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2004 lx starting problems

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Old 09-21-2015
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2004 lx starting problems

about two weeks ago i noticed that when i started my car it seemed a bit weak at crank every time i started it, but it fired right up no problem.

about one week later of weaker cranks, I went out one day and It acted as if it had a weak/dead battery. lights did come on the dash, but they would fade/die out with turning the key and after a few attempts i got the clicking sound that a dead battery usually makes. Eventually it just was completely dead. In total about 4 key turns, or so i thought so i didn't keep trying.

that same day I took it to an auto parts store and he tested it, said it had 105cca instead of the rated 500 and that his machine said it needed to be replaced but that he could charge it for a few hours and see if that helped.

I went to pick it up and he said it was a good battery and i put it back on the car and it fired right up but still a bit weak, after about 3 cranks it went right back to behaving like a bad battery and not having enough to crank but it eventually did after about 3-4 seconds every time. it continued to struggle and be hesitant but always fires up after one or two attempts. and i always make sure to drive it a lot, average about min 1hr and max 5hrs daily.

I took it to another auto parts store and with the car on the guy came out and tested the car and said bad alternator. I drove down the street to another auto parts store, (same chain) and now this guy said with the car off and running a test it was a bad battery. I encouraged him to try it with car on and now he then said it was a bad alternator. He said the battery did hold a charge and the assumes the bad alternator must not be supplying enough to keep battery topped off. I mentioned to him that I had already cleaned my terminals, and check battery fluid levels and removed the battery with the car on and it never died. Also that with the car on i did not once ever get a battery light on dash nor did it ever die on the road while driving. Car off battery reads 12.50 volts and car on 13.60 volts. He said to replace alternator first, then battery, then starter in that order.

At this point, sure i could replace the battery, but why if it holds a charge and turns on? Same with starter if it always turns on and two tests point to alternator despite my results.

When all this began i did some probing and found my right rear trunk wire loom had a disconnect on the trunk light harness, so i patched that up with a youtube video help and also put electrical tape on the coupling sites of my uhual trailer adapter cause a little rain got to them. so all is well in that department now.

I just want to make sure i only replace what's bad once since money is really tight right now, just had a baby girl and i really need my car since we only have one between me and my wife. anybody else have this problem or thoughts or ideas as to what it could be or what i can do?
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Old 09-21-2015
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Re: 2004 lx starting problems

Congrats on the baby! You could always get yourself a cheap voltmeter and check the problem yourself.
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Old 09-21-2015
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Re: 2004 lx starting problems

Originally Posted by Poopies View Post
Congrats on the baby! You could always get yourself a cheap voltmeter and check the problem yourself.
thank you very much! first child so it's really changed my life.
I do have a voltmeter, that's how i got the voltages from the battery with the car on and off. what would you suggest i do other than what i did already? thanks in advance.
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Old 09-21-2015
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Re: 2004 lx starting problems

Originally Posted by Skunkone View Post
I do have a voltmeter, that's how i got the voltages from the battery with the car on and off. what would you suggest i do other than what i did already? thanks in advance.
Awesome! I thought you were using the part store's tool lol.
You could check your alternator voltage while the car is running. It should read around 13v-14v. Look up the proper setup for your voltmeter if you are not sure (I always do )
If your alt reads ok, you could check your battery's voltage right after you turn the car off and then again before you turn it on again (give it at least a few hours or overnight). If the numbers you get aren't close, you either have a battery problem or a parasitic draw issue (something is still running while your car is off).
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Old 09-21-2015
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Re: 2004 lx starting problems

if it was my car i would just replace the alternator and battery for piece of mind, odds are they are both on their way out anyway
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Old 09-21-2015
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Re: 2004 lx starting problems

Originally Posted by mikey1 View Post
if it was my car i would just replace the alternator and battery for piece of mind, odds are they are both on their way out anyway

i think i may end up doing just that, the alternator still says honda on it and the battery says duralast so i know it's been changed. so being a 2004 with almost 137k i guess that alternator is about due for a swap. And the battery has a sticker that says 4/11 so it's due as well.
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Old 09-21-2015
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Re: 2004 lx starting problems

Originally Posted by Poopies View Post
Awesome! I thought you were using the part store's tool lol.
You could check your alternator voltage while the car is running. It should read around 13v-14v. Look up the proper setup for your voltmeter if you are not sure (I always do )
If your alt reads ok, you could check your battery's voltage right after you turn the car off and then again before you turn it on again (give it at least a few hours or overnight). If the numbers you get aren't close, you either have a battery problem or a parasitic draw issue (something is still running while your car is off).

Ok, here's what I got so far. With the car sitting for a few hours.

Car off battery reads 12.56v

Car on battery reads 14.38v

Car on with headlights and a/c battery reads 10.20v

Car on with headlights and a/c off again battery reads 14.30v

Car off again battery reads 12.84, it trickled down from higher over the
course of about 3-5 minutes, not sure if it was going to keep dropping but
i stopped checking.

I'll check again in the morning before work after it has set all night and check how low it's got.

Thanks for the help so far, I really think these results might be pointing to a bad alternator as dropping to 10.20v seems low unless that's typical and I just don't know it.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll know if like you said it has that parasitic draw issue.

thanks in advance.
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Old 09-22-2015
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Re: 2004 lx starting problems

The ELD will have that voltage all over the place, the 14.3 is a good sign that it is charging.

Did you pop the caps and check levels in cells ??

Install date punched out ?, or marked on battery ?

I despise reman auto parts store junk, hang on to your original.
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Old 09-22-2015
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Re: 2004 lx starting problems

so an update,

went out this morning after letting it sit overnight and battery was at 12.20v

normal weak crank, drove it around fine for a while and parked it, been sitting for another 3 hours and battery read 12.50v.
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Old 09-22-2015
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Re: 2004 lx starting problems

Originally Posted by CraigW View Post
The ELD will have that voltage all over the place, the 14.3 is a good sign that it is charging.

Did you pop the caps and check levels in cells ??

Install date punched out ?, or marked on battery ?

I despise reman auto parts store junk, hang on to your original.

i agree, that 14.3v is a good sign.

I'm glad you brought up the levels, sure enough i just went out there and checked it and as far as i could tell, each cell was bone dry. so i topped it off and i'll run it tomorrow for an hour on the highway and see how she does.

The sticker on read 11', not sure honestly when it was installed, i bought the car used and it already had that one in there. When I do install a new battery eventually, i'll be sure to mark my install date on it, that's a good idea.

you mention remans, the local auto parts store has an alternator for

$140 new and $120 reman. for the money which is better?

and if i kept my original, what could i do with it? can that one be fixed and put back on?
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Old 09-22-2015
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Re: 2004 lx starting problems

Originally Posted by Skunkone View Post
i agree, that 14.3v is a good sign.

I'm glad you brought up the levels, sure enough i just went out there and checked it and as far as i could tell, each cell was bone dry. so i topped it off and i'll run it tomorrow for an hour on the highway and see how she does.

The sticker on read 11', not sure honestly when it was installed, i bought the car used and it already had that one in there. When I do install a new battery eventually, i'll be sure to mark my install date on it, that's a good idea.

you mention remans, the local auto parts store has an alternator for

$140 new and $120 reman. for the money which is better?

and if i kept my original, what could i do with it? can that one be fixed and put back on?
Depends on who's doing the remanufacturing. Not all remans are equal. Mainly depends on the quality of parts used and/or workmanship. If I were to go the reman route (and if you don't mind swapping alternators every once in a while - just because it has a warranty, doesn't mean it'll last forever) I'd just get one from Autozone or NAPA, with a lifetime guarantee. It's been a while since I've kept on top of whose reman alternator is better than whose. I know that you can have a little piece of mind having a warranty back you up. Personally, I'd go new Denso or Mitsubishi OEM - but not from the dealer. Shop around a bit. I found my new Denso for $180. Good luck.

Bosch sucks - BTW. They make good wipers, though.
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Old 09-23-2015
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Re: 2004 lx starting problems

Try to locate a automotive rebuilder, my mechanic suggested Honda remans.

4-5 year life is the new norm for batteries.
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Old 09-24-2015
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Re: 2004 lx starting problems

You should really first just worry about replacing the battery, don't worry about the alternator. Why make life more difficult than you have to?

Your reading of >14 V indicates that the alternator should be working just fine. The low reading with all the accessories on is a bit concerning, but you usually drive with those on, allowing the alternator to turn faster and generate more current.

A dead battery CAN be fully charged (indicated by a voltage higher than 12 V) and be completely depleted in a millisecond of current draw, so your symptoms are very indicative of a dead battery.

Test the battery voltage for a few days after replacing it and if it is still holding a charge than you know your alternator is good too.

Bosch sucks - BTW. They make good wipers, though.
I bought a set and they were complete crap after 1 month of use. I really don't know why people don't just buy the blade insert to the factory wiper..... the factory Honda wipers are definitely the best I have ever had!
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