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#995191 - 17th Dec 2015 12:21pm Mobile Mechanic/Problem Diagnosis, Help Required
rhoobarb2002 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 13th Aug 2011
Posts: 677
Loc: Wirral
A double request on this one, wondering if anyone can help?

First the problem, and what I believe it to be. I'll try to keep it simple but as detailed as I can.

54 plate, Vauxhall Astra H Elite, 1.7 Diesel.

Driving along, stereo starts cutting out, the factory stereo is awful and is temperamental to say the least, so not surprised. Driving later on, the heater blower starts cutting in/out. Got my attention now, potentially an electrical problem, will see how it plays out. 3rd driving outing, ABS warning light comes on, then goes out. Then the Engine warning light comes on, then goes out. Then both lights come on and stay on, along with a couple of others. Dashboard display starts to dim and the wipers go sluggish, finally ending in the power steering going. Engine still running at this point.

Limped home (was only very local at the time), switched the engine off. Tried to switch it on, nothing, dead.

So, my conclusion; either the battery, alternator or associated (belt, cable, etc) has gone down. Which after research, the alternator is a common problem with these.

This morning tried to start the car, it was not happy about it, but it did start. Checked the voltage at the battery terminals, 7 volts and rapidly dropping, indicating to me that it is a problem with the alternator and the engine is running entirely off battery power, or the voltage would be around the 14 volts mark, so the battery is not at fault. Checked all the fuses, nothing wrong there.

Thus leaving the alternator, alternator belt, or related wiring being the fault.

So, question 1 being, does anyone agree/not agree with my rudimentary diagnosis?

Question 2, does anyone know of a good, affordable mobile mechanic that would be able to fix the problem at a good price?(worst time of year financially *sad face*)

And question 3, what kind of prices are we looking at for this work?

Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Edited by rhoobarb2002 (17th Dec 2015 12:22pm)

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#995193 - 17th Dec 2015 1:24pm Re: Mobile Mechanic/Problem Diagnosis, Help Required [Re: rhoobarb2002]
Gibbo Offline
Forum Addict

Registered: 27th Dec 2010
Posts: 1740
Loc: Oxton
How old is the battery? If its old and failing it may not be holding the charge. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think on modern cars the car draws power from the battery when running, and the alternator keeps it topped up. Not like the old days when you could start a car then remove the battery!

Ste or Turnip would be my first choice if you want a second professional opinion.

They might even have a good spare battery to test on your car first. That way they can get it started and check if the alternator is ok.

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#995195 - 17th Dec 2015 1:40pm Re: Mobile Mechanic/Problem Diagnosis, Help Required [Re: rhoobarb2002]
turnip Offline
Forum Guide

Registered: 15th Dec 2011
Posts: 1008
Loc: wirral
I'm pretty sure we have a charged up battery in the garage if you wanted to pop that on and see if it fixes the issue. The alternators on them are quite common to go and they have a vacuum pump bolted on the back of them which of course adds to the cost.

Not the most difficult of jobs but probably still looking at a couple of hours as access is fairly limited and some things can be a little tight. Give me a shout if you want me to pop this battery on and see what it does.

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#995206 - 17th Dec 2015 3:58pm Re: Mobile Mechanic/Problem Diagnosis, Help Required [Re: rhoobarb2002]
dustymclean Offline

Old Hand

Registered: 18th Sep 2013
Posts: 314
Loc: birkenhead
So many faults seem to point to an electrical problem, how many amps the battery is putting out is more critical than volts.Could be as simple as a bad earth.A technical diagnostic is the best route if you find nothing obvious.

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#995207 - 17th Dec 2015 3:59pm Re: Mobile Mechanic/Problem Diagnosis, Help Required [Re: rhoobarb2002]
MikeT Online   content
Smartchild

Registered: 23rd Apr 2010
Posts: 543
Loc: Canary Islands :)
First thing I would check are ALL the earth straps. Make sure you find them all. Remove, clean up the end of the strap and the bit of engine/chassis it connects to back to bright metal, then try again.

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#995209 - 17th Dec 2015 4:08pm Re: Mobile Mechanic/Problem Diagnosis, Help Required [Re: rhoobarb2002]
diggingdeeper Offline

Wiki Guardian

Registered: 9th Jul 2008
Posts: 9786
Loc: Birkenhead
If your mileage is above 90,000 then its probably alternator brushes (regulator) worn out. Unfortunately when it gets to that state the arcing has often damaged the armature slip rings as well so it might not just be a case of replacing the regulator.

Auto electrican's at top of green lane (Tranmere) will refurbish the alternator if you take it off.

In the meantime, do not leave the battery in a discharged state, it will destroy it if you do, get it charged.
_________________________
In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates

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#995215 - 17th Dec 2015 5:02pm Re: Mobile Mechanic/Problem Diagnosis, Help Required [Re: rhoobarb2002]
fish5133 Online   content
Forum Master

Registered: 22nd Mar 2010
Posts: 2823
Loc: Heswallish
Last time I had a load of dodgy electrical happenings (although didn't affect starting) was several split wires shorting out, Common problem on some vehicles either where wiring harness is in rubber gaiter by door hinge or passes into tailgate.

A failing coil pack also gave some dodgy electrics and driving before finally causing total electrical failure and starting

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#996675 - 31st Dec 2015 6:51pm Re: Mobile Mechanic/Problem Diagnosis, Help Required [Re: rhoobarb2002]
rhoobarb2002 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 13th Aug 2011
Posts: 677
Loc: Wirral
Thanks to all for the responses, and to DD for recommending the auto electrician by Green Lane station. All sorted now, it was the alternator. Refurbed with 12 months warranty for £75. Not bad at all.

Removal was a pain, as it was in an awkward place, the bolts had rounded, and the vacuum pump is attached to the alternator. Fitting was a lot quicker, and with a new bolt (£9 from Vauxhalls!) the car is back up and running. The battery has been charged and seems to be working fine, time will tell if is dying or not.

Thanks to all.

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