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Discussion Starter #1
So my car has been sitting for the last 7 months except for a few instances when my wife drove it.

Yesterday I drove about 28 miles total and everything seemed good. Today I drove to work (about 30 miles) with no problem. I was about 5 miles from home when it just felt like it had absolutely no power. Meaning I was pressing the gas and it wasn't going at all. It felt a little like when the gas is about to run out. I had to pull over since I was on the highway. I turned the car off and let it sit for a while and tried to start it and I got the familiar sound that the car makes when the battery is dead. I also noticed that the volt gauge on my Tib multigauges was reading around 10 instead of over 12.

Because I was on the side of the highway I had the car towed to a shop in the area (but that won't be open again until Tuesday). When my wife arrived to pick me up I gave it a jump and it ran for a few minutes without any problems so I drove it to a better parking space at the shop. Turned it off. And turned it back on and there was no trouble.

I decided not to attempt the drive home.

Tomorrow I'm going to go back and see what happens. Does this sound like the battery or the alternator? Once 10 years ago in my Voyager I had the same thing happen and it was the alternator.

If it is the alternator how much can I expect this shop to charge me?

Thanks in advance everyone!



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Scary Super Mod
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I got an idea!!!!!!
grab the battery run to auto zone or advanced auto and have them test the battery for you. if the battery tests bad swap out for a new battery and good to go and if the battery is good then leave it at the shop to check out the alternator next.
 

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Where's My Boomstick?
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Id bet battery. They dont like sitting that long. Yank it out, have it tested. Easy peazy.

If its the alt. figure $150-200 for the part, $10-15 for the belt, and whatever the shop's minimum charge for hourly time. Doesnt take long to swap out, nor is it difficult. If you havent replaced the power steering belt in a while, id have them replace that too, gotta take the alternator belt off to get to it, and $15 now will save you a bit later if it starts to slip.
 

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I say it's likely the battery like they said. After I met my wife I never really drove my car much and replaced the battery like three times. Luckily it was under warranty all times past the OE battery. It could be the alternator though. I would just get the batt checked like ^ said to be sure.If it checks out you know what to do next.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Alright thanks. Yeah Eric, that's the plan. The battery is from Advance Auto and it should be under warranty so hopefully the easy fix is the right fix. I don't really have money for a new alternator right now.

I'll be doing this a little later this morning. I'll keep you all updated.

UPDATE!

So we (wife and I) drove over this morning and the car started fine, read 12.5 volts, but I thought I would take it to Advance Auto just to be sure. Drove to Advance Auto and they verified the battery was fine. Drove back and put the battery back in.

Decided to call the mechanic I've used that's a block from my house because they never charge a fee for checking things out. He said if I could get the car to him they'd most likely be able to get the alternator today and have it fixed.

Well, started the car again and got about 4 blocks and then it wouldn't go anymore. This time it felt even more like it was out of gas. So I drove her car to a gas station, bought a gallon tank and filled it up, came back to my car, filled it up. Started fine and drove back to the shop that we just left and figured I might as well just figure out if it was totally out of gas. Got another two blocks to a gas station.

Had a little chat with my wife and I discovered that when she filled up the gas last time she only put $10 in (because she was filling up in DC where it's a rip off). Well, I was going on the assumption that it had a full tank. The gauge is reading about 3/4 but I had only gone 160 miles so there was no way it could have been time for another tank of gas. So I filled it up and now it seems fine. Pretty much I spent $161 for a tank of gas all things considered.

It's amazing the circumstances that led me to think it was the battery or alternator. 1. The car had sat for a long time. 2. It appeared as if I did have gas. 3. People here agreed that it sounded like the battery.

It's always the simplest thing. What a waste of money and time...

As well, now I just have to figure out why the gauge isn't working or is stuck. I'm betting on stuck because the speedometer has stuck before (you know I have the gauge faces). Never the gas gauge though, but that's gotta be it.

Yay.



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Where's My Boomstick?
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Ive actually had a similar situation when the battery dies, but in the opposite direction.

Battery dead, after that, the gas gauge got all wonky. Knew I had at least 1/2 tank, but the gauge reads 1/4. Go to fill it up, cant put more than a half tank in there. Then for the next couple of fill ups, the gauge seems to read fast, showing empty when really its more like 1/3rd. Had this happen several times now in the life of the car (let's just say im bad about leaving the lights on and listening to the radio during lunch breaks with the car off). Each time, it'll do this for a few tanks before it gets itself sorted out. Last time, i reset the ECU and it straightened itself out then and there. Weird.

What's also weird is that you said it was cranking like the battery was dead. Was it? Did it crank slow?
 

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Ha, that's crazy. Glad you got it worked out.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This morning I took a drive and noticed that when I was at a stop with the AC on that the volt gauge would drop below 12 (but not down to 11). Is this something I should be concerned about? I just let it go for about 2 minutes (sitting, in park, AC on fan speed 1) and nothing happened. It just stayed between 11 and 12 and kept running.

It's just that I don't remember it fluctuating like that before. Again it's been a while so maybe I'm just remembering incorrectly.

What's also weird is that you said it was cranking like the battery was dead. Was it? Did it crank slow?
I guess I thought it was the sound it makes when the battery is dead (because I had in my mind that the battery was dead) when actually it was the sound of trying to start it without enough gas.



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Sounds like the symptoms I was having....for the exception of I had enough fuel. The times it felt like quiting was when the charging voltage would drop below 12 volts. Even stepping on the accelerator would give the feeling that that was a vacuum leak...very weird. The problem seems to happen more when it is really hot out. Cranking over in the morning I have no issues with starting. However, after sitting in the sun while I'm at work, it hesitates when starting. I'm thinking the battery is my culprit. Maybe the alternator is also creating problems?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah I don't know.

Tonight I noticed that it dropped just below 11 when I had on the AC, lights and CD player and was stopped (in drive). Whenever I would go again it would go back up past 12 where it is normal.

Something just doesn't "feel" right but I can't explain it at all. Quick accelerating (now that I have gas) is a piece of cake but it's when I'm doing very gradual accelerating that something doesn't feel right. I don't know.



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It still sounds like your alternator is on the way out. Did you ever have that tested?
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)

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Yeah I'd change it. It should be changes within a certain amount of months even if you haven't reached the mileage.
 

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Alternator. I quite literally just had the same problem on Sunday.
 
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