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Alternator issue

Discussion in 'Civic and CRX - EW' started by Dain, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. Dain

    Dain New Member

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    Hey guys I have a little dilemma here with my crx hopefully you guys can help me out, its a 1985 CRX Si. I'm gonna start from the beginning: Car has a bad ground in it somewhere, engine light would randomly come on and off making the car shudder and die so I started simple by replacing the battery ground cable, shortly after that my alternator starts to smell funky, like its overcharging or something but I was still getting 14 volts across my battery? Anyway few days later battery light comes on while I'm driving and the next morning my car was completely dead. Get a new alternator, put it in, start car, and immediatly I can smell that same burning smell and its making an electrical whining noise that gets louder as the engine revs, and I'm only getting around 13.10 volts across my battery at idle. I cleaned all of the ground locations that I could find including the ground on the engine from the battery cable and it was still doing the same thing. I took it to O'Reillys and had them test it and they said it was good. So I'm kinda lost as to what to do. I read that the ecu actually turns the alternator on/off so maybe the ecu is fried? The ecu bolts have rust/corrosion on them, also the troubleshooting LEDs don't even light up on it when the CEL comes on and I sourced that in a haynes manual and it said that if they don't light up it means theres a bad control unit ground or the ecu is faulty.

    A note to remember is that my original alternator didn't start to burn out until right after I replaced the battery ground cable, but I don't see how that would mess it up. Also car is all original, no sound system, it does have a cd player in it but it doesn't play cds. Thanks for any info!
     
  2. TrioCaen

    TrioCaen New Member

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    It's your starter...mine did the same thing. It's not the battery. It made a smell, and it gradually got worse. More battery power forced it to work, but you may want to check that out. It got to the point where I had to bang on my old starter to get it to turn. If it's your alternator, then when you say it's "completely dead" no lights on the inside would be on or would at least be dim. sound like a possibility? You may have more details that would say otherwise.
     
  3. Dain

    Dain New Member

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    With the old alternator: when I turned the key in the ignition the fuel pump would half-ass prime and the lights were very dim and the starter wasn't getting enough juice to turn over although it would try. When I put the new alternator in it I jumped started it and it fired right up, the lights and everything were functioning normally, nothing was dimming. Before when at idle if I turned the headlights on it would drop from 800rpms down to like 4-500rpms, with the new alternator it doesn't do that. But that sound/smell is coming from around the alternator and I don't want to risk burning this new one out. As for the starter, its never not worked since I've owned the car, and would it keep drawing power even after the car is running?
     
  4. Taco15

    Taco15 I wear stretchy pants VIP

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    kind f sounds light something's grounding out. Have you checked the wire behind the alternator? check that wire and trace it all the way to the battery to see if its exposed somewhere.

    if the whining is coming from your speakers it means you have a ground looop somewhere.
     
  5. Dain

    Dain New Member

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    I'll have to check that wire out, theres another short in the wiring somewhere too because my engine light will randomly come on and off and the car will cut out. I wonder if it would be easier just to take the whole engine wiring harness out and check all the wires/connecters that way.. Also I didn't think about this earlier but I did have the belt on it pretty tight that may have created some resistance. I'll have to check all of that once I can get off work with some daylight. I'll post back once I do it.
     
  6. reikoshea

    reikoshea HS Troll...And Mod Moderator VIP

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    :withstupid:

    it definitely SOUNDS like a short of some kind. A friend of mine's 86 had a shorted starter in it (which also corroborate trio's post). Finding shorts is a pain in the ass, especially in that car where you have to dig up a mountain of vacuum lines to see anything.
     
  7. 91civisedaner

    91civisedaner Senior Citizen

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    I've had some shitty rebuilt/aftermarket alternators make that nasty whine sound.
     
  8. Taco15

    Taco15 I wear stretchy pants VIP

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    just say its a supercharger :lol:


    OP did you find the problem?
     
  9. Dain

    Dain New Member

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    I wish it was a supercharger lol. No I haven't had a chance to mess with it yet, I'm off tomorrow so I'll check it out then. I'm gonna start by loosening some of the tension in the belt because I did have it on there pretty tight. If that doesn't work, I'll trace all of the alternator wires and test them for continuity. If that doesn't work, the entire engine harness is coming out so I can easily check all of the connections. If that doesn't work.....well, the car may "accidentally" catch fire and fly off a cliff :). Nah I love this little car, and come income taxes hopefully another engine will find its way under the hood.
     
  10. Dain

    Dain New Member

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    Sorry it took me forever to repost. I fixed the problem, the belt was on too tight. Also found out why my CEL kept coming on, turns out my power wire to the fuel pump had come lose and was grounding on the frame, plugged it back in and its been fine since.
     
  11. 99sidude

    99sidude Moderator Moderator VIP

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    glad to hear you got it fixed:w00t:
     
  12. 78civic

    78civic Junior Member

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    I know you said that it's fixed but you may want to have it checked by a shop that rebuilds starters/alternators.
    I've replaced about 12 of them in the past two years and even just picked up one from a 91EX that was power everything (must be higher amps eh..?)Had it checked out, (fine) but makes a whinning/whuurring noise.

    I use a very reputable shop here in Memphis and that's all they do. Armetures and the such for over 35yrs.
    What i've had is the alt getting too hot to touch but showing the right voltage. The regulator was poop and it was running wide open..
    Test from the 'bat' or output lug (under bootie) on the back and run that thru the tester to ground. That way there is no voltage drop thru any other stuff.
    Whinning can only be the brushes or the bearings.. That's all that's in there. And you can shorten the life if the belt is too tight.
    See if it's HOT to touch..? If it's really hot at first, your battery might be going and the alt is doing catch-up to bring it up to charge.

    Just my .02

    E
     
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