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Discussion Starter #1
New to the site and a relatively new subaru owner.

I currently have a 1997 outback limited with 143k miles. Recent work by former owner included head gaskets and timing belt/water pump.

Since purchasing the car I have put about 100 miles on it.

Last week when taking it for a short mile long drive to the mailbox during the snow i got into a ditch. While reving an rocking trying to get out of the ditch the engine died in a fashion similar to when an alternator goes bad.

All lights went dim quickly and then out and no juice to roll the windows up or run the radio.

After setting for about ten minutes I had enough juice to roll the windows up with the help of a person pulling up on the windows at the same time.

My neighbor jumped me with a battery pack and the car fired right over and I drove home and parked it.

A few days later i went to start the car and it acted like the battery was dead. The car would barely turn over and after crasnking for about 30 seconds it would get weaker and weaker.

After charging my booster pack I tried to jump it but ti still acts as if the battery is just plain dead or close to being dead.

No alternator light has come on. I have not done a thorough look at all wire connections but at this point any suggestions would help.

I plan to purchase a alternator/battery tester but was also hoping to see if anyone had any other ideas.

When ever I have had an issue with charging typically the alternator light has come on.

The battery looks to be in good shape and the terminals are clean and properly connected. I did notice the batter is a reconditioned one as stamped on top.

Any help is appreciated.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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14,318 Posts
Replace the battery.

Check the alternator after to insure it is working properly. The alternator relies on amperage flow from the battery to function. With a bad battery, the alternator will be overworked and will suffer an early death. When, who knows.
 

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2007 Outback XT Ltd
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847 Posts
You could have the battery fully charged and load tested by a shop - but I bet it is bad. Is there a date code visible on top? If it is more than five years old it is suspect. If more than seven, just get rid of it. The battery in my '07 died without any warning just a few days ago.

BTW I have never heard of a "reconditioned" battery. What the heck is that? Oh, wait, I know - it is a used POS battery that someone traded in on a new one, and the shop cleaned the case and top and put a new label on it, and then sold it for $25 to some sucker ...... get RID of it!

Definitely check the output of the alternator using a digital voltmeter after replacing it. It does no good to have a functional battery if the charging system is kaput.

Don't you love it when you discover these things in a new purchase? I wonder what else the seller didn't tell you.....? What is the Carfax like? How do the fluids look?

Good luck. And welcome to the forum.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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Also, turn the ignition key to ON (but don't start the engine). Check to see if all the warning lights, including the one for the battery/alternator comes on. (I'm not sure what it's identified by in the 97. On my 07 it's just a picture of a battery.) This is important. If the bulb is burned out, the alternator won't work. (The current through the bulb provides the initial "field current" to get the alternator going when the engine starts. After that, the field current is provided from the alternator's own output.)

Measure the voltage at the battery posts with the engine running at around 1000 rpm or more, no lights or accessories turned on. It should be around 14 Volts.

Ground connections are also critical. A bad ground between the battery negative post, engine block and alternator case will prevent a good alternator from charging a good battery, yet the warning light (that is checked and found to be good) doesn't come on when the engine is running.
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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If you have Sears auto center near by, go there to have it checked for free. You save on buying testers and guessing game....
 
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