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Old 11-14-2012, 10:51 AM   #1
Schlag96
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Question Let's play "Guess the electrical issue!" with your host, Schlag96!

LOL okay, so this morning on my way to work (about 30 seconds after start-up, driving ~30 mph) my battery light flashed, ABS light came on, and DSC light came on. A few seconds later the sound of my stereo cut out. The head unit itself stayed on, but the speakers cut out. Shortly after that the sound came back and the three lights went away. Right around that time my air surged for a few seconds.

Not sure if it's related, but yesterday morning after not driving her for 4 days the battery was very low and I had to jump start. After jumping once, I disconnected the jumper cables and the car died. I jumped it again, and that time when I disconnected the cables it stayed running. It then started fine 6 or 8 times over the course of the day yesterday.

Any ideas what that was/is?

Thanks,

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Old 11-14-2012, 10:52 AM   #2
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How old is your battery? These cars exhibit very weird behavior as the battery goes.

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Old 11-14-2012, 11:09 AM   #3
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(My first thoughts) Bad Battery or alternator... put a volt meter on battery and observe before, and after start voltages (assuming you can now start it under it's own steam!). the alternator should be pumping a healthy voltage to keep it fully charged... Short journeys won't help either...
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:12 AM   #4
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Sounds like an alternator/voltage regulator issue to me. Could be the battery too, or a bad ground.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:21 AM   #5
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(my first thoughts) bad battery or alternator... Put a volt meter on battery and observe before, and after start voltages (assuming you can now start it under it's own steam!). The alternator should be pumping a healthy voltage to keep it fully charged... Short journeys won't help either...
this ^
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:23 AM   #6
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Just recently had this on my brother in laws car. Alternator fixed it.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:07 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Schlag96 View Post
LOL okay, so this morning on my way to work (about 30 seconds after start-up, driving ~30 mph) my battery light flashed, ABS light came on, and DSC light came on. A few seconds later the sound of my stereo cut out. The head unit itself stayed on, but the speakers cut out. Shortly after that the sound came back and the three lights went away. Right around that time my air surged for a few seconds.

Not sure if it's related, but yesterday morning after not driving her for 4 days the battery was very low and I had to jump start. After jumping once, I disconnected the jumper cables and the car died. I jumped it again, and that time when I disconnected the cables it stayed running. It then started fine 6 or 8 times over the course of the day yesterday.

Any ideas what that was/is?Thanks,

Schlag
If you mean the hvac blowing, then there is a known issue with fsr breaking and leading to the battery getting low...I know there are times it seems to drain it overnight, but don't know if there are more mild failure modes that might drain it partially over a few days. But, the fsr does fail, and the warning sign, I believe, is that it just won't increase the speed of fan consistently.

I do not know if it can work with the fan, but fail such that it drains the battery.

Always start with the battery on electrical issues, though. Check date stamp under cover, check all connections for tightness and corrosion (pull up on bat. cables to see if they're loose).

Check terminals under hood (+ and gnd).

HTH and good luck!
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:45 PM   #8
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Just got a brand spankin new battery a few months ago.

But I did take the positive terminal off a few weeks ago to troubleshoot my driver side tensioner. I'll make sure it's on there tight.

Otherwise, we're looking at FSR or alternator? I immediately thought alternator when it died while running just after the jump.

EDIT: Would a bad FSR cause slow battery drain and an electrical whine in the stereo?

Last edited by Schlag96; 11-14-2012 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:51 PM   #9
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Why do people still insist on disconnecting the battery with the car running? This is not a recommended diagnostic test. It can be dangerous!
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:27 PM   #10
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If it is an alternator issue, it's often the voltage regulator that bolts to it, which is a much cheaper part to replace then the whole alternator. Search youtube for diagnostic videos that tell you what buttons to press on your gauge cluster to give you live voltage readouts, etc. I might lean towards the voltage regulator acting up. Search and see what you can find

When my FSR was failing, the HVAC fan would surge, and eventually would intermittently just refuse to blow air entirely. It never affected any other systems.

I've had the same battery in my car for the 5 years that I've owned it with no problems (yet lol)
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:51 PM   #11
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Whine through the stereo and battery drain? Sounds like an alternator my friend.
The battery is really only there to start your car. The alternator is what keeps everything going when the engine is running
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:24 PM   #12
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Just got a brand spankin new battery a few months ago. Brand new could still fail. Happens



Otherwise, we're looking at FSR or alternator? I immediately thought alternator when it died while running just after the jump.

EDIT: Would a bad FSR cause slow battery drain and an electrical whine in the stereo? Couid def cause the battery drain
First instinct is your battery. Even if new, when you drain it down to zero, could do irreparable harm.
Very easy to use the OBC hidden functions to check voltage before start and after to see if alternator brings voltage up.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:31 PM   #13
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Anybody know how to check voltage on the older 323 that has the under-hood connector? The in-dash test menu doesn't perform like in all the youtube videos for what I assume is the OBD-II connector only e46's.
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:10 PM   #14
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Tried and true voltmeter always does the trick.
Let us know if you need any tips for a specific application.
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:19 PM   #15
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Replacing the battery, voltage regulator, FSR should be done anyway to ensure reliability. Sounds like your battery being drained killed it and because your new battery was killed, your electrical system went crazy.
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:08 PM   #16
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Replacing the battery, voltage regulator, FSR should be done anyway to ensure reliability. Sounds like your battery being drained killed it and because your new battery was killed, your electrical system went crazy.
I'll assume until further notice that your solution to every problem is to replace all related parts.



I have a volt meter.. how do i test the alternator / voltage regulator? Obviously I know how to test the battery.
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:17 PM   #17
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I have a volt meter.. how do i test the alternator / voltage regulator? Obviously I know how to test the battery.
Measure from the terminal on the back of the alternator where the large cable is attached, to a solid ground on the engine. For instance the lifting hook would work.
Measure the voltage when the engine is off, and then start the engine and see what the voltage then reads.
Come back with both readings.
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:29 PM   #18
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I'll assume until further notice that your solution to every problem is to replace all related parts.



I have a volt meter.. how do i test the alternator / voltage regulator? Obviously I know how to test the battery.
Autozone can test your alternator if you bring it in, which to my knowledge, is basically testing the voltage regulator. The voltage regulator brushes tend to wear down over the years. If the alternator bearings are failing/failed, you'll notice it when you spin the alternator (a different type of failure). Really, based on my experience, just replace the voltage regulator. It's an absolute no-brainer.

Something that should be done anyway.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:40 PM   #19
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Why do people still insist on disconnecting the battery with the car running? This is not a recommended diagnostic test. It can be dangerous!
He disconnected the jumper cables.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:34 PM   #20
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I've got 12.2V at the battery terminals and with the car running it jumps to 13.5V. I didn't measure at the back of the alternator because it's the same point electrically. At least theoretically.

So why would an alternator have a slow drain on the battery when the car's not on?
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