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Thread: Possible Altenator problem

  
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    dboone's Avatar
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    Smile Possible Altenator problem

    The car is a Mk4 Astra hatchback 1.7tDi manual. Was driving to work this morning and felt what seemed to be like a slow loss of power for a few seconds.

    Just before I parked up the battery warning light came on and remained on until I switched off. Switched off and restarted the car a few times and was fine but when idling the engine sounds different in terms of a weird whinning noise.

    Not sure if this is the alternator or possibly something else.

    I would be grateful if someone could point me in the right direction.

    Thanks in advance

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    Based on what you describe it does sounds like the alternator is on it's way out. If you pop the bonnet and listen does it sound like the noise is coming from the alternator? In my experience one the battery light starts to come on it's not long before it packs up!

    When mine failed it also made some odd noises. It also caused the engine to idle a bit faster than usual.

    If you're handy with a multi-meter you could check the voltage levels across the battery when the car is running.
    1999 Astra CDX 1.8 16v Auto Estate

    14th December 2012 - 200,000 miles

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    I have noticed that it is idling just above one on the rev counter. When connecting the multimeter to the terminals I presume that having the engine running and the heater,lights etc on to check to see if it is charging.

    Would you know the correct voltage level to look out for? Obviously 12Volts output on without the car running..are you meant to see a higher level once the car is running?



    (that was meant to say 1000rmp on the rev counter not one..slight mental block there!)

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    Eza Mental's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    I would recommend doing the following:

    1. start your car
    2. get it to temp e.g.around 80^C will do
    3. make sure all electrical accessories are off (lights, heat, radio etc.)
    4. pop your bonnet
    5. disconnect negative lead from your battery (whilst engine is still running)

    the engines alternator should still be able to maintain the running, if not its definitely shot, then:


    1. turn side beams on
    2. turn dipped beam on
    3. hazards
    4. heater one stage at a time

    so in theory on a cold night your driving along with all these items on (obvs not your hazards) but the alternator should be able to take this along with a low volume radio. You may notice a slight change in engine tone, but overall if it dips severally or even cuts out your alternator has died/ is very close to doing so.

    ensure that whilst doing this the negative battery terminal does not touch any metal or the battery
    Irmscher Edt Z20LET Coupe, 2.5" Turbo Back Cobra NON-Res pop and bang with Stage 2 Goodies

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    Many thanks for your help EZA Mental and P-A

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    It does sound like your alternator has failed. With the engine running a good alternator should be charging at around 14.4 volts.
    If you continue to run it you should find that you will loose your power steering once voltage drops below a certain level. You may also see more warning lights such as engine management and airbag lights.

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    Thanks markvan..discovered this the hard way...picked up the car recently and the very same happened..ie power steering failed,lights all came on etc in the process of changing the alternator now but just waiting for a new connector that plugs in from the live main cable as managed to snap the wire when removing the old one.

    Just a quick off topic question would the orange engine warning light remaining on have anything to do with the 'old' alternator packing in? or could this be an EGR problem? Have been reading other posts about similar problems with the light remaining on and just worried that this could be another serious issue.

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