Reader Question Hello, thank you in advance for your time.
I own a 1983 Caddillac Fleetwood brogham, It has the ever wimpy 4.1 v8.
Earlyer today, as i left work, right when i was about to get onto the freeway, the SERVICE NOW light came on… then my seatbelt light, but i figured only 15 minutes to my house so i can do it!
Well, it was nighttime so i had my headlights on. They started to get dimmer and dimmer and dimmer, to the point where i could barely see.
So i got to my exit offramp, then i pretty much rode the gas as far as i could… passed some stop signs and stuff (yeah i know thats bad)
So i got to this stop and i had to stop… the car died.
I replaced the alternator about 4 months ago… ’cause the alternator died on me before.. but the no charge light came on so i knew this was the problem… it didnt come on this time…
So i called my father over and he brought a fresh battery from his corvette and i put it in, the car started and i got home.
I know this really points to the alternator.. but could it be anything else maybe?
Bad wiring or maybe just the battery itself?
How could an alternator die after only 4 months =( (yes it was new)
My “gut” says you have another bad alternator, but to be on the safe side I highly recommend you get a complete electrical test done ON the car…meaning don’t take the alternator off and have it checked at your auto parts store…have the mechanic check it ON the car. This is a simple and cheap test.
You also want to make sure the mechanic tests for
1. Battery load – checks for a bad cell in the battery
2. Alternator output – can the alternator produce enough electricity to keep the battery fully charged
3. Voltage drain – is there something that is draining the electricity from the battery as you drive or as the car sits overnight?
I would also TRIPLE check the battery cables and terminals to make sure they are clean of dirt and corrosion and that they are tight! You should not be able to move them with your bare hands. Also make sure the connection to the alternator is in good shape and is tight and clean.
I would also check all your fuses, just to make sure they are in good shape.
Austin C. Davis