Question about 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

2 Answers

Charging/electrical problem I ham having a major issue here. Keep in mind that both battery and alternator have been replaced, and the alternator bench tested at 12.5v. When I start the car, I get a "Charging System Failure" notice on the info center and the idiot lights on the dash (specifically abs, t/c) will light up and turn off randomly. Also, when I have cruise control on and roll up the windows or turn on the rear defog, the cruise control will cut out. Another problem (probably related) is when the headlights shut off, the radio's amp will cut out for a second. The alternator is overcharging when installed at around 19v.

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  • Pontiac Master
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I'm not positive I am following the story.
The alternator bench tested at 12.5 ? It should have been up around 14.5. But you also say it overcharges on the car.
On a 2004 model the engine computer controls alternator output.
Is the alternator output within spec on the car ?

Posted on Feb 08, 2014

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  • Pontiac Master
  • 3,103 Answers

Charging voltage should be 14.5-16..not 12.5.. thats too low.. get the alternator replaced and your charging issues should disapear..

Posted on Feb 08, 2014

  • 2 more comments 
  • squee2001 Feb 08, 2014

    When I put the alternator on the car, and put a voltmeter on it, it is showing 19v.

  • squee2001 Feb 08, 2014

    Forgot to comment on the first post. Yes, it is an OEM alternator for the 04 Grand Prix that I put on

  • squee2001 Feb 08, 2014

    I went a bit further and bypassed the power distribution block just on a hunch and it shows 11.5v on the voltmeter

  • squee2001 Feb 08, 2014

    I miss read the voltmeter after i bypassed the power distribution block I was in fact 14.5v

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SOURCE: 1997 Bonneville SSEI Spontaneous ELECTRICAL Shutdown

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Posted on Jan 06, 2009

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SOURCE: Charging System Failure Light

This is a common problem with these cars. I have had it come on also a couple of times. No need to worry unless it stays on.

Posted on Feb 06, 2009

Gypsybaron
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SOURCE: 1994 grand Am Dash & Rear Lights

Check all the fuses, if they're ok then check the switch or wiring, it might be that the wire running from the switch to the park / dash lights is fried. Does the front park lights work? (turn switch to first click, not second one. This is park lights, second click is full on headlights) Your park and dash lights are probably all connected to a single wire from the switch via the fuse box.

Posted on Jun 07, 2009

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Check engine light comes on and voltage gage drops below 9 volts, the battery gets drained in the process, battery is not charging. Checked the alternator and it checks out good.


There may be a no charge state in this case, or internal issues with your battery. I recommend checking the charging system and its corrosponding parts/sectors. Use the procedure below to isolate this issue.


Wear protective eye wear and clothing and remove all jewelry when checking your battery and charging system. Jewelry is a good conductor of electricity and is not recommended. Most batteries wear out every 3 to 5 years and need to be replaced. Always replace your battery with an equal replacement battery to assure proper operation. Automotive batteries have a +positive terminal (red), - negative terminal (black). Electricity is stored in the battery and then supplied to the vehicle when the engine is not running. While the engine is running the vehicles alternator charges the battery for future use. (Note: never disconnect the battery while the engine is running. If the battery cable is disconnected from the battery a spark can be generated which can cause the battery to explode or a major electrical malfunction to occur.)


To check a battery surface voltage, remove the positive terminal protective cover. Connect the +positive side meter lead (red) to the positive side battery terminal. Connect the - negative (black) side meter lead to the negative battery terminal. With the vehicle not running and the car sitting over night the battery voltage should be between 12.5 and 12.8 volts.(You will need to use a voltmeter for this testing procedure)


The alternator is rotated by a drive belt driven by the vehicles engine while it is running. Electrical voltage and amperage are generated to recharge the battery and supply voltage to the electrical system of the car. The alternator is held in place with mounting bolts. There is a main electrical wire on the rear of the alternator that supplies voltage to a main voltage junction box. If your alternator is not charging properly, your battery will slowly drain down from operating all the electrical systems in your car and stop the car from running.(most non charge states will be the cause of a loose belt or a low tension rate, due to a mis-adjusted alternator. make sure you have enough tension in the belt for full rotation of the alt pulley)


Next, you will need to check the alternators output with the Amp meter.

Testing the amperage output of the alternator is good for measuring the amount (not the level) of voltage the alternator can produce. This test can be tricky because if the alternator is weak it can still show it as producing amperage. Which is good, but if the voltage is low, it will still allow the battery to go dead. To check the amperage output of an alternator an amp meter is needed. Once the meter is connected start the engine. Next turn on all electrical accessories and raise the engine idle to about 1200 RPM. The alternator should output the max amperage it was designed to produce. Example: a 90 amp alternator should output about 88 amps. Note: An alternator cannot sustain maximum output for long periods of time. If the alternator is forced to operate at maximum output it will overheat and fail. An alternator is designed to operate at max amperage output only for a reasonable amount of time.

((Connect the voltage meter lead the same way you would in a battery static voltage check, Start engine (do not drive) at engine idle the voltage should be between 13.6 to 14.3 volts. If not the alternator may need replacing.)))

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There seems to be a no charge state in this case. I recommend checking the charging system. Flow the procedure below to isolate this issue.

Wear protective eye wear and clothing and remove all jewelry when checking your battery and charging system. Jewelry is a good conductor of electricity and is not recommended. Most batteries wear out every 3 to 5 years and need to be replaced. Always replace your battery with an equal replacement battery to assure proper operation. Automotive batteries have a +positive terminal (red), - negative terminal (black). Electricity is stored in the battery and then supplied to the vehicle when the engine is not running. While the engine is running the vehicles alternator charges the battery for future use.(((-Warning-))) Never disconnect the battery while the engine is running. If the battery cable is disconnected from the battery a spark can be generated which can cause the battery to explode or a major electrical malfunction to occur.

To check a battery surface voltage, remove the positive terminal protective cover. Connect the +positive side meter lead (red) to the positive side battery terminal. Connect the - negative (black) side meter lead to the negative battery terminal. With the vehicle not running and the car sitting over night the battery voltage should be between 12.5 and 12.8 volts.(You will need to use a voltmeter for this testing procedure)

The alternator is rotated by a drive belt driven by the vehicles engine while it is running. Electrical voltage and amperage are generated to recharge the battery and supply voltage to the electrical system of the car. The alternator is held in place with mounting bolts. There is a main electrical wire on the rear of the alternator that supplies voltage to a main voltage junction box. If your alternator is not charging properly, your battery will slowly drain down from operating all the electrical systems in your car and stop the car from running.(most non charge states will be the cause of a loose belt or a low tension rate, due to a mis-adjusted alternator. make sure you have enough tension in the belt for full rotation of the alt pulley)

Next, you will need to check the alternators output with the Amp meter.

Testing the amperage output of the alternator is good for measuring the amount (not the level) of voltage the alternator can produce. This test can be tricky because if the alternator is weak it can still show it as producing amperage. Which is good, but if the voltage is low, it will still allow the battery to go dead. To check the amperage output of an alternator an amp meter is needed. Once the meter is connected start the engine. Next turn on all electrical accessories and raise the engine idle to about 1200 RPM. The alternator should output the max amperage it was designed to produce. Example: a 90 amp alternator should output about 88 amps.


  • NOTE_ Alternator's cannot sustain maximum output for long periods of time. If the alternator is forced to operate at maximum output it will overheat and fail. An alternator is designed to operate at max amperage output only for a reasonable amount of time.

  • NOTE_Connect the voltage meter lead the same way you would in a battery static voltage check, Start engine (do not drive) at engine idle the voltage should be between 13.6 to 14.3 volts. If not the alternator may need to be replaced.

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There seems to be a no charge state in this case. I recommend checking the charging system. use the procedure below to isolate this issue.

Wear protective eye wear and clothing and remove all jewelry when checking your battery and charging system. Jewelry is a good conductor of electricity and is not recommended. Most batteries wear out every 3 to 5 years and need to be replaced. Always replace your battery with an equal replacement battery to assure proper operation. Automotive batteries have a +positive terminal (red), - negative terminal (black). Electricity is stored in the battery and then supplied to the vehicle when the engine is not running. While the engine is running the vehicles alternator charges the battery for future use. (Note: never disconnect the battery while the engine is running. If the battery cable is disconnected from the battery a spark can be generated which can cause the battery to explode or a major electrical malfunction to occur.)

To check a battery surface voltage, remove the positive terminal protective cover. Connect the +positive side meter lead (red) to the positive side battery terminal. Connect the - negative (black) side meter lead to the negative battery terminal. With the vehicle not running and the car sitting over night the battery voltage should be between 12.5 and 12.8 volts.(You will need to use a voltmeter for this testing procedure)

The alternator is rotated by a drive belt driven by the vehicles engine while it is running. Electrical voltage and amperage are generated to recharge the battery and supply voltage to the electrical system of the car. The alternator is held in place with mounting bolts. There is a main electrical wire on the rear of the alternator that supplies voltage to a main voltage junction box. If your alternator is not charging properly, your battery will slowly drain down from operating all the electrical systems in your car and stop the car from running.(most non charge states will be the cause of a loose belt or a low tension rate, due to a mis-adjusted alternator. make sure you have enough tension in the belt for full rotation of the alt pulley)

Next, you will need to check the alternators output with the Amp meter.

Testing the amperage output of the alternator is good for measuring the amount (not the level) of voltage the alternator can produce. This test can be tricky because if the alternator is weak it can still show it as producing amperage. Which is good, but if the voltage is low, it will still allow the battery to go dead. To check the amperage output of an alternator an amp meter is needed. Once the meter is connected start the engine. Next turn on all electrical accessories and raise the engine idle to about 1200 RPM. The alternator should output the max amperage it was designed to produce. Example: a 90 amp alternator should output about 88 amps. Note: An alternator cannot sustain maximum output for long periods of time. If the alternator is forced to operate at maximum output it will overheat and fail. An alternator is designed to operate at max amperage output only for a reasonable amount of time.

((Connect the voltage meter lead the same way you would in a battery static voltage check, Start engine (do not drive) at engine idle the voltage should be between 13.6 to 14.3 volts. If not the alternator may need replacing.)))

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There seems to be a no charge state in this case. i recommend checking the charging system. use the procedure below to isolate this issue.

Wear protective eye wear and clothing and remove all jewelry when checking your battery and charging system. Jewelry is a good conductor of electricity and is not recommended. Most batteries wear out every 3 to 5 years and need to be replaced. Always replace your battery with an equal replacement battery to assure proper operation. Automotive batteries have a +positive terminal (red), - negative terminal (black). Electricity is stored in the battery and then supplied to the vehicle when the engine is not running. While the engine is running the vehicles alternator charges the battery for future use. (Note: never disconnect the battery while the engine is running. If the battery cable is disconnected from the battery a spark can be generated which can cause the battery to explode or a major electrical malfunction to occur.)

To check a battery surface voltage, remove the positive terminal protective cover. Connect the +positive side meter lead (red) to the positive side battery terminal. Connect the - negative (black) side meter lead to the negative battery terminal. With the vehicle not running and the car sitting over night the battery voltage should be between 12.5 and 12.8 volts.(You will need to use a voltmeter for this testing procedure)

The alternator is rotated by a drive belt driven by the vehicles engine while it is running. Electrical voltage and amperage are generated to recharge the battery and supply voltage to the electrical system of the car. The alternator is held in place with mounting bolts. There is a main electrical wire on the rear of the alternator that supplies voltage to a main voltage junction box. If your alternator is not charging properly, your battery will slowly drain down from operating all the electrical systems in your car and stop the car from running.(most non charge states will be the cause of a loose belt or a low tension rate, due to a mis-adjusted alternator. make sure you have enough tension in the belt for full rotation of the alt pulley)

Next, you will need to check the alternators output with the Amp meter.

Testing the amperage output of the alternator is good for measuring the amount (not the level) of voltage the alternator can produce. This test can be tricky because if the alternator is weak it can still show it as producing amperage. Which is good, but if the voltage is low, it will still allow the battery to go dead. To check the amperage output of an alternator an amp meter is needed. Once the meter is connected start the engine. Next turn on all electrical accessories and raise the engine idle to about 1200 RPM. The alternator should output the max amperage it was designed to produce. Example: a 90 amp alternator should output about 88 amps. Note: An alternator cannot sustain maximum output for long periods of time. If the alternator is forced to operate at maximum output it will overheat and fail. An alternator is designed to operate at max amperage output only for a reasonable amount of time.

((Connect the voltage meter lead the same way you would in a battery static voltage check, Start engine (do not drive) at engine idle the voltage should be between 13.6 to 14.3 volts. If not the alternator may need replacing.)))

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