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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2007, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
 
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Alternator about to go?

Hi Everyone,

After getting the infamous "oil light flicker" problem taken care of two days ago on my '04 SE (I purchased a vent wire and the oil switch on newmoparparts.com and had Midas replace the parts) I was getting ready to tackle the next problem.

Almost a year ago I had an after market remote start kit from Designtech (http://www.designtech-intl.com/pdf/manuals/23927.pdf) installed.

At about the same time when the oil light flicker problem started (about two months) ago, I also started experiencing some issues with the remote start.

Every once in a while when I try to start the car remotely, it will start and stay on for about 20 seconds and then shut off. The remote start unit will try two more times before it stops to try to start the car. This can happen when the car has been driven for a while or when I try starting it in the morning.

However, sometimes it will start the way it is supposed to and remain on until it times out.

After running the self-diagnostic procedure on the remote start module it gave me the following code:

Quote:
Code 6 is caused by the unit not seeing the battery voltage increase enough when the vehicle starts. It can also be caused if you are not bypassing the factory theft system, such as PATS, VATS, or similar, if equipped.

Double-check the ignition wiring against the vehicle-wiring guide. Your vehicle may require ignition 2, or in some cases ignition 3, in order to allow the alternator to function Ė thus bringing up the voltage.

If the wiring is correct, and you are properly bypassing any security system the vehicle may be equipped with, then connecting the unit into tach mode should solve the problem. (Your alternator may not be functioning properly).
Since I had the system installed by a factory authorized installer and since it used to work fine in the past, it leads me to believe that the last sentence of the third paragraph (Your alternator may not be functioning properly) might apply. Either that or something might be wrong with the battery.

I went to Advance Auto Parts to have them check the battery and alternator. The problem is that they only do these tests during daylight, or so I was told, and I usually donít get home from work until after itís been dark for a while.

Either way, is there anything else that could cause the unit to not see the battery voltage increase enough when the vehicle starts?

I apologize if Iím asking basic questions here but fact is I donít know enough about cars and I would at least like to try and be as knowledgeable as possible about a certain problems, when it is time to deal with the mechanics.

So, Iíd like to thank you in advance for your answers.

Andy
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2007, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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I'm sorry, I just realized I may have posted this in the wrong sub forum. Maybe someone can move this if it doesn't belong here.

Thanks!
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2007, 04:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Germerican
Hi Everyone,

I went to Advance Auto Parts to have them check the battery and alternator. The problem is that they only do these tests during daylight, or so I was told, and I usually donít get home from work until after itís been dark for a while.

Either way, is there anything else that could cause the unit to not see the battery voltage increase enough when the vehicle starts?

I apologize if Iím asking basic questions here but fact is I donít know enough about cars and I would at least like to try and be as knowledgeable as possible about a certain problems, when it is time to deal with the mechanics.

So, Iíd like to thank you in advance for your answers.

Andy
That Advance Auto policy is because the guy at the counter doesn't want to bother going out in the dark to test it. I've seen them testing people's cars at Advance around here all hours. Perhaps the store manager or the like is the only ones who can run the machine and they are only there during daylight hours. That might be the case.

1st, thank you for not starting another thread regarding the oil light flicker. I answer plenty of them, which is why I had the admin place the oil light flicker tsb thread at the top of the 2nd gen forum with a sticky. Its a real easy fix if you were to do it yourself. Should have taken them 1/2 hour to do it.

2nd, I know nothing about remote start units, but have read about the not detecting alternator voltage issue in the past. Perhaps you should start by checking the wire for the remote start that gets its voltage signal from the alternator. If its disconnected or corroded, then it would explain why it doesn't detect the charging voltage. I would think that if either your battery or alternator were going south, you would experience other problems and your battery light would come on sooner or later. If you have a volt meter, you can easily check the charging voltage, which should be over 13 volts with the car running. I'd start with figuring out which wire for the remote start is the voltage detect wire and check that connection.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2007, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the info. I have to admit that most of the time when I come here, I have some sort of problem that I need help with. But I also have to say, that I can usually count on a helpful response in no time and it seems your posts froggy are always among those that help me the most. So thanks again for that.

Yours and other peoples responses to various oil flicker threads have helped me to not get ripped off. Out of curiosity I contacted the dealer for a quote and was given an outrageous amount of $140+

But now back to this problem... I figured it was too cold for the guy at A A P to come out or maybe the guy who usually runs the tests wasn't there but I didn't really buy his "we only do those tests during daylight" comment.

Anyway, I'll go ahead and check the wire you mentioned. I also forgot to state in my earlier post that when I pull into my driveway at night and hit the breaks I can tell my headlight go a little dim for a second and it seems, and I may just be imagining this (as a matter of fact I probably am) that my power windows don't open and close as fast as they used too. I heard those might be signs of the alternator going out. But like I said, I'll check the wire and bring the car to Advance Auto Parts on the weekend.

Thanks again!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2007, 05:01 PM
 
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the braking dim is normal almost all vehicles do it, let me ask you this is your car hard to start even with the key. The remote start works by sensing voltage off of your ignition wires. all it does is act as a relay with a remote, it takes the voltage coming in and turns on your accessory and ignition wires and than turns ur starter on. now if it runs for a good twenty seconds and dies than something is wrong with the r/s but if it only runs for a SECOND OR TWO and than dies than it could be your immobilizer bypass settings on you may need a longer crank time.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2007, 05:16 PM
 
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first thanks for the compliments on being helpful. I appreciate that. And David is right on the momentary dimming when you step on the brakes. The charging systems on these cars, and many modern cars, are controlled and monitored by the pcm. On DC products at least, the voltage regulator is no longer a part of the alternator, but a part of the pcm. It monitors the load on the charging system and adjusts the alternator's output accordingly. Believe it or not, brake lights do soak up a decent amount of power. If your lights did not come back up to normal when you step on the brakes, then I would say you might be concerned. Given that the dim for a second and come back normal, tells me that the pcm is adjusting the output and the alternator is responding.

Just a brief explanation on why they set up the charging systems this way. Instead of the old systems, which just pushed out as much current as it could and can possibily overcharge the battery. These newer ones are better controlled. The pcm can adjust the output to match the needs at the time. This extends the life of the battery as well as the life of the alternator. I traded in a 1998 Caravan to get my trep in 2004, and that caravan had its original battery in it. That's 6 years on an OE and it never gave me trouble. My trep, I got in 2004 and its now 2007 and it too has its original battery. And its build date on the door sticker is August 2000, so my OE battery is over 6 years old, and thus far hasn't given me any grief either.
As I say that, I think in the back of my head, my car better start when I get out of work in an hour!!!!!!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2007, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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All right, first of all I have to thank you guys one more time. I'm really learning alot on this forum!

In regards to david's question, the car starts normally with and with out remote start. When I start it via the key in the ignition there is no problem at all. When starting with the remote, every other time it will start (again it appears that it starts normally) and then shut off after 15 to 20 seconds. It'll try three times and then give up. However, sometimes it does start the way it is supposed to. Unfortunately I wasn't able to figure out a pattern. It seems to do it randomly. The built-in diagnostics system gives me the above-mentioned code.

There is a so called "tach mode" which starts the car by reading the engine speed information rather then starting the car by reading the car's voltage before attempting to start (which is the current option enabled). I may try to switch it to tach mode and see if that solves the problem.

Froggy, again thanks for all the useful information.

Andy
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2007, 10:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Germerican
There is a so called "tach mode" which starts the car by reading the engine speed information rather then starting the car by reading the car's voltage before attempting to start (which is the current option enabled). I may try to switch it to tach mode and see if that solves the problem.

Froggy, again thanks for all the useful information.

Andy
I did read up a little bit from someone else's thread about a remote starter awhle back and did see they can use either alternator voltage or a tach signal. but keep in mind they are two entirely different types of readings. A tach signal would be a pulsing square wave, whereas a voltage signal from the alternator is a rise in voltage. You can't connect to the same wire for either, they are two different sources. So if yours was installed for voltage sense, then its wired to detect the alternator output and not the tach signal. You'd have to change what that wire its connected to in order to switch it to read the tach signal.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-19-2007, 09:49 PM
 
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yes the wire for tach has to be hooked up, there is no wire for voltage sense though. and make sure you program tach as well. tach will make sure the car is running and stops the starter as soon as the rpm's match the programming, it is deff the way to go in cold climates.
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