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Battery Light on but battery charging fine @ 14.1V.


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Car starts fine after a two week layover due to state shutdown. I keep a small trickle charger on the battery when not being driven.  Alternator is about a year old. Battery shows about 12.5 without engine running or charger hooked up. After a few miles the battery bulb turns on. Voltage check shows 14.1 or so on the battery terminals with engine still running. Ideas as to problem causing the bulb to turn on even thought the battery appears to be charging properly, anyone.  Thank you, all!

 

Mike

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Hi Mikie,

Could be a bad connection but this is usually an alternator fault.

When the engine is running, a 14v reading at the battery is bang on.

Are you sure it continues to read 14v when the ignition light comes on?

Andy.

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Only 12.5 with the charger hooked up? Hmmm

All my chargers 'maintain' our batteries at ~13.5. A bad battery will drop below 12 after 24 hours off the charger.

 

You say the alternator is one year old, what brand please?

 

Might be something as 'easy' (note the quotes) 🙄 as a loose alternator V-belt. When the engine bay temps increase, it gets loose and drives the alternator slower. The last two loose belts I had did not signal with squealing as they did in the past, I'm thinking that belts nowadays are made of stuff that remains quiet. 🥴

Atwell Haines

'88 Esprit

Succasunna, NJ USA

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Hi Andy and Atwell!

 

Thank you both for your replies! Yes, that is what mystifies me/ 12.5 VDC with the engine off and 14.1 when the engine is running, and these numbers are true for when the Battery light is off, and then, once it comes on after several miles... Very glad it is not the alternator that is only several months old (from JAE) after its recent installation) , so far, and that the battery is getting charged but makes me wonder what else might be getting hurt while driving, of not being able to get to a repair guy if something I can not fix, and, not much I am able to do here anyway. lol

 

Mike

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Hi Mikie,

So when the light comes on, you pulled over and got a battery voltage measurement while the light remained on?

If measured with the light on, and the voltage is solid at 14v, it would seem you are charging ok and the issue is the wiring to the indicator light.

Just strange that it comes on after a few miles every time. Really does sound like a faulty alternator.

Are you sure the voltage doesn't drop at all with the light on?

Andy.

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I bet @MikieP is sorry his Esprit doesn't have a voltage gauge like older cars!!!!

 

BTW what is JAE sending these days? The original Valeo brand, or the better Bosch A49LX?

Edited by CarBuff

Atwell Haines

'88 Esprit

Succasunna, NJ USA

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Andy,

Yes. Using a digital meter so tiny variations do not show up if present. Going to try again when rain quits and measure on AC range, just in case, as I did not do that. Yeah, it is strange. lol  Watched for ten seconds or so with no change. I also have an old charge meter that couples around the battery cable to the alternator and it showed a slight positive charging as well.

 

Atwell,

Will have to look to answer your question. lol.

 

Mike

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That is funny.... 😆🤗

 

 

Now that you found the REAL culprit 🙄 look at the pressurized reservoir at the left-rear of the trunk (boot). If it looks OK (up to the 'waist' on a cold engine), take it out (2, 10mm nuts & washers) and scrub the deceiving scum off the inside so that you can see how full the coolant level REALLY is. 😂

It will probably require 5 - 6 drive cycles to purge all the air from the cooling system, so keep checking the reservoir...

Look for tell-tale signs of coolant leakage. Often the system leaks up front near the rad, as pressure builds before the coolant warms the pipes. Look for streaks (or drips).

Atwell Haines

'88 Esprit

Succasunna, NJ USA

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Cheers, Mike, sooner or later we are all eventually humbled by overlooking something important. Now give yourself a pat on the back for the observation regarding your buddy's S4 as it surely does have a leak in need of repair. I learned my lesson with an early Elan when I realized the indelible scent of gasoline in the muffins hauled in the boot on my way to Sunday morning coffee with my folks MEANT something was amiss. With that reckoning I found the tank had an ever so tiny weep via a barely visible pinhole, bottom side, and truly realized the pungency of gas vapour. No discernible rate of liquid fuel loss, BTW. Fixed leak, banished the scent.

 

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On 29/04/2020 at 02:10, MikieP said:

My friend's S4 is leaking enough gas somewhere that his house smells like gasoline yet can find no apparent leaks

Sounds like the balance hose that that runs above the rear window has perished & needs replacing, a much easier job than replacing the tanks. :thumbup:

Cheers,

John W

http://jonwatkins.co.uk

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Hi Atwell.

 

Thank you for your reply! The plastic jug was empty. no drips on the garage floor anywhere that I have found so far. The system was taken apart back in November to replace the Alternator among other things so perhaps it was not properly bled during refill? I never thought to double check that refill, not thinking it was not done properly by the fellow doing the work,. Should there be any antifreeze in in when either engine  cold or hot O must ask? I see no scum on the internals of the plastic bottle.

 

Mike

Hi Steve,

 

Thank you for your reply! The upper hose was replaced a long time ago with real fuel line and has been looked at. Could be the balance hose at the bottom of the tank compartment? There is sooo much smell around the car even when outside. How do you even get to it without pulling the tanks? lol

 

Mike

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3 hours ago, MikieP said:

no drips on the garage floor anywhere that I have found so far. The system was taken apart back in November to replace the Alternator among other things so perhaps it was not properly bled during refill?

Perhaps.  As I said, the cooling system usually requires topping off after any work. Even when properly bled through the vent on the top left corner of the radiator, the coolant level still drops for a few drive cycles as air is purged.

When the system leaks, you often will not see a drip because when the circulating coolant finally DOES warm up the piping, the leak stops. But a tell-tale streak will remain.

 

3 hours ago, MikieP said:

Should there be any antifreeze in it [overflow reservoir] when either engine  cold or hot I must ask?

Should ALWAYS be some coolant in the bottle. Service Notes say to fill half way up, cold. The level will be higher when warm.

Due to the fact that the overflow was pressurized until the adaptation of the plastic Peugeot header tank about the time of the S4s, you should never open the cap HOT.

3 hours ago, MikieP said:

The upper [fuel vapor] hose was replaced a long time ago with real fuel line and has been looked at.  There is sooo much smell around the car even when outside.

There are a lot more hoses on an SE. The charcoal canister and purge valve (which is another GM part that is likely to fail) are in the RR corner of the engine bay. The easiest way to service it is to lift the trunk floor. Lotus used the same vinyl tubing to connect it as they did with the line over the window. Don't forget the vapor lines to the rollover valve in the RH sail panel, too.

 

Another source of fuel smell on GM MPFI cars were the gaskets around the fuel cap necks.

 

Here is what I mean by lifting the trunk floor:

 

P1140001.JPG

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Atwell Haines

'88 Esprit

Succasunna, NJ USA

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10 hours ago, MikieP said:

There is sooo much smell around the car even when outside.

If it smells that bad, I reckon it's definitely an actual fuel weep rather than just a vapour leak.

I'd concentrate on that lower balance hose and the tanks themselves, including fuel supply and return connections on the top of the R/H tank.

How much fuel is in the tanks at present?

Andy.

 

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Thank you for your reply. Atwell and Andy!

Full tanks of gas. When my friend came home from work today, he noticed though it had rained earlier in the day, a dried stream of orange residue running down his driveway to the gutter from underneath the car, gas residue I would suppose. His driveway has a slope to it and he moved it outside of the garage to let the fumes escape to the outside. That is a new symptom, to say the least. Neither of us have any idea how to even look at the balance hose nor fuel supply and return connections nor how to get the top off the tanks' cover. Closest repair shop we would we know of is in northern New Jersey. The other two places I have tried are gigantic rip offs. One even charged me 100 bucks just to spend 20 minutes taking down my repair requests upon delivery to their shop in north western Maryland.

Any hints would be very much appreciated on how to locate / get to  the hose and other parts of concern. I have told him to refrain from starting the S4. lol

 

 

Mike

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I'm not familiar with the SE, but I did have a problem with my fuel supply a while back and the forum helped to give me the confidence to fix it.

I was lucky that my car had replacement Aluminium fuel tanks, but there was a blockage shown in the post:

I can also confirm that when I reconnected the banjo bolt drain plug at the bottom of my fuel tank a new copper washer is essential as even the slightest fuel leak does really stink as it can gather in the side sill and no the floor.

From underneath the car, just infron of the rear wheels you should have a whole to inspect the tank, on the inner side in the same area there's a large rubber grommet that the fuel pipe passes through towards the pump which for me is underside on the left side just behind the seat fixings.

It's just some fuel clips to undo and drain the fuel, but you will need a big gatherer or two if your taks are full.

With the car empty of fuel changing the pipes (I think standard 8mm) if they leak is made easy.

It's obviously easier if the rear of the car is up a ramp or you have an inspection pit.

 

apologies for spelling errors as I re-read. hole not whole., infront not infron , tanks not taks 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Damien!

Sorry for the delay, just finished up with the flu. Turns out the passenger side (LH Drive) tank is rusty on its bottom so will have to pull it somehow and replace with aluminum one from somewhere I suppose. Hose across and its ilk all seem to be fine.

 

As to my now radiator / engine hot tell tale light coming on after driving it some 10 miles, I got back and the tank in the engine compartment was 8 inches low and the plastic one in the rear trunk was empty so filled both up where they should be and let sit for couple of days. Went out for another drive today and light came on again after some 10 miles again. Drove home, let it cool down and then opened both charge cooler tank and the engine compartment tank both were full and the plastic bottle had risen about four inches to almost full. Put all three of the caps back on and restarted and light stayed on. Temperature gauge stayed around 81 degrees the entire drive.

Bad sensors in both bottles, bad module, and anything else I might try to look at?

 

Enough for now. Energy level running low here for now. Much thanks for any hints on this one?

 

Mike

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The header tank level sensor MIGHT be sticky from being low on coolant. You should remove it and clean it out (free it up).

 

Remember, it takes 5 - 6 drive cycles to purge air (tho' it sounds as if you are losing coolant somewhere).

Atwell Haines

'88 Esprit

Succasunna, NJ USA

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Mike,

Good on you for progress so far, now make note of the very good advice to consider the condition of any hoses relating to the fuel system. Bear in mind the age of all these old beauties, it's easily overlooked given that the things are still state-of-the-art sportscars owing to design brilliance. In other words it's a very wise owner who realizes how to maintain an Esprit sensibly. Keep us posted!

 

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