Mechanics

LOSES ELECTRICAL POWER, BATTERY OVERHE

1997 Suzuki Sidekick

Electrical problem
1997 Suzuki Sidekick 4 cyl Four Wheel Drive Automatic 100000 miles

My trusty little sidekick has a history of overheating, so I always watch the temperature gauge. Last night, instead of tilting towards the red, I found it tilting to the left. I noticed the lights were getting dimmer and eventually I lost power while driving. Tried to restart - nothing. The red lights came on dimly, but the engine wouldn't turn. I pondered my predicament for about 30 minutes then decided to hitchhike. But before locking up, I gave it one last try, and son of a gun, it started up just fine. Lights, acceleration, all was back to normal. I floored it to make up for lost time. But about half an hour later, I could sense it flagging again. Eventually it conked out just like the first time. It wouldn't restart - no juice - but lo and behold, a few hours later the juice was back. I figure it must be the battery overheating - it was very hot to the touch - and not being able to provide power to start the car if it's hot. Weird though, because the engine itself didn't overheat this time. Anyway, third time, even waiting 8 hours wasn't enough. Maybe I was too impatient and tried cranking it too many times when the power was still insufficient, draining the battery. My little sidekick is now parked on the shoulder of a desolate mountain road, have no idea what to do. Should I just recharge the battery and drive really really slowly this time?
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Lapsedhedonist
August 9, 2009.




First things first, how old and what grade battery is in your vehicle? It sounds like you have at least two separate problems. If your alternator is failing, it is possible that it will not charge your battery sufficantly as if warms up. You may also have an internal short in the battery (or both)
Are you loosing (having to add) Coolant? Do you see any puddles of coolant under the vehicle?
Head gaskets failing are fairly common on theres vehicles.
The temp light, as well as your other warning lights, work on volage. If the alternator or the battery are not providing proper voltage to the vehicle, you can not trust the gauges. Check battery and charging systems first.
Let me know what you find,
Dan

Danauthier
Aug 10, 2009.
No I stopped losing coolant after I replaced the radiator, which had sprung a leak. But it still overheats, in traffic jams or if I rev it past 4k. It's been like that for more than a year though, and this " no electrical power" problem occurred just yesterday.

I forgot to mention, the battery is brand new. The previous battery wouldn't charge properly so I replaced it about 2 months ago. I suppose, based on what you're saying, inspecting or replacing the alternator is the first thing I should do. Maybe the old battery wasn't faulty after all.

Thanks for the prompt response!

Tiny
Lapsedhedonist
Aug 10, 2009.
It is very possible that you do need an alternator and the failing alternator caused the battery to fail, or visa/versa.

The cooling issure may ne something as simple as a thermostat. Also check the tension on your accessory belts, loose belts will not run the water pump as it should as well as the alternator.
Dan
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Danauthier
Aug 10, 2009.
My no crank page. ( I have 96)

clean the battery terms first and always.

First measure the battery voltage with a cheap voltmeter, Dig. Multimeter.

12.5 to 12.6 is charged.
If not charged, then put a battery charger in it and bring up the charge.
But you are stuck, so check the voltage and if battery is really low like 12.3v, then bring in a charged battery can start the car.

If that dont work you have a serious problem.

On this car there can be bad grounds.

If the grounds are good and the battery cables are good, then make sure you have full power to the head lights.

Weak power to head lights can be corrosion under the right fender fuse box. (Common on kicks)

YOu have a loss of power.
Battery.
Connections to battery.
Charge system failure.
Or bad feed of power thru fuse box above.

Cheers.

Tiny
Kick-fix
Sep 2, 2009.

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