Question about 1999 Nissan Altima

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Going through alternators

Car has about 150,000 miles on it. 2 weeks ago my battery warning light and brake warning lights went on, and I had a burning smell coming from the alternator. More than likely I needed a new alternator. 4 days after replacing it, the same warning lights came on again. I put a volt meter on my alternator and it was surging up and down, from less than 1 volt up to about 11.5 volts, but never holding on the high end for more than a few seconds. I called the parts store and they gave me a new alternator without even testing the first one. After installing it, I again checked it with the volt meter. It was putting out over 14 volts. All fine then, right? 20 miles out of town and the warning lights came on again. So this time I took it to a Nissan garage and for $80 they told me that my alternator is shot. Could I have really gotten 2 faulty alternators in a row? Or is there something wrong with my car that is burning up alternators?

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Hi there, I am a girl (i.e. not car savvy), but I have a 1998 Altima as well, and the first time (4 months ago) I noticed the brake and battery lights on simultaneously, I took it to a Nissan service shop. Everything seemed fine until about a month ago when the symptoms returned. I ignored the problem for 3 days and the car just stopped running, period. Took it back to the shop, figured out it was a fauly alternator, got it sorted, no problem. Today (1 month after replacement), I see the same bloody problem, and I'm taking it back to the shop in the morning. I am wondering... is it the alternator, or something connected to the alternator that is malfunctioning? The 2 alternators put in were "rebuilt" since they didn't have genuine Nissan alternators available. I really hope the dealers aren't taking me for a merry ride.

Posted on Sep 17, 2010

  • rtgeurts Sep 22, 2010

    After I spent the $80 at the Nissan dealer, the guys at the parts store(AutoZone-Definitely taking all my future needs back to them) hooked it to a computer and ran some tests FOR FREE. They said my battery ground connection was faulty. I was still skeptical. They gave me a 3rd alternator to put in, I removed my ground cable(requires removing the battery and air cleaner), cleaned up the connections and haven't had any problems since. My connections didn't look that corroded, so was it just coincidental that I did get 2 faulty alternators, or was it really my ground connections. The guys at the Nissan garage said that they have heard that the non-original Nissan alternators are junk and frequently get returned. Of course, they want twice as much for the genuine Nissan parts.

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