PDA

View Full Version : In Search of Mr. Goodwrench


jspchief
11-28-2005, 07:30 AM
I need some help from the more mechanically inclined members of the board. Last night on my way home from Dallas, my battery light came on in my Suburban. I continued to drive while the the volt meter continued to drop, and eventually I had to stop the vehicle and get it towed the rest of the way home. This morning, it started, the battery light remained on, and the volts were still low.

Since the battery seemed to regain some power overnight, I'm thinking it must be the alternator, because if the battery was shot I wouldn't think it would regain juice overnight. I'd rather not have to buy both battery and alternator if it isn't neccessary.

Does my assessment sound correct?
Is there a way to test an alternator?

Extra Point
11-28-2005, 07:36 AM
Take the alternator to an O'Reilly. They can bench test the alternator. Sounds to me like its voltage regulator has a blown diode.

the Talking Can
11-28-2005, 07:41 AM
You need a new transmission.

HemiEd
11-28-2005, 07:58 AM
What year is the Suburban? The newer ones are not as simple as they used to be. The computer is a factor. If it is pretty new, do not attempt to run it without the battery hooked up. That used to be my standard test, to start it and disconnect the battery. They say that will now damage the computer. Taking the alternator off on some of these things is quite a chore. If it was mine, I would take it some where that has an analyizer. Most shops have them now, SnapOn makes a great one. I think it would be worth the investment myself.

jspchief
11-28-2005, 08:03 AM
It's a '98. The Alternator is right on top and appears to be easy to get off. I'm going to try and take it into O'reilly and see what they say.

Skip Towne
11-28-2005, 08:09 AM
It's the alternator. The car will keep running on the aternator evenwith a dead battery. When the alternator quits, it will run on the juice in the battery until it runs out then quit. Like yours did.

jspchief
11-28-2005, 09:02 AM
Ugh. For whatever reason the f*cking thing won't come out. I'm either missing the magic invisible bolt, or there's more to it than there used to be. Chilton should put their manuals online.

PastorMikH
11-28-2005, 09:03 AM
Start the car then disconnect the positive battery cable. If the alternator is good, the car will keep running. If the car dies, replace the alternator.

Lzen
11-28-2005, 09:03 AM
Time to replace you blinker fluid.

PastorMikH
11-28-2005, 09:05 AM
Ugh. For whatever reason the thing won't come out. I'm either missing the magic invisible bolt, or there's more to it than there used to be. Chilton should put their manuals online.



I haven't seen a suburban setup, but there should be 2 bolts on bottom and one on top along with wire hookups.

Lzen
11-28-2005, 09:07 AM
Seriously, there should be like 3 bolts. Not sure how your Suburban is setup, though. My 98 Pontiac van's alternator was a real bitch to get out. I had to take off the power steering pump, the windshield wiper arm, and the alternator bracket just to get the alternator off. To make matters worse, the stupid thing was made in France and cost me almost $200.

KCTitus
11-28-2005, 09:08 AM
Speaking of alternators...did you know that a Toyota Rav 4 refurb alternator costs more than an alternator for a Jaguar XK6?

Best 530 bucks I ever spent...for my deadbeat brother in law.

And yes, it sounds like your alternator.

Iowanian
11-28-2005, 09:09 AM
JSP,

It sounds like the Alternator to me. You can start by pulling your battery and having it tested at most any part store to be sure thats not it. They also can hook up and test your alternator if you get the truck there.

My first bet is that its your alternator. You should be aware that sometimes when they go out, they can overcharge and smoke your battery also.

PastorMikH
11-28-2005, 09:14 AM
Speaking of alternators...did you know that a Toyota Rav 4 refurb alternator costs more than an alternator for a Jaguar XK6?

Best 530 bucks I ever spent...for my deadbeat brother in law.

And yes, it sounds like your alternator.


All the Jap alternators are pricey - must be the increased union wages of the american workers that make them driving up the price. Nissans are pretty pricey as well.

The high alternator prices are why I refuse to jump people. Don't even own a set of jumpercables. Killed a perfectly good alternator back in my college days trying to jump a friend. Dad had told me not to be doing that and I didn't listen. I have a good battery charger that has a start setting that should start any dead car in just a few minutes and some long extension cords. I'll let people use those.

Phobia
11-28-2005, 09:20 AM
You can start by pulling your battery and having it tested at most any part store to be sure thats not it.

He can't even drop the alternator out, how do you think he's going to remove the battery? Heh heh.

PastorMikH
11-28-2005, 09:22 AM
He can't even drop the alternator out, how do you think he's going to remove the battery? Heh heh.


That's easy. Take your sawzall and cut the sheet metal on the fender out, then slide the battery through the hole.

Iowanian
11-28-2005, 09:22 AM
The last battery I tried to remove was a real futhermucker.....of course it was in a semi-lit shed, I had half teh tools I needed and it was cinched down and under some cross member.


It does sound like he missed a bolt.

Phobia
11-28-2005, 09:24 AM
It does sound like he missed a bolt.

I've met him. He is.

Extra Point
11-28-2005, 09:24 AM
Start the car then disconnect the positive battery cable. If the alternator is good, the car will keep running. If the car dies, replace the alternator.

I WOULD NEVER, EVER, DO THAT!!! THE BATTERY SERVES AS A SURGE SUPPRESSOR, ALSO. THE SAFEST THING TO DO IS DISCONNECT THE NEG BATTERY CABLE, DISCONNECT THE POS BATTERY CABLE, REMOVE THE BATTERY AND THE ALTERNATOR. TAKE THEM BOTH TO O'REILLY AND HAVE THEM TEST THE ALTERNATOR AND BATTERY. THEY CHARGE NOTHING FOR CHARGING THE BATTERY. INSTALL BOTH, AND THAT'S THAT.

Iowanian
11-28-2005, 09:26 AM
Please.

I've been testing Alternators by disconnecting the positive cable for years.

Disconnecting only the Neg cable imo is nearly idiotic. If it happens to ground itself, it could explode your battery. Never disconnect the neg before the positive.

Bwana
11-28-2005, 09:26 AM
Alternator Issues? Also make sure the belt is not loose and or the battery cables.

PastorMikH
11-28-2005, 09:27 AM
I WOULD NEVER, EVER, DO THAT!!! THE BATTERY SERVES AS A SURGE SUPPRESSOR, ALSO. THE SAFEST THING TO DO IS DISCONNECT THE NEG BATTERY CABLE, DISCONNECT THE POS BATTERY CABLE, REMOVE THE BATTERY AND THE ALTERNATOR. TAKE THEM BOTH TO O'REILLY AND HAVE THEM TEST THE ALTERNATOR AND BATTERY. THEY CHARGE NOTHING FOR CHARGING THE BATTERY. INSTALL BOTH, AND THAT'S THAT.



Good for you.


Personally, I'd rather do like the mechanic you pay to fix your car does and just pull the battery cable for a moment than spend an hour's hassle tearing apart, walking to the parts store with a battery and alternator, then walking back home and installing both again because they weren't the problem.

PastorMikH
11-28-2005, 09:31 AM
Alternator Issues? Also make sure the belt is not loose and or the battery cables.



You find that out AFTER you spend an hour unhooking everything, walking to O'Riellys carrying everything, then walking back home with everything after realizing they weren't the problem.

jspchief
11-28-2005, 10:21 AM
New alternator is in and the Suburban is running like a champ.

Thanks guys.

Hopefully the conclusion of my issue doesn't keep you from fighting amongst yourselves about how to connect a car battery your industrial dildo.

Skip Towne
11-28-2005, 10:56 AM
New alternator is in and the Suburban is running like a champ.

Thanks guys.

Hopefully the conclusion of my issue doesn't keep you from fighting amongst yourselves about how to connect a car battery your industrial dildo.
I'm glad to hear your problem is solved. But don't take too much credit for our infighting. We can always find a reason to fight amongst ourselves.

Phobia
11-28-2005, 10:59 AM
Congrats. It's kinda fun resolving those problems by yourself and saving a bunch of money in the process.

Iowanian
11-28-2005, 11:04 AM
That'll be $350 for the diagnostic sir. Do you need an invoice?

jspchief
11-28-2005, 11:05 AM
Congrats. It's kinda fun resolving those problems by yourself and saving a bunch of money in the process.I don't mind working on my vehicles as long as it doesn't involve gasket sealer or fuel mixtures. If I can diagnose the problem accurately, the wrenching comes easy.

By doing it myself, the repair cost me less than getting it towed back to my driveway.