It has to be my alternator, right?
Hi, my mechanic installed a rebuilt alternator on my car back in December (after my original one died), and starting a month or two later, a series of annoying problems has been phasing in (and out) to this day. First, my power locks developed a mind of their own, unlocking with the car parked and triggering my horn. I noticed they also unlocked while driving; the problem eventually, um, evoloved into self-locking as well. The power lock switch stopped working for a time, then restored on its own. A second problem is my windshield wipers sometimes getting stuck at the top of the stroke in intermittent mode. And finally, starting yesterday (now that six months have passed) my passenger side window has been rendered inept. Since all of these are electrically related, and I had my alternator changed fairly recently (and I have reasons to question my mechanic's integrity), this would be the most likely culprit, right?
My car is a 95 Nissan 200SX (Sentra) SE-R.
My car is a 95 Nissan 200SX (Sentra) SE-R.
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Usually, when an alternator is failing, you'll notice that your headlights aren't as bright as they used to be, and neither are your interior lights. Power stuff like windows and seats will take longer to adjust, as the alternator just isn't putting out enough juice to power all that stuff. The car starts relying on the battery more, and ultimately kills it.
Whenever I've had a power window motor go out, it was usually just the motor itself failing, and not something else causing it. One time though, the little plastic gear inside broke, so the motor would still operate, just wouldn't turn anything.
I agree with Andre, this isn't alternator related UNLESS...(long shot) it's the wrong alternator entirely and, as Andre says, the wiring harness has been damaged. It seems very unlikely.
Old car blues I think, typical for an 8 year old car.
and I've been seeing enough coincidences from aging lately to know one :-D
on the other hand, there are some politicians I'd like to blame everything on, so if you want, we can blame this on ( ) as well
I suspect you have also been given estimates on such classic "services" as rotating the tail light bulbs, shimming the bill, and greasing the palm. because I fail to see why replacing a fuel tank should even be in the mixture unless it's leaking puddles. sounds like you have a parts slinger out there who has not diagnosed the problem, or who isn't aware of carburetors and vacuum controls.
there are three things you have got to have to get driving... air, fuel, and spark. any one of the three goes intermittent under load, you have problems of the "can't get out of its own way" type. curiously enough, all three items have, in carbureted cars from that era, vacuum motor control of some aspect of their operation. the diaphragms in vacuum "dashpots" develop cracks and pinholes, and misbehave over time. you are way, way overdue for failed dashpots.
I fixed a lot of my issues in older cars by replacing all vacuum hoses, ONE AT A TIME with a run test before going on to the next, then testing all vacuum motors to be sure they held one. if you don't have/don't want to buy a handheld vacuum pump (maybe 30-35 bucks, I got mine two weeks ago finally in a brake service kit for $50), take the hose off the back of each dashpot... push in the actuator... put a wet thumb over the hose connection on the dashpot and let go of the actuator. if it doesn't stay put at least 20 seconds, replace the dashpot. distributor vacuum advance motors don't test well this way, draw a "engine off" mark on the control rod next to the advance motor, and see if that pulls in when you start the engine. if it doesn't, replace that dashpot too.
also use a screw to plug the vacuum hose to the heater controls inside the car body before moving on... a dead dashpot or a hose kicked off one of them will also cause an engine vacuum problem that can make a car real droopy.
also clean and adjust the carb.
then if you are having further issues, get the car on a service scope and have any weak spark issues (coil, points, capacitor, cap, wires) addressed.
If you do, it is probably acting up. that would explain the horn, locks, etc. a new one should be about $100 or so. the wipers? change the motor. =o)
hope this helps some.
the things that have been done right so far include the fuel filter replacement... and the plugs replacement was a start. on a carburetor car, a tune-up also needs to include the ignition points, either dressed and gapped or replaced. by virtue of the car's age, if you don't know when the cap, condenser, and plug wires were changed last, do them now as well.
the air filter should be changed with plugs at a minimum, and if you don't have a shiny-clean carburetor throat, that needs to be cleaned with solvent. check to be sure the carb cover screws are tight (light torque, this is into aluminum) and the carb is screwed tight on its base. since carb cleaner attacks vacuum hoses (maybe why I had to replace mine often?), that should be done early in the process to not mung the new hoses.
older engines need a lot more fiddled with in tune-ups that the computerized engines avoid.
Easy way to check would be to remove the fuse from the keyless entry for a day or two and see if it still acts up. It is troublesome, but your power locks are still functional, and that should give you a go/no go on the keyless entry being the culprit. I have had alarms do this from a bad relay in the unit that was not holding correctly(from what I could figure)...
Of course, it could very well be the alternator, try changing it again and see if the problems continue. if they do, then it is your alternator, if not(and you didn't have a warranty), you spent money you didn't need to.
you need to have a battery/alternator test done with a testset by a mechanic to see whether you have alternator problems, or something else. while he's fiddling with the machine with the hood open, he should notice if there are problems with the drive belt that need to be corrected before he can diagnose the rest of the system.
I have only had the car for about a year and already had to put a huge amount of money into it. I have tried to contact Nissan headquarters since it does not seem right that a newer car had so many problems.
My car broke down twice, so I took it in to the dealership thinking there were recalls. The crank and cam sensors were under warrantee, but that did not fix the problem. Basically, I had to replace 4 oxygen sensors, and the air filtration system. The other problem is that the entire bottom of my car was rusted making the repair alot more difficult. Even though they managed to fix the car without destroying the exhaust system, I still feel that that problem will only just worsen, causing another huge investment in a few months/years.
Do you think these problems are normal to a fairly new car? Even my mechanic said this was ridiculous for a new car. I looked on carfax.com and found no major problems (ie. lemon, flood). I just don't think this is fair and has really reduced my image of the car. Has anyone experience similar problems? Or should I keep fighting to find the root of the problem?
Under duress, decided to get my car towed to Chevy dealership rather than a independent shop. Mistake. $506 for a new alternator! $349 for the part and rest on labor. Unbelievable! Is this going rate? Think I got ripped off based on other people I have talked to. Are alternator's this expensive? The salesman touted the lifetime warranty I was getting repeatedly.
that is not going to be a $39.95 rebuilt, particularly when you consider I have about as big an alternator as ford offers in my trailering package.
have not priced one, my meds do > NOT < include 2-ounce valium pills. for now, I'm enjoying the unlimited power...
remember, it's only a lifetime warranty if you also die when you realize the replacement part died......
How old is that battery. Over 4 years, it's time anyway.