Sup Mod keeping the peace
Joined: Dec 2004
Location: NJ (Philadelphia area)
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, the first thing to do is to turn the ignition switch to the "ON" position without starting the engine 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.
As long as the radio is turned off, there should be no voltage at the speaker wires. With the ignition switch and everything else turned OFF, there should be NO parasitic draw of power from the battery. Insure that your tail lights and interior dome lights are off.
Assuming the charging system voltage is correct and the battery is good, the next thing to do would be to have a parasitic draw test performed; there should not be more than a 50 milliamp draw on the system with the ignition switch in the "OFF" position. If there is a higher draw, you need to do some testing to find out where the draw is coming from. Remove fuses one at a time until the draw goes away or falls into acceptable range.
When replacing electrical components such as alternators, starters and distributors, fuel injectors and sensors, always replace with new or reman'd Nissan OEM components; aftermarket components generally don't last long, don't work right and many times are DOA.
KA-T for life, yo!