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Old 07-09-2010, 12:33 AM   #31
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Naturally, the alternator will put out as much current as is required by the car's electrical system. During the day time, on a 72 degree day, with a fully charged battery, it will be putting out just enough to keep the car running. After a jump start, on a 110 degree (or 20 below) evening, it'll be putting out quite a bit more. The voltage regulator (or ECU) will adjust the output as appropriate.

How often do batteries need to be replaced in modern cars? My perception has been that batteries last longer nowadays than in the before time. Seems that back in the '70s, if I got two years out of a battery, I was doing good. Since the '90s, I've had cars sometimes 6-7 years, and never replaced the battery.
Well considering that I've had to replace batteries in some newer cars after only 4 years due to the electronics being finicky (this is before I used a battery charger), I'd say you're wrong. The cars that had their batteries last the longest are usually the older ones in my experience. It's possible that the batteries in your cars were exposed to high temperatures and high temperatures + charging = dead battery. This is one of the reasons to keep batteries in the trunk instead of the engine bay. If I had only known that a good battery charger can restore a good portion of a battery's life, I might not have replaced that 8 year old battery in my LS400.

I think we're dealing with a multitude of problems and don't even realize it.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:19 AM   #32
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What you seem to not be aware of is that despite the "capacity" of these alternators, they're not always running at capacity.
I had a car that always ran at capacity. The extra amps fell out the back of the alternator and made a puddle on the floor.
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Old 07-09-2010, 01:35 PM   #33
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Gotta check the Geo's alignment one of these days...it's been pulling a little to the right lately...
no worries...let it go. if it starts to pull left, well then, get it fixed straight away!
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Old 07-10-2010, 06:41 AM   #34
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On a rwd car, you're right.

On a fwd car, they should be straight, or slightly toed-out.

Gotta check the Geo's alignment one of these days...it's been pulling a little to the right lately...
If the front is toed out it will tend to wander left and right on a straight road but I looked up the 2008xB and it is 0.00 to 0.56 degrees toe in.

Yeah pulling to the right - check your steering wheel if it starts to move off of the normal center position you could have some frame rot like mine did and loose a lower A arm mounting horn on the chassis. My 94 Geo started to need more and more left in the steering when the right wheel broke off.
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:50 PM   #35
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Funny, my VX here pulls to the left. I'm sure the ONE steel wheel, guess where?, the previous owner had wasn't helping. I'm sure the alignment is out. Its just that it has older front tires and other maintenance to take care of before investing in the new outer tie rods/boots that it will need for an alignment. At the very least, not have to pay for 2 or 3 alignments just because I didn't time it all together.

Timing belt/seals, water pump/seals, and valve cover gasket are next on my list. Possibly, a new oil pan at this rate.
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Old 07-10-2010, 06:32 PM   #36
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no worries...let it go. if it starts to pull left, well then, get it fixed straight away!
LOL!
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Old 07-10-2010, 06:37 PM   #37
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If the front is toed out it will tend to wander left and right on a straight road but I looked up the 2008xB and it is 0.00 to 0.56 degrees toe in.

Yeah pulling to the right - check your steering wheel if it starts to move off of the normal center position you could have some frame rot like mine did and loose a lower A arm mounting horn on the chassis. My 94 Geo started to need more and more left in the steering when the right wheel broke off.
No frame rot...it's been a California car all its life, and hasn't a lick of rust anywhere. OTOH, the control arm rubber bushings are probably getting a little old...

The xB may be set up a little differently than other FWD cars...or maybe cars newer than what I've been dealing with are different...
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Old 07-10-2010, 06:38 PM   #38
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I had a car that always ran at capacity. The extra amps fell out the back of the alternator and made a puddle on the floor.
That's no problem...scoop up those amps, take them to the swap meet on Sunday, and sell them to the kids who have those big sub-woofers!
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Old 07-10-2010, 06:43 PM   #39
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Funny, my VX here pulls to the left. I'm sure the ONE steel wheel, guess where?, the previous owner had wasn't helping. I'm sure the alignment is out. Its just that it has older front tires and other maintenance to take care of before investing in the new outer tie rods/boots that it will need for an alignment. At the very least, not have to pay for 2 or 3 alignments just because I didn't time it all together.

Timing belt/seals, water pump/seals, and valve cover gasket are next on my list. Possibly, a new oil pan at this rate.
Yep, make sure you have proper (somewhat matched) wheels and tires. Had a Chevette aligned years ago, and the car still pulled violently. Don't remember which direction. Alignment guy said it was the tire. Replaced the tire, and the car tracked very straight, even after being rear-ended and "totaled" a couple weeks later.
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:59 PM   #40
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Ok, after driving 200+ miles today over the highway, with the newly charged battery, I returned home and let it rest for about an hour. Then, proceeded to take the car to the local AutoZone for Alternator testing.

Results:

Test of battery with car off, battery good.
Test of battery with car on, battery good so finger pointing goes to:

Voltage reg. failure.
i.e. Alternator not up to spec, according to the guys handy machine that was hooked up to the battery.

That explains the car's driving performance under any kind of electrical load. Needless to say, going to get a new alternator in the next couple of days to make sure the battery doesn't go out again or that the current alternator won't ruin what's left of it.

My only question is does anyone know how reliable those testing tools are that AutoZone uses?
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