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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

Problem:

I am receiving no voltage from my alternator. Unfortunately I didn't realize it was not charging my battery until my card shut off completly. Luckily I had a jump pack with me and I was able to take it back home.

Troubleshooting:

So far I have checked/performaned the following

1. Tested continuity between alternator positive to battery terminal positive - all good
2. Tested continuity between alternator casing to battery terminal negative - all good
3. Pulled all fuses to check for a blown fuse - all good
4. Started car and tried to take voltage reading with my Fluke multimeter on both the battery and alternator. Only battery voltage in both places. No alternator charge - not good
5. Load tested battery to ensure stable voltage and good battery - all good
6. Replaced alternator. Still no voltage output from alternator. Had Advance Auto test the alternator with 3 separate runs. Alternator tests good (they claim)
7. Inspected plug on alternator. No corrosion or exposed wires. Everything looks good.
8. Pulled gauge cluster to check bulbs. Both illumination bulbs are burnt out - not good (but shouldn't affect my problem)

Thoughts:

I am quite baffled by what is going on. Upon my initial research I feel I have checked most basic things, but I have been unable to figure this out. I am at a loss at this point.

Observations

I notice I do not have ANY of the lower gauge cluster lights come on upon turning the ignition on. No battery light, no CEL, no airbag....nothing illuminates for the light check. When I removed the gauge cluster I realized there are very few actual bulbs you can replace. The lower section of the gauge cluster are LEDs soldered onto the cluster itself.

Questions:

Are there any actual bulbs that will cause a no charge situation as I have described if they are blown. I have read that for other makes and models that if a tail light goes out it will disable the gauges as an indication something is out (my tail lights work btw).


Any thoughts on what could be causing a no charge situation would be greatly appreciated. I'm at a loss on this one.

Thanks,
Steve
 

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I remember chasing something similar on a 73 (I think) dodge truck when I was in the army, no gauge lights, no alternator output. took most of 3 days troubleshooting until I finally pulled the cluster and found no bulbs in the dash (operator had taken them all out, said they blinded him). once all were replaced, full functionality was restored.

As to your issue, I am not sure if on the Nissans they do something similar, have never run into it. some things to check tho, would be the alternator pigtail wiring, there is an output (thick) wire, and two more in the connector, if either of those is broken, you will get no alternator output, one is a sense wire, and a quick google search shows that there is a wire that goes to a bulb check relay, exactly where it is, I do not know, I am at work and cannot pour over wiring diagrams right now, but if you download the FSM, you should be able to locate where it would be.

http://www.b15u.com/threads/35-Nissan-Sentra-Factory-Service-Manuals-(FSM)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The FSM diagnostic procedure 1 confirms what shanover is saying regarding the bulbs. Replace the bulbs and see.
I have replaced the two burnt out illumination bulbs and the issue still remains. None of the LEDs light up on the bottom portion of the gauge cluster when starting the car. Re-checked voltage with my meter with the car running and still only battery voltage (12.2).

I did check the plug on the alternator and got a voltage reading from both wires. I might be mistaken on the wire colors so I apologize in advance.

Red/Yellow - .5 volts or so
Green - battery voltage (12.xx)

The only other wire coming out near the plug is a blue wire that runs down to the AC Compressor. I did take apart the gauge cluster to look for burnt traces and found nothing as well. All of the gauge needles work, illumination bulbs now work, and the turn signal indicator bulbs also work fine.

What a head scratcher....
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So do the bulbs work as well when you have the key in the on position?
Any bulbs that are replaceable in the gauge cluster do work. However, none of the LEDs light up on the bottom portion at any point regardless of key position (car running or not).
 

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Oh gotcha. Yea, according to the FSM, under diagnostic#1 for the charging system, if the led bulbs don't turn on, you need to fix that first. By any chance you could have access to a spare cluster? That might be your issue. Did you download the FSM yet? It would explain it better as to what to look for. It should be under sc.pdf under charging. You should see the diag tree there and procedure 1 pertains to the charging led.
 

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Oh gotcha. Yea, according to the FSM, under diagnostic#1 for the charging system, if the led bulbs don't turn on, you need to fix that first. By any chance you could have access to a spare cluster? That might be your issue. Did you download the FSM yet? It would explain it better as to what to look for. It should be under sc.pdf under charging. You should see the diag tree there and procedure 1 pertains to the charging led.
I just downloaded it. Thanks for finding the section. I will certainly take a look through there. I do not have another cluster. Would I be correct in my assumption that a different cluster would need to be programmed?
 

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No programming required for cluster changes, you do need to jot down the mileage differences if ever for resale and dmv purposes. You can use any 04-06 cluster. The only differences would be if the cluster is off an abs or non abs car. The abs light will be on if you use an abs cluster in a non abs car. That's about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
No programming required for cluster changes, you do need to jot down the mileage differences if ever for resale and dmv purposes. You can use any 04-06 cluster. The only differences would be if the cluster is off an abs or non abs car. The abs light will be on if you use an abs cluster in a non abs car. That's about it.
Thank you, MoltenNismo. I am having some trouble understanding where 'L Terminal" is to check. Is that simply the connector that plugs into the alternator?
 

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Thank you, MoltenNismo. I am having some trouble understanding where 'L Terminal" is to check. Is that simply the connector that plugs into the alternator?
Yes the L terminal is the yellow/red wire. The other wire on that same connector is the S terminal. If you look at the wiring diagram, on the bottom would have the connector diagram and it's the one labeled "L/S" "E35". Basically the 2 wire connector on the alternator.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Your car is 13 years old.... Alternator's die... it happens.... replace it.....
Thank you for the suggestion, FilzKa, but #6 in my first message under troubleshooting I have already done this. I also had the new alternator tested 3 times to ensure its operation.
 

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Thank you for the suggestion, FilzKa, but #6 in my first message under troubleshooting I have already done this. I also had the new alternator tested 3 times to ensure its operation.
Sorry I missed that....I'm not familiar with advanced auto.... I suspect it's some generic auto parts store??
Are you sure it's the right alternator for your car?? Is it grounded correctly??
What did you change on the car before encountering the no charge issue??

Have you load tested the battery to make sure it's good??
 

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Sorry I missed that....I'm not familiar with advanced auto.... I suspect it's some generic auto parts store??
Are you sure it's the right alternator for your car?? Is it grounded correctly??
What did you change on the car before encountering the no charge issue??

Have you load tested the battery to make sure it's good??
#2 and #5 in my original post all check out. No modification, part replacements, or any other mechanical trouble has happened for quite some time except for the basic maintenance items such as oil changes. To my knowledge and triple checking with 2 different people at the parts store I do have the correct alternator. Is there really an alternator that directly bolts in place that's wrong? I would be curious to know.

This is the alternator purchased and tested:
https://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/carquest-alternator-remanufactured-100-amps-13939a/15850030-P
 

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#2 and #5 in my original post all check out. No modification, part replacements, or any other mechanical trouble has happened for quite some time except for the basic maintenance items such as oil changes. To my knowledge and triple checking with 2 different people at the parts store I do have the correct alternator. Is there really an alternator that directly bolts in place that's wrong? I would be curious to know.

This is the alternator purchased and tested:
https://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/carquest-alternator-remanufactured-100-amps-13939a/15850030-P
Well if you haven't modified the car it's prob something simple.

Not sure about the alternator part and I have no idea the quality but if you look at the 4-5 negative reviews they all say they it failed right away or shortly after install.
Those are re-manufactured alternator's, not that its bad just I personally have no idea if they sell cheap stuff or not.... Maybe get one someplace else and see how it goes?

Did you actually load test the battery... not check the voltage...Perform a load test on it? Sounds odd but a bad battery does funky stuff.....
Last thing I can think of.... and I'm only trying to help.... did you run the serpentine belt correctly?
 

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Well if you haven't modified the car it's prob something simple.

Not sure about the alternator part and I have no idea the quality but if you look at the 4-5 negative reviews they all say they it failed right away or shortly after install.
Those are re-manufactured alternator's, not that its bad just I personally have no idea if they sell cheap stuff or not.... Maybe get one someplace else and see how it goes?

Did you actually load test the battery... not check the voltage...Perform a load test on it? Sounds odd but a bad battery does funky stuff.....
Last thing I can think of.... and I'm only trying to help.... did you run the serpentine belt correctly?

I appreciate the ideas, FilzKa. I have taken the alternator to be tested 3 times and it works on their test bench every single time. I load tested the battery with no issues. Another point is that I took MY battery out of the equation. I hooked up my jump pack as the sole power source. Still no voltage being delivered from the alternator. As far as the serpentine belt goes I'm not even aware of how to put it on wrong. If it was on wrong the ribs would not be in the grooves of the pulley, the belt would be twisted, or the tensioning system would not work. I never take off the serpentine belt entirely unless it is being replaced.

I also checked the plug to the alternator AGAIN and I am getting voltage readings on each wire. I will go to another store to have the alternator tested again, but if it comes back good I give up.
 
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