2001 Infiniti I30t - alternator

dadoesOctober 20, 2008

The "charge"/battery warning light came on a few days ago, have parked the car until the situation can be resolved. I suspect the alternator, as the battery isn't particularly old, the car still starts, electric devices all run at this point. However, the "brake" warning light is also on. Is that normal under the circumstances or is there something coincidentally also wrong with the brake system?

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Is it the parking brake warning light? If so, the parking brake lever may be on or partially on, or the switch is stuck, or the brake cable is stuck.

Have it serviced. My guess is the same as yours - alternator not working. Limit the number of starts and headlamp use before gettting the car into a service bay. You are probably running on battery only. If you have a battery charger, give the battery a charge before you drive again.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 4:41PM
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Brake warning light, yes (not ABS). I do routinely use the parking brake ... but at the time it happened, the car had been parked in my driveway with the brake NOT set. I've set and released it several times, the light stays on. The car was driven twice for several miles, no evidence of the parking brake being partially active. Stuck switch, possibly, will investigate. I'm mainly wanting to know if an electrical problem such as a bad alternator can cause the warning lights to go goofy. That has happened on a couple other cars (GM). I'm hoping to change the alternator myself, my dad and I should be able to handle it. The Infiniti dealer is 1.75 hrs away and their charges are outrageous.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 5:08PM
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Since you are going to be doing the work yourself, there is something you may wish to look into. The major failures for alternators are brushes and diodes.

When you remove the alternator, check out the brushes. Sometimes, these are not worn out, but merely hung up in their holders. The wear rate is so slow that a brush may develop a grove at the edge of its holder and hang. A square section brush in a square hole is noted for this. The cure is to put a round brush in the square hole, or remove the groove in the brush. Also, check the edge of the brush holder for molding flash. Remove flash if present and lightly chamfer the edge.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 3:51PM
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Good post Jem Dandy, the brush holders on this alternator also have a tendecy to break, check for this. A simple repair such as replacing a brush holder can save a lot of money. Be sure to remove one of the battery cables if do any extensive work around alternator. Good luck Iggie

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 2:07AM
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It's definitely the alternator. Replace it - don't try to repair it. I just replaced mine on my 2001 i30T after 103,000 miles.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 1:04PM
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Done yesterday. I got an alternator at AutoZone, ended up having a trusted local mechanic do the job, he even delivered the car to the house when done, we gave him a ride back to his shop. Beat$ the hell out of driving in to Hou$ton for Infiniti $ervice.

kanonk, I have literally half your mileage, 52,000.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 2:37PM
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"The Trusted Mechanic"

I have a couple ways to address this topic, one is shoot straight from the hip and not care about how someone else perceives this, the other is to attempt to be very "PC" and see if I can explain exactly what is taking place.

No matter how this is received one thing is clear. The guy who is running the shop in such a way that you can carry in a part, and he installs it isn't long for this world as a business. This isn't the only mistake he is making, the difficult part for me right here is explaining why this is a mistake , and how I know he is making others just frommthis one incident because from the consumer POV, he is cheaper that what you would have paid for this one service.

If cheaper is always better, then anyone that reads that and agrees with that should go to their boss and ask to have their pay cut by 50% Monday morning. That would make you a better employee right? Of course no one is going to do that, everyone of us feel we earn every dollar we get, and the old adage a penny saved is a penny earned. But how does this apply to the trusted mechanic?

I'll make a bet one or more of the following statements apply to his business.

He does not own the factory scan tool to service your Infinity completely, 100%. I'll also bet he has been to no training in the last six months, maybe the last year, maybe the last two, or five, or even ten years. It's also very likely that not only does he not have a factory tool for your Infinity, he does not own a factory scan tool for any manufacturer at all. He probably attempts to rely on a tool like the Snap-On 2500, or the OTC Genysis which are at best capable of only performing about 50% of the functions of any single O.E. tool. Oh, and that's only if he is keeping up to date with the software changes for the tools. It's likely he feels he cannot afford to always update that one tool.

If I have gotten any one of those correct, and I have almost no reason to believe that I have not, allow me to continue. He very likely does not own a four gas analyzer, let alone a five gas one or has had any continuing education on what a true tech can do with one. If he does own an engine analyzer, he has not been to continuing training on it in quite some time to enhance his skills with it either. He may or may not be a multiple employee shop, but it's likely he does not provide health care for his employee's, instead he relies on each employee's spousal job to provide that benefit or else the employee needs to simply go out and find health care to provide for him/herself.

I could go on and on, but let me cut to the chase. All of the above issues come from not having a sound business plan, and that of course comes from not having real business training. Your trusted mechanic does not have this training, because he would not allow anyone to carry in a part if he did. If he had solid business training, he would understand that he cannot afford to allow anyone to carry in a part and have it installed.

Now if your "new" alternator fails, AZ will give you another one. Lets see where he would stand. He didn't make the kind of revenues that he should have in order to provide that service the first time and be able to re-invest in his business and his employees the way that he should be, so he darn sure cannot afford to do something else for free on top of that. Yet many, many, people that have been allowed to carry in a part have turned on the shop when the part actually failed and insisted the shop must have done something wrong when they installed it. The shop then simply re-installs the part again for free because of "customer satisfaction" issues, and takes an even deeper loss on a job he never should have done in the first place. That amounts to simply another nail in his business coffin. It also forces him to raise someone else's price in order to even attempt to cover the loss. No matter how it goes down, his shop is failing because as management he does not have a clear focus on how to achieve the goals that lie ahead not only for next week, but for next month, next year, and then at two, and five and ten years down the road.

It's always depressing to see someone praise a very poor business practice like this. This practice is one that actually ensures the demise of the business. And then see them fault the dealer who has taken business management classes, spends the money on the best techs, and the schools and tools for the techs to really do the job correctly. Today he may be your very trusted mechanic, tomorrow he will fall on his face because of his poor business practices which are limiting his ability to continue to prepare for the technology that is built into cars that are already on the road. Your mechanic, do you like him enough, and trust him enough to tell him he better get his head on straight so that he will be there in the future for you? Or will you simply keep taking your "discount" and then someday wonder what happened to "Joe" he was such a nice guy and always seemed so busy.....

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 9:56AM
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Thanks for your concern. The shop has been in business for 24 years, so whatever his business model may be, it's apparently working for him.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2008 at 4:27PM
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" The shop has been in business for 24 years, so whatever his business model may be, it's apparently working for him."

Exactly my point. It may look good from your perspective right now, but the foundation is crumbling. One only has to look close enough to see it!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 8:18AM
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