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Weird random electrical issue

This is a discussion on Weird random electrical issue within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; On my 98 WS6 A4 I drove it in some pretty heavy rain and water soaked roads on my way ...

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    Weird random electrical issue

    On my 98 WS6 A4 I drove it in some pretty heavy rain and water soaked roads on my way into work. One of those passing 20min downpours kind of things. Anyways the car drove fine into work and for the first 5 miles as I was leaving work. When I went to get on the highway(65mph) I decided to kick the car and go WOT onto the interstate. The car shifted and then bam I was greeted with a blinking air bag light, check gauges light, and my battery gauge was maxed.

    It remained like this for 5-7 mins and then returned to normal for a bit and then went back. Sometimes the airbag light did not flash when the check gauges light was on and battery meter was maxed. Anytime I slowed down at a stop sign the battery would return to a normal level and jump back up along with flashing airbag light and check gauges light when I began to accelerate.

    When I got home I turned the car off, let it sit for a bit and then fired it back up and everything was normal. I plan on getting it tested tomorrow but just curious what everyone may think. Is it the alternator?

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    Sounds like either the battery or alternator. Only other possibility would be a corroded wiring connection or some kind of short in the system. Our cars really do not like voltage fluctuations and can do some really weird things when the electrical system swings like that. Get it checked ASAP.

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    Just go over the elctrical connections then load test the battery and check the charging system. Let us know what you find.
    My ride is a 2002 Camaro SS SLP #3296 with 30k, LTH, 3" Y, CME, Frost tune, K&N, ported TB, Blackwing lid, Bellows, MSD, Denso Iridium, and 85mm MAF, Bilsteins, Eibach springs, SLP strut brace, Adj. Panhard, TA Girdle, UMI, Pro 5.0, Nitto NT555
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    Ok so here is what I found. The battery was shot so I went had oriley's check it and they confirmed that it was shot. So I buy a new battery and put it in and it works and I leave the car running while I go pay. Well when I push the gas the same thing would happen the battery gauge would max and the check gauges light came on so the guy comes back out and checks the alternator and he says it passed and I explain to him it happens when I hit the gas well he has me rev it to 1500 and yup he says alternator is bad and overcharging the battery. He doesn't have one in stock but sends me to another store so I drive there and the whole time the car runs like it's supposed to arrive at said location and the guy load tests everything and everything is fine. So I drive home and still everything is fine. I have checked as many grounds as I could think of/see (is there a list somewhere of all the grounds this car has) and everything looks fine so yah not quite sure what to make of it.

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    Removing the old battery and installing the new one would cause your car to act strange on initial startup. It has to re-learn things and this can take a little time. Still shouldn't have tripped any lights though -- so better keep an eye on it.

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    Took it around the block today and the symptoms are still there. I think the alternator is overcharging the system

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    One thing to look at is the "relay" wire for the alt. It is the small wire that has a plug. I have had to rewire the plug both times I changed my alt. It is small, and very easily damaged. Pull your alt, and the wire that you break is the one I'm talking about.

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    Would it just break from driving? Also how do I remove the alt without breaking that wire, wiring scares me as I am a lay person when it comes to it

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    It is possible, no probable that it broke that way. You may just want to pull the alt and take it in. The last one I had go bad, I took in, and it wobbled so bad, you couldn't hold a conversation near it while they were testing it. Luckily they failed it on that fact alone. ( Luckily I had bought a lifetime the first time around.) As far as the plug, it is designed to be opened, then have a new wire installed, just a touvh of solder, reinstall wire in plug, and then plug it back in. You need a VERY small flat bladed screwdriver to remove the "subplug" that holds the wire in the plug.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh yeah, go PACK.

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    Quote Originally Posted by az gt eater View Post
    It is possible, no probable that it broke that way. You may just want to pull the alt and take it in. The last one I had go bad, I took in, and it wobbled so bad, you couldn't hold a conversation near it while they were testing it. Luckily they failed it on that fact alone. ( Luckily I had bought a lifetime the first time around.) As far as the plug, it is designed to be opened, then have a new wire installed, just a touvh of solder, reinstall wire in plug, and then plug it back in. You need a VERY small flat bladed screwdriver to remove the "subplug" that holds the wire in the plug.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh yeah, go PACK.
    Where is this plug located on the alternator? I have done some research and it does sound like a broken plug could be causing my issue.

    Also just some food for thought, I can remove and replace the alternator in my 79TA in less then 5 mins.

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    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 79TransAm View Post
    Where is this plug located on the alternator? I have done some research and it does sound like a broken plug could be causing my issue.

    Also just some food for thought, I can remove and replace the alternator in my 79TA in less then 5 mins.
    Sorry bud, its on the alt is the best I can do. And, you will need to put it in the air to get it out. 5 mins wont cut it. 5 mins would be cutting it for me to get it in the air and lay eyes on the alt for me. And Ive done it a bunch. Dont go for a record, take your time. Maybe you wont break the wire(if it isnt already)like I do everytime.

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    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    And, where is my hallelujah on the PACK? You do bleed green and gold, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by az gt eater View Post
    Sorry bud, its on the alt is the best I can do. And, you will need to put it in the air to get it out. 5 mins wont cut it. 5 mins would be cutting it for me to get it in the air and lay eyes on the alt for me. And Ive done it a bunch. Dont go for a record, take your time. Maybe you wont break the wire(if it isnt already)like I do everytime.
    Yeah on my 79 the alternator is in the upper drivers side part of the motor.

    So I have to put the car on jacks to remove the alt? I thought the sticky I read from here mentioned bringing it out from the top.

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    I dont know if, or how you would remove from the top. The sway bar is an obstacle for sure from the bottom. I have big arms, and if it isnt on the top of the engine, it is coming out the bottom. One of my buds said he pulled his fogs from the top, so IDK. For me, hell, no.

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    Quote Originally Posted by az gt eater View Post
    I dont know if, or how you would remove from the top. The sway bar is an obstacle for sure from the bottom. I have big arms, and if it isnt on the top of the engine, it is coming out the bottom. One of my buds said he pulled his fogs from the top, so IDK. For me, hell, no.
    ha the more I read about this the more i'm just inclined to have a shop remove it

  16. #16
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    If you have any mechanical ability at all, do it yourself. I am just a roofer for gawds sake, and I have done everything on my car myself, except alignment. When something happens on the road, you will know EXACTLY what the problem is. And, if it is something you need to worry about, or if you can blow the doors off that G35 trying to show off before you head home for the night.That is what us folks on LS1.com are for, to help us all learn.

  17. #17
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    Punch in "alternator" on the search engine and look through all the threads that pop up. That is how I learned all that I know. You can look at all the problems that other people have had in the past, and hopefully, how they solved them. Be sure to post up what fixed your problem, as it will help someone else. I would honestly say that your problem with a 87% probability is your alt. It's dead, and when you get a new one, get one with a lifetime warr.You will learn from your search that the alt in these cars can barely keep up with the current needed to just run critical systems, and will wear out pretty quickly. If you want to run any extra elect, ie, amp, lights, you will need capacitors, or burn out another alt.
    Last edited by az gt eater; 08-11-2012 at 12:57 AM.

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    The alternator is not the easiest thing to get to. I had to unbolt mine to extract the motor mount bolt. Here's a pic:



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    One thing I forgot to mention is that I was getting more belt squeek then usual the last day or so, could that be related

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    Could be the pulley on the alt.

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