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Old 08-11-2017, 09:01 PM   #1
Grumz
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Default 2004 Vue Electrical Issue

I need some help diagnosing a problem with my 2004 Vue V6 with 155,000 miles on it. First what's happening tonight, then the backstory...

Tonight: Drove the Vue about 200 yards from my house and the headlights blink on an off a few times. Then the power steering shuts off, the headlights and all the dash lights. Turn around, limp back home and park the car.

Backstory: About a month ago the car wouldn't start while out shopping. Thought it was the battery, but the tow truck driver said battery was fine. Thought it might be the starter, so he beat on it a few times while I turned the key. Car started up. So bad starter right? I started to pull away and then lost power steering and dash started blinking. I had the tow truck driver tow the car home and prepared to shoot the car since it needed several things done to it. However, I decided to order parts and learn how to do the repairs and maintenance myself. I replaced the starter first, then the timing belt (first time change for this car - belt looked great), water pump, pullys, serpentine belt, battery and spark plugs. Engine sounds good and I'm fairly certain the timing marks were all spot on, but I keep getting an intermittent flashing engine light. I thought this could be from either bad gas because the car has sat in the Texas heat for a month or from the timing belt slipping a tooth without us noticing it. I believe this is a separate issue from the headlight / power steering issue.

I replaced the alternator at 120K so I don't think that's the problem, but I couldn't rule it out. I'd like to keep the car and hopefully drive it another 100K but I don't want to sink much more money into it. What do you think?

Thanks for any help / ideas!

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Old 08-11-2017, 10:23 PM   #2
fdryer
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2004 Vue Electrical Issue

Side story; replaced a faulty (original alternator after ten years/75k miles of car ownership and the replacement failed last year at around 95k miles), rockauto lifetime replacement. This isn't a normal failure and was unexpected. The first failure didn't turn on the battery light but lights flickered as the only hint with normal (14.4v) alternator output. The second failure turned on the battery light and voltage dropped then recovered, cycling this way for a few days until I decided it was failing. Last replacement has been fine since replacement, a few months ago.

Never assume a replacement alternator is fine. Test and verify, either from your local auto store providing free battery/alternator testing or measuring battery/alternator voltages at home (12.5v engine off, 14.5v engine running). When electric power steering drops out and recovers on its own, this suggests a power problem; battery, battery cables, their connections, drive belt system and alternator. You're addressing a power related issue as well as main power connections. Since the electric power steering system draws current close to starter amperage, the alternator is relied on for heavy duty output to supply the demands of the car electrical/electronic systems while recharging the battery after every engine start.

Go over the entire list carefully. Somewhere the answer will reveal itself.

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Old 08-12-2017, 07:12 AM   #3
atikovi
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Default Re: 2004 Vue Electrical Issue

Sounds more like a battery cable or poor ground issue.

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