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Strange Electrical Happenings, then a Dead Battery


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Some really strange things happened today.

Started my car after 5 days, car started on first crank, no problems.

Drove for about 15 mins, got a PSM failure light, followed by ABS light.

Then, came battery/generator light,

Few minutes later, the airbag light joined in,

Next it said Brake distribution error?

Tiptronic warning, then it was in limp mode (4th gear)

Finally, the rear spoiler fault light came on.

Got home, put it in reverse, and the car stalled.

Won't start again, the normal rapid click click click sound.

Jump started it...engine ran fine...let it idle for a few minutes,

idling got sluggish, no power when stepped on the gas, and finally engine stalled.

Voltmeter was showing minimum at the bottom.

Tried starting again, this time there is silence, not even a click.

I suspect it's a dead battery, no idea how old the battery is.

Car is a 02, and the battery doesn't look OEM, so must have been replaced sometime. I bought the car a year ago. Never had any starting problems or warning signs.

I plan to go look for a new battery tomorrow. No big deal.

The Big Question is, are all those electrical phenomenon described above normal for a battery going bad and about to die???

Or am I looking at an alternator replacement too?

Thanks guys!

Edited by CosmosC4S
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Some really strange things happened today.

Started my car after 5 days, car started on first crank, no problems.

Drove for about 15 mins, got a PSM failure light, followed by ABS light.

Then, came battery/generator light,

Few minutes later, the airbag light joined in,

Tiptronic warning, then it was in limp mode (4th gear)

Finally, the rear spoiler light came on.

Got home, put it in reverse, and the car stalled.

Won't start again, the normal rapid click click click sound.

Jump started it...engine ran fine...let it idle for a few minutes,

idling got sluggish, no power when stepped on the gas, and finally engine stalled.

Voltmeter was showing minimum at the bottom.

Tried starting again, this time there is silence, not even a click.

I suspect it's a dead battery, no idea how old the battery is.

Car is a 02, and the battery doesn't look OEM, so must have been replaced sometime. I bought the car a year ago. Never had any starting problems or warning signs.

I plan to go look for a new battery tomorrow. No big deal.

The Big Question is, are all those electrical phenomenon described above normal for a battery going bad and about to die???

Or am I looking at an alternator replacement too?

Thanks guys!

Based on my limited experience, every time I have had a battery failure it has been sudden without any other symptoms (until I tried to start the car). The alternator only needs a little bit of power to "excite" the field and keep everything going. However, when I have had alternator or voltage regulator failures the guages go crazy. This included my old 911SC. When the alternators go bad the tach tends to go wild, bouncing all over the place. I had a dead cell on my 996 and had no warning signs until I tried to restart the nothing. This same thing happened on my wifes Toyota that was only 3 years old. We just got back from a 300 mile trip, unloaded the car, then I was all set to go get bread and milk and the car would not even click. No warnings at all.

I hope its just your battery, but based on my experience it may be you alternator or regulator.

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Some really strange things happened today.

Started my car after 5 days, car started on first crank, no problems.

Drove for about 15 mins, got a PSM failure light, followed by ABS light.

Then, came battery/generator light,

Few minutes later, the airbag light joined in,

Next it said Brake distribution error?

Tiptronic warning, then it was in limp mode (4th gear)

Finally, the rear spoiler fault light came on.

Got home, put it in reverse, and the car stalled.

Won't start again, the normal rapid click click click sound.

Jump started it...engine ran fine...let it idle for a few minutes,

idling got sluggish, no power when stepped on the gas, and finally engine stalled.

Voltmeter was showing minimum at the bottom.

Tried starting again, this time there is silence, not even a click.

I suspect it's a dead battery, no idea how old the battery is.

Car is a 02, and the battery doesn't look OEM, so must have been replaced sometime. I bought the car a year ago. Never had any starting problems or warning signs.

I plan to go look for a new battery tomorrow. No big deal.

The Big Question is, are all those electrical phenomenon described above normal for a battery going bad and about to die???

Or am I looking at an alternator replacement too?

Thanks guys!

This is almost exactly what happened to my 03 a couple of weeks ago. As the voltage ran low and the alternator was not generating, system after system "failed" as the level dropped from 12 to 9 volts.

The alternator had to be replaced.

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I had an alternator failure just last week and much the same symtoms occured. warning lights going crazy and then going off. Volt meter dropped away and I came to a grinding halt as the stopped. Called for recovery and checked on my cell what time I made the call and the spooky thing was it said 9.11.

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My original battery last me about 4 years and my second one last me about 3 years. I thought about replacing the battery with the Porsche battery but this time I got the Optima Yellow top (should have gotten the blue top). I had to change out one of the wire and made a mount for the battery and so far it works great(had it like this for about 2 months).

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Just a followup, so others who search this topic will get some helpful answers.

My car is in the shop right this moment for a new alternator, Car was towed in.

I charged the battery last night, it started all right and I could drive the car to move it around,

but I didn't think it would make 35 miles to my mechanic's place even on a fully charged battery, without the alternator running.

Mechanic ran some tests as soon as the car was dropped off, and confirmed the culprit.

I was quoted $320 for a rebuilt Bosch alternator (includes next day shipping) and 3hrs labor ($275)

Picking it up end of tomorrow.

Edited by CosmosC4S
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  • 5 years later...

Legend.. I had the same problem.. I think the fact my car got water logged added to my confusion (and frustration) finally got into the bonnet after finding that even though I could put a charge on the fuse panel.. The imoliser would not de activate..As a result no electrics work.. Including boot and bonet openers. Finally gave up and jacked the car up .. Would have used my jack except oh that's right it's under a bonnet I could nt open.. Found a friends one popped the front right wheel up, popped the panel and found the wire to pop the hood ... Hooooray.. Progress at last..

Plugged charger into the battery directly..

After frustration running around the car trying to 'beep' it I finally put a key in the ignition and turned it seemed to put it into happy mode. Tried this earlier with my other key which doesn't reset the alarm (changed battery so assume its dead).. With no joy..

My car was waterlogged with water behind both seats and I assume underwater electricals.. Could not open passenger door, open the roof or do anything that may dry the car out.. I'm still baffled how to clear the drain points even after reading some reviews and looking at descriptive diagrams..

Had a jump still couldn't start and got battery/generator error and all the other warnings that follow..

Long story but finally grabbed a new battery and it started.. Yay.. Battery generator error remains.. Guess like you, I now have an alternator problem and my water issue will only surface and flat my battery and put me though the above again when it rains again..

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