Kia Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
2011 Kia Sorento
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just looking for feedback/advice/suggestions/ past experiences with alternators shitting the bed.

We got our 2011 Sorento used, and not long after the alternator went out. It was just past the used car warranty from the Honda dealership and just outside of the Kia warranty.
I looked up the part # and saw there was a recall on specific 2011 Sorento alternator and mine falls smack in the middle of the listed months. Called Kia up but the lady I spoke to was adamant ours was not one covered.

I ended up working with the local Kia dealership to get a replacement alternator as the original part number wasnt available anywhere. They gave me an excellent price for it, and my neighbor and I swapped it in and all was great foe about 2 or 3 years.

That replacememt alternator went out on the wife on the way to work. Battery was flat and luckily she was in a walmart parking lot. New Battery to get her home, and a new alternator from auto zone (only local option) for the fix. The guy at auto zone actually bench tested a known good new alternator to make sure the machine was working as our alternator had absolutely no output.
Fast forward a month and the same deal happened but a new walmart battery to get home and put the car on my charger/tester showed the alternator was reading fine. Battery that was in won't charge past 50% and trips the thermal on my charger which I've NEVER had happen before. Figured the battery was defective and back on the road the car went.
Fast forward another month or so, dead again and were close enough to an auto zone I was able to grab a battery there. Again alternator tested okay. Everything was okay for about anothet month or two to get us to yesterday.
My wife was out with the son while I stayed home cleaning. She pulls in arms waving for me to move, she pulls in and has trouble getting the car in park due to the low voltage and the engine was running erratic. She got it in park, I put the battery charger on and the battery read 10%. Went to charge and it got to 30% (battery still in car wired) before the thermal tripped again. I can't imagine I managed to get two defective batteries so I'm going to guess this alternator took a deal too but haven't been able to charge the battery to get it started to do the alternator test.

My question is has anyone else experienced this? I'm wondering if the new Auto Zone alternator is designed the same as the one Kia recalled and that's the issue or if there's some slow draw when it sits that the 10 to 20 mile trips the wife does isn't enough to top the battery up the whole way so it's slowly stepping the charge down.
The car its self is stock other than a brale controller for our camper wired in and a plug in trailer wiring adaptor box (2nd one as the first one went bad)

Thanks!
 

·
Super Moderator
99 Kia Elan, 17 Ford Edge Sport, 15 Mustang, 08 Harley Nightrain
Joined
·
9,729 Posts
Just looking for feedback/advice/suggestions/ past experiences with alternators shitting the bed.

We got our 2011 Sorento
Using the below link, please add location and vehicle (year & model) to your signature
With the recent forum platform change, the location and vehicle details in your profile no longer show in each post.

eg.
USA
2019 Sportage 2.7L V6 SX turbo AWD

https://www.kia-forums.com/account/signature


https://www.kia-forums.com/threads/forum-rules.27240/


Tip: after updating your info, hit “like” on this post, and it will serve as a prompt to remove it.
 

·
Registered
2011 Forte SX 2.4L (thankfully MPI) A/T 144K miles
Joined
·
1,149 Posts
.... My question is has anyone else experienced this? ...
You provided a really nice, detailed history of the events, but nothing relative to DIY measurement of voltage over the course of these problems. Did you monitor the battery voltage at all and, if so, can you post the results? What you described sounds a bit like some oddball, sporadic parasitic draw going on, but without voltage measurements, it's all just guesswork.

AFA your question above, I do recall reading a few Kia/Hyundai forum threads describing some V6 alts getting killed by oil leaking on to them from above. That might be where the recall came from, although that's just speculation on my part.
 

·
Super Moderator
99 Kia Elan, 17 Ford Edge Sport, 15 Mustang, 08 Harley Nightrain
Joined
·
9,729 Posts
I'm wondering if the new Auto Zone alternator
Was it actually a new alternator?

They are know to stock very poorly refurbished alternators.

As @kiaguy002 says, you need to do some diagnostics, which you may have done, but you don't mention the actual voltages etc.
 

·
Registered
2011 Kia Sorento
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I did have the alternators bench tested, battery too.

I just replaced the last one that died. Took it to Auto Zone where the bench test said it was fine. Interesting thing was I couldn't get the battery to charge past 30% without tripping my thermal. They tested it and said it came up Good Battery, Needs charged, 30% so they put it on their charger for an hour. They then tested it again and it came up "Good Battery, needs charged, 5%" lol.

So yesterday I put my battery charger on the car and monitored the charge after turning the ignition on and off, thinking the trailer adapter was a parasitic drawl at first, but that was a bust.
Today I put it on the charger and it came up 65% charged after the wife drove it today (just replaced the alternator and battery yesterday). The alternator test mode in my charger was showing no output and my fluke multimeter was showing basically battery voltage, although this was at idle. I had the wife come out and rev it up a bit, same deal. I also realized there is no dash light on to show any sort of charging error. At this point I'm losing my mind, so I had her turn off the car, disconnected the positive lead on the battery and put my fluke in line and measured .55 amp once the BCM went into the lower power mode. Pulled fuses and nothing changed anything except for one interior fused named "Module" if I recall correctly, which dropped it to like .38 amp (and you could hear an interior module under the dash kick a relay or two off). So nothing crazy.

At this point I disconnected the 4 pin alt connector to see if there was any change, started it up and my batt/alt tester displayed around 75% alt output and voltage with the fluke looked good, like a true what the crap. Shut off, plugged back in and it again was around 75%. Turned on the high beams, blower motor and watched, bounced between 50 and 75 but as it sat at idle dropped to 33% and bounced around almost like output went down as it heated up (but this was only like a 5 minute test).

In the end I'm just as confused, don't feel like taking an alternator out yet again to get it bench tested or try to take it to get the charging system checked and freaking have all of the dash lights come on again as the car is about to die. May cave and take it to the Kia dealership to have them look as they have to have SOME past experience with this issue.. I can't be the only one as other posts here show.
 

·
Super Moderator
99 Kia Elan, 17 Ford Edge Sport, 15 Mustang, 08 Harley Nightrain
Joined
·
9,729 Posts
Was it actually a new alternator?

They are know to stock very poorly refurbished alternators.

As @kiaguy002 says, you need to do some diagnostics, which you may have done, but you don't mention the actual voltages etc.
I did have the alternators bench tested, battery too.

I just replaced the last one that died. Took it to Auto Zone where the bench test said it was fine. Interesting thing was I couldn't get the battery to charge past 30% without tripping my thermal. They tested it and said it came up Good Battery, Needs charged, 30% so they put it on their charger for an hour. They then tested it again and it came up "Good Battery, needs charged, 5%" lol.

So yesterday I put my battery charger on the car and monitored the charge after turning the ignition on and off, thinking the trailer adapter was a parasitic drawl at first, but that was a bust.
Today I put it on the charger and it came up 65% charged after the wife drove it today (just replaced the alternator and battery yesterday). The alternator test mode in my charger was showing no output and my fluke multimeter was showing basically battery voltage, although this was at idle. I had the wife come out and rev it up a bit, same deal. I also realized there is no dash light on to show any sort of charging error. At this point I'm losing my mind, so I had her turn off the car, disconnected the positive lead on the battery and put my fluke in line and measured .55 amp once the BCM went into the lower power mode. Pulled fuses and nothing changed anything except for one interior fused named "Module" if I recall correctly, which dropped it to like .38 amp (and you could hear an interior module under the dash kick a relay or two off). So nothing crazy.

At this point I disconnected the 4 pin alt connector to see if there was any change, started it up and my batt/alt tester displayed around 75% alt output and voltage with the fluke looked good, like a true what the crap. Shut off, plugged back in and it again was around 75%. Turned on the high beams, blower motor and watched, bounced between 50 and 75 but as it sat at idle dropped to 33% and bounced around almost like output went down as it heated up (but this was only like a 5 minute test).

In the end I'm just as confused, don't feel like taking an alternator out yet again to get it bench tested or try to take it to get the charging system checked and freaking have all of the dash lights come on again as the car is about to die. May cave and take it to the Kia dealership to have them look as they have to have SOME past experience with this issue.. I can't be the only one as other posts here show.
Check the main connections , engine to chassis, battery to chassis, and battery to the main alt terminal.

Not sure if you missed my previous post:

Was it actually a new alternator?

They are know to stock very poorly refurbished alternators.

As @kiaguy002 says, you need to do some diagnostics, which you may have done, but you don't mention the actual voltages etc.
 

·
Registered
2011 Kia Sorento
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Check the main connections , engine to chassis, battery to chassis, and battery to the main alt terminal.

Not sure if you missed my previous post:
Yup, went with the new. After they bench tested and it came up good, the manager said take a new one just in case with how annoying they can be to swap.

Voltage wise is what got me as it looked okay at time.. ~13.7 to 14.4v, but when the batt/alt tester of mine showed 0 alt output, my fluke confirmed with a voltage reading of around 12.2v. I did check the grounds etc and they all seemed to be fine, but I'll re-check tomorrow. Also measured the same at the battery as the output post on the alternator to eliminate some break or corrosion in that main line.
My wife is saying the first time it happened was shortly after we got back from a 5 hr (each way) trip down to Chincoteague island, which I could see sand and salt water mist maybe screwing up the one that was in at the time but not the replacements after that. The other issue is I haven't found a very good wiring diagram for the charging system (yet) on these SUVs

Just read some other posts on the forum that sound exactly what we've seen. The battery light doesn't come on by its self, it's just like boom all of the dash lights come on.
 

·
Registered
2011 Forte SX 2.4L (thankfully MPI) A/T 144K miles
Joined
·
1,149 Posts
... so I had her turn off the car, disconnected the positive lead on the battery and put my fluke in line and measured .55 amp once the BCM went into the lower power mode. Pulled fuses and nothing changed anything except for one interior fused named "Module" if I recall correctly, which dropped it to like .38 amp (and you could hear an interior module under the dash kick a relay or two off). So nothing crazy.
...
The normal acceptable engine-off draw is around .03 amp, so .55 amp (or even .38) is way too high. Although this high draw might not be the only problem with your vehicle, it is a smoking gun and I suggest trying to figure out which circuits are causing it.
 

·
Registered
2011 Kia Sorento
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
All,

Thanks for all the feedback and suggestions, and I thought things were fixed after this last go but alas... although I have a lot more data points and an interesting, yet extremely confusing and worrying, suspicion...

So I did some testing with a clamp ammeter and at first the output with the car running was near zilch. I then had the wife kick on the high beams and fan, and boom, voltage around 14.4v and 57 or so amps. Rear defrost and I forget what else she kicked on and it was up around 78 amps, so it very much seemed like the some "putting the alternator into a "sleep" mode when not needed for gas mileage" deal for my voltage readings early.

Then, a few days later, we head off with the neighbors on a trip to Canada taking the Kia as things had been working flawlessly. Oppps, almost a really bad choice.

We made it about an hour into the ~5 hour trip and boom, the dash lights all light up. We manage to pull into a BBQ place and proceed to shut the car off, disconnect the battery cables and short out, and check the neighbor checked the alternator plug as he thought one of the 4 wires in the plug (the white one) looked a bit like it had a break internally. He straightened the twist in the harness out as best he could, we reconnected the battery and it still had enough juice to fire the car up. No more lights. Long story short, we followed a route that took us by Enterprise rental car places just in case vs our normal more middle of no where New York path. Trip went fine, car has been running fine for the past 3 weeks, which brings us to this morning.

Son has an appointment in Philly, about 3.5 hours away. We go to set out at 3am this morning and right as I back up, all the dash lights come on. We park it and take the Civic.

I just got back in from charging the battery and testing the alt output with a ammeter. I had 0 amp output with the car running, even when loading up the electrical system with high beams, full fan, rear defrost etc. I wiggled the 4 pin alt harness while watching the meter, no change. Thinking "I wonder...", I shut the car off, pull the ground off the battery and discharge the electrical system. After a few minutes I reconnect the ground, fire the car up and boom, 53 amp output and my battery charger/alternator tester verifies reading out 95%-100% alternator output. Would this point to some issue with the ECU that's surfacing after some period of time or is my thinking overlooking something smaller that would still "reset" with a power pull, or do you think that's totally by coincidence?
 

·
Registered
2011 Kia Sorento
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Caved and called the local Kia dealership, waiting for a call back from the shop foreman.

I also tested things out this AM with the "reset" and the Sorento drove fine to work, around a 45 minute drive. I did forget my ammeter to check things before the drive home, just to verify it is still charging and not just a successful ride here because I had charged the battery up on the charger last night.

Hopefully some sort of confirmation soon...
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top