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Charging system analysis checklist...

IncorpoRatedX

Well-known member
Joined
May 28, 2003
Messages
5,593
Location
Arizona
Recently as some of you know, I sold my silver Galant GSX. The guy that bought it is from West Virginia and has been a Subaru enthusiast for some time, he's got some friends with some pretty in depth knowledge of 4G63's but he's a bit new to the mitsu crowd.

Right before selling the car I went out to the garage to start the car and it was dead, I assumed from sitting for a long time, so I jumped it and the car fired right up. However I wasnt going to hand the car off with any issues, so I pulled the battery out, put a full charge on it and took it down to be tested, at the same time I took the alternator with me. The battery passed fine and the alternator passed low, being around these cars for 1/3 of my life, I know to keep a spare alternator hiding in the garage /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/uhh.gif So I swapped on the new alternator and fired the car up, volt gauge read just fine, shut it off, started again, drove it around town since the roads were clean, came home, shut it off and started again. All was well in the world.

A couple days later I went out to start the car so I could meet the guy buying it part way (had to drive 40 miles or so east to make it easier on him); the car started right up, no problem. I then drove it 40 miles to where he was, shut it off and started it back up probably 5 more times while he looked over and test drove the car, then loaded it on his trailer, unloaded it 20 minutes later and reloaded it backwards (sat better backwards)

Shortly after he got it home, the battery was dead, he let me know and I told him I didnt have any problems with the charging system but I did replace the alternator (unused reman'd unit) I suggested he have it tested, as I've gotten remans before that were a bit iffy... I also suggested;

Check alternator fuse
check under hood connection for battery cable to battery relocation (trunk)
check battery ground in trunk area
check engine grounds to chassis
check for possible drain on battery
have battery tested again
have new alternator tested

Am I missing anything? input appreciated, I'd hate for this guy to start off chasing an annoying problem on a car that has served me flawlessly since I got it. Many of you saw it at shoot out this year, I trusted that car to go anywhere and now he can't trust the charging system to get him around the block.
 

Lightning1

Well-known member
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
67
Location
IL
Not that I am questioning your ability to diagnose a dead battery, but I know my car had a problem with the starter solenoid where it would pull the pinion gear in, but not spin the motor which made the car seem dead (would click), but the battery/charging system/battery cables were fine. Lots of people woould give me crap as I would need to cycle the key start sometimes 25 times till the contacts in the solenoid would catch. This happened until the solenoid was replaced, never had a problem after that.

Not sure if that helps, but if the car is running fine when started, the alternator/wiring is fine, unless you have a paracidic draw when the car is off (amp clamp on the positive side of the battery terminal and measure it for a while) will tell you that. If you have a paracidic draw, those are fun to diagnose, start pulling fuses until the draw stops and it will give you a circuit to start to diagnose.

Hope this helps,

Jeff
 

IncorpoRatedX

Well-known member
Joined
May 28, 2003
Messages
5,593
Location
Arizona
Good input Jeff, I've actually been in that situation before with a montero.

Will have to see what he says. I think he's gone so far as to replace the battery already, i'll have to see what his input on this is. I know the volt gauge was reading fine while I was driving, hell I drove all the way to meeting him with the stereo going, headlights and brights on, heat going... So the charging system was definitely getting used.
 

Lightning1

Well-known member
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
67
Location
IL
yeah, I am saying when the car is turned off, you will have a draw in the system where something is on pulling the power constantly, so if you start your car constently, you are fine, but if it sits, the battery will die. that being said, all your system (batt, alternator, etc) is fine, but something stupid like a shorted trunk light or coroded wire somewhere will be constantly pulling a little power at all times constantly draining your system.
 
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