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Old 01-20-2021, 01:04 PM   #1
moogoogypan
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Default electrical failure

Started car this morning no problem. After it warmed up got in to drive and the power steering was not working. Went to drive it anyway and dashboard lights started freaking out and the car died. Attempted to restart and would not turn over and after some time with the key in the on position (not cranking) the electrical the check engine light came on and there was a fast clicking sound as the dash lights flashed so I removed the key.

The only recent issue prior to this development was that the idle speed has been fluctuating for the last couple of weeks. And when it was warming up it did, in fact, almost stall out due to low idle speed. Would suspect a relationship there too to the bigger electrical issue. That said I really have no bloody idea what is going on. A short, a ground issue, a fuse, the control module?

Am going to have a friend plug in a testing unit and see if I can get any codes information.

Speculations, theories, and bold assertions welcome. Thanks
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Old 01-20-2021, 01:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: electrical failure

Before panicking about an expensive repair, try the easy stuff. How old is the battery? Batteries tend to last the length of it's warranty then die. Are both battery cable connections clean, secure and free of corrosion? Can you get a boost from another car, truck, suv? If you can get a jump start from another vehicle and you aren't sure of battery life, either drive over to your favorite auto store selling car batteries and have it tested or remove the battery for testing. Autozone is one popular place for free battery/alternator tests.
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Old 01-20-2021, 03:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: electrical failure

Thanks fdryer,

Have newish battery, alternator recently replaced by professional......
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Old 01-20-2021, 11:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: electrical failure

Never assume a new battery and alternator are fault free. They can fail at any time without rhyme or reason. Sight unseen, descriptions seem to be power related; battery, battery cables, their connections, alternator, its connections, and drive belt (tensioned correctly and not allowing the belt to slip). Unless you can prove a good battery and its cables are in clean, secure and free of corrosion, you haven't had the battery tested, examined cables and their connections (red battery cable to engine fuse box and starter, negative cable to chassis and engine block). Assumptions can bite anyone.

Did you try jump starting yet? Measured standby battery voltage? These can be the first things to check before moving on to possible electronics issues. Electronics requires a clean source of power but if battery and/or cables are overlooked, power can't flow anywhere its needed. I prefer doing all the easy things first that are free. Sometimes, just sometimes, disconnecting battery negative (presuming a valid fully charged battery) for 10-20 seconds (to drain all circuits with memory as well as resetting electronics) can help 'unstick' locked up electronics. (Yes, electronics can spaz out from something as simple as static electricity. I've witnessed it many times at work on million dollar systems). Vehicle electronics are robust to withstand sub freezing to desert temperatures, the driest to most humid conditions. Most vehicle electronics have memory similar to radio preset memory; disconnect battery negative and the radio presets are lost. The ecm, pcm, bcm, tcm have memory that uses a very small amount of power to retain memory items. Disconnecting the battery removes all power to everything, resets electronics back to factory defaults and may correct occasional real time issues without paying a dealer to do it. Most dealers and repair shops rarely give away secrets since that's how they make money, profiting on many unaware of the simple things to do that sometimes saves a repair bill. Your choice to pay for repairs or find a solution on your own and/or with some help and save money for more important things.

If you can rule out suggestions given then move on to the possibility of electronic issues.
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Old 01-21-2021, 08:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: electrical failure

I did check connections as best I could. Disconnected the battery for a reset. Ended up putting the battery on a charger then started it up and drove it to a repair shop. Not my preference but feel like I'm in the dark. Should have tested the battery as you suggested. Oh well.

I'll keep you posted on developments in interest of have a conclusive thread.

Thanks again
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Old 01-21-2021, 03:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: electrical failure

ok fdryer you win. Turns out the alternator that was replaced four weeks failed just as you suggested may be the issue.

Thanks one more time for your help.
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Old 01-21-2021, 04:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: electrical failure

Four weeks before a new alternator caved in? Either you're running massive amps to shatter ear drums with your favorite tunes or gremlins rewired the electrical system. Yours lasted three weeks longer than a relative's alternator. New for one week then promptly croaked. Brought it back to the local ********, had it tested, failed on their bench test in seconds, replaced with another one but tested to be sure it was in operating condition. It's the one with a lifetime warranty. My replacement alternator croaked after a year. Lifetime warranty too. That one forced me thru hoops by buying another one, sending it back to ******** then getting refunded once they received the dead one. A second replacement was shipped and has been trouble free for several years.

Glad it was an alternator and not electronics.
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Old 01-22-2021, 09:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: electrical failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by moogoogypan View Post
ok fdryer you win. Turns out the alternator that was replaced four weeks failed just as you suggested may be the issue.
Let me guess, Advance, Autozone or Pep Boys alternator?
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