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Old 04-07-2017, 09:34 PM
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low voltage - no power

I have a 1999 grand Cherokee - 6 cyl. I had driven roughly 40 miles this morning with no problems. I got back in to take off and it started sputtering and I noticed the volts had dropped to 9. A few seconds later the volts jumped back to 14 and it started running fine. 2 blocks later the volts drop to 9 again and all the dummy lights came on. It had little to no power and was sputtering. I limped back to the office at about 12 mph. The exhaust smelled bad. Any ideas?

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Old 04-07-2017, 09:47 PM
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Re: low voltage - no power

Voltage regulator, maybe? Your alternator may be ready to take a dump.

---------- Post added at 02:47 AM ---------- Previous post was at 02:45 AM ----------

Also, check your battery cables and any grounds you may be able to locate.
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Old 04-07-2017, 09:49 PM
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Re: low voltage - no power

Thanks, I'll check those. There has been a handful of times in the last 3 months when I would be sitting at a stoplight and it seemed like it would lose power but only for a split second. I could here it in the radio. It never stalled though.
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Old 04-07-2017, 09:55 PM
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Re: low voltage - no power

Is it the original alternator?
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Old 04-07-2017, 10:02 PM
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Re: low voltage - no power

I wouldn't think so but I'm not for sure. I've had it for about 5 years. Not many problems. The battery is 2 years old. The starter was replaced last Summer. 133,000 miles.
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Old 04-07-2017, 10:06 PM
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Re: low voltage - no power

If you can remove it you can take it to a parts store and they can check it for you.
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Old 04-07-2017, 11:30 PM
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Re: low voltage - no power

Something similar just happened to my jeep yesterday night. Came just from a gas station and my "check gages" light came on with the chime. Voltage indicator was just above the 9V. A bit later it went back to 13.5V again. Removed my alternator and found the brushes worn to limits, not sticking out even a bit. Strange thing was that i replaced the brush block with rectifier some years back, but it shouldn´t have worn this fast. Maybe some crappy "made in China" stuff. Put the old brush block back on, since i only changed it because it was a part of the rebuild kit i had bought of e-bay. It still has more then 5 mm on the brushes.
I had put my battery on the charger today, but still have a low voltage. Just reading a bit over 10V when not charging. Can be a shorted battery cell, which should give a bit over 2V. Just to be sure, i will leave the charger on this night and will check again tomorrow morning
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Old 04-08-2017, 05:37 AM
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Re: low voltage - no power

I too had a similar situation Some years ago. I was on my way to Atlantic City when the same thing happened. I pulled into a Autozone and had it checked. It turned out to be the plug connection at the rear of the alternator was corroded. I bought a spray cleaner, cleaned it up and continued on. Check yours. It may be that.
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Old 04-08-2017, 09:54 AM
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Re: low voltage - no power

Thanks! I'm going to start off by checking the connections and replacing the battery cables. I figure that's also the least expensive option to try first!
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Old 04-09-2017, 01:58 PM
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Re: low voltage - no power

I had to change my battery yesterday. Even after charging the battery the whole day and whole night, a few minutes after charging, the voltage was back to a bit over 10V.
Was just reading about damaging a battery, and when you continue to use the battery with the voltage below the 10V, it will permanently damage the battery cells due to cristal formation on the plates.
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Old 04-10-2017, 01:26 PM
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Re: low voltage - no power

Did you locate the issue?
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Old 04-10-2017, 02:28 PM
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Re: low voltage - no power

Quote:
Originally Posted by marty1966 View Post
Thanks! I'm going to start off by checking the connections and replacing the battery cables. I figure that's also the least expensive option to try first!
Unless they are corroded, you don't need to replace them.
Take them off and polish the heck out of them with a small steel brush.
Then, take the other end of them and pull it and polish that as well and reconnect quite tightly... the ground cable is pretty common to have a poor connect.
Buy an inexpensive digital volt meter, and with the engine running,
put one lead on the battery ground and the other on a BARE metal on the body.
You don't want 0.2 volts.
Make the same check with one lead on the engine block and the other on the body.
Make the same check with one lead on the engine block and the other on the ground terminal.

Rarely is the positive cable the issue, and that one is a pain to get at both ends, but if you can, check out the cabling at the starter solenoid to make sure all is clean and tight.

As someone else noted, pull the connects off the alternator, clean, make sure are tight.

You might have a bad regulator in your alternator.
And if you drive long at low voltage, you will toast your battery.

If you have a decent automotive electric shop in the area that specializes in alternators and charging systems, have them take a look at it. They also typically know a better replacement alternator than the factory ones...
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