All warning lights on, no charge, cold start (1 Viewer)

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Its starting to get cold over here on PEI. I have noticed that when I start the truck at -10c all the warning lights on the dash stay on and the alternator does not charge (i have a digital volt gauge to measure battery voltage). I will let it idle for a bit (maybe 4 minutes) then have to shut the truck off and turn it back on again and everything is fine, battery voltage goes up to 14.6 and all is good.

Any thoughts on what could be causing this? It only seems to happen when it is cold outside but has happened the last two mornings in a row.

The truck does have a 1hd-t swapped in and the body has 650,000 km on it.

I am thinking maybe electrical switch on the ignition? Thoughts?
 

ceylonfj40nut

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Check for a loose connection on the alternator. Cold temps could create just enough of a gap that fixes itself when warm.
 

Dave 2000

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Despite being direct injection there are still glow plugs that heat up. 6 x 8 = 48 amps, plus the current taken to start, plus the parasitic loss since last parked and the alternator if stock (80 amps), has little reserve to offer.

Check your belts, even if tight, are they running on the bottom of the 'V'?

When you shut off and restart the glow plugs do not immediately re heat taking over 50% load off the alternator and thus belts. Assuming the plug at the rear already mentioned is good, then belts or alternator. Check pulley alignment as well, alternator mount is known to wear and allow tension to be gained on one belt only.

Regards

Dave
 
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Alternator was recently rebuild with a new regulator (last winter), I am running new belts (last winter also). Should I not be able to hear the belt slipping if that is what you are referring too?

Does the loading up the alternator trigger it to lock in "not charging" state? I can see the alternator not being able to keep up when its cold but I should be able to see charging voltage over time? or does it go into some sort of locked state? I am monitoring battery voltage and see around 11.8 - 12.0 volts when the truck is running (lights on etc), My battery voltage at rest is typically 12.5. Then when I cycle the ignition it charges at 14.8 volts for a short time and then drops to constant 14.5 volts.

Would overloading the alternator cause all the dash warning lights to come on? etc. A/T temp, Tbelt, Water in fuel filter?

All the same lights show up that would show up when I cycle the key to accessory mode right before crank.

I will check to plugs on the back of the alternator and all wiring on the alternator in the morning and put some dielectric grease on there too.
 

Dave 2000

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Alternator was recently rebuild with a new regulator (last winter), I am running new belts (last winter also). Should I not be able to hear the belt slipping if that is what you are referring too?

Rebuilt alternators are no match for a new oem unit, to qualify that statement, for every good alternator rebuild there are 50 rubbish units.

You do not always get belt squeal when they are slipping, check the tension as mentioned earlier.


Does the loading up the alternator trigger it to lock in "not charging" state? I can see the alternator not being able to keep up when its cold but I should be able to see charging voltage over time? or does it go into some sort of locked state? I am monitoring battery voltage and see around 11.8 - 12.0 volts when the truck is running (lights on etc), My battery voltage at rest is typically 12.5. Then when I cycle the ignition it charges at 14.8 volts for a short time and then drops to constant 14.5 volts.

Loading the alternator does not lock it in any state but, a weak regulator will give intermittent charging results.

Would overloading the alternator cause all the dash warning lights to come on? etc. A/T temp, Tbelt, Water in fuel filter?

No, but the loose plug at the rear is a common problem, and brings up the lights you mention.

All the same lights show up that would show up when I cycle the key to accessory mode right before crank.

I will check to plugs on the back of the alternator and all wiring on the alternator in the morning and put some dielectric grease on there too.

Have someone watch the dash as you move the plug about however, the switch off/restart/charge ok scenario normally points to an alternator problem. As an aside, check battery terminals and the fusible links for corrosion and condition.

Regards

Dave
 
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Ran some more tests yesterday, Removed and tightened all connectors on alternator and battery. When I tried again it was -4c out and all the dash lights were still on, I did manage to kill the battery though when I tried again last night as it had to crank for quite a while. This got me thinking,

Is there a lower voltage limit which would kick out the alternator, when I was cranking my voltage dropped to about 11.7 on my readout. This is obviously average voltage so I am wondering if the alternator sees the batteries at 10 v (for example) would it say, no, don't charge these batteries? or should the alternator always charge no matter what the battery voltage is?

Basically what I am wondering is does anyone know the condition that an alternator needs to see in order to start charging?

T
 

Dave 2000

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The only conditions to be met are:

Battery connections pos/neg clean.

Engine to chassis earth and or battery to chassis earth.

Voltage sense wire connected or dash no charge bulb blown.

Regards

Dave
 
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Well I definitely have all those things!

what about ignition switch more just the electrical contact if its too cold and it does not properly switch from accessory to cranking, but the contacts for the starter cranking are working but the system still thinks its in accessory mode?

Is that logical at all?
 

Dave 2000

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Very possible, but surely the dashboard would not be lit up with the engine running if the ignition switch contacts were in accessory position?

If the engine is running then the ignition circuit is live, so the alternator would be charging. Something else, if the engine was running and the alternator connection was not active perhaps via a failed relay then it would more than likely be damaged anyway.

You mentioned earlier having 12v or less with engine running and lights on, that is a no charge scenario.

Then you mentioned 14.8 volts, this it too high, and even the constant 14.4 again a little high.

Your battery now finally flat, goes again back to the alternator.

The IIRC your alternator is voltage sensed, this means output based on actual battery voltage, this allows for loss in the cables ect.

If the sense cable is broken the alternator output will rise to around 18 volts!

So, with intermittent charging, intermittent voltage readings, I would not waste anymore time, pull the alternator and have it load tested.

Regards

Dave
 
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Thanks Dave I will give that a try. It could be errors in the voltage gauge that I have, they are cheapo gauges from Ebay. Those charge characteristics have been the same since I built the truck 5 years ago so to me they are perfectly normal. What I should probably do is take proper readings with a multimeter though.

The 14.8 was only when I first started driving after the battery voltage was low, after about 10 minutes of driving it stabilized down to 14.4.

I will see if there is a shop around that can test my alternator, that is actually something I have not had done in a long time.

Thanks Dave,

Rob
 
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Just keeping this thread going as I am still having the problem, since my last post I have done the following.

  1. Got my batteries tested (they were bad) replaced with two brand new 1000CCA batteries, was able to start the truck on one battery no problem.
  2. Got my alternator load tested - was able to draw up to 120 amps on the test, diodes were good, charging voltage is good. During driving voltage is around 14.6 volts which is within the factory max spec of 14.8 volts.
  3. Checked plug on back of alternator, everything was clean with dielectric grease. Bent the tabs a little bit to ensure a good connection
  4. Re-did all the grounds I could see in the engine bay. This is a swapped FZJ80 so the grounds are a bit scattered.
  5. When I turn my ignition switch to the accessory position, all the lights show up and stay on. The same lights show up in the accessory position as remain on when the engine starts. Should the lights turn off when leaving the key in the accessory position?
Updated Symptoms
All the lights (except the high-beam light) still remains on when starting the truck around -5C.
I did experience the lights go out automatically when I was driving for maybe 5 minutes and the truck was getting warm. When I first noticed that they go out by themselves the engine temp was about half of the operating temperature (I cant remember if I had my internal heat on). I then tested this again and made sure I had no heat in the cab so that the engine would warm up as quickly as possible. I was able to drive until the engine reached operating temperature and the lights still did not go out. At this point I was cold and turned on the heater and I picked up the mail while leaving the truck running. When I jumped back in all the lights were off and it was charging.

I will be doing some more testing seeing if the computer behind the dash has a grounding issue when it is cold by letting the truck sit in the cold and putting a space heater by the computer. I can't say for certain that the problem corresponds to internal cab temperature.

What I need help with:

Are the dash lights supposed to turn themselves off when the key is left in the accessory position or are they supposed to all stay illuminated until the engine is running?

Are the water in fuel filter, tbelt, a/t temp, turbo boost (green), over boost (red) and battery light, all sharing the same 5v supply? I am wondering if I have a bad sensor voltage supply when its cold making the computer think that all the sensors are triggered.

The highbeam light and locker/center diff lights don't come on as I assume these use a different circuit?

Does anyone have a decent wiring schematic showing the engine sensors and how they are connected?
 
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Update:

So I have started to back probe some senors to get to the bottom of this. I have been focusing on the fuel water sensor as it is easy to access. When the ignition is in accessory position the sensor sees about 1.1 volts when cold, when the engine starts and all the dash lights are on the sensor goes to about 1.9 volts on the supply.

Once the truck is warm and all the dash lights have gone out I am seeing about .9 volts when the ignition is in accessory mode and 14.3 volts (almost full charging voltage) when the truck is running.

What controls the voltage supply to this sensor? Is there a computer that controls this?

Also, with the sensor unplugged the dash light does not come on. I know the sensor works as it was triggered about a year ago. Is this switch supposed to pull the voltage to ground in order to trigger the light?
 

Dave 2000

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I tried to upload a video of the dashboard lights sequence but it is too big, I will drop the resolution and see if I can get it uploaded.

Stinking head cold ATM, and I can barely tie my laces, get back to you.

Regards

Dave
 
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I might have made some progress, I have a bunch of junction blocks going to the battery so I took those apart and cleaned all the terminals and put them back together, it seemed to work at -5C (this is the cut off for when I started having issues). This morning on the drive into work it also seems to charge a few volts lower than normal, now it is in the 14.4 - 14.5 range after warming up. I think one of those wires might have been the alternator sense wire. Unfortunately now its going to be about 10 degrees the next few days so unfortunately I have to wait until it gets to -10 again to really confirm it was that. I will also back probe the alternator plug when I have the no charge issue and see if one of the sense wires is not getting power when it should.

I also ordered up some mil-spec battery clamps so I can cleanup the wiring on the battery, I have a new battery ground wire but the clamp has a small crack in it (i can still get it tight though) so that will need to be replaced.
 
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So i finally got around to back probing my alternator and this is what I did.

When system was cold, checked main battery post on alternator (around 12 volts when running aka not charging).

I am not 100% on which wires i was testing but this is what I did.

With plug unplugged one line had battery voltage ( i assume this was the sense wire)

two plugs had ignition switched power to them.

I installed some back probes and plugged it into the alternator, one of the wires was connected through the 7.5amp charge fuse ( I assume this is for the dash lights since when i pulled the charge fuse i lost power)

The other wire was powered through the ignition 7.5 fuse, i assume this was for sending voltage to the brushes to trigger the magnetic field in the rotors.

During a cold run this only showed about 11.9 volts.

Once the engine was warmed and all the lights shut off this was seeing charged voltage (14.7 volts). I checked power at the alternator and it was about 14.8, measuring voltage drop to the batter was .11 volts which is a bit high but I also have a pretty thin wire running from the alternator to the battery.

Can anyone verify my conclusion that the brushes in my alternator need replacement and sending 12v them should produce the proper magnetic field to cause the alternator to charge.

Thoughts?
 
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I am having a similar problem but living in Iceland we get colder and would love any pics or to see your outcome

How are you making out with your solution? I think I tracked mine down to a diode/regulator issue when its cold that goes away when its warm, all signals going into the alternator seem to show what they are supposed to show. I changed the brushes out and that made no difference. I did notice my rotor was at the minimum allowable diameter so I am going to replace the whole alternator instead of throwing $80 at a new regulator. Right now we have not gotten cold enough to re-test my symptoms, I did the following checks:

Diode check:
Disconnect everything from the alternator, connect a multimeter to the alternator case and the B terminal post, you should have voltage one way but not the other.

Rectifier check:
Connect the multimeter from the B post to battery (-) , should have no more than .05V A/C , mine was running at 0.

These test were done when the alternator was "warm" and was not triggering warning lights, i want to re-do this test when its cold to see if my results change.

Now I am waiting on Cruiser Addiction to finish his alternator adapter bracket and I will swap in a 4Runner alternator as it will be easier to find replacement parts and only costs a few hundred bucks.

Rob
 

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