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Old 12-07-2017, 04:52 PM   #1
Claybury
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Default The Flashing 3.5l Vue Fix.

Now the weather is cold again I have just repaired another of these, so it's worth while posting for those that haven't run across this before.
In cold weather, below 25F or so, the vehicle starts like normal. After a few seconds the headlights will start to flash, the dash lights will flash, the radio shuts off, and the steering wheel locks up. This will continue until the vehicle is turned off. If the engine is left to run for a while before shutdown the problem goes away on restart.
Most shops and dealers will diagnosis this as a bad BCM. After paying for, and going through the whole BCM programming hassle, the issue may seem solved. Until the next cold day when it returns. The dealer will say the BCM was faulty or damaged and want to replace it again.
This issue is not a BCM. It is the alternator. Most of the aftermarket or rebuilt alternators for this engine do not work properly in cold weather. They will spike the voltage up to 19Vdc on startup which will cause the security features to glitch out and this causes the symptoms. Your choices are to keep returning the rebuilt ones until you find a good one, replace with an original alternator (or at least and original regulator), or get a genuine Denso rebuilt alternator.
Delco Pro rebuilt units are still hit and miss.
If you have a bad original alternator you are better off replacing the bearings and brushes yourself than getting an alternator from the box store. If you go junk yard shopping don't forget to check the Honda Pilots for the part.
You can quickly check for a faulty alternator. If the temperature is cold enough to cause the problem blow a hair dryer on the back of the alternator for a few minutes prior to starting the engine. Be careful not to blow heat on the back of the coil pack and cook it. If the car starts with no flashing you have confirmed a bad alternator. A fast peak hold DVM can also be used to measure the output voltage at the back of the alternator during start up.
Don't ignore the problem. Repeated over voltage starts can damage other electronics.

...
2002 SC2 1.9L
2007 Vue 3.5L
1985 Fiero SE 3.1L
1974 Triumph Spitfire 3.1L V6
2002 Ram duelly diesel 5.9L
1975 Honda PA50 0.05L (Swarm and destroy)

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Old 12-08-2017, 08:27 AM   #2
waiter21
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: The Flashing 3.5l Vue Fix.

Good info and good troubleshooting idea.

...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.

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Old 12-10-2017, 09:19 AM   #3
wolly6973
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Default Re: The Flashing 3.5l Vue Fix.

My Vue is doing this now. I had alternator issues this summer and got mine rebuilt locally. I asked him to use OEM parts. I started it and checked voltage and it was at 14.4 but the lights continue to flash. I disconnected the battery overnight and as soon as I hook the battery back up it starts flashing again. Battery reads 12.2 volts when the car is off.

We hadn't had very cold temps until the day before this happened. Is it possible that the voltages were so high something got fried? Any ideas where I should start looking?

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Old 12-10-2017, 04:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Flashing 3.5l Vue Fix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolly6973 View Post
My Vue is doing this now. I had alternator issues this summer and got mine rebuilt locally. I asked him to use OEM parts. I started it and checked voltage and it was at 14.4 but the lights continue to flash. I disconnected the battery overnight and as soon as I hook the battery back up it starts flashing again. Battery reads 12.2 volts when the car is off.

We hadn't had very cold temps until the day before this happened. Is it possible that the voltages were so high something got fried? Any ideas where I should start looking?
I pulled the battery out and see corrosion everywhere. Battery top looks somewhat wet and it is bulging. Guessing that the alternator fried it. I put a different battery on and all is well now. Hopefully the local guy who rebuilt my alternator will stand behind his work.

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Old 12-20-2017, 10:53 AM   #5
Claybury
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Default Re: The Flashing 3.5l Vue Fix.

Yes. The battery got boiled off. You should wash down the front corner of the engine compartment around the battery. Acid fumes will cause a lot of corrosion.
Was this with the new alternator? If so have checked.
A battery acts like a voltage damper by absorbing some of the voltage fluctuations. When one cooks off it can't do this and it is like running with no battery at all. You will get glitches in electronics. The Vue BCM is particularly sensitive.
If you have cold weather problem again suspect that alternator. I don't know if any OEM parts availability. The Delco rebuilds are using the same Korean sourced regulator all the other use. They are highly suspect. I have had success with the genuine Denso alternators from Rock Auto or originals pulled from wrecked vues.

...
2002 SC2 1.9L
2007 Vue 3.5L
1985 Fiero SE 3.1L
1974 Triumph Spitfire 3.1L V6
2002 Ram duelly diesel 5.9L
1975 Honda PA50 0.05L (Swarm and destroy)

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Old 01-08-2018, 11:31 AM   #6
Bruce in Montan
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2006 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: The Flashing 3.5l Vue Fix.

Thanks so much for posting this. I just bought an 06 AWD from a lady and it's like a disco when it starts up cold. You saved me a lot of headache.

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Old 01-08-2018, 05:18 PM   #7
Claybury
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Default Re: The Flashing 3.5l Vue Fix.

Glad to help. Remove the drive belt tensioner (two bolts) and the upper front timing belt cover (5 bolts IIRC) and it is much easier to get the alternator out. A good chance to check the timing belt condition as well.

...
2002 SC2 1.9L
2007 Vue 3.5L
1985 Fiero SE 3.1L
1974 Triumph Spitfire 3.1L V6
2002 Ram duelly diesel 5.9L
1975 Honda PA50 0.05L (Swarm and destroy)

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Old 01-08-2018, 05:41 PM   #8
Bruce in Montan
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2006 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: The Flashing 3.5l Vue Fix.

I was looking at the Rock Auto site and they have remanufactered Densos. They also have a TYC brand that says "w/ 6 Groove Pulley; w/ OE Manufacturer Denso; Amps: 125A". (whatever that means ) I wonder if that's ok....it's new and actually cheaper than the reman Denso.

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Old 01-08-2018, 06:03 PM   #9
Bruce in Montan
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2006 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: The Flashing 3.5l Vue Fix.

Actually, after looking closer. The TYC unit says 125 amps and the reman Denso unit says 110 amps. Would that make a difference?

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Old 01-08-2018, 11:14 PM   #10
Claybury
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Default Re: The Flashing 3.5l Vue Fix.

Go with the denso. The TYC brand most likely has the cheap replacement regulator. 5 extra amps wont matter.

...
2002 SC2 1.9L
2007 Vue 3.5L
1985 Fiero SE 3.1L
1974 Triumph Spitfire 3.1L V6
2002 Ram duelly diesel 5.9L
1975 Honda PA50 0.05L (Swarm and destroy)

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