable clamp connections all along.
i have excellent cable-to-battery post interface on my cable clamps. At one time the negative clamp was damaged from monkeys overtightening it - but thats been replaced now.

following your directions above precisely I’d get “0 volts” but I know what you meant (one meter probe on the alternator post, the other meter probe on the battery NEGATIVE post - then compare against battery positive)
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Old 04-22-2019, 07:02 PM
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Three videos shot on the way home today. 1st one shows the issue. 2nd and 3rd are after it healed itself - again.



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Old 04-22-2019, 09:38 PM
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Poltergeist version?

I'd bet you have an intermittent short somewhere.

Here in NY and on LI, there's a couple guys that the garages hire as needed for an hour or two to reprogram ECMs, Transmission TCMs and ABS units and so on. Some are wiring short seeking experts as well. Have a whole van full of specialized equipment and training AND a different way of thinking. Maybe find one of these guys.

Here we have in Brooklyn a guy that's referred to as "The Russian" that after the dealer and all the rest fails to help you, he figures it out in 20 minutes.

Houston, we have a problem and we're landing in a different crater. I think it's called Brooklyn. Vodka always helps! LOL

Just so you know, the negative terminal (OEM) strap on my battery tightened all the way doesn't get tight enough and I can pull it off bare handed. It used to allow corrosion to work its way in and go intermittent for the 6 years I had that Bosch. Just bought a new one and thankfully, it has a larger diameter. Last two Boschs lasted a total of 13 years. My go to until they get like all the rest. I get the ones with the most CCAs that fit.

Good luck! It's beyond frustrating!
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Old 04-23-2019, 10:18 AM
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i forgot if you had already mentioned it but, do you have one of those cig lighter plug in volt meters? If not, i would recommend picking one up and keeping it plugged in so you can check voltage when the indicator light pops up. My old alternator would trigger the light intermittently which just ended up being my alternator going out. Maybe the harness at the alternator is sketchy? I recall it has its own separate harness plug. I ended up getting that replaced at the same time as replacement of alternator.
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Old 04-23-2019, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Zerodrag View Post
Maybe the harness at the alternator is sketchy? I recall it has its own separate harness plug. I ended up getting that replaced at the same time as replacement of alternator.
My alternator subharness is “new”. I will recheck it and every other connection and post pictures for everyone’s collective edification...its the part about the problem “coming and then going” thats killing me

i will get a cig lighter voltmeter
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Old 04-25-2019, 12:27 PM
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I've got a voltmeter plugged into my cigarette lighter now - a "Palumma C6". Its hard to see in the bright daylight - also, a plot of engine speed vs voltage would be the most useful.

12.4 V - Initial plug in, car not running
14.2 V - car first started, cold in the parking garage; rock steady voltage thru revs

It definitely didn't keep 14+ volts during streets driving - more like between 12.5 and 13.8. Was difficult to see in the daylight without blocking the sunlight...

While on way to lunch, the dash lights came on. The voltmeter reported MUCH HIGHER VOLTAGES while the dash lights were on / Bose amp wasn't working:

b/t 15 and 18 Volts - dash lights on, malfunctioning

After lunch:

13.9 - running, in parking lot - been parked in the sun for an hour
13.7 - idle, not moving
13.1
12.7
13.6 - 30 mph
12.8
12.7
12.6
12.5

Back in the garage:

12.7
13.1
13.3
13.6
13.8 - turned A/C off (good for .2 volts)

This is after only 3 hours of having the thing plugged in...more data points to follow.

Why/how does an alternator intermittently produce 15+ volts ?
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:40 PM
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When running after a period of time, my voltage only drops to the mid 13's at the lowest points. I could be wrong, but i thought the alternator has an internal regulator, and that abnormally high voltage is sometimes due to that failing.
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Old 04-25-2019, 03:24 PM
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Old 04-25-2019, 05:11 PM
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The alternator is probably a lifetime unit. Just the labor will be the issue for the R&R. I had a Bosch unit for a few years and was happy with it. It eventually failed a few years later and I ended up just grabbing one from the dealer for a hefty price. The dealer one seems to charge at a slightly lower rate than the Bosch I had though. This is just info in case you end up swapping out the alternator,
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Old 04-25-2019, 05:47 PM
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Indeed - a Duralast Gold LIfetime Warranty unit from AutoZone. I can get one out in under an hour - but haven't yet been able to put it back together in anything less than three. I've mentioned this in other posts...perhaps my manly-sized hands and forearms are the difference.

When I suspected "under-volt", I was thinking there was maybe something wrong with the Body, or perhaps the battery...

But now that it's indicating OVER-volts: I'm not sure why but now I'm resigned to replacing the alternator.

Is there anything EXCEPT the alternator that would cause 17 Volts?

BrianA
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