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Author Topic: alternator or battery issue????  (Read 9814 times)
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mom2jabiel
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« on: July 27, 2012, 03:50:15 PM »

I have a 2010 Traverse; while driving to work yesterday, the car went into "battery saving mode", or something like that and the air conditioner went off.  While driving home, the same thing happened.  I drove about 3 or 4 miles, then got a "service battery charging system" message (I think that was the wording).  After about 20 more miles, the ABS light went on, the battery light went on, then one by one, just about every possible warning message was displayed.  I stopped at a stop light and the entire car simply shut down.   I coasted to the shoulder and called a tow truck.  Took about 40 minutes for the tow truck to arrived; whe the truck arrived, the driver tried to turn my car on and nothing happened.  After the 30 minute drive to my home, when we were taking the car off the flat bed, the car turned on, but the battery light stayed on. Has this issue been reported before? Is this a battery issue?  an alternator issue?  a computer issue?  something that would be covered by the 100,000 mile/5 year warranty?
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rbarrios
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2012, 04:17:30 PM »

sounds like the car  was telling you to essentially get 'help'.

What happened is
battery failed
alternator failed

but from the messages you describe--- sounds like

the alternator failed--- and the vehicles battery continued to supply power to the vehicle for a while..
At this point the computer notifed you that it went into battery saver mode-- shut off items that were sucking alot of power...
and continued to run your vehicle.
At this poing the battery is running all the computers and actually firing all the spark plugs etc...
It reached a point where the battery was 'exhausted' and vehicle simply shut off.

Battery being drained- it could no longer restart the car.

After sitting for a while- the battery had enough power to restart the car-


Im actually not sure if this is covered under the powertrain (alternator)-

Theyll have to test both the alternator and battery
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2012, 04:20:27 PM »

alternator failures are failry rare on the lambdas...
its not something that comes up much,
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2012, 04:30:03 PM »

Pay attention to the behavior of the Voltage gage.  How is it behaving?

Typically, after a cold start, the gage will read around 14.5 Volts.  After the engine has been running awhile, the Volt gage with drop to just over 13 Volts.  It may or may not cycle back up to 14.5 Volts, depending on what the operating conditions (prolonged idling vs. highway driving) and electrical demands are at the time.
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2012, 04:40:11 PM »

the voltage didn't stabilize for any length of time...hovered about 11 or 12 for most of the 57 mile drive.  It would jump over 14 but drop immediately.  Before everything died, it was pretty steady at just above 9, which is when I knew I was in trouble and just needed a place to pull over.  I'm hoping it's not the alternator, but not sure what else it could be...
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medicrxdoc
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2012, 09:56:39 PM »

Not matter how good an alternator is, a alternator isn't going to be able to charge a bad battery.

I don't remember seeing anybody with a bad alternator on a lambda, but there are many reports of batteries going bad.  Either way, both can be checked to determine if they are bad.  The battery is easiest to remove and get tested.  I think AutoZone will do it for free.
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Rocky
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« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2012, 07:41:20 AM »

Since you ran with error messages I say this is a classic bad alternator scenario. If the battery failed it would have left you stranded on the side of the road instantly.
Alternator covered by warranty unless you have too many miles!
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2012, 03:40:19 PM »

I have a 2010 Traverse; while driving to work yesterday, the car went into "battery saving mode", or something like that and the air conditioner went off.  While driving home, the same thing happened.  I drove about 3 or 4 miles, then got a "service battery charging system" message (I think that was the wording).  After about 20 more miles, the ABS light went on, the battery light went on, then one by one, just about every possible warning message was displayed.  I stopped at a stop light and the entire car simply shut down.   I coasted to the shoulder and called a tow truck.  Took about 40 minutes for the tow truck to arrived; whe the truck arrived, the driver tried to turn my car on and nothing happened.  After the 30 minute drive to my home, when we were taking the car off the flat bed, the car turned on, but the battery light stayed on. Has this issue been reported before? Is this a battery issue?  an alternator issue?  a computer issue?  something that would be covered by the 100,000 mile/5 year warranty?
With your vehicle being a 2010, this should be something that is covered under warranty.  However, you will need to get the Traverse into the dealership to have it diagnosed.  Once diagnosed, they will be able to provide you with warranty information.

Michelle, Chevrolet Customer Service
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2012, 09:38:13 AM »

Ps GM alternators are know to fail.  I've become an expert over the years at replacing them.  Still way easier that dealing with the ever hung starters from another brand I will not say.  I know what time every morning my neighbor leaves for work though as his starter is hung as he drives away.  He has put 7 in that thing already. uggg..  I think he gave up on it and just lives with it now..
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2012, 11:49:32 AM »

Im going to say that alternators have become pretty good. You just dont see posts on  failed alternators much.
They do fail... but its not common to see such a post.
The last time I changed out an alternator- was back in 1997 probably-- and that was a 1 wire alternator that went into my 1964 Chevy Truck.

 (and this is on GM vehicles-- I dont know about other brands).

I have not replaced an alternator in a 96 and up GM daily driver.
1996 saturn- 150,000 miles- sold with factory alternator.
2003 Trailblazer- 171,000- still running factory alternator.
2007 Impala- 60,000- factory alternator.
2010 Traverse-48,000 factory alternator.


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« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2013, 10:10:21 AM »

My alternator quit in the vicinity of Buffalo New York.  I continued to drive east because it was Memorial Day and Chevy Stores were all closed.  My wife's 2012 Traverse (33,000 miles) did fine starting in the evening and morning of the next day, then crapped out on I-390 south of Rochester NY.  Volt meter went down to 9 that morning, and the engine did a few "skips" before everything shut down, including the power steering.  Brakes still worked fine.

I knew what was going to happen, thanks to traverseforum.com.  I was on my way to a Chevy garage where the parts man had said (phone contact before 7:30 AM.)  he found an alternator at another area dealership.  He was good enough to talk to me at 7:30 AM, but the service guys were unavailable.   However, the parts man refused to order anything until the car was towed in, and they "did their analysis". 

That's the main issue I have with the dealer, who fixed the car in about half a day.  ABOUT TWO hours of the time at the dealership was spent simply waiting for the alternator to arrive from the other dealership.  They didn't proceed to get the part until the battery was replaced and codes were extracted.

I don't believe this is a rare problem.  I suspect the alternator came from a small company in Indiana, but won't mention the name.  I am not 100 percent sure they were supplier of the alternator. 
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rbarrios
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« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2013, 10:17:42 AM »

Well I guess you are officially the 1st alternator problem I read about on the Traverse/Acadia/Enclave forum.
I truly dont recall someone having an issue....

Quick question--- have you or anyone else spilled oil on the alternator?
I think I saw a Service bulleting about being careful not to spill oil on the alternator- as its almost above the oil fill hole...

But- the reason the dealer didnt want to order the part right away-- is that many times- dealers swap parts or buy parts from each other...
just like they swap cars. the dealer who has something you want-- will want something in return.

ALso--- dealers have learned that many people will request parts-- and then never show up to get them.
so to play it safe- they order/swap when its confirmed that its the part that is most likely needed.
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« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2013, 10:48:03 AM »

Given the # of GM alternators I've changed over the years the ones in these are better.

The main reason is the output is high enough to support everything unlike my vehicles in the past.

I usually always bugged the parts guys to find the High output versions. Which they had for cars like my Grand PRIX as they engine combination was used in police vehicles. I then would usually never have another issue.

That being said they can still fail. The first rule of thumb new alternator new battery at the same time.

They usually fail at the same time.  A bulk of the time it's the battery that kills the alternator.

The main reason I change out batteries early. Normally 4/12 hears to 5 years old it's gone depends on the timing of winter.

Many times in the past the battery died and I replaced it and the alternator was dead a month later.

That's why I take a more proactive approach now.

Yes it's unfortunate that almost all dealers treat the customers like they are "mechanical idiots"


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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2013, 06:38:22 PM »

What a sucky attitude that dealer had. You'd done the diagnosis!
Name and shame.
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Mikeytingstrom
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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2013, 10:37:44 AM »

Is there a way to check the alternator?

Mine has been acting a little weird lately; when I start the vehicle the voltage meter reads 14.5v but when I start my trip (wherever I may be going) the voltage meter drops to around 13v then when the alternator kicks in it seems as if the voltage only goes up to 14v.

I guess my question is: what kind of algorithm does the alternator use to know when to start charging?  Can it charge variably? What voltage should my battery be at after the alternator kicks off?
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Rocky
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« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2013, 11:25:23 AM »

Is there a way to check the alternator?

Mine has been acting a little weird lately; when I start the vehicle the voltage meter reads 14.5v but when I start my trip (wherever I may be going) the voltage meter drops to around 13v then when the alternator kicks in it seems as if the voltage only goes up to 14v.

I guess my question is: what kind of algorithm does the alternator use to know when to start charging?  Can it charge variably? What voltage should my battery be at after the alternator kicks off?

14.5 is perfectly normal after starting. As the battery approaches full charge, the alternator "backs off", reducing power recharge. So everything is fine.
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« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2013, 11:27:16 AM »

on our trip to Florida it was either at 14v or the 12v mark (the tick below the 14 mark).
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« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2013, 12:08:12 PM »

I've had two late model Chevrolets with the duramax engines that done the same thing. Both with dual battery setups. The engine starts and the ecm tells the alt to charge at max potential. When you start your vehicle there is quite a bit of battery drain. As you drive, the ecm is reading the status of the battery and tells the alternator to back off a little bit. Normally, you shouldn't be below 12.5 volts charging. I haven't looked at our traverse yet but you can test it with a voltmeter on the lug on the back of the alternator.
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« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2013, 02:03:54 PM »

The Engine Control Module (ECM) controls the alternator output depending upon the electrical load and state of charge in the battery. The repair manual says the alternator has five output modes that the ECM controls as needed depending on things as lights on, ac on, battery charge level and such.

To see your battery charge, turn on the ignition without starting the engine and the volt meter should show the battery charge. 12V or over your good, lower indicates possible problems. The car volt meter is very accurate compared to the other gauges.
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« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2013, 12:15:06 AM »

also if you have an OBD port scanner.. many will display voltage
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