Question about 1997 Buick Park Avenue

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Replace alternator 97 buick park avenue my buick's interior lights have been dimming when I hit the brakes over the past couple of weeks. It had been getting harder to start, and still dim lights. Yesterday, it just started chug chug chugging until I coasted into a car wash. I have no cables, so I had to go back later with some help. The young man who helped me said it was not the the battery because when he touched the neg and pos ends of cable (already attached to my car) there was a powerful spark. The mileage is low (less than 130,000) for this car, and one prior owner. The only other problem, I have not had the air conditioner fixed and the driver's window will go down, but not back up sometimes, so I leave it up. How much does an alternator cost (about)? Could a shade tree mechanic (like my brother in law) do this job safely? I am poor. :)

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If your battery is more than three years old i would say that it is suspect....(you say that you already replaced the alternator...correct)? also if you"ve never had the Serpetine belt changed... now would be a good time and when it is off.... check your A/C pump to make sure it rotates and is not locked up. Also check for loose or corroded battery cables and post clean the connections. Buy a new battery with 600-900 cold cranking amps! if this doesnt fix the problem then you got a bad alternator. Usually they are not too bad to replace if its located near the top of the engine....release pressure on Serpentine belt by pulling up on the idler pully then slide belt out of the way...then check idler pully does it spring back. When you jump start a car install cables on good car first then red cable to positive post on dead battery then find a place on the engine to attach the negative lead...it has to be on solid...then let it set for about two to three minutes before doing anything...then the person jumping should start their car and rev up the idle to about 2000 or if you dont have a tach just run it a little higher than normal for about a minute check to see if you have and inside light on now do not turn on any electric equipment, now try and start it while they are reving it... if you've got a decent battery it should start right up, if not try another ground on the engine and make sure the battery post has a good solid connection..once you get it started it should be driven for about a half hour or so to insure a good charge..do not turn it off right away. if it still doesnt start your battery probably has a bad cell. if you need to replace an alternator they usually run from $80 to $120 depending on a rebuilt or new. Rebuilt are usually fine, i"ve never had a problem with them. A shade tree mech should be able to replace it. Just remember to disconnect the battery when replacing it first.

Posted on Sep 26, 2009

Testimonial: "This solution is also extremely helpful, mentioning the serpentine belt is a great reminder. Thank you vtaylor2"

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First checking a battery by jumping the posts is very dangerous and not ever recommended!! It does sound as if the alternator is going bad. It should be no trouble to change as long as he does it safely. First get the battery charged and then have the charging system checked. Don't just assume the alternator is bad, They are not cheap and you don't want to be in the habit of just replace a part and hope it fixes the problem, that method can be expensive. If the alternator is bad have your brother in law disconnect the battery before starting to do ant work. Disconnect the negative cable. then change the alternator taking note of the wire positions. This way you install the wires in the proper place. reinstall the alternator and adjust the belt be careful not to adjust it to tight for this will burn up the bearings in the alternator and the job will have to be redone. hook the battery back up and recheck the system. On some alternators when you biuy them there will be a pin in the back so if you have to turn the back so it is like the old one(for installing the wires). If you turn or don't have to remeber to pull out the pin before installing the new one. It will not work with the pin installed. Good Luck.

Posted on Sep 26, 2009

Testimonial: "Thank you, very clear and specific directions. I appreciate your help very much Beth"

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