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Old 12-04-2008, 09:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Brake and Battery lights came on at the same time

2001 OBW 2.5L Auto

This morning (10degF) I started my car and noticed that both the BRAKE and BATTERY lights were on. I stopped the car and then restarted but they both are still on. I popped the hood and checked all belts. Everything looks good. I can't check battery voltage until lunch today.

Why both at once? It seems like others have had this problem as the same question came up on a google search with no answers.

Thanks.
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Guessing here...

If one of the dual filament brake/taillight bulb goes bad, then it crosses the circuits and they both come on together.

Check your bulbs carefully.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ok, just checked a few things.

All bulbs present and working correctly.

All belts present and turning accessory.

Now for the culprit:

Checked voltage with car off. 12.2V. Good so far. Start the engine and it drops to 11.7V. No good.

So, what to check first. Is it possible to check the alternator output? Is there an external voltage regulator or is it built into the alternator?

Looking for suggestions on what to check first. I don't want to just throw an alternator at it hoping it's the solution.

Why is the brake light on? Does the ABS not have a high enough voltage to work or something like that?

Thanks.
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Old 12-04-2008, 02:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by mckeand13
Ok, just checked a few things.

All bulbs present and working correctly.

All belts present and turning accessory.

Now for the culprit:

Checked voltage with car off. 12.2V. Good so far. Start the engine and it drops to 11.7V. No good.

So, what to check first. Is it possible to check the alternator output? Is there an external voltage regulator or is it built into the alternator?

Looking for suggestions on what to check first. I don't want to just throw an alternator at it hoping it's the solution.

Why is the brake light on? Does the ABS not have a high enough voltage to work or something like that?

Thanks.
With the engine running, you should have around 14 volts. If you only have 11.7v with the engine running, you have either a bad connection, or a bad alternator. I believe the regulator is internal to the alternator. If you take the car to a shop, they can test the charging system (but, do they know what they are doing?).

When you say brake light, do you mean the brake lights in the back of the car, the brake light on the dash, or the ABS light? If it's the brake light on the dash, it could be the brake reservoir is low, or you have a brake pressure issue, or a bad switch on the hand brake. An ABS fault will not turn on the brake light, just the ABS light.
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Old 12-04-2008, 02:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by mslatfly


With the engine running, you should have around 14 volts. If you only have 11.7v with the engine running, you have either a bad connection, or a bad alternator. I believe the regulator is internal to the alternator. If you take the car to a shop, they can test the charging system (but, do they know what they are doing?).

When you say brake light, do you mean the brake lights in the back of the car, the brake light on the dash, or the ABS light? If it's the brake light on the dash, it could be the brake reservoir is low, or you have a brake pressure issue, or a bad switch on the hand brake. An ABS fault will not turn on the brake light, just the ABS light.
The brake light as I mentioned, is the brake light in the instrument cluster, which would typically come on when the e-brake is applied. If I pull the e-brake, it actually makes the brake light a bit brighter.

The brake fluid is at the correct level.

I'm going to pull the alternator and bring it in to have it tested.
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Brake and Battery lights came on at the same time

Quote:
Originally posted by mckeand13
2001 OBW 2.5L Auto

This morning (10degF) I started my car and noticed that both the BRAKE and BATTERY lights were on. I stopped the car and then restarted but they both are still on. I popped the hood and checked all belts. Everything looks good. I can't check battery voltage until lunch today.

Why both at once? It seems like others have had this problem as the same question came up on a google search with no answers.

Thanks.
Bad altenator/battery or both.

Have the chargning system checked.

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Old 12-05-2008, 09:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It sounds like the alternator. When I drove my h-6 with no serpantine belt (see post about h-6 noises and leaks) my battery and brake lights were on.

-r
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Almost forgot to post my followup.

Had the alternator checked at a parts store. Dead.

New alternator installed and all is good.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Great news! Sounds like an easy fix!

On another note....when I replace my alternator, I simply bought a new one. So, now I have the one that wasn't really dead, but had a limited amount of life left in it. What's the best thing to do with that? Is there some place that buys used alternators and re-works them to sell them as refurb or do I simply throw it away?

-r
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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A rebuilder may buy the old one off you for what he charges people on a core charge.
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