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Old 02-08-2013, 05:37 AM   #1
PearlsOwner
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Default 90 Accord charging issues

Hey guys it me again looking for more advice. The other night coming home first my lights looked real dim then I lost the tech and speedometer then the radio and finally the car started to run real bad, no power and back firing. I rolled into my driveway left it running to run into the house to get my multimeter. When I tested it running(barely) it was pushing 10.5 volts at the battery. I shut it off and watched as the battery went back to 11.something volts. Battery is new, belt is new and wasnt slipping. I took the Alternator out and brought to advanced to have it tested, my luck, couldnt because they didnt have the right connector. I ordered a reman denso and kept mine. In my travels I happened to stop at an auto-zone and asked if they could test it. They could and the guy said it was good. So if the Alternator is good what is my next step, what else should I be looking for to get this her up and running again. I am going to check the fuse and make sure the cables are good. After that if they are good I will be at a lose of why this is happening. Is there a relay I should look for and what about an inline fuseable link in the power cable itself?
Im starting to miss driving her with all the down time she has had so I could replace all front end suspension and steering parts and timing belts. Thanks for any help I can get from you all
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

You could have a loose/corroded battery/ground connection. Make sure every connection is clean and tight. Is belt tensioned correctly?
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

Also check the big (80A Alt) fuse in the underhood fuse box and see if it's blown. And your battery could also be bad. Have that tested too.
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:49 AM   #4
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

Your alternator output voltage is considered acceptable if it is in the range of 12.5-14.5 volts while the car is running. You should get it tested at another Autozone location to confirm if it's still good.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

The battery is 3 month old, interstate. is sitting at 11.5 volts as of last night with no drop in voltage since I took the alt out. Tension on belt was good. Brand new negative cable because it was corroded, thought that was the problem. Will have to check the fuse and I am still going to test the cables because there is a chance the new one is no good or even the pos cable is junk. I also like the idea of having a different place check it just to make sure. Not a big fan of auto-zone or the one close to me anyway. Every time I walk into the place I get the same guy that thinks he is gawd but knows less then me, bet you cant guess who tested it. SMH
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Old 02-10-2013, 04:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

Honda alternators have two modes. They have a low output mode and a high output mode. It could have a problem when in low output mode. I bought a new alternator before from autozone it tested good out of the box but when I was driving it and it was in low output mode it wouldn't charge enough. The problem with autozone is that their tester doesn't know how to test honda alternators when they are in low output mode. When I took the autozone alternator back and had em retest it it tested good, but I had em swap it out anyhow. The second one was fine and I haven't had any issues since.

If your fuses test good and you're sure your connections are good I would suggest testing the alternator yourself. Just start the car and load up every accessory and see if it keeps the voltage above 12.6 or so. It should start around 14.5 and drop down and not go any lower than 12.6 with every accessory on.

You mentioned that you ordered a denso reman. If that's the case, then that thing is guaranteed to be good out of the box. I would just throw that thing on and see what happens. Proper tension is found by simply twisting the alternator belt on its longest side at its midway point. It shouldn't twist more than 90 degrees.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

Dude, a battery with only 11.5V is either drained or bad. It needs to be at least 12.3V. Mine is always at 12.6V. Your alternator might be bad b/c the car has trouble stay running and battery voltage after the car shut off is 11.5V.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

nice catch, bad_dude, I didn't even see that. I would have autozone fully charge the battery and have em test it too before doing any alternator testing.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:56 AM   #9
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

Thanks @Holmesnmanny, Im gonna put it back in, in a few hours after I shovel out the 15 foot snow drift that is in front of it. First I will check the fuse and make sure the ground wire is good. How to diagnose is my weak spot but, always has been. I can do some diagnosing but getting into electrical kills me, always has plus throw in the fact I havent had to do any for years.
If I start the car and pull the neg cable off the battery and use a test light from the pos to the neg cable and it lights up it should be good. Now can I do the same with the pos cable or do I need the multimeter for that one?

My bad, i should have stated the battery is drained because the car ran for about an hour to warm up, then I drove about 4 miles home w/ rear defroster, heater, lights, and radio on. Got about 1/4 way home and noticed the lights didnt look like they were on(lights were fine when I first started it and when I pulled out of the driveway). 1/2 way home notices the speedo and tech wasnt working then got to thinking. Radio kicked off and on a few times after that and by the time I got to the top of the little hill i live on the car was barely running, not charging for whatever reason. Its possible the battery is junk but highly unlikely, every car I have had I have put interstate batteries in. Im still going to pull it if everything checks out and bring it down to the garage and do a load test on it. After I put the multimeter on the car when I got home with it running 10.5v and then not running after a minute was up to about 11.5v(draw on battery with car running). I knew the negative cable was junk, have already taken it off and cleaned it once. Has about 2" of wire showing at the end going to the engine, this time I noticed it was turning green and had a little white corrosion on it. Was no change in the voltage after I changed it. I havent charged the battery I just used a booster pact to help get it started as it didnt have enough juice to do it on its own.
Was just looking for ideas on what else to look at and maybe a quick how to test. Does the positive lead run from the Alt to the 80A fuse to the battery or is there anything else in between I should look at? then go and check to see if the ground is good! If the the fuse, cables and battery are good then it has to be the Alternator because there is nothing else or is there?
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:22 AM   #10
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

Yes, it should run straight to it but I highly doubt there is a wiring problem. That's rarely the case as the alternator power wire is pretty big. I would guesstimate that it's the alternator. Like I asked before, you said you ordered a Denso reman. If that's the case, then just run with that. You can't go wrong. If not, then just do some more testing to confirm. Be sure it's not the battery.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:21 AM   #11
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

It's your alternator. Your battery is probably now junk also. All a battery is used for is to start the car. The alternator takes care of the rest after that including charging the battery. If your alternator or any relay for it is toast, then your battery will drain while you drive and not get the needed charge, and your accessories will also be running off of your battery since the alternator isn't doing it's job, causing it to drain quicker and basically draining it to nothing in no time flat. If your battery is only holding an 11.5 volt charge, even after you had it charged, it's junk.
Also check your cables and grounds.
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:35 AM   #12
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

If the car is running your alternator should kick out at least 14V. Any thing less than that then the alternator is weak or bad due to worn out brushes. The battery will not charge if the alternator kick out less than 14V b/c when you are driving it draw more current to lower it. So replace or rebuilt the alternator before you spend more money on new battery or some thing else damaging from low alternator output.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:30 PM   #13
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

Thanks @holmesnmanny and @Bad dude
@hooligan90,, Trying not to sound like I am an ***, and not trying to show you any disrespect. Buddy the battery was never charged. It died so I replaced the the ground wire that looked bad. I used a booster pack that only job is to start a car not charge the battery. It like using another battery to start the car then putting yours back in without shutting the car off but one doesnt need to swap . The alt was still not charging it so car got shut off therefor not getting a charge.
I didnt make it to the garage to test the battery today but 99.999% sure that is not the issue as its not getting a charge from the Alt. I had the Alt tested and was told it was good so other then the 80A fuse and the ground wire being no good or not getting a good contact is there anything else it could be that is stopping the charging of the battery. Basically @holmesnmanny answered that by saying dont trust the machine(10.5volts and dropping on my multimeter running), bad enough I dont trust the guy running the tester but why say its good if he thinks he is getting a sale out of it. Yes I do have a Denso ordered so if the ground wire is good and the fuse is good I will be putting that in. You guys think that is the problem and I thought that was the problem so Im gonna go with it long as the other two things check out. It just that on my budget and the fact the alt is a $150 I dont want to be wrong cause that $150 could go into something else for the car. Once I put the alt in the car it is mine whether that is the issue or not, just wanted to make sure I wasnt missing anything like a relay or something like that that could cause the battery not to take the charge from the Alt
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:01 AM   #14
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

I'm still saying it's the alternator.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:17 AM   #15
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

He said it's the alternator too. He's just saying the battery is fine.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:17 PM   #16
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

Thanks for the help. Just got the Alt so I will be putting it in in a few minutes.
Sorry, didnt mean to sound like a POS to anyone. That wasnt my intention. Just stress to the max over this car. Its my toy as a daily driver because with gas close to $4 a gal I rather drive that at $20-30 a week then my truck at $20 a day.
Guess it wouldnt have been so bad if my truck didnt have issues at the same time. Or any of the other crap that hasnt gone right the last few months. If it wasnt for bad luck I wouldnt have any at all Not looking for any sympathy or anything.


@holmesnmanny do you have photos of the 91 somewhere here? If so send my a link I would like to check it out.. Still trying to figure out this forum, getting better at this computer thing, I can at least turn them on no problem now
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:39 PM   #17
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

Have you consider that the battery is bad now since it was drained? Also if you allow the battery to drain and throw it on the alternator, it charges too fast and kill the battery or make it bloated and get bad after a short time.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:07 PM   #18
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

It's possible if it happened enough times but I highly doubt it.

OP, I don't know what it is you're asking.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:44 PM   #19
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

Put the new alternator in this morning and happy to say that was the issue... Charging at 14.4 volts and last I looked with a load, running everything that it has was at 13.9 and rising. Battery was sitting at 12.8 after I put a slow charger on it.
Always thought it was the Alternator but when I had Auto-Zone(Auto-dumb dumbs) test it the guy said it was good, kind of confused me and wasnt sure if there was something else in the charging system that I was missing. Before I put the new one it I spun the pully as fast as I could nd could hear a faint crunching noise that I didnt get with the new one.
Thanks for your help AGAIN guys.
@holmesnmanny Just wondering about you signature "91 Accord w/ H22A swap" was asking if you had photos of the car or if you took photos of the swap and posted them here somewhere.
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:29 PM   #20
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

Not really. The valve cover itself is pretty bad looking. lol

It doesn't look awesome it just sounds cool and runs great.
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:43 PM   #21
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Default Re: 90 Accord charging issues

COLORS.

Orielly's, Advanced, Auto Zone, etc... All of them are monkeys. That's why I personally do all of my own testing. My postitive battery terminal actually broke on my 94 Accord and was giving me shotty charging issues, glad to see you got it fixed with the new alternator.
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