Car alternator problems - Ford Bronco Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Car alternator problems

Like I mentioned in another thread of mine, I've been suffering from some Murphy's Law. I'm currently trying to resolve some issues with my wife's car (2006 Honda Pilot) as it recently had the alternator die.

I'm not sure what's going on with it right now, but I'll share what has happened and what I've done as briefly as I can without being too vague.

Car battery light comes on. I have the battery and alternator tested while still in the car at Oreilly's and they said the alternator is bad. I drive the car home, alternator starts whining and produced some wisps of smoke when I popped the hood to check things out.

I removed the alternator and had it tested by an actual starter/atlernator shop and it tested bad. I opted for a reman unit from Napa as a rebuild would take too long for my needs.

Replacement alternator installed and the battery light doesn't turn off. Eventually light goes off on its own but goes on and off constantly now.

I remove the replacement alternator and have it tested by the same shop and it tests as good. I put it back in with the same issues still there.

I've checked fuses, wiring, plugs, everything looks good. I replaced the serpentine belt thinking maybe I was getting a slight slip, but nothing changed after a new one was put on.

I used my meter on the battery and it shows a good voltage (12.3v+). When I first put in the alternator I was getting up to 14.4v when the light would kick off and when the light would kick on I was getting just a regular battery voltage (12.3-12.7v).

Now it rarely goes above the just the idle battery voltage of 12.3v, but the car still runs and drives. It's not driving perfectly as the rpm will fluctuate a few hundred rpm whenever something kicks on like the cooling fans, which it did not do prior to this issue. Other electrically dependent things have had their performance affected as well such as the heater blower which will change rpm depending on the electrical system voltage.

Right now I have no idea what else to look at. I'm assuming most people would say get another alternator, but Napa won't give me one if it's testing as good. As far as this car goes, and newer cars for that matter, I'm not sure where else to look for charging system stuff. My assumption is that something is damaged, working at times and failing most of the time. I'm just not sure what that something is. Anyone have any ideas on where to look for a possible culprit? I'm looking at Honda forums right now, but figured I'd cast my net as wide as possible for possible fixes.


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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 01:46 AM
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OK, to start off, your alternator is directly controlled by the engine PCM, there is no regulator in the alternator. BUT, there are a couple things you can deal with, and hopefully it will yield a solution that will prevent having to take it to a shop, let alone the dealer.
I was able to snap a couple photos (as the Motor program through my library prevents a direct download of the wiring diagrams) of the wiring diagram. So, it lists the specific fuses that are in the Alternator and PCM circuits. You need to actually pull each of these fuses and verify they are not blown, nor that the terminals are darkened with corrosion. Once that is done, verify that the fuses themselves are viable by doing an ohms test on each one. The reading should be less than 1/2 ohm. when you finish with those, go to the pigtail and verify the four terminals are not damaged, are snug and ensure solid contact. I use a pick or jeweler's screwdriver to make the female terminals a bit tighter clearance, which guarantees a solid connection. Then verify the charge cable connection is snug, the charge post is solid and doesn't wiggle or turn, and that the ground wire's solidly attached to the proper grounding point.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Hey, thanks for the response @Handy_andy_cv64 . I'll definitely save those diagrams for future reference. I've got it working for now, so fingers crossed on that. I did check most of those fuses when I was first having issues though, so that's good to know I was looking at the right ones.

I grabbed the tools I'd need to remove the alternator, drove down to Napa, and had them test it in and out of the car right there on the spot. The guy's handheld tester wouldn't even detect that I had an alternator when he tested it in the car. I showed him what the voltage was reading as I brought my multimeter with me. I pulled the alternator, which took about 5 mins as I'm now a master at removing this alternator having done it 3-4 times now, and had him test it on their machine in the store. He attempted to test it a few times and was able to get it to test good once, but then it proceeded to give him a bad ground error every time after that. It was actually making a slight noise when I'd spin the pulley by hand once I removed it from the car.

I was able to get another one after all of that and put it in. My battery light went off, the car runs fine now. However, for the hell of it I had him test that alternator in the car after I put it in and it didn't recognize that one either. I'm assuming their stuff is broken as my multimeter was showing what was really going on. I took the car for a drive and tested the voltage after I got home. Reads 14v while running. All is good.. for now. I'm getting pretty sick of replacement parts though. Everything "new" out of the box has been about a 50/50 for me on being DOA or the wrong part in the box.


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78 Bronco Custom T/S - 351M/NP205/NP435 4wd ~ For Fun
75 F150 Custom LWB - 460/C6 2wd ~ Deceased
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 08:52 PM
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It's sad, CSK, before they were bought out by O'Really's, had a hot track record...until they sent their stuff outside of the US for rebuilding. That's when the bottom fell out. Then O'Really's did something that really p!$$ed me off--they gave up on honoring the lifetime warranty we all bought way back when. So, even though it works quite well right now, if the alternator on Babe takes a big dump, I won't have a warrantied unit. So, fingers crossed for right now.

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