77000 miles. I purchased this vehicle from a family member about three years ago at 60,000 miles and other than the serpentine belt being replaced, nothing had ever malfunctioned. About a two years ago I started having alternator problems. The light comes on for about twenty seconds and then goes off - usually on my way to work every morning - and then two or three days later it completely dies. So far I've replaced three of them, and this afternoon I've noticed that the light is going on again - after having the new one only for two months. I had a Pioneer stereo installed in the car about the time this began happening, and took the vehcile in to Circuit City today to have them look at it again. They couldn't find any problems, and showed me that everything was plugged in without any shorts, etc. This is beginning to be expensive, and I can't figure out why hthis continues to happen. Has anyone else ever had this problem?
It could be that the stereo is draining the battery down, and the alternator is having to fight to keep the battery charged, try getting a battery with more CCA.
March, 11, 2007 AT 10:00 PM
Rubicant1_2 has a valid point. Is it a large system (subwoffers and high watts) or just a replacement radio type deal.
A bad/weak battery will work an alternator to death in a quick hurry. Have them both tested.
Also check that nothing is draining the battery. In the old days you could simply disconnect the battery cable with the key off and look for sparks. Not a good idea with all the onboard computers. An inductive amp meter should do the trick.
The other thing that comes to mind is that saturn alternators take a bit of a beating. They are located behind the engine with a lot of heat and no air flow. A good quality alternator is a must. I have replaced a few rebuilds bought from some local discount auto parts stores that simply did not last.