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Old 07-25-2001, 09:07 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 3057
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Arlington, MA
Question Help!! Legacy Electrical Problems

My 1990 legacy sputtered and stalled at a traffic light last night. When I tried to restart, the engine would turn over slowly, and soon not at all....which of course told me that the battery was dead. Jump starting allowed the car to run for a little while before it stalled and wouldn't restart again.

The wierd thing is that before it stalled, the "battery," "stop lamp," "AT Temp," and "Brake" lights came on. After replacing the battery, the aforementioned lights stayed on, but the car runs now.

What does that mean? Is it the alternator? Will an ECU reset get rid of the lights?

I should also mention that the dead battery is very old and covered with corrosion on the terminals.
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Old 07-25-2001, 10:54 PM   #2
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Member#: 2183
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Bellows Falls, VT
87' Shelby CSX #400


If you have a volt meter you can test the alt.

start the car (eather the normal way or with a jump, but take the jumper cabels off after) and make sure all the accesseries are off (headlights, radio, fan, dome light, etc, etc.),

then touch the meter probes to the batt terminals, you should get over 12VDC if your only getting 12V or less than your ALT. isn't putting out enough voltage or none at all or the batt is so dead that it is pulling all the voltage for chargeing

then take the load off the alt. with the car still running, remove one of the batt cables from the batt (doesn't mater which one) and make sure all the accesseries are off, if the car dies than your alt is not puting out any power to run the ECU. If it is still running, put the meter probes on the cars batt cables. this will give you the alt's chargeing voltage, should be around 13.2v-14.8v (13.8 is average) if this is what you get than your alt is working fine.

If the voltage is low (or none and your car stalled) than your alt is not putting out enough chargeing voltage to charge the batt and the batt got killed from the car running off of it, And if this is the case than when you jump the car with the old batt, than the batt got a small charge that would ceep the ECU running for a min. or so after the jumper cabels were removed, then it would die.

And now with the new batt in better condition and a good charge already in it everything will seem fine till the new batt goes dead, and your back were you started. If this happens you should be able to get the new batt to hold a charge again once you fix the prob. so don't worry thinking you have to buy another batt again.

The no or low chargeing voltage thing could be a few dif. prob. but is most likely a dead alt., but it could be a bad voltage regulator (might be built into the ECU, might be a sep. little box? not sure on a subie) or it could be the wires going to from the voltage reg. to the alt. Then again I've seen some alt's with the V.R. built into the alt.) If it fails the tests than it is prob. the alt.

If the voltage is OK than, I'm sorry my friend but your back to square one. Good Luck

HYD Racing
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Old 07-26-2001, 11:23 AM   #3
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Member#: 3057
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Arlington, MA

Thanks for the help.
I'll try that tonight.

Any idea why all those dashboard lights are staying on?
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Old 07-26-2001, 12:35 PM   #4
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Member#: 1353
Join Date: Apr 2000
2001 Impreza 2.5RS


Yep, alternator. 99% sure. My wife's 96 Outback did that same thing recently. Got the funky dash lights, then stalled. With a good charge on the battery, you can get maybe 30 or 45 minutes out of it, but not much more.

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Old 07-26-2001, 07:32 PM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Arlington, MA

yeah, unfortunately i just found that out the hard way today. I bought an alternator and I'll probably change it tonight.

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