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Old 04-26-2009, 06:58 PM   #1
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Boxster left me stranded on the side of the interstate highway...but...

OK, first the good part (silver lining to the cloud), ran my first track event this weekend in the Box-S. The car was great, now I just need to make the driver a little bit better to keep up with the car performance. I think a few more DE's and I will be ready to move from Yellow (Int) to White (Advanced). A few more weekends like this, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now for the bad stuff. The battery light came on the dash. Checked the leads and noticed that the battery was loose. It had been banging back and forth in the tray the whole weekend. Had the trackside shop build me a "L" shaped bracket to lock down the battery and continued. Went back out and the battery light went out by the end of the session. Ran one more session and no problems.

Drove home and after awhile the ABS and Airbag lights came on the dash. I thought uh-oh, this is not good. But I thought I could maybe get it home. A few more miles later, the speedo went to 0 and a few hundred yards later, the whole christmas tree lit up at the bottom of the dash, the car gave a slight lurch and lost power. I coasted to a stop. Tried to start it and it made a very fast clicking sound and the lights blinked at the same cadence as the clicks. The emergency flashers worked though and I was able to roll down the window.

2 hours later the tow truck finally arrived and now, thankfully, I am home.

So any ideas? I think the alternator is fried. I will download the codes and post them tomorrow and put a volt meter to the battery as well. Let me know if you think I should look at something else too.

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Old 04-26-2009, 10:34 PM   #2
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That sounds like a failing battery. They can sap the output of the alternator and start messing with your computer. I know on some Fords the windshield wipers would start going for no reason when the battery was on it's last legs.

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Old 04-26-2009, 10:59 PM   #3
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Research the numerous related threads.

Pull out the trusty DMM and do a battery test and a load test... then correct the issue.

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Old 04-27-2009, 07:56 AM   #4
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Exact same thing happened to me when my alternator went. I was having issues with the battery and thought it was that but the alternator pooped out and left me stranded.
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:24 AM   #5
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Same exact thing for me too. Alternator slowly going out and the car would run on the battery until that was drained.
Towed to dealer and fixed.

Imaging trying to explain where you are in the texas back country to a guy in chicago at porsche roadside assisitance. It was like, "Turn left at the jones' ranch and go two cattle gaurds down and make a right on the road just past the lage oak tree, yea the one by the brown cow."

needless to say I sat there a while.
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhandy
Imaging trying to explain where you are in the texas back country to a guy in chicago at porsche roadside assisitance. It was like, "Turn left at the jones' ranch and go two cattle gaurds down and make a right on the road just past the lage oak tree, yea the one by the brown cow."

needless to say I sat there a while.
:LOL that sounds similar to what happened to my wife when she was trying to talk to AT&T roadside assistance about my location. See...I was only 10 miles from my house on 35W (or the Ft. Worth side) and the lady in Kentucky (or where ever) said, oh my...he is 41 miles from your house. She was looking at the miles based on 35E (or the Dallas Side). Took here 45 minutes to get that figued out!!

Oh, and O'Reilly's has a re-man alternator for $188.00. Work for me!!
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:23 PM   #7
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When my alternator failed my ABS and Airbag lights also came on. Like LB said check voltage at the battery if you can get it started. Think you should see 14.something volts.
Good luck.
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Old 04-27-2009, 02:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derb
When my alternator failed my ABS and Airbag lights also came on. Like LB said check voltage at the battery if you can get it started. Think you should see 14.something volts.
Good luck.

Just the battery alone should read 13.0-13.2 volts as each cell produces approx. 2.2volts.

checking the battery with the car running, it should read 13.5-14.5 volts - this is the Bosch alternator.

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Old 04-27-2009, 04:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhandy
Same exact thing for me too. Alternator slowly going out and the car would run on the battery until that was drained.
Towed to dealer and fixed.

Imaging trying to explain where you are in the texas back country to a guy in chicago at porsche roadside assisitance. It was like, "Turn left at the jones' ranch and go two cattle gaurds down and make a right on the road just past the lage oak tree, yea the one by the brown cow."

needless to say I sat there a while.

Hmm, maybe I shouldn't have I used the term "stranded" in my post. My car died just after I exited Lake Shore Drive directly in front of a Starbucks.
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Old 04-27-2009, 04:44 PM   #10
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LB,
I thought 14.something was close enough
With a bad alternator wouldn't the engine quit if you pulled of the + battery terminal off? A double check?
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derb
LB,
I thought 14.something was close enough
With a bad alternator wouldn't the engine quit if you pulled of the + battery terminal off? A double check?
It's NEVER a good idea to pull a terminal off the battery of a running car. The alternator uses the battery to 'absorb' natural voltage spikes which occur.

To disconnect the battery with the car running can introduce a large voltage spike in the electrical system that may damage electronic modules and/or the charging system, including the alternator itself. These spikes can range from 20-40 volts!

Back in the day, this was a check when cars used electro-mechanical regulators, and it's stuck around. Not because it works, but because people have never adapted to solid state technology. You'll find lots of people still using it and praising it. Some get by with it, or think they do, because they blow one of the three pairs of diodes and the alternator still seems to work, but in reality, it's output current has been cut by a third. For others, doing the test actually blows the alternator, so they mistakenly believe the test confirmed their results, when in fact, it caused them.


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