Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
2004 2.5 Outback with 159k

Put the key in last night and my normal dash lights came on, then when I turned it to start it went totally dead (no dash lights at all). Opened the hood and jimmied the wires (but they were apparently all tight), tried again and it started right up.

Today I went to start it and the same thing happened. Jimming the wires didn't fix it this time so I jumped it with my truck, but it died as soon as I disconnected the jumper cables. I took apart and cleaned all the battery posts and connectors so no visible corrosion. Put everything back together and tried jumping it again.

This time it stayed running after I disconnected the jumper cables, but died once I put it in drive and moved forward. Took out the battery and alternator to go get them tested at two different Advanced Auto locations - battery tested ok on 2 different machines; alternator tested ok on one but had a bad bearing, and failed outright on a second test machine. So I bought a brand new (not reman'd) alternator and put it in.

Jumped it and it stayed idling with no electrical load on it (no A/C, headlights, seat warmers, etc.) for 30 min. I figured that was long enough to charge up the battery, but when I tried turning the headlights on while it was idling and it flat out died again (no dash lights or anything). Can't get any sort of life/normal start up lights when I put the key in until I jump it. It will run and drive around the block as long as no load extra load is on (no lights, stereo, etc.), but dies with any sort of loads.

Given that the alternator is brand new, I'm inclined to believe it's fine, though I suppose it ought to be tested.

My main suspicion now is that some of the battery cables/ground wires/alternator wires might be bad - anyone have any insight on how I might go about testing those?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
2012 OB , 2017 Impreza
Joined
·
3,294 Posts
The key to your story is "jumped it with my truck". Infact, you proved this more than once.

Your battery does not have enough charge to start the engine. This does not mean it is a bad battery.

1) Fully charge the battery
2) Start engine and check voltage at battery with engine running.
- Should be at least 13.8 volts.

DO NOT assume a new alternator is a "good" alternator. Especially if it came from a local autoparts distributor. The alternators/starters from these places are less than stellar. They claim "lifetime warantee".... but you may have to replace several times before you find a good one. (what is your time worth to you?)

It is FARRR better to source a used alternator from salvage-yard. An old OEM component is often more reliable than cheep chineese rebuilt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,836 Posts
A broken plate in your battery will do this too. Had a new battery cause all sorts of drama till I figured out it had a broken plate in it. Nes battery all was happy again.
 

·
Registered
2015 Outback Premium
Joined
·
188 Posts
Many auto parts stores do not have testers that can check a battery under load. Their testers will show a proper voltage just setting there but the battery may fail under load for a number of reasons.

Make sure that when you get the battery tested that it is done on a load tester.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Update, problem resolved

For one, the battery was low and charging was necessary.

But the real culprit was a bad positive battery clamp - a year and a half ago corrosion rotted out the OEM battery clamp but I replaced with a cheap replacement part they had worked perfectly until now. But after playing with my multimeter, I was seeing 12.5 volts between the two terminals, but on ~9 volts between the negative terminal and the threaded stud on the replacement clamp. Tried it with the negative terminal clamp that came with the original replacement and voila. Wouldn’t have ever thought that lump of metal would fail, but there ya go. Put a new one on and everything is back to normal.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
'15 Outback 2.5i Premium
Joined
·
2,512 Posts
Good job, and thanks for reporting the solution!
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top