Alternator/Electrical Problems...long story, need help!
Well it goes like this. I have an '04 Scion xB with almost 180,000 miles. Ive had a sound sytem in it for a long time (New speakers, head unit, amp and sub). Recently my car would "click" loudly through my speakers, especially with lower speeds (streets) and with my sound system on. My sub even cut my power and lights for what seems for a split second at times. Even with my system off it would click at some points with more street driving...
My immediate reaction was that I had a bad alternator....not charging good...
So I got to Autozone, where they come out and test it....the guy shows me that the alternator is bad because its not charging sufficient....so I order a new alternator. I pick it up and install it the next day. And as an idiot and for not working on anything electric on my car for a long time, i forgot to disconnect the battery.
When I was removing the stock alternator, i got a small spark which reminded me of the battery! () so i disconnected it.
The swap went fine, and i started the car no problem. But as I looked closely...NOTHING ELECTRICAL WORKED IN MY CAR! I had to pop the safety shift cap and press it in order to shift it out of park...
As I drove back to Autozone, my battery light was on, and my check engine light came on as well. As I would accelerate, the other warning lights would glow brighter.
When I got to Autozone, I wanted them to check for the check engine light, but I guess they dont do this anymore!... They wanted to test my old alternator, this time in the tester. they have inside the store....it said PASS. I removed the new one...It also passed...yet it clicked when you spun the pulley, in which the manager responded that it was bad...so I was confused!...and screwed!
I reinstalled my stock alternator in the parking lot which was a pain in the ___! and decided to go home and maybe take this problem to my mechanic cause Autozone didnt look like they knew what they were doing...this time only my check engine light was on...
BUT! MY CAR WOULD NOT RUN FOR LONG! My friend had to follow me because only my front lights worked to get home at first. We had to stop twice before we got to the freeway in order to "recharge"...I had to pop it into neutral and rev it up at lights....my battery was dying!
When i got on the freeway, I had to shut all my lights off in order for my car to run decent. This time my dash lights, speedometer and everything would kick on and off, flashing randomly as seeming to be in thirst for power!... At one point my car started shutting down, and i had to pull over again, this time to get towed back home! Atleast we were within 8 miles and my friends AAA covers 7 miles free.
So now my car is at home dead with the windows stuck down and I dont know what to do. Im thinking that the new one was a defect and I still need another alternator... or maybe a relay or something fried with that little spark. Either way I think having my battery drained at the time didnt help...
So My plan is to charge the battery up and take it to a mechanic or install another alternator after the battery is charged.
The problem may be related to the battery not being disconnected when you pulled the wire. It's very possible that doing this could have fried the battery causing it to not accept a charge. This could have been a major part of the problem in the first place. There are a few things to check.
1. Check the water level in the battery. Generally there's an area where you can pry up the cap on the battery and fill with distilled water (not tap water).
2. Remove anything aftermarket. Turn off everything you can that isn't aftermarket. Retest the alternator on the car. Verify the fuses and links are good. Don't forget the fuses in the boxes under the hood.
3. Do the big 3. This is a last resort though. It's possible that the quick zap of the cable may have fried the positive lead going back to the battery... or even fried one of the grounds going back to the battery. Either way, if you don't have an effecient circuit, the battery is going to try and keep as much power as it can. The charging effeciency is also going to drop so low, that it would fail on most charging tests.
4. If nothing above works. You may have a slightly blown mechanical relay. Slightly blown meaning it's not fried completely and the connection is still allowing power to go through even though the relay should be open. It's easy to test though. Charge the battery up, hook it up to the car, and check for any amperage drain with the car completely off. If there is any drain at all, you would be able to see sparks when disconnecting the ground from the battery. One at a time, pull the relays and test for drain again.
Hope that helps and good luck!
Hard core Linux user. It's not for everyone, use what works for you.
Well I got the box running good! Reactor was right, it was a blown fusible link on the positive terminal (The one labeled ALT). So I just switched out the alternator and fusible link. I had to get the link from the dealer tho...18 bux! Looks like I could have just used a soda can pop clip...haha jk
That was my first thought, the fusible link. Exact same thing happened with my old Buick when a friend decided to install my new alternator for me while I was at work (I walked because it was only 2 min. from my front door). He forgot to disconnect the battery, burned the link, and didn't tell me. I kept thinking something was wrong with the new alternator or battery! I ended up spending hours tracking that problem down as well, not realizing the alternator was actually disconnected from the circuit.