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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Car is a 2001 A/T G20: In September 2018 the alternator went toes up. It was replaced by a shop associated with TechNet which offers a 2 yr/24K warranty. A few months later it devoped a symptom as I noticed the panel lights would dim and brighten inconsistently, usually worse when cold.

It was replaced again in February 2019 having had only a few K miles on it. This past fall the same symtom reappeared, with the holidays and all I didn't get it into a shop until a week or two ago. The first shop was jerking me around so I found a second TechNet associated shop that'd done good work on a friend's car. While there I had them replace the valve cover gaskets, plugs and wires. My problem is while he never said the alternator wasn't faulty he said he didn't understand why it was doing what it was doing and wants me to take it to a local shop that specializes in electrics which isn't associated with TechNet. He did observe what I had, I read 15.1V from it one day anfd only 13V the next. My suspicion is something like a cold solder joint on the circuit board.

I'm hoping for some help with how to convince people the alternator is indeed bad and don't really want to get involved paying out of pocket for a lot of diagnostic time at a shop I won't have the repair done at as I'd like to take advantage of the warranty.

Ideas, suggestions, voice of experience, mystical incantations all welcomed.
 

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getting a good alternator is hard these days no matter what car it is. On our Ford Taurus, we are on our 3rd alternator within 4 months. Its a sad joke. We are really hopping this 3rd time is the charm but only time will tell.

The problem is most alternators these days are either rebuilt or made new in China and apparently they are not following the best standards.

Our one that failed (lifetime warranty) had pieces fall out of it as it was removed (not even kidding).. not even sure how it lasted 1200 miles before crapping out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
getting a good alternator is hard these days no matter what car it is. On our Ford Taurus, we are on our 3rd alternator within 4 months. Its a sad joke. We are really hopping this 3rd time is the charm but only time will tell.

The problem is most alternators these days are either rebuilt or made new in China and apparently they are not following the best standards.

Our one that failed (lifetime warranty) had pieces fall out of it as it was removed (not even kidding).. not even sure how it lasted 1200 miles before crapping out.
Yeah, I'm just a bit peeved I have to take it somewhere else for diagnosis and then another trip for repair. I think I've been inconvenienced more than enough already
 

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What's failing on your alternators?

Is it the brushes or the diode or something else?

I had one fail in another car because oil leaked all over it. I had a local place clean it up and put new brushes in.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
What's failing on your alternators?

Is it the brushes or the diode or something else?

I had one fail in another car because oil leaked all over it. I had a local place clean it up and put new brushes in.

I'm not really sure. I don't understand why the dash lights dim/brighten yet putting a meter between the alternator output and ground shows little voltage variation. It varies in how strong the dim/bright cycle is, usually worse when cold. On the first replacement I was measuring 500mV AC which everything I can find says unacceptable. On the current one I've only read 100mV AC. My suspicion is something on the circuit board that makes better contact when it warms up. Being it's under warranty I jut want something definitive I can point to and say change it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Curiouser & Curiouser: I was just out for a drive and the gear indicator panel light was pulsing dim/bright and I noticed when coming to a red light with my foot on the brake where I knew the brake lights would be on the pulsing continued, it stopped when the car stopped. Put it in neutral and it wasn't pulsing, take my foot off the brake and the pulsing returned. I'm starting to wonder if I need a mechanic or an exorcist.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've noticed the dimming/brightening of the panel lights also appears on the radio dial yet the climate control panel lights remain steady. Is there a wiring diagram available online somewhere? I'd like to see if the power supply/grounds are different for the panel lights/radio than for the climate control panel.
 

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I've noticed the dimming/brightening of the panel lights also appears on the radio dial yet the climate control panel lights remain steady. Is there a wiring diagram available online somewhere? I'd like to see if the power supply/grounds are different for the panel lights/radio than for the climate control panel.

Pulsing is definitely either bad alternator or the grounds between it, the fusable link and battery somewhere is bad.
 

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heres what you need to do.........ask for the old alternator or some how mark it to actually see if they are changing it, my daughter was driving in L A and alternator went bad she took it to a shop 180 bucks later its done two weeks after it took a shit here in sacramento turns out they never changed it running on battery
 

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Discussion Starter #10

Pulsing is definitely either bad alternator or the grounds between it, the fusable link and battery somewhere is bad.
Thanks for the reply! I tend to believe it's the alternator as two replacements from the same source have done the same thing. What' got me puzzled is that even though that pulsing is evident in the panel lights it doesn't show in a voltage check between the alternator output and ground.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
heres what you need to do.........ask for the old alternator or some how mark it to actually see if they are changing it, my daughter was driving in L A and alternator went bad she took it to a shop 180 bucks later its done two weeks after it took a shit here in sacramento turns out they never changed it running on battery
Thanks for the reply! The second replacement was a year ago so little chance of getting it back. I'm pretty sure it was changed both times as it functioned okay for a while before the pulsing started and both were likely sourced from the same rebuilder. It was done by a shop associated with TechNet which offers a two year warranty. The shop tried to jerk me around with the warranty and I went to another TechNet associated shop that's done good work for some friends. He seems on the level didn't charge me for attempting to diagnose the problem but says he doesn't understand what it's doing and wants me to bring it to an electrical specialist. I don't really need to drive too much due to my location but have been hoping something would definitively fail so I could get it taken care of.
 
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