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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, been a while since posting but it's time for another saabalicious troubleshooting session.

2004 Saab 9-3 Linear, stock except some audio goodies.

I recently (last year) had alternator issues, ended up killing a battery and replacing both the battery and the alternator with a REMY 12441 from RockAuto. The battery was crap, and voltage slowly dropped over time until this year when I started getting "Battery not charging" on the SID unless I revved the engine right after startup, which seemed to raise the voltage enough to kick on the alternator charging, and then it was good to go. Eventually, the battery would just not hold a charge and died while running with the radio cranked (big audio in the car). Got a new AGM battery just today, put it in and the car started just fine, but the dash and SID was a christmas tree of warnings: traction failure, airbag malfunction, stability malfunction, battery not charging, you name it. Similar to when the battery voltage is too low and all the sensors go haywire. Turned off the car and measured at the battery with a voltmeter, 12.65v, ok fine. Started the car and let it idle, 18.6v. WHAT? Revved a bit, didn't matter, right around 18.6 the whole time. Thinking I'd lost it, I phoned a friend, and he was mystified as well. Clearly the charging voltage is out of spec and all the sensors are going nuts. I'm thinking my dead-*** battery or some bad luck has sizzled the voltage regulator on my 1.5 year old reman alternator. Maybe this alternator had been overcharging the old battery the whole time and that's why it died, but being a lead acid battery it prevented the overvoltage issue where the AGM is not? Is there something else in the car that controls charging and not the alternator's internal regulator?

Anyone have this issue before, or is there something I don't know about with AGM batteries and Saabs? RockAuto won't ship a replacement until I either pay for shipping a 20lb part back and wait or purchase a new one and apply for a refund after, and I don't have the money to sink into watching tracking numbers without being sure of the issue.
 

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regulator pack in alt has failed..don't use the car otherwise you'll fry the electronics,aswell as damaging the new battery..
 

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Mine did something very similar....1st alternator did not charge...got a rebuilt and it worked for a while....then got the 18 volt overcharge. Am on my second rebuilt.alternator and all is good.
 

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I usually just replace the voltage regulator behind the alternator
Which brand regulator do you use?
Very hard to find a OE Bosch, the one i found wasn't cheap (70.00). I went with a used one, but still looking for a replacement regulator for the alternator i pulled.
 

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It was a few years ago but I bought it at NAPA. I paid $50-55 at the time. I’m not a fan of “rebuilt” alternators. They mostly have old parts in them. Frequently the regulator is original to the alternator. And 95% of the time a bad alternator has a fried regulator so I like to just replace the regulator in my existing alternator.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the great info! I have a fresh alternator coming today; sounds like it'll be the fix.

Maybe silly question, but has anyone had any issues with AGM batteries and 9-3's? Can't see how it'd be an issue, but I know some cars are picky about batteries.

Lastly, now I have two old alts (and a third being sent back under warranty). Is there a write up for replacing the voltage regulator in case this happens again? I know for a fact my first alt was a bad pulley and the reg was fine to my knowledge, so if this comes up again it sounds like I could pull the reg off the alt with the bad pulley in the future?
 

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AGM battery should not be an issue. Much easier than pulling the alternator.
regulator.png
 

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Sure, use the regulator from the alternator with the bad pull. You can then bring your fixed alternator to most auto parts stores and they can bench test it for free
 
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