Sup Mod keeping the peace
Joined: Dec 2004
Location: NJ (Philadelphia area)
Start looking at a possible discharged battery or dirty/loose battery post cable connectors. Do the headlights or horn work OK? If the battery is discharged, it just may be very old and past it's life time or has some bad cells or is not being charged.
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 (FSM) 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 ignition switch key to the "ON" position 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 ECU. 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 ECU 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!
KA-T for life, yo!