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Battery or Alternator Problem

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Hi everyone,

i have a 94 Eldorado. I live in New York and the weather has been pretty bad here....very cold. I have not started my car in about 10 days before this morning. When i started it today it cranked a little slower than normal but did start right up. The voltage display was 10.9, as soon as i noticed this a warning came up the said "Battery no charge" i could not get anything else to display by pressing the information button. This lasted for about 30 seconds then i was able to change the display with the information button. When i got to voltage it was at 12.4 and in about 10 seconds it went up to 14.1. I ran a few errands and put about 1 hour of driving time on the car and it ran fine as i was driving the voltage was between 13.7 and 14.1. My question is can this be the beginning of a problem or was the battery just low on power considering i have not used or started the car in 10 days in the very cold weather?

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I had the same issue last winter. If I parked outside and it got very cold, I'd get the 'no-charge' warning for the first 30 seconds or so after start-up. I had the battery and alternator tested, with no issues found. My mechanic felt that the brushes in the alternator were starting to go, as they'd act up when cold, but worked fine once warmed up.

Real long story short, I drove the car for 8 months after the first time I saw the 'no-charge' message with no issues. After the real cold weather passed, the message never re-appeared. I ended up replacing both the battery and alternator in September, when I had everything apart anyway.

Just keep an eye on it, but don't worry too much. Make sure the battery terminals are clean, as this makes a HUGE difference in starting and charging, especially in this nasty weather we're getting! B)

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If the car sat outside for 10 days without being started, the battery was probably low on charge due to the normal drains on the system. I had a similar situation with my '97 STS that has been sitting outside since the acquition of my '05 Deville. I just hook up the charger to it once per week and the message has not appeared since.

When I get some free time, I plan on removing the alternator and taking it to my local rebuilder and have him load test the alternator and replaced the bearings and brushes.

'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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.... My question is can this be the beginning of a problem or was the battery just low on power considering i have not used or started the car in 10 days in the very cold weather?

Not knowing the age of your battery I would say the voltage figures you mentioned are to be expected under the operating conditions you reported above. It sounds like your battery is doing everything you can expect it to do (it spun the engine fast enough to fire!).

You could expect a low voltage situation and a slightly "slow crank" after about 14 days of not using the car even in July or August!

As for the delay in the alternator picking up the load and showing a voltage reading in the range of 13.7 to 14.1 Volts, the PCM controls the alternator based on some timing algorithm that I know nothing about. But a slight delay of alternator "ON" after a start is common with all brands of vehicles.

I don't see where you need to do anything except maybe use the car more frequently or remove the battery and store it in a warmer environment.


Drive your car.

Use your cell phone.


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If the battery is older than 4-5 years and you often drive just short distances it could be weaker than normal. The time you can recognize it is often when the temperatures are low outside. I would charge it up and wait and see if the problem will appear again in the short future.

My battery had the same issue and after changing everything works fine even if the car has to start after a week standing outside at 10 degree fahrenheit.

I also had the alternator tested by a mechanic but everything works fine.

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Hi Everyone,

This morning i just turned on the ignition, battery volts are 11.7, car start right up volts climb to 14.1 and stay between 13.7 and 14.2 through out my time driving

In this weather that appears fine

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I had a similar issue with my '93 Eldo after two weeks of sitting. No messages, as the thing wouldn't even crank. Turned out it was fouling on the terminals. Cleaned the terminals with some sandpaper and a wire brush and it cranked (slowly) but fired and started on the first try withOUT a jump-start. It just did it to me again today (after working fine for two days) so I just spent an hour properly and thoroughly cleaning the terminals again with a set of wire brushes and topping it off with some dielectric grease. put it all back to together and it fired quickly under it's own power again. I just had to move it again tonight and it fired the same just fine.

BTW, my battery is at least three years old and we haven't seen the high side of 32 degrees in at least a month. More like 20-25 actually.

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