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andymcm

Fail To Start, Then Electrics Suddenly Died While Driving - Alternator

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My 2007 2.0 D4D failed to start tonight when leaving work. Turned the key, dash lights came on as normal, starter turned very briefly, maybe half a turn, then everything just instantly died. All dash lights went off. After a minute or two the Battery seemed to recover very slightly and I could get a flickery dash light or two, but the starter motor didn't turn at all. Even the interior light was a bit flickery.

Called out Green Flag - he was able to start the car with a booster pack. He checked the alternator with a voltmeter - he said it was 14.3 volts so the alternator was ok. Suggested I just needed a new Battery.

Driving home, everything was fine for about 8 miles, then while driving along a dual carriageway at about 60mph all the lights suddenly went out, both headlights and dash lights. Quite scary. I'm not sure if the engine actually cut out or not - I just pulled over to the hard shoulder straight away.

Got recovered home, so now need to arrange for it to be looked at. Anyone know what would cause the electrics to just die like that while driving? If it's something fairly straightforward like a replacement alternator I'd rather avoid Mr T. But I'll go to Toyota if it's likely to be something more specialised.

Thanks in advance

Andy

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Sounds like a duff Battery to me. If you have a voltmeter or multimeter check the output voltage at the Battery terminals. It should be 13 +volts. Some of the batteries fitted to these models have an indicator on the top. A small round perspex indicator which should be green if the Battery is ok. If the alternator output was ok it means that the Battery is not holding the charge especially when driving at night with lights etc.

Fitter

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My 2007 2.0 D4D failed to start tonight when leaving work. Turned the key, dash lights came on as normal, starter turned very briefly, maybe half a turn, then everything just instantly died. All dash lights went off. After a minute or two the battery seemed to recover very slightly and I could get a flickery dash light or two, but the starter motor didn't turn at all. Even the interior light was a bit flickery.

Called out Green Flag - he was able to start the car with a booster pack. He checked the alternator with a voltmeter - he said it was 14.3 volts so the alternator was ok. Suggested I just needed a new battery.

Driving home, everything was fine for about 8 miles, then while driving along a dual carriageway at about 60mph all the lights suddenly went out, both headlights and dash lights. Quite scary. I'm not sure if the engine actually cut out or not - I just pulled over to the hard shoulder straight away.

Got recovered home, so now need to arrange for it to be looked at. Anyone know what would cause the electrics to just die like that while driving? If it's something fairly straightforward like a replacement alternator I'd rather avoid Mr T. But I'll go to Toyota if it's likely to be something more specialised.

Thanks in advance

Andy

sounds like Battery, Halfords do a free Battery check for piece of mind before buying one.

www.eurocarparts.com have 15% of batterys if you put the code battery15 at the checkout.

or try a local motor factor.

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Thanks guys - took the Battery to Mr T and he tested it with a little electronic device, said it was bad (only 300A when should be 800A, or something like that). So got a replacement Battery (£118) and so far the car is back to normal.

The thing that confuses me is the car cutting out while driving - never heard of that as a symptom of a bad Battery before. I thought the alternator would be enough to keep the car running even with a completely dead Battery. But the tech at Toyota said the Battery could cause that problem - something about a dodgy cell in the Battery effectively acting like a short.

Anyway, fingers crossed it's sorted now.

BTW As an aside, Green flag were very poor. It took well over two hours to come out to the initial problem at 7pm, despite initially saying they'd be with me within one hour. This was annoying, but I was at work so not too terrible. Then when I was stuck on the hard shoulder of the dual carriageway (about 10pm) they said they couldn't find anyone local and someone would have to come from about 50 miles away, and they'd have to go to another job first, so could be two hours or more. After a while I got fed up and just called a local recovery company and they were with me in 20 mins (at a cost of £100). Of course ten minutes after I called the local company the Green flag guy called and said he'd be with me in 15 mins, so my £100 was wasted ... typical of the poor communication and hassle of the whole Green flag experience.

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There IS one other VERY common reason and it's so simple few mechanics check for it and it WILL give the same symptoms you had and that is a faulty LOOSE connection on the Battery . It can happen simply because it needs the positive and negative terminals cleaned ( rarely ) or more likely that it has loosened and at speed / vibration it loosens enough to short the system out . This loss of connectivity can be elsewhere also near started / solenoid / alternator . But the symptoms you described would fit for that strangely happening occurance . Anyway you have a new Battery and I would say you are sorted , if it does happen again over time then get a mechanic who does know electrics to check out all simple connections .

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I'm not surprised you had a poor experience with Green Flag, I was reading about them earlier this week in Which? and they gave them a very low score http://www.which.co.uk/cars/driving/car-running-costs/breakdown-cover/best-buy-car-breakdown-cover/ Though you have to be logged in to Which to see it, so I've cut and pasted below

'Britannia finished first among third-party providers. Its overall score of 73% put it just ahead of the AA (72%) and GEM Motoring Assist (69%) - all three are Which? Recommended Providers.

The RAC failed to perform as well as last year, scoring 63% and losing its status as a Recommended Provider.

Green Flag only just did well enough to avoid being a Don’t Buy, with 43%. But Admiral, which only offers cover as an upgrade to a car insurance policy, scored so poorly – just 34% – that we advise you not to take out this cover.

Under the carmaker-branded cover, both Hondacare Assistance and Toyota Assistance are Which? Recommended Providers.

In contrast, the BMW service, provided by Mondial, had the lowest customer satisfaction rating.'

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