Switch Replaced, No Better/Now Alternator?


Catherine_B
09-07-2004, 12:20 AM
Greetings -

I have a 90 Isuzu Amigo that has been a very good car. This summer I have had an intermittent starting problem that was not the starter but could not be diagnosed because it was so irregular. The engine would turn over fine, but it would just never catch like not getting spark or not getting gas. Two simple alternator checks came out ok. It would take between 6 and 12 tries to start, finally reach 25 times before it would
start. Also occasionally the warning lights (battery, seat belt, low gas) would stay on for a few minutes. Several mechanics were baffled.

Finally it got bad enough often enough that a referred local mechanic could experience the problem. After thinking it was the fuel pump in the tank gone bad, his diagnostic equipment indicated the switch (not a relay) (long skinny thing with wiring with a roundish thing on an end) was the problem. First one came without the necessary component; so factory part instead was ordered and after five days in shop the good
one arrived and was put in. [What I saw looked like about 12-15 inches long, a couple of long wires, and something round-ish on one end.]

Another vague hint: He told me that if it continued to not start over the weekend, to flip the on-off switch repeatedly a few times to 'build up the pressure'? so it would start (didn't work!). Before I took it home, I saw him unplug the alternator to 'test' it to see if it would act up so I could see him 'make it start' with that key-flipping action. Of course, while at the sthop it started just fine, so he plugged the alternator back in and off I went. He just kept referring to it as a 'switch' and it was available as a complete unit only from the factory, not the usual parts places.

I wonder what else could make those dash lights come on? This guy came recommended by a local parts place, but I'm feeling very like a sunken ship right now. I've already paid him $250. His computer wouldn't print out a bill on Friday because of some re-registration issue after he loaded quickbooks onto a second computer, so I have no info to read from to assist in your kind help.

Problem: The car is NO better! Now he says it appears the alternator is bad and gave me the car back with the new switch in it (at about $100 for the switch plus $150 for labor and 'diagnostic testing') for the weekend and ordered an alternator for $200 + $100 labor to come in on Tuesday. He explained how one problem often leads to another, and how it could really happen that both could be bad, but I still don't get it. $550 instead of the original $200 is very bad news indeed.

It started fine that same day. But I had the SAME old trouble starting Saturday, and just awhile ago it took 52 - yes, 52 - tries to get it started. The dash lights have not stayed on or been a problem again. I called and left an upset message for him to save that switch, that I had misgivings about it. Now I am feeling very suspicious that this switch he replaced is not the problem.

What I am asking from the forum: I would appreciate it if anyone with experience can tell me if this makes sense that a switch can need replacing yet make no improvement whatsoever! Can it be that diagnostics can indicate part of the old switch does not pass power through it, yet the car is no better?

I want to know how the old switch would do with the new alternator? This just isn't adding up in my mind. I hate hassles with mechanics, there's almost no way to win. This is an individual who owns the shop and does the work, so there is no 'higher up' to talk to about this. I cannot afford to pay for his mistake.

I am NOT expecting the forum to diagnose without hands on, but I would be grateful for any opinions yay or nay. OR hopefully some info that would help me question what was done or give me some intelligent questions to ask -- OR how I can find out if that switch was all right to use, etc.

THANK YOU very much in advance! I am very troubled about feeling cheated at huge expense and greatly appreciate any responses that will shed light on my dilemma.

Best regards,

Catherine

barteldt
10-31-2004, 01:14 AM
had similar problems with my 94 im assuming youve fixed it by now but i had similAR problem it would try but not quite fire unles i started it like 10 -15 times finally i decided to replace the battery and it was fine so id check that alternator and battery

Catherine_B
11-03-2004, 10:05 AM
Yes, it was fixed. It was no better after the new switch, so he put the old one back in. Turned out to be the alternator, and it has been fine since he replaced it. It was charging sometimes not all times, so I had to pay diagnostics to narrow it down and it was more expensive than it would/should have been. At least I didn't have to pay for the new switch as well.


had similar problems with my 94 im assuming youve fixed it by now but i had similAR problem it would try but not quite fire unles i started it like 10 -15 times finally i decided to replace the battery and it was fine so id check that alternator and battery

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