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Old 15-07-2016, 08:52 PM   #1
jamand
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1997 BA astina hatch 1.8L Charging/Alternator problems.

A couple of weeks ago l replaced the six instrument cluster illumination bulbs because a couple were blown so l decided to change all of them.l installed 3watt standard wedge bulbs not LEDs.l took the car for a drive [night time] and after 30 minutes the battery charge fault light and handbrake/brake fault light both came on,l drove straight home which was just around the corner.

l plugged in my code reader and got a P1631 "continuous alternator generation voltage signal circuit malfunction" message.

l checked battery with multimeter and it still read a full charge[12.5v]. Started engine and battery readings were 12 volts,under no load and under load which indicated alternator not charging,by the way brake fluid level was fine.

Checked connections, positive and ground both good.Continuity exists between alt + post/terminal and battery + as well as alt casing to battery negative.Checked both positive and ground voltage drop and both under 0.2v.

Decided to get 2nd hand alternator from local wreckers[same serial nos. as alt in sons car]. Installed alt but still not charging,called wreckers and said l think its no good,they said it was tested when came in on a running astina and tested good,said it could be a problem with the astina's pcm as it controls the voltage regulator.

Called a mobile auto electrician,[l had to remove the master brake cylinder,it was the only way l could get the alternators in and out of the engine bay]. He said the readings from the alt harness connector were good and came to conclusion that 2nd hand alt was no good.Exchanged with another 2nd hand alt,auto lecy tested this alt, said it tested good.l fitted the 2nd used alt but still not charging.

l,m just wondering if its just an unfortunate coincidence or that maybe l have disturbed something when l changed dash bulbs[told auto lecy about this].The charging problem didn't show itself immediately though,but a short time after.
To be honest l haven't got much confidence in this particular auto lec's abilities,have spend abit of dough with still no cure. It would be very unlucky if both the 2nd hand alternators were bad,maybe it is a problem from the pcm, l'm at a loss.

Sorry for the long story,any help would be appreciated, Thank you, Regards jamand.
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Old 16-07-2016, 12:01 AM   #2
MadazInBris
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A single cell in the battery may have collapsed jamand.
I'd suggest you 'borrow' a known GOOD battery & see what happens ?
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Old 16-07-2016, 10:39 AM   #3
project.r.racing
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should have more than 12V with the engine running. needs to be 13.7-14.3 from memory. sounds like you have a major energy draw somewhere.

but yes as above, i would also have the condition of the battery checked. this is normally a no cost process at any auto store.
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Old 16-07-2016, 01:25 PM   #4
project.r.racing
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Just had a thought. The BA used two different alternators, pre 96 and post 96. Pretty sure the later partially regulated from the alternator itself.
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Old 16-07-2016, 08:08 PM   #5
jamand
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Thanks for the input. Today l put the battery from my Falcon au,into the astina,this battery is only 12 or 18 months old and definitely good,shows the strong green dot though the sight glass and multimeter shows 12.6v,but unfortunately still have the battery charge fault light on,and only reading12.5v at the battery, engine running.

The alternator that was originally in the astina has the PD type plug,the 2nd hand alternators l got from the wreckers both had the PD labelled plug socket,also their serials numbers matched the alt that was in the car.
From the bit of research l've done the P[phase] pin is for the stator which the pcm uses for field load indication. The D[driver] pin is for the pcm to control the field circuit. l only have a vague notion of what this really means,a bit over my head,except that l figure the pcm controls the regulator.

But l also have read somewhere on the net that bench testing these PD type alternators the traditional way without a specific type of adapter will damage the internal voltage regulator. l know the auto lecy did use an adapter when he bench tested the alt,the one that is now in the car,but l don't know if it was the specified type or not,he told me the alt tested good and was outputting sufficient amps so l imagine it must have been.

project.r.racing when you say l may have a major energy draw somewhere,do you mean that the alternator can't keep up due to a current draw greater than what the alt can put in?

Thanks again to you both for your help.
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Old 16-07-2016, 08:35 PM   #6
ghetto3
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Is it possible that while you changed the bulbs in the dash cluster you may have disturbed something, created a bridged circuit or such? Looking on the back of the ba's cluster i can see a few possible areas where shorts or circuit bridges could muck things around for you. It would make sense if the only thing messed with was the dash cluster before the problems started than that would most likely be the source of the issue. Maybe a shorted alt. charge light circuit on the pcb attached to the rear of cluster is stuffing the pcm controlled regulator around. It was the earlier series ba's that had the internal regulated alternators i believe.
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Old 17-07-2016, 11:48 AM   #7
jamand
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Thanks ghetto3, yes l have a niggling feeling that l may have disturbed something when l changed the dash bulbs,even though l was careful.
l will start to investigate the possibility of shorted pcb circuit on the back of the cluster.
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