Check charge system message / battery state message...

Thread starter #1

gnhbodyguy

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03 Limited & 04 Custom
I get a Check Charge System message on my Driver Information Center about fifteen seconds after I start the car. Driving it, the Battery State message is Normal with a volt range of around 12.

The mechanic checked it for charging and says I have a bad alternator. I'm not so sure. Here's what happened:

I'm driving down the highway and the Check Charge System message goes on along with the Volt dash light. I'm wondering wth?, but I keep going.

About 20 miles later, my serpentine belt breaks and I have to get towed to a shop. My tensioner pulley was seized.

I figure new tensioner pulley, serpentine belt and I'm on my way.

But no, he tells me it has a bad alternator. Says it's iffy to go home. I said let me think it over and drove the ten miles home no problem.

Can I have a bad alternator when I have Battery State normal? Any idea what may have happened? He says he's never seen a problem like this play out like this before.

Any information appreciated...
 

HotZ28

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A good battery should have 12.67v fully charged. If the voltage reads 12.2v the battery is 50% discharged and if reading 12.0v it is 75% discharged. Have you checked the battery voltage with a meter shortly after starting the engine? If the alternator is charging, you should measure about 14.5-14.8v.
 
Thread starter #3

gnhbodyguy

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I'll check it tomorrow. The constant Normal Battery State message in the DIC throws me off. The alternator is probably bad. It is spinning freely, so with the seized tensioner pulley, it is hard to figure how the whole thing happened.

You wouldn't think a seized tensioner pulley could cause an electrical issue in the alternator after it caused the belt to break. Physical damage to the alternator, yes. But not an electrical mishap without evidence of physical damage to the alternator.

Strange problem.
 

HotZ28

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Strange as it may be to logical thinking, sheit happens! Keep us informed with the test results.
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Thread starter #5

gnhbodyguy

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I tested it and it's bad. A guess would be that the strong tension that caused the belt to snap clean (not worn through), was bad enough to mess up the brush contacts in the alternator. It spins fine.

Now I just have to decide what brand of replacement alternator to get. Any suggestions?
 

HotZ28

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The brick & mortor part stores will charge $175-200+ for that alternator. :( If you have a starter/alternator repair shop in you're area, it might be better to let them find the problem & give you a quote. If not, and you can wait a few days for delivery Click Here and consider the new Remy Gold #91601 which seems to be the most popular.
 
Thread starter #7

gnhbodyguy

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I can wait, so I'm going to order the Remy. It looks like a pretty simple DIY job. Thanks.

The stores around here wanted $170 for their brand. $200 + for a name brand.
 
Thread starter #8

gnhbodyguy

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Installed the alternator and the charging system is working again. Having a 1/2 inch breaker bar helps a lot for moving the tension spring.

In 30 years of owning a 3800 engine, that's the first alternator that's gone bad on me.

Still a mystery if the serpentine belt breaking had anything to do with the alternator going bad. It spins fine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esABQWd_aEQ
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1
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2000 lesabre
I'm having an issue with mine as well. My alternater went bad so I replaced it. The check charging system came on so I had it checked and was told bad battery. Replaced that and light is still on. Any suggestion
 
955
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2007 Lucerne CXL. and 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
It could be that something in the harness is shorting out, a defective alternator, bad, dirty or not tighten connections. Did you do the installation on the alternator and battery? If not maybe take it back and have them check it again.

First step is to just confirm all updated parts are installed correctly, connections are clean and tight, then getting it tested as knowing it may be some place else in the system.
 
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