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Hi! Please help I am stumped. I bought a tracker with the guy telling me it had a broken ground strap so the battery was draining. I re did all the grounds and also the power wire from the alternator to battery while I was at it but I am still having the same problem. The alternator was new but I figured it could just be bad so I pulled it had it tested and got a new one anyway even though it was good and a new battery. I am completely stumped. My fuses are all good as well and it runs great with a charged battery until I need to use a lot of juice for lights them it drains rapidly. I checked for corrosion and Cleaned my terminals:
 

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What is the voltage across the battery with the engine not running and running?
 

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Your battery should have 12.6v without the car running, and once running, should have 14v or so as the alternator charges it. Does it?
Are you saying that the battery drains while the car is running when you put on your lights/accessories? If the battery is fully charged when you shut the car off at night, will it start in the morning, or is the battery drained?
 

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It doesn't drain the battery at all once I shut it off but doesn't charge at all when running it just goes untill the battery dies and when night time hits I've got about a ten minute drive with my lights on before it completely drains
 

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99 Tracker, 5 door, 2L, 4x4
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It doesn't drain the battery at all once I shut it off but doesn't charge at all when running it just goes untill the battery dies and when night time hits I've got about a ten minute drive with my lights on before it completely drains
Have you tested the exciter circuit to the alternator??

Is the charge light lite?

.... Philip
 

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With the car running and a fully charged battery, if you connect a digital volt meter to the battery, what voltage are you getting?
If less than 14v or so, you can also try to check the engine ground by getting jumper cables, connect one jumper cable to the negative terminal on the battery, and the other cable to the car body as a ground. With the car running, check what the voltage is with the jumper cables attached, then remove the jumper cable from the car body - does the voltage drop? If so, you have a bad ground.
 

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Keep in mind that "new" parts are only "suspected good" until proven. "Rebuilt" units sold by most chain auto parts stores are notorious for being bad right out of the box. (Are you sure it is connected correctly?)

Another thing, to remember is this rig is a "few" years old. The grounds and wiring are getting old and corroded. They both need more attention than the same items on a younger car.

So I am back to my first question:

What is the voltage across the battery with the engine not running and running?

You can get a fairly cheap meter at most Harbour Fright type stores. With coupons you can often get one for free. Get one if you want to keep an older car.
 

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99 Tracker, 5 door, 2L, 4x4
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To expand on M's comments, units tested OK on the bench may fail in frame due to issues in wiring...

....Philip
 

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Kevin, instead of jumping around all over the place and posting on 4 year old posts in an effort to get help, it would be wiser to stick to the post that is specific for your car....as well as answering the questions that posters have asked, in an effort to help you. So far, you have not even indicated what the voltage across your battery is - and that info is needed for others to give you proper advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Box, sorry bro I didn't realize you guys commented back until today so inwaa still searching other posts trying to get a reply. Today I took everything back apart and got a voltneter. It read 12.8 c off and unchangedwwhen I fired it up. I took some jumper cables and hooked them from the block to the battery and the frame to the block and still unchanged voltage. This exciter unit, where is that exactly amd should I start taking apart my dash to search for corrosion? Would a short in there cause it not to take the charge? That k you very much and sorry to those I offended by asking a question on a four year old post
 

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The exciter is the small terminal on the alternator, it supplier power to the stator windings, without this the alternator will not produce power.. The power initiates at the dash (charge light must be good)..

... Philip
 

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When you turn your key to the on position (not starting the car) does the battery light on your dash go on? This light is connected to the exciter circuit that Aqua is talking about - which 'excites' the alternator and gets it to start generating. If the light is out, the circuit to the exciter connection at the alternator can't be complete. If the light does work, and you unplug the alternator connection, and turn your key to the on position, you should see 12v on this exciter wire - if not, there is a wiring problem to your alternator on this wire. This would cause your alternator to test properly on the bench, but not work properly in the car.
 

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... It read 12.8 c off and unchanged when I fired it up. I took some jumper cables and hooked them from the block to the battery and the frame to the block and still unchanged voltage. ...
Sounds like your battery is ok, and the grounding of the battery isn't the problem, but there isn't any charging happening, or you'd have more voltage when the engine is running.

I'd check out the wiring, as Bex and the others are saying, but I suspect the "new" alternator is bad.

Be sure to top off the battery with a charger from time to time while troubleshooting. You do not want a low battery to mess up your measurements.
 

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I sure hope he got it fixed- I just went through this... 'Zone tested alternator bad- put on a new one- no charge.. checked main 80a- good, checked 12v to alt from IGN terminal- present. My problem turned out to be the connector itself- loose, corroded- not sure - it's molded, but I made up my own from wires, spade lugs and hot glue (the glue forms a new connector- you can actually unplug it later -- LOL).
 
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