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New Alternator, Now entire system shuts off!

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New User

Mar 7, 2006, 10:09 PM

Post #1 of 4 (1170 views)
post icon New Alternator, Now entire system shuts off! Sign In

Well hello folks! Here goes my first post.
Ok, well I am a 16 year old car enthusiest in the making. I have a 1995 Geo Prizm 1.6L.

Yesterday I replaced the alternator in my garage due to lights dimming when the car was in idle/nuetral. Also when the brakes or defroster was used, the headlights would quickly dimm then come back to normal. So the new alternator from napa worked good. Voltage was at 13.98 with EVERYTHING on and engine at idle. Batt at about 12.56 when car off.

So that night on my way home, im going over some bumps, and i notice the headlights flickering. (Note: This is after driving it all around town for over 2 hours that day.) In about 30 sec, the car shutts off. Everything. Dead. Pop hood, look at alternator (its dark) nothing appears wrong. Not too hot, belt is just right for tension. Batterey terminals are all tight, connectons good. Get in car. Starts right up. Begin to drive, and hear a 1 sec screetching noise (like metal on asphault). Stop car. Look under hood, nothing. Start car, no noise. Drive home in 2nd gear. Intermitant screetching (roughly 2 times every 5min and very quick.....almost like a belt squeek.) Get home. Pull car in gerage. Pop hood. Turn car off. Test batt, showing 13.57 volts, and dropping. After 2 min batt back down to normal voltage. Leave hood up, go to start car, and notice when key is turned to ingnition a quick, and big spark jumps off positive batterey terminal then car starts with no apparent problems. Turn on headlights and notice engine idle is decreased then increased. Turn on defroster, lights dimm like they did before new alternator. Car dies. Check batt, its still good. Go to check fuses and i accidently had left the headlight switch on, spark at batterey and lights come on again. Turn off lights, check fuses, all seem ok. Unable to tell if relays are ok. Checked battery ground, is tight and connected. Any ideas for me so I don't have to tow this thing 15 miles? Thanks guys! Any questions, feel free to ask. Tried to keep it as consice and clear as possable. Suspected bottom line: Something is disconnecting the battery and alternator from vehicle.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Mar 8, 2006, 4:23 AM

Post #2 of 4 (1167 views)
Re: New Alternator, Now entire system shuts off! [In reply to] Sign In

A bit of guessing but I bet the battery terminal that you saw sparking at is a problem even in tight it should be cleaned with a wire brush and some dialetic grease used an never to see that again. They can look good and still be a problem.

New parts are NOT always good which is a bummer and pain. Your voltage is right so at the moment I don't blame the alternator. Check voltage drop while starting which is the biggest drain on a battery. If below about 9V while cranking you have to check it out - ok for lower if real cold but not much more.

Hey-- Welcome to the board. You'll like it here -- all friendly and I moderate as some others to keep this clean and help where I can.

Good luck. Hit back with the fix and I trust all here are here to help you, T
Long retired now

New User

Mar 9, 2006, 8:30 PM

Post #3 of 4 (1153 views)
post icon Re: New Alternator, Now entire system shuts off! [In reply to] Sign In

Hey Tom!
Thanks for the warm welcome. Well you said just what my machanic said, and the Prizm is running good again! I had done exactly what you discribed, and it fired right up with no sparks or anything! Alternator works great and I am very happy to be on the road again. Looking forward to being a member on the forums, and aprecheate the response.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Mar 10, 2006, 4:25 AM

Post #4 of 4 (1149 views)
Re: New Alternator, Now entire system shuts off! [In reply to] Sign In

So glad you are all set and thanks for saying something worked. It's tough by keyboard but possible. Come back and visit for off topic and any car questions. I don't get paid but love this stuff and as semi retired have the time to try at posts and hope things work out.

Tell your friends and get them to sign up. NO bull at this site and you won't be spammed or anything. I don't think you'll find a friendlier site. T
Long retired now

New Alternator, Now entire system shuts off!

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