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Old 07-20-2019, 12:29 AM   #1
OCMan
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1995 SC1
Default Dash lights dim and speedometer stops working.

I am assuming this is a dead battery issue. I mean the other day It did this on the way back from Target, and I assume since it was raining but not dark, hence having the lights on, I forgot them on when I went inside. I am guessing I got lucky, and had just enough juice to start the car as when I was about to leave the lot I realized my dash lights were very dim, and then that the speedometer was not working. I was almost home so I just continued onward. At the light before the house the car seemed like it was trying to die but settled down, I got home, turned it off, tried to re-start and it would not turn over. I hooked up my Stanley charger/starter, and it started just fine. So I hooked it up but apparently I had it on the recondition setting. I started it earlier, went to the gym, and on the way home the dash dimmed again and same issues. This time it did end up dying on me so I had to get someone to run me to Target for cables and jump me.

I assume this is just the battery and the fact I had it on recondition did not actually charge it effectively and that is why it got me out but not back?

Also I had my radio running, occasionally when I am driving the radio will skip out like it loses power and then restart. Usually once and done, sometimes several times. I am guessing that a cable there is likely lose and needs to be checked, but could that cause the issue?

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Old 07-20-2019, 04:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: Dash lights dim and speedometer stops working.

Age of battery?
Be sure both battery connections are clean of any oxidation and are tight.
Let your charger do it's thing, then see how well your car starts.
Use a voltmeter to verify battery voltage both when the engine is off and when it is idling. Report back if issue remains.

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Old 07-20-2019, 08:47 AM   #3
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Default Re: Dash lights dim and speedometer stops working.

Those are the symptoms that I experienced before my alternator failed. The speedometer and tachometer would occasionally drop to zero while driving. After I shut off the car, it would not start again. I recharged the battery with an external charger and had a mechanic replace the alternator. He then broke the right front splash shield. He broke the hidden plastic pin near the front and the little flap on the top. It helps to rotate the splash shield either clockwise or counterclockwise during removal to avoid damaging it.

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Old 07-20-2019, 03:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Dash lights dim and speedometer stops working.

It was 3 years old. I charged it, and took it to O'reilly's since I did not have a voltometer. According to them it was a bad battery. So I got a new one from them. Pondered Walmart, but I got them to go down to $70 so I did not feel too bad about it.

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Old 07-21-2019, 05:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: Dash lights dim and speedometer stops working.

And now I feel like one of three things happened at O'reilly's. Either the guy tested the battery and the alternator and accidentally mixed the results up in his head, or purposely told me the battery was bad when it was good to get a sale on that and later a sale on an alternator, or when he was swapping the battery out, damaged it or something else, because he touched the wrench to both terminals and threw sparks in the process.

Because after buying the battery, with the belief that the issue was fixed, I drove an hour away to hang out with a friend, then on the way home it got dark so I had to turn on my lights. Not like 5 minutes later, I was going down a ramp to get on I-94 and the dash lights and speedometer died again. My friend, thankfully was willing to come over and pull in front of the car to jump me. Although each time she did that it would only work for a short time. I am not sure if that could be because the original battery was 700 cranking amps and this one is 540? Would that cause the other battery to have let me run a little longer from a jump? Anyways, she had to literally jump me like 5 times, and we ended up with her running in front with her lights and me having mine off at that, to get to a Walmart where they were nice enough to let me plug the car charger in and charge it up.

So after walking around Walmart from 11pm-6am, I drove the hour home and plugged it back into the charger. Walmart was literally one exit away, having to turn around on the highway...it took 2 hours to get there. I am a little angry.

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Old 07-21-2019, 06:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: Dash lights dim and speedometer stops working.

Dash lights dimming is a hall mark of a bad alternator. With a so-so battery, once you get the car running you'll be powered by the alternator. With a bad battery you only have so much power until things die... which is what's happening to you. They can take each other out too... no battery and the alternator burns itself out, no alternator and you discharge the battery so much you shorten it's life, as starting batteries aren't designed for a deep discharge.

...
2000 SL2 Automatic (back on the road) 16X,XXX miles.
1999 Chevy K3500

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Old 07-21-2019, 07:05 PM   #7
OCMan
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1995 SC1
Default Re: Dash lights dim and speedometer stops working.

Yeah I am thinking my battery being three years old was still working for the most part as the only times I had any issues was at night running the air and the lights. But during the day I could drive fine with the air and the radio running. And I kinda figured it was the alternator but they assured me that I just needed a battery and the alternator was fine. Now today they tested it again and they are telling me, nope it is bad. So I dunno whether to assume they just screwed up the test less than 24 hours ago, or whether their equipment actually showed it as good, or if he just wanted to try to get a sale for both. I mean the battery I had was a higher priced one, so this one is a downgrade. Although the other one would only charge to about 75% at full through the charger so it was definitely showing a little age.

The other complaint I have with this location. They have a price match and if you bring in an ad they are supposed to match it. The guy yesterday refused, and offered to knock off $20. I was going to leave and he offered to knock off $30 which was still $20 more than the price match but I figured with how much he was telling me it was the battery I would take it and try to address the price with a different manager on a different day.

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