clicky starter(with clicky fix) battery, alternator problems please help! - Suzuki Forums: Suzuki Forum Site
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default clicky starter(with clicky fix) battery, alternator problems please help!

Hello everybody. did a little research on the subject but couldn't find a problem like mine. got an 88 samurai all stock under the hood. relating to this problem, in the last 2 years I got a new battery, rebuilt alternator, rebuilt starter, and clicky starter cable fix.
Last night after about an hour cruise I stopped to get water and my truck wouldn't start. Very weak power from the battery, I was able to jump it with a buddies car.
I got home fine and this morning same thing but slightly different. I had to jump it with a marine battery I had lying around, but it wouldnt just jump this time, I heard the starter clicking and had to tap it with my wrench while my girlfriend started the truck to get it going. the battery power is very low and wondering if this is why the starter is clicking cuz not enough power? but when i hooked it up to a spare battery it still would click and had to tap it.
Also seems like the battery isn't maintaining a charge or even getting charged at all?
I had a similar problem when i bought the car. the alternator wasn't charging the battery and since I got a new one I haven't had any problems since 2 years ago. When this happened though the battery would fully die and i could only drive a couple miles until the lights dimmed all the way and just shut off from no power.
To me being a beginner sounds like all 3 have problems, battery starter and alternator. The starter was rebuilt just about 6 months ago along with a new clicky starter fix, battery and alternator about 2 years ago when had the other problem happened. i dont get how all 3 could go at once maybe something else? yeah and this is my daily driver and hoping to pick up my girlfriend from work today in it!
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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All of the connections look great as well.
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Old 05-30-2012, 07:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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well tightening the belt helped to get the alternator charging the battery I think.
after charging the battery with a charger, was reading about 12.4 while running now its up 13.5
I have gone through several belts and brands too, they stretch overtime, anyone else have this problem?

i was reading something where it said to check for resistance in the circut where you connect voltmeter from the positive battery post to alternator output and should only read .1 on .2 volts off and mine was .35 off

can be the ecu and how can you test one?
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Old 06-01-2012, 12:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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First - trying to determine if a battery is being charged by measuring the terminal voltage takes experience - it is not as simple as 14.5 0.3V - the actual voltage will vary with the battery's state of charge - for that reason I prefer an amperemeter - if the needle swings to the positive side it's charging - end of story.

You can "guesstimate" what's going on with a voltmeter, but it's more about how the voltage changes in response to external influences - as an example, you can have a battery with a no load voltage of 11.6V, (which would indicate it's probably not fully charged), and after the engine is started the voltage jumps to 12.5 - that increase in voltage indicates the alternator is putting out current, and the battery is probably charging.

Please note that this 12.5V is a full two volts less than the 14.5V mentioned by the previous poster.

The same battery, closer to a full charge, might measure 12.5V open circuit, and after the engine is started, the voltage jumps to 13.5V - this again would indicate that the alternator has output and is probably charging the battery, even though it's still a full volt less than the 14.5V mentioned.

You're unlikely to see that 14.5V until the battery is at a 100% full charge and the engine running for 20~30 minutes - UNLESS - the battery has reached or is nearing the end of it's useful life - in which case, it will appear to charge very rapidly, because of the reduced capacity.

Second - measuring the resistance and/or voltage drop between the alternator output and the battery.

I would not attempt to measure the resistance, given the cable sizes used, this is going to be a very low value, lower than most test instruments can accurately measure - if you do have an instrument that can measure conductance, you don't need me to tell you how to use it.

You can get an idea of the resistance by measuring the volatge drop, but that also can not be specified as an absolute number - it is again affected by the condition of the battery and the external circumstances - engine off, I would expect there to be no voltage drop - if you have a 0.1 or 0.2 V difference (or 0.35), something is definitely not right - you should have a very low resistance so any measureable voltage drop indicates a hefty current flow that should not be there. Even if we assume a poor connection, there should be no current flowing and so no voltage drop.

Engine on - I would not be surprised if there was a few tenths of a volt difference, depending on the condition (age & state of charge) of the battery - anything more than say 0.5V would warrant an investigation - although this could turn out to be nothing more than the alternator charging a near completely discharged battery.

I recognise that none of the above solves your problems - I took the trouble to explain because some of the information you're being given is - let's call it misleading.

You need to start with a known good battery - yours is two years old - have it charged & tested as the first step.

Whilst that's being done - clean & tighten the connections to the starter including the ground strap from the bellhousing to the chassis and the battery negative.

Reinstall the fully charged battery and hook up your voltmeter to the battery posts - make a note of the voltage - switch the headlights on, they should be bright & white, and the battery voltage should not drop by more than a few tenths of a volt.

Now try cranking the engine - the headlights will dim slightly, the battery voltage will probably drop some maybe a volt, maybe two, but not more than that - if the engine doesn't crank you have a starter problem. If the voltage drops by more than 2~3V you may have a battery problem.

Assuming the engine starts - compare the voltmeter reading to the one you noted? Does the voltage go up or down? Down means there's an alternator or charge circuit problem - if it goes up be approximately one volt, the alternator is probably good - drive the vehicle around for a bit and then, without switching the engine off, recheck the voltage - this is when it should be close to 14.5V, if the alternator is charging properly.
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I thought I'd provide some real numbers - yes - the examples above were plucked out of thin air...

Here's the test procedure - the hood is opened and a digital voltmeter clipped to the battery terminals, the "no load" voltage is recorded, the headlights are then turned on and the voltage allowed to stabilize before recording, the engine is then started and the voltage recorded immediately after start, and finally the headlights are switched off and the voltage recorded, and then the engine is switched off.

Car #1 - No load - 12.56V, Lights on - 12.11V, Engine on - 14.38V, Lights off - 14.54V
Car #2 - No load - 13.07V, Lights on - 12.35V, Engine on - 13.25V, Lights off - 13.56V
Car #3 - No load - 12.67V, Lights on - 12.32V, Engine on - 14.53V, Lights off - 14.53V
Car #4 - No load - 12.61V, Lights on - 12.18V, Engine on - 14.32V, Lights off - 14.32V

Please note, these are all vehicles in good working order, and used regularly, so the batteries, if not fully charged will be close to it - as you can see one of them (car #2) never gets to the 14.5 0.3V which we have been told is where it should be when charging - you can see that there was an increase of approximately 1V after the engine was started, which is what tells us that there is alternator output, and since this vehicle is fitted with an amperemeter, we can also see the charge current indicated there.

In case you're curious as to why this vehicle would be the only one to not reach the 14.5 0.3V mentioned - one possible reason is the rating of it's alternator - it has a 65A alternator, the others are 90+, so whilst it is charging the battery, it's doing so at a lower rate, and the as a result, the voltage will climb less rapidly.

Incidentally - car #2 is a 1.3 Suzuki Swift, essentially the same engine as a Samurai, but with a larger alternator that the Samurai, so we can expect the voltages on a stock Samurai to be similar or slightly lower - the voltage reported in the original poster's third post (12.4V from the charger & 13.5V with the engine running would suggest a functional charging system.
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