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Explain this electrical issue

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by travisvwright, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. Nov 26, 2012 at 6:02 AM
    #1
    travisvwright

    travisvwright [OP] Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
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    NC
    Vehicle:
    95 4WD 2.7L 4 cylinder
    95 Tacoma Manual 4cyl 2.7 4x4. No problems or even indications prior to this. No recent work done. I changed the tape deck to a CD player 6 years ago, everything else is stock (no new speakers, lights, anything).

    This morning it was about 20 degrees. Truck started no problem no hesitation. As I started to drive off it dies. The type where the RPM needle swings wildly back and forth and warning lights come one. I try re-starting it starts, 2 seconds dies. I turn my head lights off and restart it, starts right up and idles normally. I role the light switch to turn on the parking lights and the engine starts working a little harder, (was sitting at 1.5 RPM now bouncing between 1.5 and 2). Role the switch to lights on and the engine dies.

    With the engine off the lights work (slightly dimmer than with the engine on but not much). Then I turn off the lights and start the truck and let the engine idle until the temperature gauge starts moving. It's cold so I try turning on the heater. Setting the fan at 2 gives me that 1.5 to 2 RPM bounce, clicking it to 4 (or 3+parking lights) kills the engine. I experiment on and off with various things for nearly 30 minutes (the engine on and running most of this time) and then she's fine.

    Drive the 3 miles to the gym with lights on when I get there I figure I'll test it so with lights on I flip the fan to full blast and turn on the radio. No troubles at all. 1 hour later as I'm leaving everything works perfect like nothing was ever wrong.

    TL;DR
    Truck has plenty of battery power to start the car or run the headlights but doing both kills it. Or turning the fan to HI with the engine running will kill it.

    So I'm thinking it's not the battery because the truck started over and over with no problem. Once it's running the alternator starts powering everything but it's not putting out enough power to keep the engine firing and the lights on...but only while it's cold? What's going on? And what do I need to fix?
     
  2. Nov 26, 2012 at 8:49 AM
    #2
    tan4x4

    tan4x4 Well-Known Member

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    Rick
    Folsom, CA
    Vehicle:
    99 Tacoma EC 4x4 2.7L Auto
    Bilsteins, OME 881's, 3-leaf AAL, Detroit TruTrac, 31" tires, Michelin LTX AT2, stock gears, Tranny skidplate, TC skidplate, CBI rear bumper, sliders, UltraGauge, PowerTank, CB
    Could be a bad alternator.

    Read the voltage across the battery terminals when its off (should be around 12.3 volts for a good battery).
    Then read it after starting (should be around 14 volts).
     
  3. Nov 26, 2012 at 2:01 PM
    #3
    Sittingbull2

    Sittingbull2 Old N.R.A. Hippy

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    Mitch
    Southeast texas
    Vehicle:
    2000 Xtra Cab SR5 White
    3" Body lift, ARB Front Bumper w/9000 lb. Warn Winch, Chevy Alum. Rims w/ Kelly 285's M/S
    Take it down to Autozone let them test your alternator

    Sittingbull2
     
  4. Nov 27, 2012 at 7:07 AM
    #4
    travisvwright

    travisvwright [OP] Member

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    Male
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    Vehicle:
    95 4WD 2.7L 4 cylinder
    I'll check the alternator. (Voltmeter is over at the house we're remodeling.) Started just fine this morning at about 38 degrees.
     
  5. Nov 27, 2012 at 7:23 AM
    #5
    GreatBasinTaco

    GreatBasinTaco Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Mike
    Reno, NV
    Vehicle:
    2010 TRDOR MGM DCSB
    ARB bumper, OME 886's, Dakars, lr ucas, 1 piece driveshaft, softopper, 255/85 KM2, 60" hi-lift with custom mounts, thule roof rack, BAMF sliders
    I had a similar issue in a 90 4runner. Sometimes it worked other times it didn't. The magnetic brush in the alternator went out. about $20 fix. the alternator test should give you more info.
     
  6. Dec 1, 2012 at 12:41 PM
    #6
    Shadetree

    Shadetree Well-Known Member

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    BiLL
    Bozeman, Montana
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    2011 Access Cab 4x2
    Locking Tailgate & Gas Cap and extra bed D-rings
    I agree with Mike. Load test your alternator when it is cold. Temperature can affect alternator and starter motor brushes and belt slippage.
     
  7. Dec 1, 2012 at 3:43 PM
    #7
    taco47001

    taco47001 Newborn

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    Aurora, IN
    Vehicle:
    Silver Taco
    3" Lift (Billies 5100 front and back), Toytec springs, All Pro 3" Standard Pack, LR UCA's, Diff Drop, SCS F5's, 265/75/16 Treadwright Wardens, Rear Diff Breather, pinch weld mod, Morimoto Projector retro w/ amber halo's, grey wire mod, Elite front bumper....so far....
    x....whatever we're up to now.
     
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