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Old 08-03-2007, 02:28 AM   #1
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Default Electrical issues... '98 Skylark

Replaced the battery in my wife'* '98 Skylark three weeks ago, as the ABS and Check Engine lights were coming on randomly and she ended up with a dead battery in a local parking lot. Figured it was the battery (the old one was about 4 years old and looking nasty), and the car has been running fine ever since we replaced it.

Fast forward to tonight.... we're driving home, and suddenly everything dies as we're rolling down the street. Dash lights, headlights, radio... everything just went black for about 2 seconds. Then everything turned on and we kept driving without issue. Then right before we pulled into our parking lot the ABS light randomly turned on. The battery is obviously brand new... so what do you think? Bad ground wire or battery cable? Temperamental alternator? Or just run-of-the-mill electrical gremlins? I haven't had time to properly look everything over, just want ideas right now. Thanks!
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Old 08-03-2007, 10:12 AM   #2
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I'd check under the boots first. Then aim toward the gremlin items.

Has anything been added or changed lately?
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Old 08-03-2007, 11:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBoost37
Has anything been added or changed lately?
Just the battery... and the problem was there before the battery was changed. And are there any specific 'gremlin items' I ought to check?
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Old 08-03-2007, 11:58 AM   #4
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From personal experience .. pull the cables and look under the boots. It'* amazing what our cars can store under there in the way of intermittent causing corrosion.

Look for any wetness at the floors where we have our ground buss'. Her car probably has the same.
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Old 08-03-2007, 03:05 PM   #5
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I agree with Boosty... Check the Cables first.. Then we'll go from there

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Old 08-03-2007, 04:07 PM   #6
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Roger that... in talking to Doug I'm pretty confident it has to be a bad cable or ground somewhere. The entire car (engine, lights, etc.) doesn't just shut off from a hiccup in the alternator. There was a total loss of electrical power somewhere, and I just need to find it. Battery cables are the first place to start.
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:20 PM   #7
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I am with the battery cable crowd. If the battery terminal connections are not tight or loose in any way, this can lead to a total loss of power. Had the same problem with the Bonne. Make a turn or hit a bump and the car would die but start right up. Make sure both cables are "biting" firmly into the battery terminals. If so, then like the others, I suspect coorosion under the boots or on the cable somewhere. Also, you know I have the Actron, so you can pull codes if the MIL illuminates, again.
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Old 08-03-2007, 10:20 PM   #8
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Got some more info...

Did the "wiggle" check today. Ran the car and wiggled every important connection I could get my hands on under the hood. The car never died, sputtered, or gave any indication that something was wrong.

So off to Checker to get the system tested. The battery (only 3 weeks old) was down on voltage, and when I started the car the tester said it wasn't reading charging voltage from the alternator. Hmmm... so there'* a connection between battery and alternator that'* not functioning properly? Then the guy tested the alternator itself, which showed the alternator was not putting out the proper voltage. Very interesting.

Any ideas?
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Old 08-04-2007, 04:55 PM   #9
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Now the question is, is the alternator being supplied with the power it need to function?

I believe much like our 3800'* they are computer controlled, But I don't have a Schematic to look at either... So I am afraid I am no help there

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Old 08-04-2007, 06:58 PM   #10
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Bob and I will most likely get together tomorrow to do some testing on the Skylark. Aside from that, I'll probably just take it to an electrical shop and have them work on it. I'm no good with electrical stuff.
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