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My 1998 xe began having problems keeping the battery charged in 2015, replaced alernator. Then in 2016, it worked, but not constantly. We ran it thru the tests with gauges several times, always passed except 1 time, it was charging around 14v, and went DOWN when I reved the engine, and then was fine again. Eventually, I set up an analog volt meter inside, and could see it often NOT charging above 20mph or so, but would slowly come up to 14v at idle. Eventually, it rarely charged, usually reading 11v or less. Replaced July 2017. Lasted 30 days until same problem, but would not consistently charge at idle. Went thru volt drop tests from remans tech support, swapped under warranty again in October, that 1 lasted 15 days. Plus, #2 that would NOT charge in the truck DID charge on their bench. PepBoys wanted me to have Penn Diagnostic center test the truck, but the owner told me it was PBs junk remans. I sought another mechanics opinion, and he does not beleive I could have gotten 3 bad alts in a row. According to schematic, it is a simple charging system, yet, this ghost hides in it. Has anyone else had a similar issue? The instrument cluster was repaired by Mr. Whizard in Dec 2014, but could that cause the system to not work? It is tiresome to carry 2 xtra batteries plus a charger constantly.
 

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Order a alternator from somewhere online. It's hard to think you got 3 bad ones in a row. I had a bad one once, from AutoZone. Replaced and no more problems. I recently had a bad cell in my battery and it was real funky like what you are describing.
 

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I can see getting 3 bad alternators in a row from Pep Boys. I once had a friend with an old Stanza that had me change the starter for him. I told him to get a genuine Nissan reman starter, but he didn't want to spend the money and went with a Pep Boys starter. After 5 starters that either didn't work or made grinding noises, he finally gave up and got a starter from Nissan; no problems afterwards! Having spent many years as a Nissan tech, I can tell you this: when it comes to ignition parts, alternators and starters, stick with genuine Nissan or the OEM supplier of the part to Nissan (i.e. Hitachi, Mitsubishi). Some things to check: make sure the charging system warning light comes on when you turn the key to "on" (bulb check). If the bulb is burned out or there is a circuit problem with it, the alternator may not charge. Also, make sure the white, 10-gauge wire to the "BAT" connection on back of the alternator has power (check with a 12v test light) and the wire is in good shape; sometimes resistance will build-up inside the wire and cause it to become real stiff or burnt.
 

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I can see getting 3 bad alternators in a row from Pep Boys. I once had a friend with an old Stanza that had me change the starter for him. I told him to get a genuine Nissan reman starter, but he didn't want to spend the money and went with a Pep Boys starter. After 5 starters that either didn't work or made grinding noises, he finally gave up and got a starter from Nissan; no problems afterwards! Having spent many years as a Nissan tech, I can tell you this: when it comes to ignition parts, alternators and starters, stick with genuine Nissan or the OEM supplier of the part to Nissan (i.e. Hitachi, Mitsubishi). Some things to check: make sure the charging system warning light comes on when you turn the key to "on" (bulb check). If the bulb is burned out or there is a circuit problem with it, the alternator may not charge. Also, make sure the white, 10-gauge wire to the "BAT" connection on back of the alternator has power (check with a 12v test light) and the wire is in good shape; sometimes resistance will build-up inside the wire and cause it to become real stiff or burnt.
All of this is good advice. If possible go with OEM or a high quality supplier for electrical parts. When checking the "Bat" wire (also check battery cables and terminals) make sure you check up inside the wire. I had a car years ago with a mystery electrical issue that turned out to be a battery cable with frayed strands about 1/2" up inside the insulation.
 

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I run an alternator from O'Reilly in my '98 Frontier, about 5 years now. No issue, and lifetime guaranteed. First one has been fine, now 224K on that truck.
 

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Thanx for input. Did volt drop tests on control leads & battery cables per tech support instructions. I would continue to suspect the alts, except when #2 -that would NOT charge in the truk- was bench tested, it DID charge. Plus, each time we installed another reman, everything worked fine. Static test, full draw, system put out 14v, drop momentarily to 13v or so, but recovered to 14v. AND, each subsequent alt would fail, but in less time. #2 in 30 days, #3 in 15 days. It points toward something in truk slowly breaking, like 1 of the fusable links. They unfortunately will require a lot of disassembly & unwrapping to expose & isolate to test. And, I would seriously consider Nissan, except they only give a 90day warranty. I hav heard ads for O'Reilly, but donot know any close by. I donot like using net for anything beyond lenses, cables, etc. I would hav spent in shipping returns the cost of the alt. Since I only hav this truk, I cannot tear apart anything I cannot quickly reassemble. I will keep ya'all informed.
 

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And, I would seriously consider Nissan, except they only give a 90day warranty.
What about an independent mechanic shop? The one I use when necessary guarantees parts and labor for a year.

Fusible links can burn out, cannot heal. I suspect bad alternators !
 

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Thanx for input. Did volt drop tests on control leads & battery cables per tech support instructions. I would continue to suspect the alts, except when #2 -that would NOT charge in the truk- was bench tested, it DID charge. Plus, each time we installed another reman, everything worked fine. Static test, full draw, system put out 14v, drop momentarily to 13v or so, but recovered to 14v. AND, each subsequent alt would fail, but in less time. #2 in 30 days, #3 in 15 days. It points toward something in truk slowly breaking, like 1 of the fusable links. They unfortunately will require a lot of disassembly & unwrapping to expose & isolate to test. And, I would seriously consider Nissan, except they only give a 90day warranty. I hav heard ads for O'Reilly, but donot know any close by. I donot like using net for anything beyond lenses, cables, etc. I would hav spent in shipping returns the cost of the alt. Since I only hav this truk, I cannot tear apart anything I cannot quickly reassemble. I will keep ya'all informed.
Bench testing is fine as long as the put a load on the alternator at time of testing; if not, the results may not be accurate. As far as Nissan part warranty, parts purchased from Nissan and NOT installed by a Nissan authorized dealer are under warranty for 12-months from the date of purchase; those purchased from and installed by an authorized Nissan dealer are under warranty for 12-months/12000 miles. See here:

https://www.nissanpartsdeal.com/service/nissan-parts-warranty.html
 

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Thanx for replies. It has been a while since I asked local Nissan dealer for alt info, so my few remaining memory cells may be failing. I use my "family" garage. 1 brother, 2 in-Laws, all long time mechanics, but getting together to play hide n seek with a ghost is tough. I did not do or observe bench test, what mgr told me.
 

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I would ALSO reconnect all grounds on the truck...Possibly clean the terminals and attach points....Have had more then one head scratcher end up to be faulty ground point.
 

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Yes, I have heard many times how bad connections can cause a myriad of problems. The concept is simple. The doing is not. Spent over half hour attempting to lift fuse box on pass wheel well just to see fuse link connections, & I moved it about 1/4 inch. Tracing wires will not be simple. I did clean all terminals I disconnected, but I cannot find both ends of any wires until I tear apart the harness, not something I can do now. Regardless, I will not quit. Thanx all.
 

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Almost embarrased am I, but a fresh set of eyes (#1 Brother-In-Law) ran all of the voltage drop tests, and after finding everything in order, noticed the alt belt was loose. VERY loose. Looser than when I checked it about 1 week ago. After he cranked it tight. VERY tight, maybe 1/4" deflection, my meter now shows an even 14v. (I always understood 1/2" deflection is proper) At full load, in gear, idling, 13.5v.
Thanx to all who helped puzzle this one out. And, since this has happened 3 times, I will be watching the adjuster carefully. It may be I screwed up and did not tighten it properly. Or, the adjuster may be worn enough to loosen itself.
 
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