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1998 El Dorado
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Inherited 98 Eldorado with 4.6 Northstar. 66 k miles. Florida car till this year. Now it lives in upstate NY. Car is perfect running condition looks great. Sleeps in a non- heated garage. This winter, when cold, "system not charging" lite illuminates until
the engines reaches normal operating temperature, then it charges at 14.2 volts for the rest of the day. Problem is, car goes on very short trips to work and then home ( only 8 minutes each way). Never gets a chance to really charge. Killed a battery of course. Put a new battery in it and have it on float charger now at night while sleeping. Before I start
tearing into the engine to replace the water cooled alternator ( which I hear may not solve the problem), does this
sound like something simpler? Like a bad thermistor between the positive cable and alternator. I am happy to float charge it a night indefinitely if that is easiest solution. Thanks in advance !

Eric

......have a 98 Eldorado Florida car with 66k on it - now it lives in cold upstate NY. This winter (first winter), when cold, "system not charging" warning indicator is on and draining the battery. Once engine warms up - all is fine for the rest of the day. I have a float charger on it at night now while it sleeps in a cold garage. Problem is, my drive to work is 8 minutes - so it never gets a good charge and then sits all day. The alternator is water cooled. Is this something I should just deal with versus getting a new alternator and risking a lot of time and heartache which may not fix the problem.
Thanks

ERic
 

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Cadillac 95 STS, 02 SLS
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Re: 98 Eldorado alternator not charging when cold start

Welcome to the Forums!
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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68,403 Posts
Your car has its own built-in OBD-II Diagnostic Trouble Code system - scanner, memory, readout. On this Northstar main threads page is a sticky titled "How to pull codes". Study the proper year/model section and learn to operate the system. Pull any codes, write them all down, and note whether each is Current or History. Now return to the sticky to open the link to definitions of all OBD-II trouble codes. Decipher your codes, write it all down and post it all here.

Short hop drivinglike that is the absolute worst thing you can do to a car. Sometimes necessary, but not good - for several more reasons than the gradually dying battery.

IF the (water cooled in this model ????) alternator/voltage regulator is giving up, you can replace it with a non-cooled unit and plug the supply and return (radiator) fittings.

Your essentially identical question from Seville/Eldorado has been merged into this thread.
 

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95 FWB Blk on Blk. (120K) 98 Deville Concours, 1991 SDV.
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Re: 98 Eldorado alternator not charging when cold start

Welcome, You may want to double check that Water Cooled alternator thing. My 98 ETC is not water cooled. I just picked one up for mine, as I am changing it out this weekend. Note: for replacement I read another post here from searching that there is a access panel down on the lower pass. side on or by core support area to take out from below. No need to remove the radiator I guess. Perhaps will need to remove the pass. side elec. fan for better access to top bolt. Remove battery as well. I am also going to replace the tensioner and idler pulley as I am in there too.
 

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1998 El Dorado
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
when cold - it is just whatever the battery reads. When at operating temperature it is 14.2 volts
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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If you call up DIC system voltage, key: ON then you should see somewhere near 12.3 - 12.5 volts (the car always will draw some power, slightly lowering engine off readings). As soon as the engine starts and comes up to fast idle speed the voltage reading should ratchet up to 14.2 - 15.0 volts. After a while - driving - the voltage should settle somewhere in the 14s.
 

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1998 El Dorado
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Discussion Starter #8
I just put the car on the lift. Apparently there is an aftermarket alternator in there. I also removed the lower access panel. I tightened all the connections and will check it in the morning to see if it does the same thing. If it does not improve then I was simply put in a new aftermarket alternator. This one is not water cooled. Thanks
 
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