The 2000 maxima runs well. when I turn on the heater/ac system after a while the lights dim and the car runs roughly. If I shut the car off, it needs to be jumped to start. The battery is new ( one day old). If I don't use the heater, I have no problem.
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you need to check the charging system voltage if the alternator is not putting out voltage the car is only running off the battery and the battery is not being recharged turning on the ac adds the drain from the cooing fan about 30amps and the blower motor inside the car another 20 amps and also the compressor clutch of 20 amps
That could be a bad battery. Try replacing the battery (cheaper than a new alternator). Usually, if it is the alternator, your battery will be drained and you aren't able to start the car without boosting. The dimming lights is the clue - lights run purely off the battery, not the alternator, as do most of the electric components.
The alternator may charge fine but could drain the battery through a bad diode,have you checked the alt for a bad diode?Disconnect the battery positive cable.Put a regular 12v test light between the battery positive post and the positive battery cable.If the test light is bright you do have a drain,if dim it is OK.A dim light may mean the drain is internal in the battery.If you do have a bright light remove a fuse ,one at a time from the fuse box until the light goes dim.Once dim you have identified the bad circuit.If removing all fuses do not dim the light,disconnect the alt charging wire at the alt,if that dims the light,then you do have a bad diode.DO NOT create a drain(bright light) when checking for the drain by turning on the key or opening a door/trunk etc.
Also,do an overnight battery check by disconnecting the battery overnight,if things are fine the next morning after the battery was disconnected then it is a drain in the vehicle,if the battery is dead even after being disconnected overnight,,then the battery is bad.
HAVE BATTERY RECHARGED OR VECHICLE JUMP START.WITH VECHICLE RUNNING MAKE SURE ALTERNATOR IS CHARGING THE BATTERY.ALTERNATOR OUT PUT AT BATTERY SHOULD BE 13.5 - 14.5 VOLTS.IF NOT CHECK ALTERNATOR FUSE.CHECK ALTERNATOR + BATTERY FEED WIRE AND VOLTAGE REGULATOR WIRES MAKE SURE NONE OF WIRES LOOSE BROKEN OR DISCONNECTED.IF ALL IS GOOD AND ALTERNATOR OUT PUT LOW ALTERNATOR FAULTY.IF ALTERNATOR VOLTAGE OUT PUT OKAY. YOUR BATTERY DRAIN PROBLEM COULD BE FAULTY AC HEATER BLOWER MOTOR RELAY.CHECK INSIDE CAR WITH THE IGNITION SWITCH OFF.MAKE SURE RADIO TURN OFF.INTERIOR LIGHTS TURN OFF.HEAD LIGHTS TURN OFF.LISTEN FOR ANY NOISES LIKE BLOWER MOTOR RUNNING, OR FAULTY DOOR LOCK SOLENOID CLICKING NOISE.IF EVERY THING SO FAR OKAY.OTHER POSSIBLE CAUSES BATTERY DRAINING COULD BE FAULTY ALTERNATOR,FAULTY STARTER SOLENOID CONTACTS SHORTING OUT.THE PCM COULD DRAIN BATTERY IF FAULTY.THE NEW BATTERY COULD BE DEFECTIVE.
It could relate to the starter being no good in general or the alternator not being good at all either. you can have both tested at local autozones or advanced auto places. More then likely it has to do with the starter. should be an easy fix if you have any expeirience with automotives. usually comes down to three bolts and a bunch of awkward angles.