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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Not sure if this incident is related or not, but about a month or so ago, there was a flood in a parking lot I drove through. I made it through the puddle, but there was a bit of steam coming from the engine. Later that night, drove fine, no issues. Then a couple days later, the battery/brake lights started flashing on/off occasionally while driving, then stayed on permanently. Couple days later while trying to leave work, car started fine, but had no acceleration in drive or reverse. Then the lights started dimming and power cut off. I tried jump starting it a couple times, but after minutes the power kept cutting out. I had it towed and the next day found out the alternator was allegedly bad. I had it replaced with a high quality one and got an oil change. About a couple months prior to that though, I replaced the battery with a brand new optima red top due to intermittent starting and replaced the cam/crankshaft sensors. A year or so prior to that I replaced the pedal position sensor and the throttle body.

It has been less than two weeks since replacing the alternator and yesterday on the way to work, the battery and brake lights flashed on and went out again. Both the battery and alternator had sufficient charge. No trouble driving until later that night at my other job when I tried to leave, it wouldn't start. All interior lights worked no problem, starter kicked over no problem. Then after a few tries the car started. Attempted to put it into drive and it had poor acceleration (but had acceleration unlike last time). Took awhile to get it up to the speed I wanted, but as soon as I stopped for traffic lights, I had to go through the delayed acceleration issue again. I also started smelling exhaust fumes or something similar burning while inside the car. I stopped at a friends house for awhile that night to hang out and then the next morning(today) I went to start the car and it had no problems starting or accelerating. It's driving fine now, but the SES light is on. I went to Autozone just now and got P0340 Camshaft Position Sensor code. So perhaps moisture in the plug from the puddle I hit is now causing issues? Why two separate issues (alternator and camshaft sensor) relative to the battery and brake light indicator less than two weeks apart?

I did some more searching and found a similar thread where another person was experiencing the same issue with a 96 Altima. After the alternator was replaced, the P0340 code came up, but they didn't report experiencing intermittent starting or acceleration issues. http://www.nissanforums.com/u13-1993-1997-altima/168934-code-p0340-after-alternator-replacement.html

A person in another thread on a different site stated they drove through water and also now have a p0340 code but no solution was offered.

I'm narrowing it down to a wire or fuse issue because I do not think the camshaft sensor needs to be replaced again. Water must have splashed up and caused a problem..but the question is what...
 

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Start The Show - Jet
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Not sure if this incident is related or not, but about a month or so ago, there was a flood in a parking lot I drove through. I made it through the puddle, but there was a bit of steam coming from the engine. Later that night, drove fine, no issues. Then a couple days later, the battery/brake lights started flashing on/off occasionally while driving, then stayed on permanently. Couple days later while trying to leave work, car started fine, but had no acceleration in drive or reverse. Then the lights started dimming and power cut off. I tried jump starting it a couple times, but after minutes the power kept cutting out. I had it towed and the next day found out the alternator was allegedly bad. I had it replaced with a high quality one and got an oil change. About a couple months prior to that though, I replaced the battery with a brand new optima red top due to intermittent starting and replaced the cam/crankshaft sensors. A year or so prior to that I replaced the pedal position sensor and the throttle body.

It has been less than two weeks since replacing the alternator and yesterday on the way to work, the battery and brake lights flashed on and went out again. Both the battery and alternator had sufficient charge. No trouble driving until later that night at my other job when I tried to leave, it wouldn't start. All interior lights worked no problem, starter kicked over no problem. Then after a few tries the car started. Attempted to put it into drive and it had poor acceleration (but had acceleration unlike last time). Took awhile to get it up to the speed I wanted, but as soon as I stopped for traffic lights, I had to go through the delayed acceleration issue again. I also started smelling exhaust fumes or something similar burning while inside the car. I stopped at a friends house for awhile that night to hang out and then the next morning(today) I went to start the car and it had no problems starting or accelerating. It's driving fine now, but the SES light is on. I went to Autozone just now and got P0340 Camshaft Position Sensor code. So perhaps moisture in the plug from the puddle I hit is now causing issues? Why two separate issues (alternator and camshaft sensor) relative to the battery and brake light indicator less than two weeks apart?

I did some more searching and found a similar thread where another person was experiencing the same issue with a 96 Altima. After the alternator was replaced, the P0340 code came up, but they didn't report experiencing intermittent starting or acceleration issues. Code P0340 After Alternator Replacement - Nissan Forum

A person in another thread on a different site stated they drove through water and also now have a p0340 code but no solution was offered.

I'm narrowing it down to a wire or fuse issue because I do not think the camshaft sensor needs to be replaced again. Water must have splashed up and caused a problem..but the question is what...
This will probably not be an answer you like, but I have a story to offer up for you.

My last car was a '99 Saturn SC2. Short version is that it started running SUPER rich all of a sudden. I'd normally get 34-36MPG with that car, and the last trip before I started working on the issue was about 25 miles, and I ran through about 1/2 tank! I went through sensor after sensor after sensor to figure out what the problem was. Finally figured out it was the air intake temperature sensor. It was frozen at -15*F from a huge winter storm we had a few weeks prior to the issues. The ECU sensed the low temperature and was dumping fuel into the engine to compensate for the denser cold air.

Here's my point...

Rule #1 : Use logic
Rule #2 : Process of elimination
Rule #3 : Keep your receipts

That's the best advice I can give you. If you don't think it's the Crank Sensor, but it could possibly be causing the issue, try it anyway. Eliminate it as a possibility. But keep your receipts so you can return the part if that's not the fix.

Good luck, though. I've been there. It's not so fun while you're trying to figure it out. Keep in mind, though, that it's super rewarding when you finally do figure it out.

EDIT: I forgot to include - just because an event created a few issues with the car doesn't mean that the problems are related. They may be completely separate issues - both CAUSED by the puddle. Try and break them apart and diagnose them separately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I read somewhere about the fusible link possibly being the culprit. So I swapped that out today. No change. I then noticed the ground wire to one of the high beams not connected so I reconnected that, still no change. I checked the ALT fuse in the fuse box. Fuse is still good, but I swapped it with a brand new one anyway. There was a small leak in the coolant reservoir near the front grill so I epoxied that. On the way home from work, I had the charging system tested at Advanced Auto, but both test good. I didn't have the alt bench tested because I honestly think that even if the alt was bad and I swapped it for a replacement, the replacement would have the same issue in a week or so. I honestly think there's a bad ground or corroded wire somewhere that is killing the alternator. I'm gonna take a look tomorrow and see if there's anything hanging or touching the chassis. I'll inspect the belts too and make sure they're ok. I'll probably also swap out the camshaft sensor, but I don't think that'll make a difference. Every site I check has similar complaints, but I never see any solutions other than people replacing their alternators. The battery and brake light came on during my trip home from work today, but only when I hit a bump. The lights stayed on for about 10 seconds then went out. That alone leads me to believe either something is loose, corroded or touching something it shouldn't. I also need to get a motor mount fixed. One on the passenger side must be broken because every time I go over a bump with the passenger front wheel, it makes a loud banging noise and it sounds like something under the hood is banging metal to metal. Its been that way for awhile and could have very well loosened up something.
 

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I read somewhere about the fusible link possibly being the culprit. So I swapped that out today. No change. I then noticed the ground wire to one of the high beams not connected so I reconnected that, still no change. I checked the ALT fuse in the fuse box. Fuse is still good, but I swapped it with a brand new one anyway. There was a small leak in the coolant reservoir near the front grill so I epoxied that. On the way home from work, I had the charging system tested at Advanced Auto, but both test good. I didn't have the alt bench tested because I honestly think that even if the alt was bad and I swapped it for a replacement, the replacement would have the same issue in a week or so. I honestly think there's a bad ground or corroded wire somewhere that is killing the alternator. I'm gonna take a look tomorrow and see if there's anything hanging or touching the chassis. I'll inspect the belts too and make sure they're ok. I'll probably also swap out the camshaft sensor, but I don't think that'll make a difference. Every site I check has similar complaints, but I never see any solutions other than people replacing their alternators. The battery and brake light came on during my trip home from work today, but only when I hit a bump. The lights stayed on for about 10 seconds then went out. That alone leads me to believe either something is loose, corroded or touching something it shouldn't. I also need to get a motor mount fixed. One on the passenger side must be broken because every time I go over a bump with the passenger front wheel, it makes a loud banging noise and it sounds like something under the hood is banging metal to metal. Its been that way for awhile and could have very well loosened up something.
Same shit happen to me tonight.dont you just love it

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Well, on the way to work earlier today while stopped at a light, the battery and brake light flashed again, but this time, the battery voltmeter dropped from 16v to 12v and the heater fan dropped from high to low, then returned to normal after a few seconds. It did that a couple more times while I was sitting in the parking lot just before heading into work. I didn't have the stereo or lights on though so no idea if they'd have made it even worse if they were on. One thing after another with this POS.

Anyway, I came across another site where someone mentioned that these problems started happening once they had the exhaust welded. This makes perfect sense! When I drove through the flood into the parking lot at work that one night, the pipe must have sucked up water or something. A couple days later, I had the pipe welded back together and then these issues started occurring.

"I replaced the alternator because the mechanic said it was the alternator and 400.00 dollars later……..same thing …so I called the mechanic back and he again said it was a bad alternator and replaced it again ( for free this time ) and guess what ….same f**k problem again .. I am at a lost …don’t know were to go or do now … the funny thing about this is that when I accelerate the voltage meter drops from 14 volts to 12 volts and the heater fan speeds down slow, when I release the acceleration, the voltage meter goes to 14 ( normal ) and the fan goes back to normal speed.

Here is the catch….when I turn my head lights on????? No problems everything works normal….. no voltage drops, no fan problems , nothing !!!!

Another member responds:
I got the same problem on my 96 Trooper 3.2 V6, only it doesn't matter what I turn on or off. The problem started when a shop welded on the exhaust system. The problem depens on the temperature. if it is hotter it happens more."



Additionally, someone on yet another site mentioned piercing a wire located under their radiator.

"Figured it out. When I was taken the condenser out there are 2 metal clips that hold the radiator into the frame. They were both really rusted when I was taking the bolts out of them and the one on the passenger side broke. I had to put a self tapping screw into the frame not realizing the wiring harness was underneath. I must of pierced the power wire to the alternator. I ended up cutting the screw down and now everything is back to normal. So I ended up with a new alternator from the shop when I swapped out the other one. Just remember the wiring harness runs underneath where the radiator sits. Hopefully this can help someone else on the future. Thanks for all the responses."

So that last person mentioned piercing a wire located near the radiator and just about a week ago, I had the reservoir epoxied due to a leak that recently started.

Now I'll have to look into 2 new possibilities. Ugh...
 

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Well, on the way to work earlier today while stopped at a light, the battery and brake light flashed again, but this time, the battery voltmeter dropped from 16v to 12v and the heater fan dropped from high to low, then returned to normal after a few seconds. It did that a couple more times while I was sitting in the parking lot just before heading into work. I didn't have the stereo or lights on though so no idea if they'd have made it even worse if they were on. So NOW I'm thinking the alternator is ready to go because its gradually getting worse. Possibly a regulator issue? This Sunday I'm gonna change the drive belts and try and have the alternator bench tested if the weather isn't too cold. I have a warranty on the alternator if I need to swap it out, but I'm still gonna be without a car til the replacement arrives which is a major inconvenience. One thing after another with this POS.

My quick fix lol

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
The more I look around, the more sites I find with people having similar issues which adds onto the crap I have to check. Another guy noticed a frayed ground wire leading to the alternator and coincidentally, the other day my mechanic was unable to get the wire harness off the alternator because the clip was broken. Very possible that the harness could be causing this issue.

"Well I think the problem has been discovered. I took apart the radiator brakcet again to clean the ground cable on the alternator after not getting any reading from that ground to the positive on the battery while running (not sure if I tested it right though to). While I am cleaning with sand paper (no steel bristle brush) I noticed the tip is falling off in my hand and the cooper underneath is brittle and breaking. Not sure what the next step is from here other then trying to find this particular run of cable. I am so very frustrated its beyond belief. Labor day plans were cancelled because of this car."




Another member responds to his frayed wire issue: "You need to BADLY replace that ground wire... With all the broken braids at the lug you are limiting the amount of current flow through it (increased resistance=lower current flow) and NOW the 14v plus volts makes sense....there IS an actual voltage drop between the alternator frame and the engine/body/frame of 1.5 volts. The internal voltage regulator is bumping the output of the alternator UP that amount to 14.7 volts.
(kiatechinfo.com states ANYTHING above 13.2 volts is over charging the battery.
That's why you have been replacing the batteries so often! It's also why you replaced a GOOD alternator thinking the alternator was killing them.
REPLACE THAT GROUND WIRE NOW!!!! and if you can use a larger diameter wire. Put silicon grease all over the lug areas (under the lugs too!)."


So a frayed/corroded/bad ground is more likely than a faulty alternator or battery.. even though I may have to replace these both yet again before pinpointing the wire problem. Only thing that lets me know this is the issue is the problems are gradually getting worse as the days continue. I will keep you posted and see what the overall issue is and let you know about any repairs made along the way. Hopefully this issue gets settled soon.. I certainly don't have the money to keep replacing alternators and batteries or other parts for that matter.
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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What you are seeing there is indication of a corroded connection that has been massively overheating causing the copper wire strands to fatigue.

If the welder was properly grounded during the work it shouldn't affect the alternator/battery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What you are seeing there is indication of a corroded connection that has been massively overheating causing the copper wire strands to fatigue.

If the welder was properly grounded during the work it shouldn't affect the alternator/battery.
I'll check later to see if mine looks anything like that. Either way I'm hoping to narrow down the possibilities soon. Everything seems to point to a wiring or connection problem.
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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My recommendation, if that was your wire, would be to replace the whole cable from the alternator B terminal (the one you show in the pic, ie the threaded lug) all the way to the battery +ve terminal cluster as that kind of damage affects more than just the ends and you could wind up having trouble again in the near future. It would be worth your time to find someone who can properly crimp the terminals on either end and then heatshrink over the transition from cable jacket to terminal to reduce the amount of moisture than can get in going forwards, you can also use that self-sealing silicone tape, works quite well as a waterproof insulator when applied under a little bit of 'stretch' tension. BTW it's not a ground wire...it goes direct to the battery, so I don't recommend grounding it...you'll pop the fusible link.

While you are in there...you should also replace the braided ground strap between the tranny and the chassis if it hasn't been done in the last 4-5 years.
 

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Ok. Next up. Your voltmeter should NEVER read 16V, 14.5V yes while engine running, but 16V+ and you now know your alternator's regulator is toast.

See my Alternator thread linked in my .sig below -- your symptoms match the 'over voltage' condition that puts the engine into failsafe (no pedal input) mode. My temp work around was to turn everything electrical on (headlights, rear defog, AC blower, heated seats whatever)...to prevent the battery overcharging to 17V...the approximate shutdown voltage.

Again, there is a correleation between bad engine ground and the alternator prematurely failing in this overvoltage mode.
 

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Ok. Next up. Your voltmeter should NEVER read 16V, 14.5V yes while engine running, but 16V+ and you now know your alternator's regulator is toast.

See my Alternator thread linked in my .sig below -- your symptoms match the 'over voltage' condition that puts the engine into failsafe (no pedal input) mode. My temp work around was to turn everything electrical on (headlights, rear defog, AC blower, heated seats whatever)...to prevent the battery overcharging to 17V...the approximate shutdown voltage.

Again, there is a correleation between bad engine ground and the alternator prematurely failing in this overvoltage mode.


The damb nut came loose

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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You mean you are using the vice grips as a proxy for a missing nut? You do realize those pliers are now directly connected to the battery +ve and capable of drawing at least 100A (1200W) continuously? That's enough to start a pretty good fire or short out a lot of 'spensive 'lectronics. Please tell me you aren't driving around like that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Your voltmeter should NEVER read 16V, 14.5V yes while engine running, but 16V+ and you now know your alternator's regulator is toast.
Apologies...I was reading the voltmeter wrong. It was at 14.5 but kept dropping to 12 or 12.5v.


On the way home the battery and brake light stayed on so I stopped at a local garage and they checked a few wires. Looks like the problem has been discovered. The damn ground wire in the voltage regulator harness was corroded and disconnected. Should have looked more closely the other day when a friend tried getting the harness out, but saw the clip on the side of the adapter was broken off so she left it alone. Now I gotta find a replacement harness, but I can't find one anywhere. I'm not gonna drive the car this way or I'll end up getting stranded.




Anybody know where I can find one?
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Junkyard is fastest, eBay has 'em if you have time. Call around they're not that scarce.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
ok but even if I replace the harness tomorrow morning or afternoon before work (with luck) should I drive the car? My guess is no since the alternator is probably shot from that ground wire issue....especially now that the brake and battery light are now staying on...
 

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You mean you are using the vice grips as a proxy for a missing nut? You do realize those pliers are now directly connected to the battery +ve and capable of drawing at least 100A (1200W) continuously? That's enough to start a pretty good fire or short out a lot of 'spensive 'lectronics. Please tell me you aren't driving around like that?
I was 12 miles away from home around 10 at night. Coffee house had no hardware lol. Hopefully I can thread a new stud into the altanator and make necessary repairs to the cables

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Kudos for creativity then ;)
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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ok but even if I replace the harness tomorrow morning or afternoon before work (with luck) should I drive the car? My guess is no since the alternator is probably shot from that ground wire issue....especially now that the brake and battery light are now staying on...
I think the warning lights are on because the wire is broken, not because there is actually something wrong. I think you will be good to go after replacing harness connector.

If you pull the plug (and the remaining wire), then you've essentially disconnected the alternator's ability to charge. You can safely drive until the battery is depleted (so no headlights, no fan, no AC, no power windows, no radio, anything with a motor is bad, anything that makes heat is bad, anything that lights up beyond that which is legally required, is bad).

On a full battery you can go quite far on the highway (400+mi?)...less so in the city with the brake lights, signal lights etc. Certainly enough to pick up parts during the day--however don't try this in bad weather at night!
 
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