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99 zx2 dies, seems like alternator but it's been replaced

12-30-2008, 11:43 PM
I just bought my brother's '99 Zx2 and it is having major problems! About a month ago the alternator went out and we replaced it... twice. The first one I bought was faulty. It's been running just fine for the last three weeks or so but once it started getting cold out it had problems starting. I would turn the key and the car wouldn't do anything. It didn't make a click like it does when the battery is dead but it did make some soft noise that sounded like something wanted to run. I would turn the key enough times and the car would jump right to life and not have any problems for the rest of the day. This problem was going on for about 4 days and then 2 days ago I was driving and the gauge that shows the RPMs (sorry, it's late, I forget the actual name of it) stopped working. Also, I turned off the radio to save on the battery power and it would turn itself back on... Once I came to a full stop and put it in park it stuttered and died. I was able to jump the car and after staying on for about 5 minutes it died again. We jumped it once more and left it hooked up to charge the battery for a bit. It made the 15 minute drive back home but once I parked it, he died again. When I turn the key over the lights and that still work inside but it won't start up. The battery light doesn't come on when i turn the car on, so from what I've been told is that it isn't the alternator in this case. Any ideas of what to check?

01-01-2009, 11:32 AM
Welcome to Automotive Forums. First some basic things like cleaning the battery terminals and checking the battery. Using a voltmeter ($5 at Wally World) check the standing voltage of the battery with everything off. Should be about 12.8 volts. Next check the battery voltage with the engine running. It should be about 13.8 to 14.6 volts. If the battery is over 5 years old or it doesn't have a standing voltage of at least 12.8 you need a new battery. The battery could be shorting out internally. If this is the case it will start and run off a jump, but won't run on it's own. I'd say get a new battery. It's some of the best money you can spend for your car. At $50 it isn't even close to what you would pay for minor repairs.

If the voltage isn't in the neighborhood of 13.8 volts with the engine running there is a problem with the alternator. If you just had it replaced go back and let them know it is still causing you problems.

If the battery and the alternator are good there is a problem with the starter. But, first check the battery and cables. First things first.

01-01-2009, 09:10 PM
( for the input, Davescort. I took the battery to Checker and they tested it and it wasn't holding a charge. I just bought a new battery and now it's starting fine but the one thing that concerns me is that the battery I just replaced was brand new. I got a new battery when I replaced the alternator. Is there something wrong with my car that would kill the battery? If there is something else that could be wrong I'd like to check that out too. One good thing about this car is I'm learning alot!! :biggrin:

01-05-2009, 10:42 PM
If the alternator is charging above 15 volts it might boil all the acid in the cells and cause failure. Usually when this happens you can fill the cells back up with distilled water. A faulty voltage regulator will make it overcharge. Ford alternators have internal voltage regulators. They are inside. The new alternator could have a bad regulator. So take it back and tell them what you just told me. They will check it out for you. A voltmeter and about 30 seconds is all it takes.

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