Electrics issue - headlights go dim on long journey - help!

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Thread: Electrics issue - headlights go dim on long journey - help!

  1. #1

    Electrics issue - headlights go dim on long journey - help!

    9-3 1.9 Diesel 8-valve vector sport saloon 2004

    Was out last Friday on the other side of town. Started the car to drive home and the 'Battery Not Charging' info message came up, along with the warning light. Decided to risk driving home as it was only 2 or 3 miles. Got back OK

    Next morning got the AA out first thing. While waiting for the patrol to turn up, decided to try starting the car. No problem - turned over strongly and started OK. Patrol turns up bemused that it's working and tests the battery voltage, and the charging from the alternator under various load conditions. Everything checks out fine. We decide it could be a rogue warning light or something intermittent. In which case I'll just have to carry on as normal and see what happens.

    Yesterday, driving back in the dark on a 200 mile journey mostly motorway, I sensed that I was having difficulty seeing the sides of the lanes on the dipped beam, and I start to wonder if my lights were going dim. This was confirmed when I get off the motorway and I had to drive unlit B-roads for the last leg home. Both the dipped and the main beams were pathetically puny to the point where I had to slow down considerably to be safe. The electrical load scenario for the trip was pretty average I'd say. Usual lights, radio, low heater ON, heated rear screen OFF. Only extra was a phone charging off the lighter socket for half the journey, and the front fog lights turned on to try and get more light onto the sides of the motorway lanes and the roads. "Battery not Charging" never appeared the whole time.

    As a matter of interest, I checked the battery voltage before starting the car this morning - 12.8 volts.

    Any ideas what could be going on? Thanks

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  3. #2
    Administrator aerojon's Avatar
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    Re: Electrics issue - headlights go dim on long journey - help!

    what's the charging voltage with the engine running and everything turned off..
    My 9-3 audio,2 x cd changers,aux-in & Bluetooth audio streaming..

    Buy cheap pay twice..

  4. #3

    Re: Electrics issue - headlights go dim on long journey - help!

    Thanks for the reply.

    I'm not electrically knowledgeable enough to know how to do it. If someone can advise on which points to put the meter over, I'll have a go.

    But like I said, the AA man said it was all charging fine under all load conditions.

  5. #4
    Administrator aerojon's Avatar
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    Re: Electrics issue - headlights go dim on long journey - help!

    Quote Originally Posted by FenderBender
    I checked the battery voltage before starting the car this morning - 12.8 volts
    Same as this but with engine running..
    My 9-3 audio,2 x cd changers,aux-in & Bluetooth audio streaming..

    Buy cheap pay twice..

  6. #5

    Re: Electrics issue - headlights go dim on long journey - help!

    Apologies for misunderstanding, tried it with the engine running and it's 14.0 give or take a point.

  7. #6

    Re: Electrics issue - headlights go dim on long journey - help!

    My alternator has a free-wheeling pulley, the pulley started to do this when it should not, causing all sorts of problems, started doing it intermittently then failed completely. these cars like a steady voltage or do all sorts of strange stuff.

    We do not stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing.

  8. #7

    Re: Electrics issue - headlights go dim on long journey - help!

    Thanks, but I don't have a freewheeling pulley. Really what I'd like is some lateral thinking on factors that could cause this other than the obvious things that the AA man checked. Basically everything seems fine on everyday round-town or short journeys, but on a long journey of 3-4 hours something is happening that makes the lights go dim.

  9. #8

    Re: Electrics issue - headlights go dim on long journey - help!

    Alt to a auto leccys shop for a rebuild after checking & remaking
    The earths then

  10. #9
    Administrator aerojon's Avatar
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    Re: Electrics issue - headlights go dim on long journey - help!

    if the charging system checks out ok,then it could be the UEC(contains the fuses/relays) is starting to fail..
    My 9-3 audio,2 x cd changers,aux-in & Bluetooth audio streaming..

    Buy cheap pay twice..

  11. #10
    Saabisti
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    Re: Electrics issue - headlights go dim on long journey - help!

    I would be checking the contacts for the alt and the battery terminals and the battery earth to body connection.
    I would also track the alt sense wire from the alt as far as i could to check for damage.
    These alts are known to be a weak point but I would expect it to work or not.

  12. #11

    Re: Electrics issue - headlights go dim on long journey - help!

    The alts an these things are famous for being brilliant or useless tho'

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