92 SE Battery/alternator/electrical problem? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 03-14-2005, 03:27 PM   #1
Cyz
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Default 92 SE Battery/alternator/electrical problem?

Hello, firstly I think this forum is great.

I have a 1992 (late model) Bonneville SE 3.8. 225 000 km, 3rd owner I believe.

I have had quite a few problems with this car. Lately it has been the battery which keeps dying. I have went thru 2 batteries and 2 alternators in two years. I have a feeling that one of each may have been duds, but now my battery is dead again. There must be some kind of drain on the battery and perhaps it is tied into another electrical short/problem.

I have done some searching on the forums and the closest related thread that I found is this one:
http://www.bonnevilleclub.com/forum/...ic.php?t=31139

However my battery seems to drain when it is running also not just when it'* off! I do leave the car off for many weeks at a time sometimes but I think the problem is bigger than just having to start it every few days.

I have noticed that when driving with the gas gauge reading below 1/4 tank the *Bing bing* dinging noise of the low gas alert beeps NON-STOP (about 4 times a second), as opposed to the normal beep once every minute or two.
When this occurs I notice the battery level dropping. I believe the two are tied together and if i dont put gas in it (thus stopping the alert) then the battery will die completely.

I haven't driven it in about 5 weeks and the battery is currently dead. 1 jump-start try with battery pack special was unsuccessful.

Please help. Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-14-2005, 04:01 PM   #2
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Hi, Welcome to the club!

It seems to me that a good place to start is to charge up your battery and have it load tested to make sure it will hold a charge. If it tests OK, you need to check the output of your alternator to make sure it is capable of keeping the battery charged. It is pretty easy to get the alternator off to have it tested, too. Now, if both are OK, you need to make sure that the battery cablesand the cable from the battery to the alternator are not corroded or broken or dirty or loose at the connection points. Having checked that stuff, if all is OK, then you can try to locate the drain using the methods described in the post you found.

There may some specific weirdness to the alarm that some of the better electric heads can help you with. I'll look in my '92 FSM to see if I can get a clue.
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Old 03-15-2005, 05:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill buttermore
It seems to me that a good place to start is to charge up your battery and have it load tested to make sure it will hold a charge. If it tests OK, you need to check the output of your alternator to make sure it is capable of keeping the battery charged. It is pretty easy to get the alternator off to have it tested, too.
I agree; Bonnes have a bit of a reputation for eating alternators (mine is on #4), and if you're swapping in rebuilt or remanufactured units, especially if they're not AC-Delco, you may be putting in a replacement that'* marginal to begin with.

Have an alternator output test done. The electrical weirdness you're describing can be aggravated by low system voltage.
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Old 03-18-2005, 05:14 PM   #4
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Thanks guys.


So first thing i will do is
1. Clean battery cable connections & replace or fully charge the battery. Then,
2. Load test battery/check to see if it holds charge
3. Check alternator output.
4. Check battery drain with Voltmeter and check all fuses for constant output while off.

Does anyone know what sort of reading i should be looking for on a Voltmeter?

and did i miss anything?
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Old 03-19-2005, 08:14 PM   #5
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ok this is all very very saddening. i got a jump start from a friend. had it running for 1/2 hour. and by some miracle it actually drove for a half a block. parked it. tried again the next day and there'* not even a glimmer of battery life.

now i'm thinking this car isn't even worth the tow to the garage to fix.......let alone all the money it will take to fix it (TEMPORARILY because i know the problem will just keep re-occuring like it always has. i wish mechanics were reliable . ha

next q. how do you sell a car that won't start?

and

anyone wanna buy a piece of **** bonne?
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Old 03-19-2005, 09:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyz
now i'm thinking this car isn't even worth the tow to the garage to fix.......let alone all the money it will take to fix it (TEMPORARILY because i know the problem will just keep re-occuring like it always has.
Look, you're making this way more complicated than it really is. There are only two components to this problem: the battery, which needs to hold a charge, and the alternator, which needs to _generate_ a charge. One of those two isn't functioning. Find out which.

Our guess, based on what you're telling us, is that the alternator is at fault. Once the engine is started, it takes very little battery power to keep it running and driveable, especially in daylight when your lights aren't on. If the alternator is doing nothing, you can still drive a long time on battery power alone, but the battery isn't getting replenished. You won't notice this until the next time you try to crank the starter.

Even if the alternator is putting out enough voltage to push the voltmeter up to 13 or wherever, it may not be generating enough amperage to handle charging the battery. Again, you won't find that out until the next time you try to start it.

So: Pull the battery and have someplace do a proper charge and load test on it. At the same time, pull the alternator (it'* _not_ difficult and you can probably puzzle it out with a couple of wrenches, even if you don't have a manual, or a garage to work in), take that in _with_ the battery, and have an output test done on it. AutoZone is one place that offers both these services for free, and probably most other auto-parts places will, too.

In the unlikely event that both of them test out fine, you've got a slow drain somewhere in the car and we can tackle that if things get that far, but my bet is that the alternator is the culprit here. If you need more help getting the alternator out, let us know.
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Old 03-21-2005, 04:53 PM   #7
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Thanks a lot Andy.
sorry i was just kinda fed up and frustrated when i wrote that last post.

I have since signed up (paid) for an Autoclub here in Canada, not unlike AAA or CAA. (We don't have the shops you mentioned here, but that'* okay). This will enable me to get a flat plugged and a tow to the closest chain autoshop, Canadian Tire.

I will ask them to do a battery charge and load test
and alternator output test.

Also a friend suggested that i could have faulty Alternator cluster/wires. can anyone comment on that? He said there should be 3 wires from Alternator, one to the battery and 2 somewhere else.
I figure I should get that checked out too and maybe replaced.

Bearing in mind the alternator was brand new about a year and a half ago. battery is one year old. Good thing is they are still on warrenty. Bad thing is replacing them seems to not solve the root problem.

I figure I will put a little bit of money into this car and get it running again. Still might sell it after that but at least it will be worth more.
Thanks again people.
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