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Old 06-10-2008, 09:47 PM   #1
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Help! Just Had a Breakdown!

My wife and I were cruising down I-95 and the gauges (speedo, tach, fuel, heat etc) went nuts all of a sudden flipping back and forth. The engine died at the time and we coasted to a stop. Waited a few minutes, checked the battery w/ a pocket gauge gave off 13.5 volts, a bit high. Belt tension seemed fine too. After a few tries she started up and we got it to drive another 1/4 mile and it died again. It will start with some difficulty but dies after idling for a few minutes. I tested the voltage while it was idling and it gave off varied readings, sometimes the alt would seem to be charging (15v+) other times it would read 12V at idle. When I shut the engine off the batteries voltage stayed at 15 volts, way above normal.

This happened 9 months ago too, pretty much the same scenario. Replaced the alt and it was fine.

Any thoughts? I think it is the alternator. The cabbie who gave us a ride home seemed convinced there was an underlying problem causing the alternators to die. I blame the crappy refurb Autozone alternators I keep putting in there.

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Old 06-10-2008, 10:22 PM   #2
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Well, not sure it will help, but on mine I had an issue with the fuel pump/sending unit plug located near the gas tank. had some lose wires which killed my engine. Run start etc. located on the driver side of tank runs near the rear trac-bar bracket. However yours sounds like maybe a bad ground wire. Any error codes?

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Old 06-10-2008, 10:50 PM   #3
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No, its not throwing any codes.

The way the gauges were behaving convince me the cause is electrical. That and the conflicting readings on the voltmeter
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:15 PM   #4
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you do have a battery temp sensor thing that monitors temp and is a factor in charging. id give that a check. I believe its under the battery tray. you unplug the pig tail and pryup to remove it.
You also have a voltage regulator thats built into the PCM and is non servicable. if is broken or wacky you need a new pcm to fix it.
check your main ground wires too
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaineJeeper View Post
My wife and I were cruising down I-95 and the gauges (speedo, tach, fuel, heat etc) went nuts all of a sudden flipping back and forth. The engine died at the time and we coasted to a stop. Waited a few minutes, checked the battery w/ a pocket gauge gave off 13.5 volts, a bit high. Belt tension seemed fine too. After a few tries she started up and we got it to drive another 1/4 mile and it died again. It will start with some difficulty but dies after idling for a few minutes. I tested the voltage while it was idling and it gave off varied readings, sometimes the alt would seem to be charging (15v+) other times it would read 12V at idle. When I shut the engine off the batteries voltage stayed at 15 volts, way above normal.

This happened 9 months ago too, pretty much the same scenario. Replaced the alt and it was fine.

Any thoughts? I think it is the alternator. The cabbie who gave us a ride home seemed convinced there was an underlying problem causing the alternators to die. I blame the crappy refurb Autozone alternators I keep putting in there.

thats exactly the conclusions i came up with.... my old xj had the same symptoms as your describing... not knowing it was the alternator i just changed out a year prior, i replaced the battery... after no luck with that i decided to change the alternator again... it never gave me trouble after that..

also had a bronco that went through 3 starters within a year and a half... all refurbished auto zone...
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Old 06-11-2008, 05:38 PM   #6
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i think we need the cab driver on here to help us out

my vote is crappy reman alternator. i've seen a ton of them. just give it back, should have a warranty, say it ain't working, and try another one.

battery thermistor, and voltage regulator are all good points, i'd say rule out the simple first.
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:56 PM   #7
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Update....not what I expected

Had the alt tested at a VIP. Failed. Bought one of theirs, threw it in the Jeep. Started up fine, idled good for a minute, I went to go in reverse, got about ten feet and she died.

I had a spare battery with me, tried that one, no effect. Starts grumpy, idles, dies.

Had it towed to a shop where they spent the whole day looking at it. They even went so far as to try another new alt b/c all the evidence was still pointing to the alt. At the end of the day the mechanic called me and explained how the voltage regulator is built into the PCM and he thinks the voltage isn't being regulated yada yada I need a new PCM.

I'm glad Rawkon confirmed this diagnosis because otherwise I would have thought the mechanic was full of it. I've just never really believed mechanics when they say the computer is to blame.
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Old 06-12-2008, 07:26 AM   #8
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computers are rare, but it sounds like thats it. let us know, i know we've replaced a computer once in a car for the same problem, and it was the battery thermistor the whole time.
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Old 06-12-2008, 07:26 AM   #9
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One of my customers has a pretty good piece of test equipment that tests the PCM in place as well as the rest of the system. I had the alt go out on my 98XJ back in january. I just don't use rebuilt parts like alts, water pumps, etc. I went with a new 130a ND when I did mine. Yea, expensive but the alt can take out the PCM which is even more expensive. Make sure the mech puts dielectric greas on the PCM connections [actually all connections] when he puts it back together.
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Old 06-13-2008, 08:47 PM   #10
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I am not a fan of Autozone. Yes, they have cheap parts & yes they are cheap parts. The shop I used to work at quit buying parts from autozone & we would refuse to put any parts on from Autozone. Not trying to sound overly harsh here, as some of you probably have had good luck with them, just in my experiences it hasn't been good.
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:11 AM   #11
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Hey guys, thanks for all the replies. Turns out it was the terminal connector on the ground side of battery. Its running fine now.
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Old 06-21-2008, 05:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by MaineJeeper View Post
My wife and I were cruising down I-95 and the gauges (speedo, tach, fuel, heat etc) went nuts all of a sudden flipping back and forth. The engine died at the time and we coasted to a stop. Waited a few minutes, checked the battery w/ a pocket gauge gave off 13.5 volts, a bit high. Belt tension seemed fine too. After a few tries she started up and we got it to drive another 1/4 mile and it died again. It will start with some difficulty but dies after idling for a few minutes. I tested the voltage while it was idling and it gave off varied readings, sometimes the alt would seem to be charging (15v+) other times it would read 12V at idle. When I shut the engine off the batteries voltage stayed at 15 volts, way above normal.

This happened 9 months ago too, pretty much the same scenario. Replaced the alt and it was fine.

Any thoughts? I think it is the alternator. The cabbie who gave us a ride home seemed convinced there was an underlying problem causing the alternators to die. I blame the crappy refurb Autozone alternators I keep putting in there.
Well you got out of it easy! Last time i was driving my Jeep Cherokee on I-95 in Maine i blew my engine..

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