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Old 01-27-2003, 10:27 PM   #1
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 23359
Join Date: Aug 2002
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: San Francisco
2002 BMW M Coupe
Steel Gray

Default electrical problem

I'm guessing this will be hard to diagnose and i need to take it somewhere but maybe you guys can help me out. My car has been taking a long time to start up in the mornings in the cold. I thought the battery was just getting old, so i replaced it. Its still hard to start and now i've noticed some other problems. When stopped at a light at night with headlights and heat on, the fans on the heat will slow down noticeably and the headlights and interior lights dim considerably. If i give it gas, the lights immediatly get brighter. I've also noticed the clock will get dimmer when the blinkers are turned on. Any suggestions as to what would be causing this?
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Old 01-28-2003, 10:25 AM   #2
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 17606
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Portland area, OR
2002 Impreza 2.5RS
Aspen White


Possibly alternator or voltage regulator. Though I think both are in the same unit now.
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Old 01-28-2003, 11:35 AM   #3
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 3601
Join Date: Jan 2001
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Tigard, Oregon
2006 WRX Wagon


If the battery is fully charged it should start the car well even if the alternator was sick, so I suspect bad connections. Check the ground connection to the engine and chassis, as well as the battery terminals.

If you have a voltmeter you can check grounding easily by turning on the lights and reading between the battery post and the chassis - there should be little or no voltage.
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Old 01-28-2003, 11:50 AM   #4
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 13634
Join Date: Dec 2001
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Boston
2002 WRX


get your alternator checked out and see how many amps it's putting out. should be close to 75, but it doesn't sound like it since your electrical system is dimming and it's all factory wiring. one of my friends bought a 130amp alternator for his car, had similar problems and had it tested. it was only putting out 11amps! should be covered under warranty if that is the problem
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Old 02-07-2003, 06:28 PM   #5
Scooby Guru
Member#: 13910
Join Date: Jan 2002
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Greenwich, CT
2005 Legacy GT


I have this same problem on my Maxima.. It's worse now.. the alternator was a rebuilt.. Maybe this is why it looks like I'm driving without any headlights on now..
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Old 02-07-2003, 07:45 PM   #6
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 3409
Join Date: Jan 2001
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Oly
98 My FMIC
Is bigger than yours.


I'm going to say look at your wires. Look at the wires at the battery. Look at them at the starter. Look at them at the alternator. Look at the engine-to-chassis ground strap.

If they're all fine take it to a Schuck's and have them test your electrical system. If the battery is fully charged and you don't have a problem starting, but after a while it comes back, then replace your alternator/voltage regulator. Always replace the regulator if you replace the alt. if they're not integrated (like on my truck, the VR is on the firewall).

Make sure your terminals are clean and tight so there's good contact.
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