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Total Electrical Failure

Old 07-10-18, 09:15 AM
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ltd76gold
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Default Total Electrical Failure

Started her this morning. Drove 50 feet to give her a bath. She sounded different, a high pitched whine...my guess?...Alternator. Within seconds, all warnings on dash. Red triangles ,Check VSC etc etc. I immediately shut her down. Noticed very dim map light then totally dead.

What I have checked.
All fuses under the hood near battery. They appear good but I cannot check the relays..
Cleaned battery terminals thoroughly. Interestingly the positive side cable was definitely warm.Tested battery, down a bit but still at 12 volts.

Stuck in park but I know the screwdriver override, and the hook is coming headed for my local indie. No lexus dealer for 300 miles.
I do not have an obdii reader but with no power, what might you see anyway?

Thanks for any ideas I might pass to my indie. They are good I'm told with Toyota/Lexus but additional data might be more helpful.

Doug
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Old 07-10-18, 09:24 AM
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For whatever it is worth, my wife's GM had an alternator fail in April, and there was a whine, burning smell, and her car went into battery saver mode while running. Granted our cars have less visible cues. Also, hers has a voltmeter and it was jacked up prior, then below 12 while running.

Stupidly, I put an extended warranty on that car, so it was covered. Repairpal said the job is about $1,050 (for an American car? USA new Denso part is around $6xx.). In the end, after the replacement, no issues. So if it's your issue, not the end of the world....
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Old 07-10-18, 09:54 AM
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Alternator or main alternator relay (doubt it). Denso only.
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Old 07-10-18, 11:14 AM
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Whine like this? This was my SC430 alternator. https://www.dropbox.com/s/mdrduzse8y..._0928.MOV?dl=0
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Old 07-10-18, 11:21 AM
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Check the belt for wear/alignment... but chances are the alternator gave up. May have been going out slowly and not charging well causing the battery to drain and that last movement was just enough to kill it.
Need a voltmeter to check you battery level... my guess is below 12volts at this point.
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Old 07-10-18, 02:17 PM
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Spot on BCT!
Just played if for my Bride without her knowing it was in a different car... She said "that sounds like Serenity" our nickname for the ride.

Your vid could well be stickied by a mod imo. Perfect to a t.

Yes also to the belt and checking the idler/tensioner on the serpentine as well.

Found the alternator on buy Lexus parts for $380 new.

Thanks guys!
Great info!
​​​​​​​Doug
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Old 07-10-18, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ltd76gold View Post
Spot on BCT!
Just played if for my Bride without her knowing it was in a different car... She said "that sounds like Serenity" our nickname for the ride.

Your vid could well be stickied by a mod imo. Perfect to a t.

Yes also to the belt and checking the idler/tensioner on the serpentine as well.

Found the alternator on buy Lexus parts for $380 new.

Thanks guys!
Great info!
Doug
Sorry to hear about the alternator, but happy that my video helps
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Old 07-11-18, 08:54 AM
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If it's not the alternator it's your starter. When they fail it's common for the solenoid contacts to stick together causing the starter to continue to run while the engine is running. This could explain your noise and warm battery from excessive current draw.
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Old 07-11-18, 07:29 PM
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Thanks for the help guys.
My indie ran the numbers and came up with the alternator as we all had surmised.

The surprise...
Rebuilt alternator <$140
Labor <$150
Diagnosis <$50

Had I not installed dozens of rebuilt alts. in the past, I might have held for the new <$400 job. But.. This is South most Texas. A new one would have rusted in the box worse than a "seasoned" unit.

All my thanks to those that helped and this site in general. What a terrific source of help for keeping these "best of class" vehicles on the road.

​​​​​​​Doug

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Old 07-11-18, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ltd76gold View Post
Thanks for the help guys.
My indie ran the numbers and came up with the alternator as we all had surmised.

The surprise...
Rebuilt alternator <$140
Labor <$150
Diagnosis <$50

Had I not installed dozens of rebuilt alts. in the past, I might have held for the new <$400 job. But.. This is South most Texas. A new one would have rusted in the box worse than a "seasoned" unit.

All my thanks to those that helped and this site in general. What a terrific source of help for keeping these "best of class" vehicles on the road.

Doug

​​​
If itís not too late, ask the mechanic to make sure the alternator is re-MANUFACTURED Denso. Other rebuilt brands may last less than a year.
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Old 07-12-18, 06:03 AM
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I'd be curious if the "dealer" part is different from the aftermarket remanuf. part, as it is with the radiator. Since the labor is so cheap (relatively speaking), I would rather supply my own part and take my chances, so I know what it is.....

I found a pic online of what it looks like from the car. A lexus tech told me as a general rule you should always rebuild the original part yourself (this is not practical for most of us), because the quality is much better than anything you will be able to buy remanuf incl. the dealer, plus it's cheaper (he said like $25 for a starter)....

It would not surprise me if Denso aftermarket is made in USA, not Japan, but only those who did it would know....



at the same time, this looks good enough?

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=1606510&cc=1432014&jsn=331

edit p.s. this is what I'm thinking of--my wife's car is made by GM in Michigan. It came with a Denso alternator, made in USA, from the factory. It was replaced as new by extended warranty, not remanuf, and looks "identical" to what the car came with, labels, etc. I went onto rock auto's website to look at the Denso replacement, it does "not" look identical to the new, it has a quality control label on it, etc. So the $172 remanuf. price is not for the same part as the $678.95 list price dealer part (you can buy that online too for considerably less). The other question is does any of this matter anyway, esp. given our cars are 2001-2006....

Last edited by Johnhav430; 07-12-18 at 06:13 AM.
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