95 Subaru died - electical?

Reply

  #1  
Old 04-15-08, 05:56 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 7
95 Subaru died - electical?

My 95 Legacy died. History, last fall in our first snow storm my electrical seemed like it was having problems - tach stopped working, speed went to zero but I could still drive. Then it died. I waited about 5 minutes and it started again and I made it to work. The battery was old so I pulled it and put a new one in - worked OK for a week or so then it died again. This time I pulled the alternator and had it checked out - was bad. Replaced that.

Last week it did it again. The battery shows 12.5 V and running just under 14. So, it appears both alternator are fine. Cleaned up the connections and it seems to be working. On the way home today, same thing. Tow truck stopped and he thought it was some electrical controller (pointed it out to me, center of engine mounted on firewall).

What do you think? I'm about ready to pull battery and alternator to take to be checked out but it's late.

Brad
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 04-15-08, 06:51 PM
Speedwrench's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 1,698
Does it have any spark?, does it crank over?Does it only die when warm?Does it have any fuel?
 
  #3  
Old 04-16-08, 06:17 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 7
Yes to the gas.

I didn't try turning it over yesterday. I was on the highway and I knew my son was about to get off work so I called him and waited.

I do know with about 2 minutes of jump/charge it runs OK for awhile (few days). I've got my multi meter in the car to check battery levels the next time this happens.

When it died earlier this month we did try to turn it over and it wouldn't. But after it sat for a few minutes it started right up and we drove home.

Before it dies all the gages go dead they they work then dead again. Back and forth until the engine quits.

Thanks,
Brad
 
  #4  
Old 04-16-08, 06:25 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 7
for got about the temp. The engine has always been up to temp when it's died (usually I've been driving for 15 to 20 mintues). If your talking outside temp - first time snow storm, yesterday almost 70 degrees out.

Originally Posted by Speedwrench View Post
Does it have any spark?, does it crank over?Does it only die when warm?Does it have any fuel?
 
  #5  
Old 04-16-08, 09:07 PM
Speedwrench's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 1,698
almost sounds like a battery with a short internal that only shorts when it gets hot. But that should not kill the car as the battery only acts a buffer for the alt when the car is running. You might be looking at two different problems or possible that when the short happens it drains the system enough to kill the eng by taking power from the cpu or fuel pump. Just some thoughts based on descriptions of problem. it has been long enought since I worked on cars regularly that I am pretty rusty.
remember Murphy was an optimist,
 
  #6  
Old 04-16-08, 09:44 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 7
Thank you Speedwrench.

Can this be tested for at places like Checker?
 
  #7  
Old 04-17-08, 05:31 AM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,538
the car will not even crank over when it dies?
if so it could possibly be a battery would probably check the battery cables for bare spots that could be shorting out also check at the starter to make sure the cable is tight and check your ground cable to make sure it is tight and any power distribution connections should be checked to make sure there not loose, power distribution connections could be at the starter or alternater connection or at a seperate block usually close to the battery or underhood fuse box cant give you definate location as im not sure where they would be on your legacy but if they are loose they can casue the intermitant problems you describe.
 
  #8  
Old 04-17-08, 08:45 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 7
Thanks again, Haddn't thought of that (and I build electronic stuff). I'll check it out Saturday as it's suppose to be nice. I'll let you know what I find.
 
  #9  
Old 04-18-08, 10:08 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 7
It died again this evening. Got the voltage meter out and the battery was just under 12V. Got a jump (about a 5 minute charge) and drove it home. The battery is about 12.5V.

Just before it died the radio went dead, the tach and speedometer went to nuts then went to zero. It ran for awhile then died like it was out of gas (Just filled it up). It wouldn't turn over just clicked. We were in a double turn lane and the car next to us gave us a quick jump, it started but died before the light changed. We pushed it around the corner and onto a side street where we got the longer jump. Last time we did this it lasted 3 to 4 days before dieing.
 
  #10  
Old 04-19-08, 02:27 AM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,538
really starting to believe you have a battery or alternater problem charge battery to make sure its fully charged, would double check your charging system by using your voltmeter measure battery voltage then start vehicle and measure it again with all accessories off you should be at around 13.5-14.7 volts range now, turn on your lights, a/c with blower on high, radio whatever else you can think of and measure voltage again its not uncommon for voltage to drop to around 12 volts at idle as your pulling more amps than the alternater can keep up with at idle speed but voltage should jump right back up to 13-14 volts if you raise the rpm of the engine up to 1500-2000 rpm if it doesnt would supect a bad alternater.
 
  #11  
Old 04-19-08, 06:58 AM
carguyinva's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Shenandoah Valley
Posts: 1,147
sounds like a charging system problem...to properly diagnose ANY electrical system issue, the battery must be fully charged, so slow charge atv a low rate over night to begin with. then you can do the following...


ok...here goes
a fully charged battery is 12.66 volts
take a reading at the batt terminals with the key off, write it down

start the engine a take another reading at the battery, engine running 1500 rpm or so (at least off idle) write this one down

now load up the electrical system (headlamps on high beam, rear glass defroster, wipers, for example) take another reading engine above idle at the battery and write this one down.

next test is with the engine running (idle is ok here) and an electrical load (headlamps on high, etc) and measure from the alternator case to battery ground and write it down

do the same test again but your meter test points are the output terminal on the back of the alt to the battery positive and write this one down.

ok...here is how you evaluate.

first reading around 12 and a half volts is good (12.66V is not absolute but from an electrochemical perspective it means 100% charged)

second reading ideally shouldn't be MORE than 2 volts above the first reading, close to is fine

third reading must be at LEAST one half volt higher than the first reading...elctricity flows from most positive to least positive for all intents and purposes.

the last two measurements should be very low, they are dynamic readings of resistance on the positive and negative sides of the charging circuit (.2-.3 volts is ok...lower is even better) a reading of higher voltage here (on the positive one) would show the bad wire that was referenced in the post from the guy with the old honda. we call these last two reading the positive and negative side voltage drops.

after you have done this a couple times, the actual test only takes a few minutes and a few more to sort out the readings...this will catch most all charging system problems. as was mentioned in your original post, most all voltage regulators are located inside the alternator so if there is a charging system test failure, it means replacing the unit or at least removing it and taking it to a local rebuilder. i agree with your assessment that she was being taken advantage of...but i couldn't tell exactly how.

just for the heck of it, the most accurate and dependable way that batteries can be tested today is by conductance...a conductance tester looks like a multimeter...it's hand held and just hooks to the battery with two small clip leads. the cold cranking amps are set on the tester and then the tester sends a small current through the battery and actually measures the internal resistance of the battery. this relates to how easily the battery can turn chemical energy into electrical energy. it's very accurate, in fact new car dealers MUST use this method to get reimbursed for any warrenty claims on batteries. i hope this isn't too rambly and you can use the info...good luck with the car.
 
  #12  
Old 04-19-08, 10:06 AM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Originally Posted by bradmugs View Post
It died again this evening. Got the voltage meter out and the battery was just under 12V. Just before it died the radio went dead, ....
If all connections are good, should a radio go dead at just under 12 volts? Seems like the radio would be one of the last things to go. He said the radio shut off before the car died. Unless his radio draws mega watts or something.
 
  #13  
Old 04-19-08, 01:06 PM
carguyinva's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Shenandoah Valley
Posts: 1,147
battery voltage will rise with no load...so the system voltage must have been lower while driving. shut down voltage can be whatever the manufacturer wants it to be as well.
 
  #14  
Old 04-19-08, 04:10 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 7
I want to thank everyone for helping me - this has been a great experience.

I pulled both the alternator and battery this morning and took them in to be tested. The alternator checked OK and the battery, after about 1/2 hour test it came back bad. I'd only owned it since December so it was an even exchange. Now comes the hard part. Waiting the next 6+ months to see if it happens again....

Don't know if I had a bad battery or something killed the battery while it was dieing also.

Brad
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'