Mechanics

BATTERY LIGHT FLICKERING

2002 Honda Civic

Electrical problem
2002 Honda Civic 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 123000 miles

Just to lay the groundwork, I have put 3 alternators in this car, 2 of them in the last year. The first one was done by a garage, I did the other 2 myself. After the first one, I noticed that while driving my battery light would occasionaly flicker and would stop flickering once I turned my headlights on. This continued until I replace the alternator after it and my battery went bad. The next time I replaced the alternator and batter, no flickering, but the set-up only lasted me about 9 months before I had the same problem, drained battery.

I have now put a new battery in again as well as a new alternator. The alternator I just replaced tested fine, but the technician told me the issue I described (Car dying while driving) was indicitive of a alternator issue. I am getting tired of replacing batteries/alternators and am wondering what the underlying cause of this might be.

I do have a dead power window on the drivers side, which I read, if shorted, may be slowly draining off my battery, however, this seems unlikely to me. I did pull the fuse, but the battery died prior to putting in this new Battery/Alternator.

Not sure what else I can do here, new battery cables? In between the second alternator and this one, I had service done at Honda to replace a cracked motor mount and control arm bushing. I didn't mention this issue, as I thougt it to be resolved, but their diagnostic didn't come up with anything irregular.
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Cj_nagel
February 2, 2010.



Your scenario can be quite frustrating.
Alternaters starters and thermostats are the worst offenders when they are bad out of the box.

You need to check for a draw, Ideally a mult-meter is the best tool but a test light may also work if the draw isn't too significant.

If no other electrical accessory is causing the battery to drain overnight a manual draw check of the electrical system will need to be performed. What this means is you will be checking the electrical draw the battery has on it when the car is locked up, with the key in the " off" position". First open the hood and disable the under hood illumination light, if equipped. Next, with the key off and the doors locked wait 15 minutes, then disconnect the battery cable on the negative side. (The 15 minute wait allows the computers to go into " sleep mode" and shuts down all electrical). Attach a test light between the negative battery cable end and the negative battery terminal. The test light should illuminate dimly or not at all. If the test light is on brightly there is a strong electrical draw in the system. To locate this electrical draw start removing fuses one at a time. When the test light goes out the circuit in question has been located. You will need a car repair manual to identify all accessories in a particular circuit, repair as needed and re-check system. Again a multi-meter set in milli-amps is a preferred method.

IF there is not exceptional draw, then I would start looking at the alternator.

IS it really " new" or just new to you. Meaning, I expect this is a remanufactured alternator.
These can be a bear to nail down when they are failing intermittantly. I have been through the ringer with this scenario and sometimes it requires going to a truley new one or sometimes an OEM one.
If so what brand is it?