Saturn Charging/Electrical Problems


Old 06-29-02, 01:47 PM
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Saturn Charging/Electrical Problems

Hi, all!

I have a 1999 Saturn SC2 with about 65,000 miles on it. From what I can gather reading this forum, it is probably an alternator problem, but I would like an expert opinion, as I had to test using some Kentucky Windage (i.e., look, listen, and guess).

The vehicle wouldn't start today. Battery was obviously low, and the starter just clicked at me when I turned the key. We had noticed that, over a (relatively) short period of time, the motor would seem to bog down a little bit if we were stopped at a light, but did ok driving.

The Service Engine Soon light was on, but went off again after a week or so (I think that indicates an emissions / oxygen sensor or catalytic converter issue that I am going to have looked at).

I got the car jumped off today, and let it idle. I did not have a volt meter handy (just moved, don't know where half of anything is) or I would have checked for 14 volts across the leads and then added to the load as suggested.

What I did do was drive it, A/C and stereo on, for about 5 or so miles. Total time running was about 30 minutes. I had no indicator lights come on during this. I also rev'ed the engine up several times, and noticed it started misfiring at about 4,000 RPM's. Bad plugs or wires?

Maybe I should have let it run longer to build up the charge. Bottom line, I am taking it to a shop tomorrow, but I was kind of hoping that you guys could give me some good ideas on the problem to make sure I don't get hit with a bunch of un-needed repairs.


Nashville Guy:
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Old 06-29-02, 02:16 PM
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A discharging alternator will give the type of troubles you describe. The computer can go haywire when it doesn't get the right voltage.

Dig out your meter and let's see what you have as far as output.
Old 06-29-02, 05:08 PM
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Couldn't find the box the meter is in, but I sure appreciate the reinforcement! I am going to ask the guys at the shop tomorrow what the voltages were reading (also, to make sure they checked), etc. I always ask questions (when I know which questions to ask).

Would the Saturn need a rebuilt Saturn branded alternator? I saw an earlier post about a Nissan needing a Nissan rebuild, and wanted to see if that would make a difference.

Again, for the people that are new here, I am a computer systems engineer, and these folks helped me fix a washing machine (I barely know how to use one, thats why I got married! ). These people know what they are talking about!

Nashville Guy
Old 06-30-02, 07:02 AM
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Considering I own a 1993 Saturn in my arsenal of close to 15 cars I possess/maintain, the answer is yes to buying a Saturn sold rebuilt.

1) AC Delco rebuilds them for Saturn. If you can find an AC Delco branded rebuilt at an AC Delco jobber store, that's the same thing. Go ahead and get that one.

2) The Saturn rebuilt for me was CHEAPER than the unknown aftermarket rebuilt. Which would you buy? .

3) Oftentimes, the Saturn/Delco rebuilt is improved over the original. I wouldn't take that chance with the aftermarket rebuilts.

4) The aftermarket rebuilts have been known to be bad out of the box. Not something you want to do's a bit tough to do this comes out from underneath and the working area's a bit tight.

4 compelling reasons to buy a good part .

As for fixing your washing machine, I know you mean you got help from Jeff1, and I agree, the guy is a whiz.

He's helped me too with my various appliances around the house, most recently, my mother's old Magic Chef/Maytag wall oven from 1968 . Thanks to my repairs under Jeff's tutalage, it works like new.

You can read all about it in the Electric Appliance forum if you want. Kinda long though. Lol.

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