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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello
211K miles on my Accord, owned since 125K miles with unknown prior service history.
Never had a battery charging issue (just old crap battery before). I upsized the battery to the bigger 24F V6 type two years ago as recommended here and it's been flawless in super cold Vermont weather after sitting a week even.

Drove hour to work, at end approaching parking low speed, battery light came on 3x and went out. All happened in a matter of 1-2 minutes at most.

After sitting 6 hours, car started up easily -full battery power easy to observe.
Drove back home hour (48 miles mostly highway), battery read 12.7 VDC engine off.
Next day started car - idling 14.7 DVC reading. Nice and strong.

So... do I worry? Alternator going? It does have some slight PS fluid leaks around / on it.
I have a 1995 Kawasaki ZX600E motorcycle that had a dying regulator / rectifier that was 100% intermittent as the diodes in the stock OEM under capacity Regulator / Rectifier were dying. R/R was super hot to touch as it stopped charging the battery and stranded me 6 times over months. At idle back home (cold engine / engine on) testing it always metered a cheery 14.7 VDC. It had to get hot out on the road driving 20+ miles or more and then finally caught it below 12VDC as I had wired up a voltmeter to battery and had it in view in my tank bag on a ride.... replacing the R/R and upgrading the gauge of wiring from the Stator completely solved the getting stranded problem!

So I know in a different system, different case: Moto with Stator and Regulator / Rectifier separate combo charging system vs Auto Alternator all in one heavier unit - maybe these have nothing in common (?)

QUESTION: can a failing / dying alternator output 14+ VDC correctly and then intermittently charge / no charge a battery in a car?

(connections at battery are tight and look good. little to no corrosion at posts).
 

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Victus - 2012 Honda Accord (EX-L V6)
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Short answer is yes it can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for response. Yikes. So if I've got some critical night time driving next week I should... likely replace it I would guess?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OH - and I forgot to post! I've got a loud whine in that area.
Power Steering pump was definitely whining and I did that two O ring replacement on the intake and out of the pump, seemed better.
Whine is pretty bad now, and can be heard even driving fast whereas before it was only low speed noticeable and turning steering wheel. It still gets loud turning steering - quieter (or quiet) driving straight.

I cannot hear if it's Alt or PS pump making the racket at idle but it does make a racket. It's gotten much worse in past 2-3 months anyway / past 10,000 miles.

The visible gold wiring on the Alt isn't gold looking more dark from PS fluid dribbling on it.
 

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Victus - 2012 Honda Accord (EX-L V6)
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Use a mechanic stethoscope or a long screwdriver to see if you can isolate the noise to the alternator. A dying alternator will make a whine sound. And if PSF has been leaking onto it that isn't good news.

Before considering replacing the alternator you need to fix that leak.

The alternator is not hard to replace on the I4 so I'd do it if I were you. Use a good quality brand alternator, not the junk at the parts store.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for advice!
Will go out and try with long screwdriver today. Also, found a shop 40 min from here that can rebuild my original same day for $150-$180 which a rebuilt Denso is gonna cost that from RockAuto with delivery and have to wait. (local chain car shops want $350 for rebuilt one).
So looking at vote of no confidence and about 99% pulling alternator tonight or tomorrow morning for rebuild.
The PS Pump leaked slightly for a few years, and possibly the two O ring replacement stopped it or at least greatly reduced it.
 

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As long as it's a good shop doing the rebuild that should be fine
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
(argh). Just re-started the car after sitting 3 days. Started immediately. Voltage across terminals is 14.35 VDC (perfect).
The Whine is coming from the Power Steering pump, not the alternator
(extremely easy to pinpoint with long handled screw driver). And it's a bearing whine, not air sucking whine.

I suppose I have to ask... a previously leaking always loud PS pump that may be in bearing failure (?) - can THAT cause a voltage drain on the electrical system?
I'm going to make some guesses here if it's partially seizing it could put far too much drag on the serpentine belt / induce slip and therefore not generate enough charge?

The battery light came on and then went off briefly, but when I was making slow speed turns around a tight rotary and 5-10 mph turns for parking lot. Could low rpms and PS pump demands make that happen?

in other words, now I'm waffling to pull and re-build an alternator that may not be the problem.
 

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Intermittent problems can be tricky to diagnose.

If this was the V6 I'd probably suggest replace it before you go but since it's the I4 with an easier to access alternator, wait for the issue to become constant (if ever). Maybe carry a set of tools to swap the alternator in the trunk if needed and a new one.

But until you can verify it, don't bother if there's reasonable doubt that it's the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Will the a low /dying battery in the car key FOB trigger the red battery dashboard light?
I've now been reading that as a generic car possibility online.
My key battery is quite low, won't open doors when cold. Meant to replace it. Have had same battery for 5.5 years at least since I bought the car.
 

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Will the a low /dying battery in the car key FOB trigger the red battery dashboard light?
No. Some newer Hondas have a separate warning for a low key fob battery, but the battery light on these is controlled by the alternator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Thanks again. I went to junkyard to pull an alternator and PS pump. There were only 3 '08-'12 cars i4 engines. All picked clean :(
However, I was able to scramble to local alternator rebuilder and buy the brushes and cap set for $16.99!

I just removed the alternator, and took out the old brushes. They are completely shot, very little left. I will post a pic. The bearings turn nicely and tight by hand.
Pretty happy! This should fix it. Thanks for your help WiiMaster!
 
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At the end of the day peace of mind is worth quite a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Some notes:
- for our i4 engines interlock a 14mm open wrench with something like a 17mm wrench and pull the 14mm tensioner bolt FORWARD to front of the car. (clockwise - not CCW) to loosen slack and slide belt off.
-Then, I wedged a garden hose sprayer nozzle under the belt to hold it up and keep tension on all the pulleys except the alternator. Worked fantastic to easily one person get belt back on again.
It's a lot better to either remove alternator bolts or at least upper 12mm bolt and loosen lower 14mm bolt to pivot alternator forward, THEN unbolt the main electrical connector as it's very hard to reach with intake plastics in the way of a proper 10mm socket and ratchet. Reverse should be done same way - not the way I did, don't bolt it all up again and try to connect that upper wire back. Luckily I had some silly small tools on hand to fidget it in there to tighten .... but rather not do that again in that order.

Took 1.5 hour to remove and get tools out. 1.5 hours to install new brushes and re-install it all back in car.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Pics:
Note the new brushes and cap compared to the worn down one.
Also the armature is a bit worn in on the inner part.
I hand sand papered the armature thingee dark bits to clean it up to shinier copper.
Also, I drove my car the 30 miles / 40 min to the salvage yard. At slow speeds backroads the battery light came on a lot, but at highway speeds and idling it was not on. I pulled over to Voltmeter the battery and it was still reading 14.35 VDC. I could never catch the charging system sitting it out at 12 VDC or less.
Fixture Gas Auto part Circle Personal protective equipment

Tire Automotive tire Black Motor vehicle Tread
Wood Gear Screw Gas Household hardware
Automotive tire Finger Wood Gas Household hardware
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update:
Problem completely solved!
12-15 trips long and short and 1000 miles and that red battery light is gone.
simply replacing those alternator brushes did the trick and only cost me $18 with tax my local rebuilder had in stock as well.
thanks for your help wiimaster and forum.

(now I just have to figure out a new cold rattling problem that just started happening...)
 

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(now I just have to figure out a new cold rattling problem that just started happening...)
On cold start? VTC actuator, perhaps?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yeah, cold start. But I think I could be stupidly causing the issue. I seem to be about due for an oil change, and (face to palm), today in a hard corner the oil pressure light came on for a half second.
I'm near sure I'm at about 2 qts oil left - will be changing it out now before I start the engine again.
I am thinking it is the VTC and I'm causing it by not enough oil in my engine... Not smart on my part.

(I believe I have a noteworthy rear main seal leak although I can't prove it, it's certainly wet around the AT / engine joint area).
 
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Certainly possible. Did all that oil go away through the leak or are you burning some?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I believe it's leaking at the rear main seal.
It looks like about 2.5 quarts came out with the oil & filter change, so I was likely down about 2 quarts at the 10% oil life mark @ 9500 miles driven and 6 months of use.
Will be driving it 3 hours today to test it if the rattle is still there at cold starts.
 
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