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!!!TED!!!

Underachieving problem

14 posts in this topic

So, it was bound to happen.

After 2 and a half trouble free months of cruising, the Achieva hit a snag.

Last night, I went to get some food, parked the car, ate. All systems go!

Turned her back on, and the volt needle drops down, Charge light stays on:

IMG_7896.jpg

Upon consulting the manual, I get this:

IMG_7901.jpg

:confused0071:

The car drove fine, but I noticed it ran quietly. Before this happened, the car would buzz a little at a stoplight. Could it be what the manual says. A drive belt was loose and gave up? Things look okay under the hood, all grounds are grounded.

I didn't have time to go to a shop today, but I did take it for a short drive to see if anything changed. Light stays on, needle way below where it should be.

As a bonus, just before I got home, the ABS light came on. :gitfunky:

When I turned it off, and back on, it went away. I did not feel the pedal do its self test though. Crap, I hope my ABS is not on the blink.

Any input, insight or comment would be greatly appreciated.

I am going to a mechanic tommorow morning. I just don't wanna hear "you need a new alternator and or battery", but that could be the case. <_<

And yeah, I know there is a dead fly inside my dash!

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Step 1: Take the car to Advanced Auto Parts/Pep Boys/Whatever and have the alternator tested. Assume nothing about any other electrical system until this is complete.

Step 2: Most likely, have alternator replaced or do it yourself.

Voltage regulars, diodes, or other electrical bits internal to the alternator can go on the fritz and totally mess with the rest of your car's electrical systems. If you let this go you will fry your battery. My 1985 Continental had the diodes go in the alternator and it caused the digital climate control to just reboot over and over again and I got a weird buzz in my audio system, so don't worry about the ABS system until after you get the electrical system fixed.

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Good advice Oldsmoboi, thanks!

Hmmm, I found this (1994-1998 Grand Am V6 website):

http://bmtphoenix.proboards18.com/index.cg...y&thread=42

The N body car (Grand Am, Achieva, Skylark etc..) is known for it's rather quirky charging system.
Here are some symptoms I had when my alternator was failing and I didn't get a charging light. 1. The ABS light or the ETS light would come on at odd times.

:closedeyes:

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OK, Achieva is fixed! :breakdance:

Heres the story:

I went to Part Source first per Oldsmoboi's suggestion. As I was driving there (a 5 min trip from my home), the volt gauge was dropping. The ABS light turned on.

I got there with the needle in the danger zone.

Mike the service guy said that the machine to test the Alternator is currently broken, but I can test the battery.

Worried about not having enough juice to make it to the mechanic, I decided to just go.

Sure enough, the car wouldn't crank. :hissyfit:

I got the battery out and we put it on the tester. It began charging (it read: charge 45 minutes).

10 minutes in, the charger gave up. battery was toast!

OK, so I bought a new battery ($100), and with fingers crossed, dropped it in and fired her up.

It worked, but the needle was still in the danger zone, and the charge light was still on.

Not wasting time, I thanked Mike (who was very friendly and helpfull), and booked it to the mechanics.

At the mechanic, they tested the alternator. Yep, it was not charging the battery.

Ordered a new one (reconditioned), and an hour later (and $300), it was in and the Achieva and all systems GO! :booyah:

So, Im $400 dollars poorer, but everything is back to normal. The ABS light has not come on either!

:cheers:

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It really could have been a chicken/egg issue. Bad batteries can fry alternators and bad alternators can fry batteries. You'll likely never know which went first.

edit: And I bet you could have saved yourself some money and installed the alternator yourself. They are crazy easy on this car.

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The L car (Corsica & Beretta) is known for this problem, the reason is, in the engine bay the way it's designed, overheats the alternator and burns it out. The N car is based off the L car platform. A friend of mine puts a new alternator in his Corsica every year and sends me an e-mail about each time it happens. It has done this each year for the past 12 years. His is a 1996.

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Glad all systems are green now. I had an issue twice with the Intrepid. About a month after I bought it the battery was in there died. It looked pretty old. Replaced it. About a year later the car wouldn't start, would start up when jumped but would die after the jumper cables were taken off. Turned out to be a wire (like $200 to replace).

Electricals are fun!

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Can anything be done to better cool the alternator? :confused0071:

This was a relatively easy fix, but I would hate to do it every year lol!

I bet you could have saved yourself some money and installed the alternator yourself. They are crazy easy on this car.

I got ripped a bit on that. They charged $178.49 for the Alt, 89.95 labour (1 hour) and tax. I probably could have done all this myself, and will be better prepared for next time....(hope there isnt a next time).

$200 for a wire? Not fun! :confused0071:

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I just don't wanna hear "you need a new alternator and or battery", but that could be the case. <_<

:rotflmao:

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Can anything be done to better cool the alternator? :confused0071:

This was a relatively easy fix, but I would hate to do it every year lol!

Fender vents!!!

If there is a next time, spend a little extra money on an alternator with a lifetime warranty. They're out there.

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The L car (Corsica & Beretta) is known for this problem, the reason is, in the engine bay the way it's designed, overheats the alternator and burns it out. The N car is based off the L car platform. A friend of mine puts a new alternator in his Corsica every year and sends me an e-mail about each time it happens. It has done this each year for the past 12 years. His is a 1996.

Oh boy...my neighbor just bought a 95 w 78k on it...he's noy going o be happy about that....

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The L car (Corsica & Beretta) is known for this problem, the reason is, in the engine bay the way it's designed, overheats the alternator and burns it out. The N car is based off the L car platform. A friend of mine puts a new alternator in his Corsica every year and sends me an e-mail about each time it happens. It has done this each year for the past 12 years. His is a 1996.

The first gen U-Vans had this problem too except it wasn't just the Alternators, sometimes it would cook a transmission (happened to us). Solution: Change transmission fluid more frequently.

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Can anything be done to better cool the alternator?

The '96-'97-ish 3100's did have an air duct that hooked up between the cowl and the back end of the alt., but I don't know if this can be added to a '95 easily or if it really helped all that much either.

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The '96-'97-ish 3100's did have an air duct that hooked up between the cowl and the back end of the alt., but I don't know if this can be added to a '95 easily or if it really helped all that much either.

The 3.4 DOHC Cutlass has something like this also. The Alternator is only accessible by removing the front right wheel and they had some venting solution in place to cool it.

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