Truck electrical problems?

Discussion in 'Other Repairs' started by Fishgeek, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. Fishgeek

    Fishgeek Active Member

    Messages:
    1,149
    State:
    Indiana
    Hey guys, I have a '97 Nissan pick-up that has ~95K miles on it. It's been a great little truck & I was hoping to keep it alive until I reached at least 150,000. I was driving a few days ago & noticed the radio was acting a little funny - kept cutting off on me. I turned the radio off and continued to drive it (with the radio off all the time) for the next couple days. The other morning I hopped in, started it up, and drove a few miles and parked it. I came back out ~an hour later & it was dead. I jumped the battery, took it home & bought a new one. (After thinking about it for awhile I realized that my battery was pretty old). Before I installed the new battery I disconnected the radio & taped off the wire ends. The truck ran great (started easily on the first crank) for the next three days (never had the lights on) and then sat in the driveway over the weekend. I went to start it this morning and I couldn't get it to run. The battery cranked it good once & then it was all over.

    What do you think? Do I have a short someplace or does sound like alternator problems?
     
  2. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    it could be a short, like maybe the wire thats always "hot" (the one for radio memory,clock etc.) is cut and grounding somewhere. i'd check the alternator first though. worried about keeping it alive till 150,000? LOL, those nissans will last forever! i have a '95 nissan 4cyl king cab pickup that has almost 170k miles and still runs fantastic, when i go to change oil (every 4-5,000) it still looks new. my mom has a nissan 4cyl car with over 250,000 and it still runs like a champ too. too bad the American car manufacturers dont make 'em this good, its no wonder GM is going belly up!
     

  3. Fishgeek

    Fishgeek Active Member

    Messages:
    1,149
    State:
    Indiana
    Thanks Dink. What's the best way to check the alternator? Get it started, disconnect the battery, & see if the lights still work? Or, should I take it someplace? Won't an autoparts store usually test that for free?

    Yes, I know my litte beater should run for ever. 150,000 is my minimum expectation. I just need to learn how to do a bit more repair work myself. I'm a mechanical idiot...although I did change a brake caliper by myself last year. (That tapping noise you hear is me patting myself on the back!)
     
  4. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    im sure you have an Autozone or Advanced over in Indy, just take your truck to them and they have a little tester they will wheel out and check while the truck is running, no need to take it out first. you can pull off the terminals while its running but i'd do it after dark and have someone else watch the headlights to see if they dim any when you remove them.
     
  5. Mutt

    Mutt Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,207
    State:
    Ca
    Name:
    Mutt
    do not start it and unhook the battery cables its a almost sure fire way to cook the computer! take it to autozone etc or a shop and have them check the charging system out. ive seen a lot fo cars towed in for people checking thier altanators by unhooking the cables. i had a toyota pickup i sold with 344k on it never had the head off nothing was a great running tuck no oil burning nothing at times i wished i kept it got 25 mpg even at 344k
     
  6. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    yeah your right about the computer, but if he has the same truck i do he wont have to worry about that, the SMART folks who made these didnt put all that B.S. on it:D thats one of the reasons why i bought it.
     
  7. Cattracker16

    Cattracker16 New Member

    Messages:
    356
    State:
    Wilton Iowa
    I would have to agree go to autozone and have them test your charging system out.. it's free and if they find somthing wrong you can buy it right then and there.. there's my 2 cents worth.... Kenny
     
  8. Rookie12

    Rookie12 New Member

    Messages:
    1,324
    State:
    Kannapolis, NC
    Sounds like an alternator, usaully when voltage gets low, things like the radio, wipers, etc. are the first that will start acting up. To check the alternator. get it running and hook up a voltmeter to the posts on the battery. They should read somewhere between 13 and 14 Volts. If you're only getting 12V, then you probably need an alternator. You could also have a drainon the battery which is where something is drawing power all the time when it shouldn't. Sounds more like an alternator though. To check for drain, disconnect the positive cable of the battery and put one test lead on the battery and one on the cable. It will read the amount of voltage being used. On newer stuff, less than 1 volt is OK, b/c the modules and stuff draw little bit of powere all the time for memory, etc. Oh yeah, make sure everything is turned off, lights, doors shut,and stuff, b/c that will cause a false reading. Any questions, post them and I'll see if I can help ya'. later
     
  9. Fishgeek

    Fishgeek Active Member

    Messages:
    1,149
    State:
    Indiana
    Well, after reading all your posts & watching things a little closer for a few days, I can to the decision to change the alternator. It was the right decision! Thanks for all the help & suggestions. The little Nissan is back on the road!

    Thanks again!

    Matt
     
  10. zappaf19

    zappaf19 New Member

    Messages:
    1,574
    State:
    Monticello,IN
    I would check the alt. If you have a computer on the truck be careful of unhooking the battery. I would suggest a auto parts store will do it for you, most for free. It seems that when you loose your bat. you burn your alt. too.:mad:
    Bill