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Charging/Battery/Alternator Issues

692 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  cksvih01

I replaced the battery in my 2011 Murano LE about 2 years ago with a battery supplied by AAA. The car has 173,000 miles on it but runs very well most of the time.

The guy who installed out pointed out corrosion on the positive battery terminal as well as the
fusible link. I replaced both the positive terminal and the fusible link.

I got the terminal from O'Reilly: Dorman OE Battery Terminal 926-498 (picture attached).

Everything was fine for a couple of years.

A month or two ago I was waiting for my daughter on a cold night and running my car with the
lights off but radio and heater on. I switched it off about ten minutes before she came out
and the battery was completely dead. When I checked the battery I noticed that the positive terminal was very loose- you could rotate it by hand. I tightened it up snugly and we jumped it and all was good.

A couple of weeks after that I was driving and suddenly found that I couldn't drive more than 10 MPH, then the car died. When I tried to start it, the lights and instrument panel flashed off and on and the battery was almost completely dead. I opened the hood and noticed that once again the positive terminal had come loose. This time, I tightened it as much as I could but even with the nut really snug, the terminal wasn't really that tight. It looked like either the terminal wasn't closing properly on the battery terminal post or maybe the post had corroded or worn to the point where it was too small for the terminal.

A kind bystander stopped and gave me a jump. I started to drive off but the car was still in limp mode and the ABS and other lights came on. I put it in Neutral, revved the engine, the ABS and other lights went out and it drove completely fine.

After that, I got some lead battery shims and put them on the terminal post. That made it so large that the terminal was hard to fit on the post, but I pressed it on and tightened it and everything seemed nice and snug.

All was fine until last week when I got one of those power adapters that displays the battery voltage. The normal voltage it reads is about 12.2 V. When the car starts, it drops to around 11.9. It usually comes back up to 12.2 but sometimes will stay at 11.8 flashing for a few minutes before it goes back to 12.2. The highest voltage I've ever seen it display is 13.8V, whereas on my wife's car with a new battery, it typically shows 14.3V or so.

As I drove the car during the week, I noticed that sometimes the voltage display would cycle up and down between say 13.6V and 12.1 V more or less randomly. Occasionally- whether it's idling or I'm driving it would drop in the 11 V range and start flashing. One one occasion, it dropped to 10.6 V and went into limp mode again. The battery was never dead during any of this. The one time it went into limp mode, the ABS and other lights came on. I revved
the engine in neutral and it was fine again.

I started thinking maybe it was the loose terminal connection again, so I disconnected the battery and charged it with a manual charger. When I hooked it back up, it was still only showing 11.8 or 11.9 V at first, but gradually came up to 12.1. The highest voltage I was seeing with the car idling was around 13.1V. It didn't seem to be affected by engine speed. I tightened the terminal further and immediately saw a jump to 13.8V.

I then tried various tests after I tightened the terminal. With the car running, switching on the headlights, blower, stereo etc doesn't cause the displayed voltage to drop and I will generally see the voltage increase to around 13.3 or 13.4V as I turn things on. All that leads me to believe that the alternator is probably OK and the battery does seem to hold a charge and suggests that maybe all the problems have been caused by that positive terminal working loose. I don't really like how the clamp on that terminal tightens and am going to try another style, either with or without shims.

I can take it and have the battery and alternator tested obviously but don't want go through the pain and expense of replacing the alternator if it's not really needed.

Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated.

Thanks very much!


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You need to replace the entire positive cable with an OEM one. Nissan is extremely fussy with maintaining proper electrical characteristics throughout their electrical system. Most non-OEM Nissan electrical components fail in this aspect, causing issues.

If you had that much corrosion on the positive cable, then it's more than likely that the negative cable might also be compromised with corrosion.

Replace both battery cables with OEM cables before wasting any more money. This will greatly eliminate one of the main issues with the charging system.

Battery voltage, on a good charger, fully disconnected from the car, should be at least 13.5v, with 13.8v being normal. If it can't get up to this level, it needs to be replaced.

Last, after replacing the cables, and replacing the battery if needed, check the voltage at the battery when you first start the car. Voltage with a properly operating alternator should be between 14.3 - 14.8 volts output for proper charging. Bad battery cables can affect these readings, the reason for changing the cables first.

If the alternator can't maintain this output, then that will need to be replaced. Again, pay for an OEM alternator. Rebuilds have a dismal failure rate. Do a search here for the issues involved with installing the cheaper rebuilds.

You can find OEM electrical items cheaper by shopping the different online Nissan dealers. All the Nissan dealers set their own online pricing, some online dealers offering up to 50% off their list price.

Verify that you're ordering the proper parts by entering your VIN number on the Nissan parts web sites. Once you have verified Nissan's part numbers, you can than do a web search for cheaper pricing. This might work for the cables, but not so much when shopping for the alternator. Be extremely leery of any cheaper alternators, most likely they are mismarked rebuilds or aftermarket knock-offs.

Good luck.

Looking forward to seeing your resolution.

Have a good day.
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