Here's how it happened. We were driving, totally fine, about 35mph, and all of a sudden all the lights when dim in the van. We pull over and I figure something went wrong with the alternator. After just making sure belts were still on I shut it off. As I suspected, batteries dead. We were in a hurry to make it to a show so we tried to go to the closest autoparts store after a jump (autozone) and on the way when we stopped at a red light the van stalled out, got another jump it just would start stalling out if I pressed the gas but when I let go it idled fine (lights till dimmed) but it did stall after a minute or two. Anyway, we left it there and I walked to autozone, bought the alternator. They said it was the right one, though the casing was smaller, but I installed it and it bolted up and fit just fine. I'm not a mechanic so I don't know how this would affect it, I do know they have differenet amperages but this was the only one they carried with v-style belts, it was a 90amp alternator. Also while I was there I had them charge the battery, after it was done charging they tested it and said it should be fine. He seemed surprised though because he said when alternators go out they usually mess up the battery.
After installing the alternator, putting the battery back in the van, it started up just like normal. I drove it around the block, seemed fine except the battery voltage gauge was down still. I let it run for a minute, shut it off, did an oil change. It sat for 20 minutes or so, then I started it right up to go attach our trailer which was down the street a little so it was running for about 20 minutes. Shut it off, and 30 min later we went to leave and it wouldnt turn over due to battery being dead again. Got a jump (at this time it was night) and started driving and noticed the lights were dim and getting dimmer. We parked it and shut it off, dead battery again.
I called some people I know and one of them said it's probably the battery but then I mentioned about how when it was running fine I pulled the positive terminal on the battery and it stalled. Another friend said check the alternator fuse, which I would love to check but I have no clue where it is on the van and dont know what it looks like. I tried to look up a replacement alternator fuse for a picture but cant find one on advanceautoparts. Com or autozone. Com so I'm assuming its somewhat of a generic fuse. They both said I could have just hit the lottery and got a bad new alternator but I want to cover all bases before I go back through all that because it was not easy to get to at all with the basic tools I brought along.
One last thing, I did make sure the belts were tight, I actually thought I tightened them too much so I backed it off a little bit, I don't know how much play there should be but I made it just as tight as the other belts that were down there.
I would greatly appreciate any kind of input or help on this or where that fuse is if it has one. We have to make it to Baltimore for a show tonight and we dont want to have to cancel anymore shows due to this. I'm weary of taking it to a mechnic who I don't know so I'd rather try this first.
ps. If you'd like to get a hold of me via email its ryanWWeber@gmail. Com
If anyone can
have the same problem?
Thursday, December 17th, 2009 AT 9:29 AM