I think its the alternator
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HT4100 4.1, 4.5, 4.9 Discussion, I think its the alternator in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; I'm already planning to order an alternator as it seems most logical given symptoms. Would do the positive cable disconnect ...
  1. #1
    MrDobin is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    I think its the alternator

    I'm already planning to order an alternator as it seems most logical given symptoms. Would do the positive cable disconnect to see if engine dies and verify but seems risky. as well no place is close to test the alt.

    Symptoms are; sudden dim then brighten of lights when engaging window defrosts, high level fan, or at times brakes when night driving. These were mild if anything weeks ago. A month ago the alternator had a whine then it tapered in warm whether however now there's a rhythmic rub/grind when the alt is running. I had considered it may be the battery being bad but its 2 years old and highway driving doesn't change conditions or a rev. My thought is betwEen lights dimming and the whine, the bearings are going and thus the alt is not producing as should. This seemed validated when the "no charge" light stuck on last night. just seeing if I'm missing something and its anything but the alt I've pin pointed.

    Thanks

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    MrDobin is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: I think its the alternator

    Read before you speak is my lesson of the morning. no charge warning with engine on means faulty alt. Way to go me.

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    steelybill is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: I think its the alternator

    Once the engine is running, and the alternator is charging, the battery is just going along for the ride. The alternator carries all the load. These cars have so much electrical "stuff" in them that a battery without the alternator wouldn't last long, especially at night.
    Sometimes the alternator will have a bad diode, and still charge, but not enough to keep the battery topped up.

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    MrDobin is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: I think its the alternator

    Yea that is EXACTLY the notion i had. It is obviously working. But not enough to keep my battery in starting power. I had it tested and both checked out sufficient but I know based on the duration I can leave lights on and the relative amount of juice the sitting lights takes, that its not quite charging. This was verified when I again drove out just now and hit the high beams and instead of momentary dimming, the highs lowered when i hit the defrost. Yet again telling me its just not got the power left in it to support that all. Learn something new everyday with these cars.

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    HUF
    HUF is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: I think its the alternator

    Alternators fail gradually. Take the car to Advance Autoparts. They can test the charging system right on the car and will give you printed report.

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    MrDobin is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: I think its the alternator

    Sounds good. In all honesty I have had the dimming light affect(momentary then regathered power) for some time, as well the whining kicked in about January. Was amidst figuring out if my tranny was shot or just in need of fluid so didn't replace it. This latest no start and light warning just confirmed it really, but I have been wrong so decided to get input.

    Chronological its been
    1 - Whining noise which stopped for some time then the car died and it subsided after jump
    2 - Lights gradually have more impact with how much they dim for a moment when blower or windows are powered or held
    3 - Growing rub/grind sound in alternator with now a constant whining which is annoying
    4 - ... Ordering the alt this week finally so won't need any more lovely encounters with folks in the parking lot, been fortunate it has only died once away from my house.

    Curious though, any theories why the heck the damn batteries are so large if in fact they only give initial jump then alt takes over? is the battery in itself made up of more protective and structural parts than energy storing ?. Always puzzled me why its bulky I guess.

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    MrDobin is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: I think its the alternator

    Oh other question, would an alternator failure cause a code e12?. Figure based on the manual info I read its due to the alt and then battery needing jumping, not sure. THanks again all.

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    Re: I think its the alternator

    Quote Originally Posted by MrDobin View Post
    Oh other question, would an alternator failure cause a code e12?. Figure based on the manual info I read its due to the alt and then battery needing jumping, not sure. THanks again all.
    Replace the alternator and see if E12 clears. If not, you have got a problem inside the distributor.

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    MrDobin is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: I think its the alternator

    Its only happened when the car dies, the night the no charge light went on for a minute was the culprate. I hope. Will see after I put in the new alt.

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    MrDobin is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: I think its the alternator

    Code 16 showed after I was out and the thing died on me. Oddly when I went to the car and await a jump I had it start right up.... its still got the dim lights syndrome though so no doubt alt. Generator not within range = alternator correct?.

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    MrDobin is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: I think its the alternator

    Update. Yes, alternator. Had the thing show its true story when coming home tonight. Service light hit, error code from battery not charing the whole nine yards. But hey, learned something in the process hah.

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    MrDobin is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: I think its the alternator

    Final bit, as I ordered the part up. It appears I CAN swap the old pulley onto the new alternator as its an OE direct fit. Am I assuming incorrectly?

  14. #13
    steelybill is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: I think its the alternator

    Unusual these days to have to re-use the old pulley, but maybe you do. Depends on the vendor/rebuilder. I bought a rebuilt one for my '85 last year at Advance Auto parts. It included the pulley.

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    KansasPaul is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: I think its the alternator

    I have a '95 Olds Aurora which has the 4.0 litre version of the Northstar V8 and shares a lot of the cadillac electrics and the "large" battery that you described. That large case battery is required because of all the electric power these cars use and the need for high cold cranking amps. A replacement battery is only available from the dealer and they don't come cheap. I am suffering the same alternator problem right now - I heard what sounded like a faint grind but couldn't locate the source. My son was driving the car yesterday when the battery indicator lit and charge warning came up on the dash. I just can't wait to find out what a new alternator costs for one of these things (being sarcastic now)... actually the car normally runs great and I love it.

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    jzchen is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: I think its the alternator

    Quote Originally Posted by KansasPaul View Post
    I have a '95 Olds Aurora which has the 4.0 litre version of the Northstar V8 and shares a lot of the cadillac electrics and the "large" battery that you described. That large case battery is required because of all the electric power these cars use and the need for high cold cranking amps. A replacement battery is only available from the dealer and they don't come cheap. I am suffering the same alternator problem right now - I heard what sounded like a faint grind but couldn't locate the source. My son was driving the car yesterday when the battery indicator lit and charge warning came up on the dash. I just can't wait to find out what a new alternator costs for one of these things (being sarcastic now)... actually the car normally runs great and I love it.
    Is there an Advance Auto Parts, Kragen/O'Reilly, or Autozone near you? They seem to have a battery and alternator for your car? OP, glad you were able to figure out your problem!

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