Is my alternator or battery bad ? - Nissan Forum
GA16DE 1.6L Engine Engine Discussion: 91-99 Sentra, 95-98 200SX, 91-93 NX1600

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post #1 of 19 Old Aug 5th, 2003, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Is my alternator or battery bad ?

Here is what happened. Car started fine, the past few days the AC and vent fans has been dropping then coming back up, it loops this sometimes. This morning on the way to work the dash lights were dim, and then the radio went out. The interior light was VERY dim and the headlights were dim as well. The car never died NOR did the battery light come on the dash.

Driving home the car started up after just a few seconds of rotation. Car drove fine, no AC, no radio, the windows rolled down VERY slowly. The speedometer started to bounce then dropped to 0, a few minutes later the car died, and then would not turn over.

I replace the battery, car fires right up. The guys at AutoZone say the alt is pushing 12 volts and it needs to be pushing 14. Are they just trying to sell me a new part here?? Does anyone know what my alt should push??

Tonight I turned on the high beams, radio, rear window defroster, AC to high fan, the flashers, the dome light, set the wipers to high and rolled all 4 windows up and down at the same time. The battery light never came on, I did this for about 4 minutes. I then turned the car off and on a few times fast, still no light. Should the light come on when you first turn the key ???

Stock 94 Sentra, probably the original alt. Thanks
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post #2 of 19 Old Aug 5th, 2003, 10:36 PM
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ya, the battery light should come on, problem is maybe the bulb might be burnt out(some are burnt out on my car like the gas one)

the alternator should only push 12volts......autozone guys are trying to make money. sounds like a battery issue to me, check the grounds on the battery, thats usually the problem, clean it up and u should be good to go

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post #3 of 19 Old Aug 6th, 2003, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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I was hoping it was just the battery. It was a cheap Wal-Mart battery and it looked pretty old. I cleaned the cable before I put the new one in but worried IF the alt wad bad it would just kill this one too.

So this alt SHOULD only put out 12 volts ????
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post #4 of 19 Old Aug 21st, 2003, 06:07 AM
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I've heard about some alternators pushing out 14 volts, but I'm unsure of why they would. I've also heard about batteries doing the same thing.. again same answer...

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post #5 of 19 Old Jun 18th, 2009, 02:33 PM
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your alternator should push 14.2 12 is too low to run the car and recharge the battery you need a new one they are not scamming you. with everything on it should still push out about 13
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post #6 of 19 Old Jun 19th, 2009, 01:17 PM
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If you end up needing an alternator we have them at great prices.They're new units, not rebuilt ones like the parts store,no core charger either.

Here's a link to them on our site.

Nissan Sentra Alternators
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post #7 of 19 Old Jul 17th, 2009, 02:59 PM
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97 Nissan Sentra flashing brake and battery light on the dashboard. Started the car and disconnected one of the battery wire, the car is still running so I assumed the alternator is good. The battery is about 1 1/2 yr old. A week later, car running at night and starting to die or hesitate. I took the battery to Walmart and was told it's good but almost drained out 11.90volt. It took over an hour for full charged. Replaced the battery, car started but indicator is still on. Disconnected one battery lead again but this time the car died. Did it twice. Now I'm thinking bad alternator. Took me over 4 hrs to replace the alternator that include a trip to auto store Pepboys ($122.99) + tax. Now no more lights (brake and battery).
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post #8 of 19 Old Jul 19th, 2009, 02:30 AM
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Yes, On these cars the brake and ALT lights come on together when the ALT fails.....

2003 Pathfinder from 2004 SE 4WD
1997 SER 5sp Manual from new Rear Ended 2009 !!
Gone to the Knacker yard...
New ride 3.0 manual RWD not a Nissan !!!
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post #9 of 19 Old Jul 19th, 2009, 10:09 PM
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97 Nissan Sentra

Yes, it puzzled me at first. Brake and battery lights are on, both are 1 1/2 yrs old. Once I found out that battery is good, I replaced the alternator. All good now.
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post #10 of 19 Old Sep 13th, 2010, 11:58 AM
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98 Sentra Brake and Alternator Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by IanH View Post
Yes, On these cars the brake and ALT lights come on together when the ALT fails.....
So I have this same issue with the brake and alternator light coming on. When the lights both come on the alternator is putting out 12 volts. Sometimes though the lights go off and it seems the alternator is putting out 14 volts then. So my question is could it be possible that my rusty old sentra has a bad ground or weak ground. I would think that the alternator would just completely fail rather than working some of the time. I guess the built in voltage regulator could be the issue... I just never have experienced an alternator that works only part time. So rather than shelling out money for an alternator could I be looking at a weak or bad ground somewhere? Car runs fine when the lights are off or on. Once before I had a Sunbird with a bad ground and it ran extremely rough until the ground was replaced.

Dwayne[I]
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''02 Toyota Avalon XLS
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post #11 of 19 Old Sep 13th, 2010, 12:27 PM
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A properly working charging system puts out about 13.2 to 15.0 volts, but this is a general spec. and the factory service manual should be referenced for the correct charging system voltage specifications for a particular vehicle. A battery should have a static charge of 12.2-12.6 volts. If a battery is not good, the charging system may not be able to charge properly. If a vehicle is not charging properly and the battery is good, first thing to do is to turn the key "on" and make sure the charging system warning light is operating. If the bulb is burnt out, the charging system will not charge. If the bulb is ok but still does not illuminate, the circuit must be tested. If the warning lamp does illuminate, then the next thing to check is to make sure the circuit between the battery positive post, or fusible link, to the connection in back of the alternator is good. On Nissans, this will be a thick (approx. 10 gauge) white wire to the "BAT" post on the back of the alternator. It's not uncommon for this wire to get corroded and burn up, creating resistance in the circuit. So, before assuming an alternator is bad, make sure this circuit is good and battery voltage is getting to the alternator. It's also important to make sure the alternator belt is tight and not slipping and the battery connections are clean and tight. Also, it is NOT a good idea to disconnect a battery cable on a computer controlled vehicle while running to test the alternator. This is a good way to damage an ECM. When a charging system is not charging, or overcharging, a lot of "strange" things can occur. It's not uncommon to see a multiple of stored trouble codes in the ECM memory. So, whenever a car is setting a multiple of trouble codes, idling funny or stalling, or anything out of the "norm," test the charging system before you start pulling hairs!

Last edited by smj999smj; Sep 13th, 2010 at 12:38 PM.
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post #12 of 19 Old Sep 13th, 2010, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwayne505 View Post
So I have this same issue with the brake and alternator light coming on. When the lights both come on the alternator is putting out 12 volts. Sometimes though the lights go off and it seems the alternator is putting out 14 volts then. So my question is could it be possible that my rusty old sentra has a bad ground or weak ground. I would think that the alternator would just completely fail rather than working some of the time. I guess the built in voltage regulator could be the issue... I just never have experienced an alternator that works only part time. So rather than shelling out money for an alternator could I be looking at a weak or bad ground somewhere? Car runs fine when the lights are off or on. Once before I had a Sunbird with a bad ground and it ran extremely rough until the ground was replaced.
The lights coming on when there is no output is correct, you then read the battery voltage of 12V nominal.

The voltage regulator / internal electronics turns on the light, this is independent of the external wiring.
So I think its unlikely this is a poor ground.
I think your alt is failing, maybe worn out rotor brushes, or a bad contact/ corrosion inside the Alt.

2003 Pathfinder from 2004 SE 4WD
1997 SER 5sp Manual from new Rear Ended 2009 !!
Gone to the Knacker yard...
New ride 3.0 manual RWD not a Nissan !!!
1997 Sentra GXE from new .... Sold 2008
2001 Sunny N16 RHD from new (N16 Nissan Bluebird Sylphy) Sold
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post #13 of 19 Old Sep 13th, 2010, 12:55 PM
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I also say alternator and NOT a good idea to unhook battery while vehicle is running due to possible ECM damage...That was fine on old school carburatd engines....
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post #14 of 19 Old Sep 13th, 2010, 01:26 PM
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Definitely alternator. I just had the same problem like a month ago. The voltage regulator is internal on the alternator and that part can go bad but the alt still push some power to the battery. Thing is, it doesnt know when to charge or not to. Get a new alternator its an easy fix.

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post #15 of 19 Old Sep 13th, 2010, 10:24 PM
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Thanks for the great information I'll check it out further!

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