Erratic Charge Warning Light Behavior - Honda-Tech - Honda Forum Discussion

Erratic Charge Warning Light Behavior

Old 11-06-2018, 02:25 PM
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Default Erratic Charge Warning Light Behavior

Edit: Erratic CHARGING behavior. I got ahead of myself until I remembered the damn thing wasn't charging while the light was on. The light is a secondary symptom.

Let me start this by saying I know I will likely need to replace my goddamn alternator again (Autozone rebuild), but has anyone else experienced this? My charge warning light stays on for the first cold (65-75f ambient) start of the day until I turn the A/C switch or blower fan off. I've tried swiping through blower 1-4 real quick, but the light won't go off til the A/C is turned off, OR the blower motor goes off entirely. I'll try to get a video tomorrow morning if it does it. The car also does not charge when this condition occurs, leading me to believe the alternator's voltage regulator is bad. It is only 3 weeks old as of tomorrow. It will also start charging the SECOND I turn the A/C off when the light goes out. I can even turn the A/C right back on and it'll continue to charge with the warning light off.





I understand the charge warning light gets its ground from the voltage regulator if voltage is too high or low, but the car literally will not charge if you start it with the blower in 1-4, AND the A/C switch is on. Looking at the diagram, I could have a short to ground in the highlighted area, or I could have a failing voltage regulator or other alternator piece. Any suggestions? I just cleaned every single ground on the car and replaced the tranny ground with a 4 gauge wire direct to the frame. The battery is grounded direct to the frame as well, so that tranny wire is essentially 2 pieces now. The charge warning light also consistently comes on with the ignition prior to starting, which didn't happen when the other alternator failed.

Last edited by sumdewd; 11-06-2018 at 02:33 PM. Reason: CHARGING WOW
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Old 11-07-2018, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: Erratic Charge Warning Light Behavior


Well, there's the video I talked about. Super awkward
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Old 11-07-2018, 03:01 PM
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Default Re: Erratic Charge Warning Light Behavior

Can I assume that you have tightened the alternator mount bolts and the belt?

Replacing an AutoZone alternator costs $0. Do it, and then go from there.
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Old 11-07-2018, 03:15 PM
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Default Re: Erratic Charge Warning Light Behavior

Yeah, they got tightened. I even cleaned the mounting surfaces of both the bracket and the alternator.

I'll be doing a timing kit and some oil seals sometime over the winter, so I'll probably pull it then to swap out. Too lazy to do it since it's just an annoyance right now. This is my 4th Autozone alternator in 8 years. I made them test it on their machine before I left, but I've had bad ones test good before.
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Old 11-07-2018, 03:26 PM
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Default Re: Erratic Charge Warning Light Behavior

Originally Posted by sumdewd View Post
This is my 4th Autozone alternator in 8 years. I made them test it on their machine before I left, but I've had bad ones test good before.
Even if the alternator proves to be fine, it's just more productive to do diagnostic tests with a known good alternator installed. I always just demand a new alternator from AutoZone regardless of their test results. My typical phrase is: "Honor your warranty by giving me a replacement alternator because I refuse to reinstall this old broken alternator in my car."

Last edited by muellersfan; 11-08-2018 at 06:14 AM.
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Old 11-07-2018, 11:08 PM
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Default Re: Erratic Charge Warning Light Behavior

Autozone/Advance/ Etc alternators are complete junk. Get a much better 170A unit from Alterstart on eBay. You will pay more, but the quality is much better. The problem with the unit you have is a cheap voltage regulator. If you take your alternator back to Autozone, they will credit it back to you (so you will just be out your time and effort). I went through 3 alternators in less than 1000 miles before I learned this lesson.
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Old 11-08-2018, 06:13 AM
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Default Re: Erratic Charge Warning Light Behavior

Originally Posted by arries289 View Post
Get a much better 170A unit from Alterstart on eBay. You will pay more, but the quality is much better.
A lifetime warranty at local auto parts stores is hard to beat.
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Old 11-08-2018, 12:12 PM
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Default Re: Erratic Charge Warning Light Behavior

I'm definitely outside of the refund period since I purchased it in 2009. I'm averaging a free alternator every two years, with a total of 80-90k miles. If I wasn't going to buy a new hatch next year and swap this to a B20 I would upgrade. It's also pretty handy being able to swap it on the same day, since this is my daily driver.

Ironically haven't had any issues with the Autozone alternators I've put on a G25 and our 2002 Civic. Luck of the draw, I guess.
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Old 11-08-2018, 12:34 PM
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Default Re: Erratic Charge Warning Light Behavior

Originally Posted by sumdewd View Post
I'm definitely outside of the refund period since I purchased it in 2009.
Nope. Lifetime warranty.
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Old 11-08-2018, 01:08 PM
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Default Re: Erratic Charge Warning Light Behavior

Warranty, but not a store refund. I don't even have the receipt anymore. They just look it up by name and swap it out now.
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Old 11-08-2018, 01:12 PM
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Default Re: Erratic Charge Warning Light Behavior

Originally Posted by sumdewd View Post
Warranty, but not a store refund. I don't even have the receipt anymore. They just look it up by name and swap it out now.
Yup
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