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Renault alternator unusual problem

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Renault alternator unusual problem

Old 28th Jun 2018, 19:45
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Renault alternator unusual problem

Tried the internet, nothing quite matches the symptoms, so thought I'd try here.

Daughter's car - 2006 Renault Clio Dynamique 1.4 16v petrol.

Trusted independent garage recently replaced the alternator and belt after the original unit failed. New alternator charges battery fine, 14.5 volts on idle at battery terminals dropping to 12 volts when engine off. So far, so good.

After exactly 15 minutes of engine running, the red alternator fault light comes on (along with STOP indicator) and stays on regardless of engine speed. With warning light on, battery contunues to charge 14.5 volts at terminals). All electrics work fine, headlamps don't dim etc. Car can be driven normally for as far as you like in this condition, even with headlamps on
If the engine is switched off and back on, the warning lamp goes out and stays out for another 15 minutes before coming back on, again with no apparent effect.
Have been back to garage who are perplexed as they can find no obvious reason. Battery has been tested by them and is healthy (and from our own experience retains full charge over weeks of non use. Engine starts fine).

Any suggestions? The timing thing is what seems odd to me and that the fault resets immediately on engine restart. Maybe ECU issue?

​​​​​There are no fault codes present when OBDC reader connected.
Blues&twos is offline  
Old 28th Jun 2018, 20:36
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Disclaimer; Never worked on the type or model of car, so take that for what it's worth.

I think you are on the right track with the ECU likely being involved. There is probably a timer circuit which regularly checks the voltage at some sensor point to determine if the charging system is operating right. If after 15 min(or a collection of sub-15 min checks) shows the charging system failed, it will then set the light on, and advise stop and repair.

You might check for a sense wire left off the alt by the shop that replaced it. There could be a sense wire to the alt that was not reconnected, which serves to supply the ECU with the voltage sensing. It would have nothing to do with the actual charge circuit which operates normally.

The other possible issue is an over-charging voltage. The sense circuit(not the charge circuit itself) is voltage sensitive to indicate an alternator regulator that has failed and will over-charge and possibly cause a battery fire. This is less likely if you are showing 14.5V at the battery. Check the circuit for proper voltage of 14.5 while the entire cycle runs. If the voltage doesn't go over 14.7V, then it's not an over-voltage, and back to the ECU or missing sense wire.
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Old 28th Jun 2018, 20:36
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If you thought that Uncle Joe Lucas Prince of darkness was the acme of black arts, then think again! My old 53 Plate Astra had a thing for eating alternators, when the first one went, I thought how hard can it be to change an alternator. In days of yore I've changed alternators on old Escorts by the roadside. Then I started digging on the Interweb, for my particular vintage Astra, there were six different options starting with a plain alternator with a separate diode pack controller up to an alternator controlled by the ECU. At least four of the options required the Alternator to be paired to the ECU via a software update and at least two would banjo the ECU if not fitted correctly. At this point I charged the battery and drove the thing round to my local independent garage figuring that if they stuffed up the ECU they'd have to put it right.
Your best bet is to find a specialist auto electrician, our works Galaxy went tech one day throwing up more fault codes than the nice man from the RAC had ever seen. Our local Ford dealer said it was the ECU and having faffed around for a fortnight eventually sent the ECU to the reconditioners, who promptly sent it back saying there was nothing wrong with it. At this point the dealer called in an independent auto electrician who took an hour to diagnose and fix a corroded joint in a multi plug connector on the ECU.
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Old 28th Jun 2018, 21:01
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Something very similar on our last ( Diesel ) Nissan - which resulted in the car tripping over to 'Get You Home' mode every 15 minutes or so - was eventually traced to a faulty ECU.

Not a battery problem, but very similar start / warning / stop / reset symptom.

Cost us about € 170 to repair.

Good Luck.
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Old 28th Jun 2018, 21:46
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Originally Posted by Windy Militant View Post
a corroded joint
Car electrics would be soooo much easier if only they would obey Ohm's Law ... ... ... well, the idealised version that assumes that a line on a schematic has zero resistance.
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Old 28th Jun 2018, 22:52
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Years ago I had a VW Golf which inexplicably used to cut out and grind to a halt. And then immediately start again without a problem. VW didn't have a clue what it was, not did the local garage.. Mentioned it to someone at work and they offered the help of our company's garage expertise.

Turned out it was a cracked fuse box circuit board which 'failed' whenever you went round a corner at a certain speed... Weird but true
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Old 28th Jun 2018, 23:48
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One of my cars (non ECU) used to show the ignition warning light when the car was moving fast but it went off again when it slowed down again, or was at rest. I changed the alternator but it made no difference.

The fault was a failed engine mount. It allowed the engine to rock to the right, stretching the wiring harness and partly breaking the circuit.
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Old 29th Jun 2018, 06:22
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Originally Posted by Blues&twos View Post
After exactly 15 minutes of engine running, the red alternator fault light comes on
I once had a BMW with a similar fault. I ended up taking the bulb out of the warning light. Worked brilliantly (‘scuse the pun): nary a problem in the many thousands of miles which followed.
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Old 29th Jun 2018, 07:09
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It would appear there are alternators and there are alternators - even on the same model - you may need to order using the vehicle VIN. Read both pages and digest....

Low battery warning and battery light Clio 200 | Clio197.net / Clio200.net / Clio200T.net
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Old 29th Jun 2018, 08:03
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Originally Posted by gruntie View Post


I once had a BMW with a similar fault. I ended up taking the bulb out of the warning light. Worked brilliantly (‘scuse the pun): nary a problem in the many thousands of fault-free miles which followed.
You were lucky that the alternator still worked. Some need the warning light to work because its circuit actually provides the earth for the field current.
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Old 29th Jun 2018, 10:27
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Thanks all for the replies, much appreciated. Nothing obvious re: sense wire, may have to go back to garage to check the alternator is the correct one.
Alternatively, the car is hopefully being replaced in the next few months when my daughter starts her new job, so it might be gone!
Re: reliabilty of French cars, I probably wouldn't buy another French offering, but my Citroen AX diesel (bought new in 1994) had 172,000 miles on the clock when I replaced it. Apart from normal consumables, I only had to replace the glowplugs, speedo lightbulbs, brake caliper and a failed alternator in all that time.

Last edited by Blues&twos; 29th Jun 2018 at 12:10.
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Old 29th Jun 2018, 13:06
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Its a French car...nuff said. The DPF light on my C5 comes on occasionally with no effect on performance or otherwise. I park up, come back , it goes out. Sometimes whilst wafting along the motorway the suspension at the rear will drop a bit and then within 5 secs pump itself back up again..this happens once a month on average. The more sensors we have on cars the more warning lights we get...soon we will have sensors monitoring the warning lights with a separate warning light. I had a Christmas tree of lights on my old A6 come up one day ... EBL,ABS Traction control and every other bloody acronym i can think of illuminated the binnacle. Sounded expensive.Turned out the £10 brake light switch attached to the pedal was broken. These very complex systems are only as good as their cheapest part, which is usually the one that fails, but entails £500 worth of labour to tear the car apart to fit the £10 item...Seriously thinking of going back to something simpler like my old Truimph 2500S
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Old 29th Jun 2018, 13:30
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Cant offer much help I`m afraid other than register with the Renault forum ie renaultforums.co.uk. They helped me enormously with my wife`s Clio. By the way does position4 on the blower fan still work?
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Old 29th Jun 2018, 13:40
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Quiet day in the office so did a little digging.

According to HC-Cargo, a Bosch subsidiary company supplying auto electrical components, there are five different engine codes for a 2006 1.4 16V Clio:

K4J710, K4J711, K4J712, K4J713 and K4J780.

The first four would be fitted with either a 75A (p/no 112144) or 98A (p/no 112199) alternator
The last one is fitted with a 120A alternator (p/no 114463)

The 75/98A alternators have a single warning lamp connection, a simple system, the larger 120A version has a com (network) connection

Assuming the garage probably changed like for like output wise the only other alternator related possibility would be a faulty voltage regulator, the test would be by substitution of the regulator with a new one.

Might be worth checking for stored fault codes to start with, there might be something historical causing the problem, erase them all and see what happens.

Cheers
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Old 29th Jun 2018, 13:54
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
It would appear there are alternators and there are alternators - even on the same model - you may need to order using the vehicle VIN. Read both pages and digest....

Low battery warning and battery light Clio 200 Clio197.net / Clio200.net / Clio200T.net
That's a good catch. Hard to believe the alternator would be a VIN specific part, but it looks as though that is correct. Externally regulated by the ECU for current supply.
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Old 29th Jun 2018, 16:34
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'Improvements' on vehicle engine components are difficult to manage (other than by VIN) - especially when several manufacturing plants are involved.
Sometimes changes are forced by supply problems or reliability concerns rather than a desire for a better (or cheaper) component.
If they keep changes until a major model update occurs - what do you do with excess stock? (answer - divert to aftermarket).
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Old 29th Jun 2018, 18:12
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Gemma10 - blower position 4 hasn't worked for 5 years!!

mini, thanks for the detailed info, brilliant, I will check the engine numbers. (There are no OBDC fault codes present).
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