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Electrical / Alternator Problems

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Ok Experts:

I've got a 2001 Boxster 2.7L 5 Spd with 46k miles. I had the battery replaced last summer.

Wife drove the car today and the car didn't want to start and then started, giving a couple of flashing lights on the instrument cluster, radio cut on and off a couple of times and then drove fine.

She brought the car to me and I started it...Upon starting it seemed weak (sort of like trying to start a vehicle when it is very cold) but other than that, started ok and didn't give any warnings.....I brought the car home.

I cut it off and then attempted to restart it and it would just click or "grrrrrr" a little but didn't have the juice to start. There was sufficient power to operate windows, trunks, etc but not enough to start.

I took the battery out and took to Autoparts store and had it tested...its dead but fine according to them.....they suggested that it might be an alternator issue.,

Does this sound like an alternator issue? How do I check it? If not, what else would it be?

If it is the alternator, and I charge up the battery, how long should the charge last?

Thanks for the help


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First of all you need a GOOD battery, with a voltmeter on the battery between + and - , engine running approx. 13, 50 - 14,50 volt. I think that the battery is dead already, if the car is only used in the week-ends , it is advisable to have a charger with low Amps. to put in to the cig.lighter ( Optimate or similar make ). You can leave the charger on for months if you like.

It is as much possible that the battery lost power - alarm system or control boxes.

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I'm not an electrical expert (my wife calls me "sparky") but looking at many posts about electrical problems, I seem to see a common thread.....the ignition switch. Even the dead battery is an example of the ignition switch not shutting down all of the electrical systems while the engine is not running. There many threads here at RennTech and an excellent one at:


You might start there before considering something more expensive.



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O.K., I charged up the battery and started the car up several times without incident...The car ran fine (idled) for an hour or so and then when I went back to check on it, ABS light was on. I turned it off and it wouldn't start back up.

Recharged the battery and bought a volt meter. 12 volts when the car is off, 11.80 when running.....While the car was running, I disconnected the positive terminal, and the car stayed on but the electical was pretty well dead...i.e., the radio wouldn't work, climate control flickered, and ABS light on.

Sounds as though the battery isn't charging....

One other observation: I noticed that some friendly field mice had filled the nook behind the battery with some straw, etc. This seems to be new and certainly interesting given the nature of the electical problems...

Everything else seems work fine....I looked at the battery lead cables and they seem to be fine and all of the wires that I can see are o.k. as well....is there a wire tat could have been cut that would connect the alternator to the battery that would be located in the front trunk area?

I would like to check this and rule it out before replacing the alternator.


In reply to the last comment, the ABS light is the only steady light on the cluster and that is only after the battery wears down.

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