02-26-2010, 01:43 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Overland Park, Kansas
Total Cats: 43
2000 Protege Electrical Problem
I has 2000 Mazda Protege ES for a daily driver that I bought almost 2 years and 80k miles ago. This car has been rock solid reliable to an utter awesome level.
Replaced the following parts since owning it:
Plugs, wires, Timing belt, water pump, timing tensioner
Trans fluid with Redline
A/C Pump (Clutch Locked up)
Power Steering pump (twisted the shaft right off the impeller wheel)
Rear wheel bearings
Rotors, pads, drums, shoes
Cat died ($600 for a new one, replaced with ebay china header..$99.00)
Tonight was a cold evening around 25 degrees when I got in my car to head off for a social gathering. After our meeting was over I tried to start the car and when I turned the key to start everything went black without a sound. Tried to turn the lights on, nothing. Turned key off and on a few times then finally got some juice and it reluctantly started up. Popped the hood and checked both battery terminals which were still solidly mounted to the battery, still pretty clean looking. Drove to Dennys for our after meeting gathering but noticed as I go the lights in gauge cluster were flickering.
Arrived at Dennys, shut the car off and it went black again. Said F-it and went inside for some coffee and company. Sure the car wouldn't restart when I return I was pleased to find it fired right up the first try, but everything was still really dark. Rushed it home, but noticed as I go the more electrical load I put on the car the brighter everything got -- The COMPLETE opposite of what I'm used to happening with electrical issues. Turned the HVAC blower on full blast, rear defrost, and the radio to get everything up to par cruising around 3000 all the way home. Got home and shut the car down to find it restarted immediately once more.
Pulled out my electrical system / battery load tester and Voltage was 14.6 @ idle with rear defrost, HVAC blower, radio, HID headlights, everything. Light up the load and voltage dropped to 12.5 volts and claimed to be pulling 400 amps. Lights all dimmed engine slowed down a little but it kept running like everything was fine. Gave the tester a short rest and tried it again, this time for about 30 seconds. Tester element turned red hot then I let off again with the same test results. Fourth time the car died dead after hitting the switch for load but car started right back up.
What the hell could this be? Bad or dirty engine ground? I checked the pitiful 12 gauge wire ground that goes from the battery to chassis to engine block and it looks fine, but I might add another one tomorrow. Next guess, could the voltage regulator in the alternator be going bad? Did notice one thing on my way to the meeting when sitting at a light, alternator whine coming through the speaker on my 2 way radio which I've never heard before. Was also told by people I was talking to they could hear the whine also, so it was something on my end for sure.
****, why do all my posts have to end up like novels?
2000 Protege ES w/2+ year old battery, OEM alternator, Car has no power to light gauges muchless start sometimes, dies 1 out of 5 times I loaded with ~500 amp tester, has alternator whine noise over 2 way radio, think the voltage regulator in alternator is going bad or have a bad ground.