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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! I'm working on a freinds 97 Kia Sephia and need help! The battery went dead so she took it to a shop and they wanted $600 to replace the alternator. So, that's where I got involved.

I checked the charging system with my multimeter..Ten volts at the battery and it drops quite a bit when the lites are turned on. It's not charging. All of a sudden, the alternator starts making a "chuckling" noise and it starts charging. (12.5 volts and rising) It did that twice and then quit charging altogether. The alternator is bad. I pulled it out and had it tested. It's bad.

I picked up a new refurbished alternator at Autozone and installed it. Still no charging. I take that new alternator back to Autozone to have it tested and it's bad. I get an exchange and have them test the newer new one before I leave with it. It's good.

I install it in the car and it's not charging. (10 volts and no rise at all) I check the codes with a code reader and it has no trouble codes at all...none! I use my multimeter and check the battery ground, the (fat wire) connection between the alternator and the battery, the alternator ground, all three fuses in the charging circuit, etc. all fine. I checked the voltage on the two wires in the alternator plug-in..one is battery voltage (Partially discharged at 10 volts) and the other is slightly less.

I checked the charging system again with my multimeter. It stays at ten volts even when the engine is revved up. It drops significantly if any accessories are turned on. I checked it again with an inductive amp meter and it shows only discharge from the battery no matter what the rpm's. It's not charging. I know this alternator was working fine when I left Autozone. He checked it twice. It's properly installed, the belt is fine and the connections are good but it doesn't work!!! Any ideas? Please help me!!!
 

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2008 SpectraSX, 2014 Optima LX,2006 Jeep Liberty, Linux Mint Mate
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Hi Wolfiniron....
My guess is you also have a bad battery. The battery is made up of "cells" each cell in a Lead/Acid battery can output 2 volts (normally).A total of 6 cells.(batteries are marked 12v but charge to higher voltage 13.4v) If you have 2 bad cells (shorted) in a 13.4 volt system you will have close to 9.4 volts at the terminals.
Put that rebuilt alternator back in and temporarily put in a battery from another car (yours?). make sure to follow the proper polarities as even though the two batteries may look the same the plus and minus terminals may be reversed. If the charging voltages climb close to 13.4~14.4 volts you have confirmed a bad battery. Cells in batteries can and DO short out. Gunk from the plates fall to the bottom of the battery and short the cells out as the battery gets "old". That's why the headlights get brighter when you replace the battery (all the cells in the new battery are not shorted and the alternator can output 14.4 volts not just 10 volts).
Let us know the out come of your tests. You still may be a hero to your friend.
Dave
 

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P.S....
A bad battery will put a BAD load on the alternator/regulator and can cause it/them to fail.
Kinda like driving with the emergency brake pulled on full.... (Brake pads/shoes overheat and motor stalls). It maybe why the old and first replacement alternator/regulator (s) went bad.
 

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Oops... There is also a terminal on the alternator that must have voltage on it to "turn-on" the alternator/regulator. It's usually activated by the ignition switch in the On/Run position. If that voltage is not present the alternator will not charge the battery.
At one time the alternator and the (voltage) regulator were two separate items.. Now they are combined within the alternator casing. That's why the "activation" terminal is now on the alternator. The black wire from the alternator to the battery can also be a fused wire (hidden within the black insulation) Check that wire for continuity with your ohm meter. Although I don't think it's bad.
Well too many thoughts.....
Dave
 

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2005 Kia Cerato LD [2L petrol] manual, 1986 Nissan Pulsar hatch
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Put a known good battery in the car and recheck the alternator out put. The battery in there now might have dropped a cell and the alternator will not be able to recharge, if the battery is bad enough you can get an open circuit which can damage the alternator diodes.[ just like removing a terminal from the battery with the engine running]
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi All....Thanks for the tips! The battery is fine. It charges up to 13 volts pretty quick and all cells are floating 4 balls with the cell checker. The fuses and links all check out fine. I did voltage tests and resistance checks on all circuits. The alternator was checked before I left Autozone and it WAS ok.

A few questions:
1...I read someplace that Autozone rebuilt alternators will not work in KIA's. It must be a KIA alternator. Fact or fiction?
2...I have heard assorted claims that this car has no voltage regulator..that the CPU controls it. Fact or fiction.
3...This thing will not get above ten volts and is not charging even a tiny amount. It's strict battery voltage with no input from the alternator. Why does the CPU not recognize a low voltage problem? A code reader on it says No Problem Codes. All systems are fine.

Any ideas????? Thanks, Wolfiniron
 

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2005 Kia Cerato LD [2L petrol] manual, 1986 Nissan Pulsar hatch
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Hi All....Thanks for the tips! The battery is fine. It charges up to 13 volts pretty quick and all cells are floating 4 balls with the cell checker. The fuses and links all check out fine. I did voltage tests and resistance checks on all circuits. The alternator was checked before I left Autozone and it WAS ok.

A few questions:
1...I read someplace that Autozone rebuilt alternators will not work in KIA's. It must be a KIA alternator. Fact or fiction?
2...I have heard assorted claims that this car has no voltage regulator..that the CPU controls it. Fact or fiction.
3...This thing will not get above ten volts and is not charging even a tiny amount. It's strict battery voltage with no input from the alternator. Why does the CPU not recognize a low voltage problem? A code reader on it says No Problem Codes. All systems are fine.

Any ideas????? Thanks, Wolfiniron
When you say you have 10 volts where are you testing ? at the alternator or the battery posts?
An alternator that is rebuilt correctly should work in any car.
The voltage regulator will be in the alternator. I think that with the alternator problems you are getting it might work out cheapest to get an auto electrician to give you an opinion on it. I think that the alternators are ok when you get them but something is damaging the diodes in operation.[ hence no charging ] I can't figure out why you are not getting the low charge light coming on.
when you do get the problem sorted please keep us all informed as It will be interesting to see what the fault was.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi...I charged the battery and tested it with both a volt meter and a cell checker. It's fine. After starting the car a few times, the voltage in the battery drops to ten volts. It measures the same at the battery and also at the fat terminal on the alternator. All three fuses in the charging circuit are good, there's zero resistance between the alternator and ground, zero between the battery negative terminal and the engine block, zero between the battery positive and the fat terminal on the alternator...! Why doesn't the on board computer flag a low voltage code? No, the alternator lite never lites up. I just can't figure it out!! I spent six years in auto mechanics school, motorcyle school and electronics school. I'm pretty familiar with auto electrical systems and have the right tools. What are the chances of two new rebuilt alternators going bad in less five minutes? Has anybody heard of any issues when mixing Autozone alternators with Kia's? Thanks, Wolfiniron
 

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Oops... There is also a terminal on the alternator that must have voltage on it to "turn-on" the alternator/regulator. It's usually activated by the ignition switch in the On/Run position. If that voltage is not present the alternator will not charge the battery.
At one time the alternator and the (voltage) regulator were two separate items.. Now they are combined within the alternator casing. That's why the "activation" terminal is now on the alternator. The black wire from the alternator to the battery can also be a fused wire (hidden within the black insulation) Check that wire for continuity with your ohm meter. Although I don't think it's bad.
Well too many thoughts.....
Dave

Ok dave i have almost the exact problem going on now for 2 weeks across the battery the voltage is 14.2 after starting the car the voltage starts dropping ecery 5 seconds or so it will drop by .01 until the voltage gets so low the car shuts off. After letting it sit for 5 min it will start again and repeat the process until the battery will get so weak it will not turn over. The power wire you speak of being activated by the ignition switch just exactly where is it and will replacing the switch possibly solve this problem? I have asked questions here before and alwaya got great answers i hope someone can help with this.
 

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My daughters 97 KIA is having the same problem. We are currently on our 3rd Auto Zone alternator and a new battery. The original one was replaced for a squeal and was charging fine. The book and paperwork say that it does have a computer controlled charging system. Both leads to the plug on the side of the alternator read ground or 0v. We are currently searching for a used computer to try that route.

Have you made any progress with your problem?
 

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sam43701..
The pink/blue wire should have 12~13.4v all the time. In the engine compartment a fuse called "defog" (30amp).It feeds that voltage continuously. If it's not there I'd look at that fuse or the wire (pink/blue) from the fuse box to the alternator.

The other wire (brown/white) is switched on when the ignition switch is in the "on" and "start" position. There is a fuse in the passenger compartment marked "meter".
It's a 10amp that feeds this portion of the circuit.
I helped one guy with a car similar to yours and his mechanic tore apart the ignition switch and cleaned the internal contacts. this solved his problem.
Antother guy with alternator problems found the wires going to the alternator some how got cut/broken in the harness. All he could figure was something flew up from the road and cut them.
Good luck and keep us posted.
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, I figured out the charging problems with the Kia that I was working on. Some background: The battery went dead. I checked the charging system and found that it was not charging. I pulled the alternator...it was dead. I bought a new one at Autozone and installed it. It was not charging. I got a replacement from AZ and installed it. Yes, I had that new one checked before I left the store. I installed it, checked it and it was dead. I took the battery home and charged it here in my shop. It took the charge fine but one cell was only floating two balls so I replaced the battery.

I checked the voltages and the wiring for any damage. No damage. The big fat wire on the alternator had battery voltage..good. The two small wires that plug into the alternator had battery voltage on one wire and a couple of volts less on the second wire....good. The lower voltage on one wire is due to it's feeding thru the lite bulb of the alternator charging idiot lite....which never lit up by the way!

I exchanged the alternator at AZ. I tried to just get a refund since at this point, I had decided that the Autozone alternators for this car were junk. They refused and gave me a new alternator..after testing it twice. I installed it and it did not charge. This was the the third Autozone alternator. Not one of them ever made it onto the road. One of them did charge for about thirty seconds and then quit. The other two did not last long enough for me to even get to look at the meters. I took it back and got a refund. Yes, they refunded the full price of the alternator and the core charge.

I bought a fresh one at a local shop after determining that they had theirs rebuilt at a place different from AZ. I installed it, crossed my fingers and checked the meters. IT'S CHARGING! Five minutes later it was still working fine. I checked over the engine while I let it run for another ten minutes and it was STILL charging! I packed up my tools and pronounced it cured.

As best as I can figure, the charging system would surge a little after the engine started. That surge was just enough to kill the Autozone battery.
The difference between the Autozone alternators and the one that I got was that AZ only replaces only the dead part during their rebuild while the other rebuilder replaced all of the wear parts. Yes, I paid more for it...$15 more. I uninstalled and installed four alternators in that $*(*[email protected]! Of course, the alternator in that particular model is in the back under the engine. Per the book, you have to remove the intake manifold and assorted hoses. I can do it without removing all of that stuff and get it out in about five minutes. Putting it back in takes about ten minutes. Practice makes perfect. I learned a few important things here:
*Never trust Autozone alternators. Pay a few dollars more and get a good one.
*I can now do a total uninstall and reinstall of the alternator on a 97 Kia Sephia in under a half hour.
*Never work on any more 97 Kia Sephia's!

The bad dreams are slowly fading now and I should be ok in a few months. Thanks for the tips and support that everybody had. Wofiniron
 

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Thank you for the advice. I visual and meter checked all dash and engine compartment fuses, all were good, I then cut the two wires to the plug, installed jumpers and touched each to the positive post on the battery. one did nothing, the other caused the alternator to charge for about three seconds the stop. each time i touched the post it did the same thing. At that point I decided the computer must send a pulses and that the computer was bad. We have been unable to find a used computer so I have done nothing else.


with this new info, which I thank you for, I will recheck my wiring, try a NAPA alternator and report back my findings.
 

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My daughters 97 KIA is having the same problem. We are currently on our 3rd Auto Zone alternator and a new battery. The original one was replaced for a squeal and was charging fine. The book and paperwork say that it does have a computer controlled charging system. Both leads to the plug on the side of the alternator read ground or 0v. We are currently searching for a used computer to try that route.

Have you made any progress with your problem?
has anybody solved this problem yet
 

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I am have the same autozone alternator problem. I am on the 3rd alternator in just a few weeks. Any advice? Also this car will not turn on the alt idiot light when its not charging .
 

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I have an 01 optima that quit charging on fri. The difference that I have from what Ive read is my old alt. tested good at a local parts store. My idiot light did come on. I have tested everything I can think of. Checked wiring for power and resistance checked all fuses I even borrowed my batt. from my other car still no charge. At the connector I have 12.6 at the orange wire continuesly the pink and gray with key on and the blue wire nothing. I am assuming the blue is the reference from the ecm. If it is supposed to be hot that may be my problem. Any help would be appreciated.
 

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2015 Buick Verano "Leather Group", 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid
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has anybody solved this problem yet
Did you read the posts? I guess not because the one right above yours states the solved problem.
 

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been dealing with this same problem just wanted to let you all know. I'm on a third alternator. One from dealer and two from autozone. and 3 batteries. I finally gave in andtook it to dealer to see what is causing this unknown problem. Voltage drops on car and alternator only kicks in at start of car and then it drops to 10 volts and keeps dropping little by little. Got so bad i was driving at 10 miles per hour to service shopat Kia. I have a 2005 Kia Spectra5 I will let youknow what they find and how much i am in the hole for. lol.
 

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been dealing with this same problem just wanted to let you all know. I'm on a third alternator. One from dealer and two from autozone. and 3 batteries. I finally gave in andtook it to dealer to see what is causing this unknown problem. Voltage drops on car and alternator only kicks in at start of car and then it drops to 10 volts and keeps dropping little by little. Got so bad i was driving at 10 miles per hour to service shopat Kia. I have a 2005 Kia Spectra5 I will let youknow what they find and how much i am in the hole for. lol.
Your 05 spectra is in no way the same as the above referenced car. It has not 1 part the same so in no way would this be the same I would assume.
 

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yeah i know but who knows if this is one of those ghosts problems on just Kia in general. either way i'd like to post what is found cause it can always help someone else in figuring something out by giving them another thing to check out.
 
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