Battery not charging and '03 Suburban died

Discussion in 'GM Electrical Tech' started by Snoburbun, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. Snoburbun

    Snoburbun New Member

    My wife was driving home last night and the lights went dim then dark and my Chevy died - no electric - she was locked in on the road. I went over - toowed her off the road.

    Any suggestions on trouble shooting?
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  2. Rockstar 100 Posts

    hi well i would put aother battery in and start it up. once it is running unhook the battery. if it dies it the altinator. . then take it to auto zone and get it checked. hope this helps. you can run the truck without a battery once it starts. ralph
  3. s5belford

    s5belford Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    X2 on what he said.

    Welcome to the club! and hope you find all your answers here!
  4. Eddie Z71

    Eddie Z71 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Hi, and welcome to the site!:glasses: X3! Hope you find the problem, and get it worked out.
  5. tlperry68

    tlperry68 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    It's probably the alternator. That elplains the dying part. Show your wife how to manually unlock the doors if this ever happens again.
    Good luck.
  6. djtommye

    djtommye New Member

    2004 Chevy Suburban 5.3L

    Started getting the "Battery Not Charging" light, along with the battery service light, and the Voltmeter would drop below the usual 14v.

    At the oil change shop, they checked it and said the battery had a bad cell. Bought a new battery. The alternator checked out okay.

    Went back because the light was still on, they checked the alternator again and said it was bad. (They wanted over $300 to replace it!) At this point, I'm wondering if they are just selling me stuff, so I went home and pulled the alternator.

    Took it up to the local O'Reilly Auto Parts store and watched the guy test it 3 times. All passed.

    Put it back on the car and thought maybe it was some sensor error, and the battery just needed to charge.

    The next night, we drove it (BNC message still displaying) until the battery ran down and we had to jump it three times to get home.

    Pulled the alternator again, and took it to Fort Worth Starter & Generator company - they rebuild alternators. It passed that test as well.

    I'm talking to the tech and he said there's circuitry in the alternator, and the car has to "tell" the alternator (via an "exciter circuit" to actually send power to the batter. (Apparently, on the test bench the multipin cable is unplugged so the alternator always outputs voltage on the battery connector).

    He recommended that I put it back on the car, charge the battery, and drive it up there (according to him, an car should run about 10 hours on a fresh charge with a bad alternator).

    So I did.

    It turns out, the alternator was bad, but it was in the circuitry and was only evident when they tested the unit on the vehicle.

    So I bought a remfr. with a lifetime warranty ($149) at AutoZone and it's all fine now. By the way, they are extremely easy to replace for the DIYer.
  7. jcgboys7

    jcgboys7 New Member

    So I'm guessing the parts shop testing the altenator while its installed is a better test than you pulling the alternator off of the truck because its under a load? Is that correct?
  8. retired2001

    retired2001 Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    Welcome to the G M T C ! Good info' to know, too bad you had to go through so much to get it straightened out.
  9. Bigbomber

    Bigbomber Rockstar 4 Years 5000 Posts

    Welcome to the club!
  10. stephan

    stephan Rockstar 4 Years 5000 Posts

    Welcome to the club Burban

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