starter problem..maybe

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i have a 1987 mazda rx-7 turbo and when i turn the key on to start the car, there is no power and it only goes click. i put in an interstate battery last week and the car was running fine for a few days then it died again.

Now its not starting again and just makes the clicking sound. I think that it might be a problem with the starter or maybe even the alternator as the power might not be getting distributed. Im gonna take it to a garage but i just want to have an idea of what to expect.

Any help is much appreciated.

posted by  zohaibs17

Expect something in your charging circuit to be kaput. I might be something simple like a fuseable link or bad connection, upto a knackered alternator. Do you get a charging lamp warning on your dash?

posted by  Wally

no. theres no warning light on the dash.

posted by  zohaibs17

measure the voltage,and if low,jump start or charge the battery.if it starts ok then you need to check the charge system.sometimes the light is burnt out and you do not know it.some alternators will have one diode open,it will charge on 3 cycles,not strong but not trigger the lamp.

posted by  the lobster

You don't measure the voltage, you measure the amperage. The alternator could be running at 10 volts and putting out 100amps, in which case I wouldn't bother replacing it personally, because it's still charging, might as well wait for it to completely die on you.

Have you tried boosting it? If not, try it, if it starts, let it run for about 5 minutes then try starting it again without a boost, if it won't start, or have close to enough power to start, chances are your alternator is kaput.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

ok. now that's wrong and potentially dangerous information. i know it's hypothetical, but if you're pulling 100A, you're gonna burn something up, possibly the battery, and that's bad. jump start it, then pull the battery cable off while it's running. if it dies, it's in your charging system. before replacing the alternator, though, check for an alternator fuse. i've seen people look really stupid by changing their alternator multiple times, not knowing that some imports have fuses for that. if you feel lazy, most discount auto part stores can test your chrging system in the car, though

posted by  dodger65

You do realize that almost ALL alternators can put out 100amps right? Mine puts out 160.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

"can" doesn't mean they're meant to do it constantly, though. i'd think if you were running 100A through all your 5a, 10a, 20a fuses and all the other small gauge wiring in the car, you could burn stuff up. point is, i just don't agree w/ the 10v theory... alternators are tested according to output voltage, if you don't have enough voltage, it's not going to charge the battery. amp rating is just what it CAN do, given the proper wiring.

posted by  dodger65

Do not disconnect your battery with the car running because if the alt is not bad, that most likely will cause it to go bad.

posted by  srober32

Usually altenators do not put out what they are rated for even in a "fulll field" condition. In the case of an altenator putting out 10v and 100amps... that is kind of the way it would happen, as the amp output goes up the voltage goes down until the drain on the charging system is removed and then they gradually return to the charging norm.

posted by  srober32

i must have some bad-ass alternators, then... :wink2:

i understand your point, but personally i've had 100% success doing that with '95 and older cars...

posted by  dodger65

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