1995 Chevy Cavalier

Tiny
LANDMARK31
  • MEMBER
  • 1995 CHEVROLET CAVALIER
Electrical problem
1995 Chevy Cavalier 150000 miles

I have a new starter and battery in my cavalier. When I'm driving my battery light will come on after a while and eventually my car will stall until it dies compeletly. I then have to jump it and it usually runs fine for a while without the battery light coming on. The last time this happened, I jumped my car and made it home but now I can only get it to run for about a minute before it dies. I had my alternator tested and it was fine. If my car is running and I unhook the battery cable from the battery it dies.
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Friday, October 31st, 2008 AT 10:25 AM

7 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi:

You have a problem with the alt. If the car ran until the battery died and would jump, something is draining the battery. My guess, the alt isn't doing it's job. Remove the alt and have it bench tested. Also, have a load test done on the battery.

Let me know what you find. Keep in mind, just because they are new doesn't mean they are good.

Joe
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Friday, October 31st, 2008 AT 10:38 AM
Tiny
LANDMARK31
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I did take the alt out and have it tested already and it passed. Someone at autozone said it could maybe be an electrical problem and to try replacing the battery cables. So far though I've only been able to find a splicing kit and I'm not sure that's the route I want to go. I guess I could have the battery tested just to make sure. Thanks and please let me know what you think about replacing the battery cables. :)
--Tom
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Friday, October 31st, 2008 AT 11:12 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi Again:
When there is an electrical problem, I always like to start at the begining, and that would be the battery. If the battery cables appear to be in good shape, are clean and tight, and are making good contact, they are most likely ok. What you could try, just to see if there is a problem with them, is to move them around with an electrical component on. See if there is a break in the power supply to the item. If there isn't, they should be fine.

I hate to say it, but Istill think it has something to do with the Alt. The alt light is designed to come on when the charging current gets below a certain level. If the alt or even the internal regulator is failing after being under a load, the light would come on, and eventually the (if not being charged) battery would die causing the engine to stop running. If the battery dies with the alt still producing the required current, the car would continue running.

When they bench tested the alt, I bet the alt was cool and the test took about 30 seconds. What you need to do is have the alt checked when the engine dies. At that point, I bet there is little or no current coming from it.

What do you think?

Joe
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Friday, October 31st, 2008 AT 1:42 PM
Tiny
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Hey,
I wiggled the battery cables around as much as I could with the radio on and nothing happened so I'm asuming my cables are ok. And yes the alt. Was cold when they tested it and it only took a few seconds. My battery is almost completely dead now and when I try to jump it takes forever before I get a good conection. If I do finally get it running it dies within a minute or so. I just don't know. I guess I'll have my battery tested but I really don't want to replace the alt. Unless I'm absolutely 100% sure that is the problem. Thanks --Tom
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Friday, October 31st, 2008 AT 2:19 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi Tom:
This is the 3rd time I'm writing this. I feel like payiing Verizon only half their money because their service only works half the time. Regardless, It sounds like the battery cables are good, so I wouldn't spend any money on new ones.

As far as jump starting the car, because your battery is so dead, you are having trouble starting it. I bet when you take the jumper cables off is when it starts to die. Keep in mind, once the battery gets to a certain point, even a good alt won't charge it.

Tom, what I want you to try is disconnect the battery, and fully recharge it. Next, take it back to where you got it and have it load tested to see if it's stll good. I'm starting to wonder if it has shorted out internally from dieing, being recharged, and jumped too manny times.

If it's good, put it back in the car. The car should run until it dies again. Before it dies, take it back to where you had the alt bench tested and have them check the alt output on the car when the light is on. I have a feeling something is breaking down in the alt like the voltage regulator and not charging the battery. Thus, the battery dies and so does the engine. Remember, when the battery was new, the car would run longer.

To the best of my knowledge, the alt is the only thing that can turn that light on for you. Believe me when I say, I don't want you to purchase an alt until we are 100% sure yours it's bad. But something is telling me that is the problem.

Let me know what you think.

Joe
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Friday, October 31st, 2008 AT 11:40 PM
Tiny
LANDMARK31
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Hey,
I replaced the alt. Today and everything is running fine! :) The guy who tested my alt said the machine he used doesn't test the charging component so that would explain why it passed. Thanks so much for all of your help! With the luck I've been having with my car lately I'll be back soon with some other problem! Thanks again
--Tom :)
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Saturday, November 1st, 2008 AT 4:58 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
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Tom:
That is great news. I had a feeling it was the alt. I'm glad you got your car back. If you ever have any trouble in the future, let me know and we'll start again.

Take care,
Joe

Positive feedback is appreciated.
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Saturday, November 1st, 2008 AT 6:06 PM

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