Jim Grant's Tech Tips
Nissan Maxima, Charging Problems
I am having a bit of an aggravating problem on my ‘97
Nissan Maxima. I recently purchased the vehicle for my wife.
When I bought the car there had recently been an engine
transplant. The guy that sold the car to me was honest by
telling me that he was having charging problems. So I thought
that it would be a simple repair by changing the alternator.
I took the car to get the vehicle tested and the alternator
was putting out around 12.5 amps so I changed it just in
case thinking this would solve the problem but it did not.
I have taken out the aftermarket radio and installed the
factory radio back in also thinking this was the problem.
I have changed the power antenna because it was broke and
may have been the problem. I had the starter rebuilt and
also I have purchased the biggest battery that would fit
the car, but I still have to boost it off everyday. The
ignition coils are also arcing out from the rear bank. I
have bought 3 from a junk yard for $90 but the problem still
exists. Has anyone ever had this problem before? I looked
at the fusible link under the hood on the driver side and
the one for the battery does not seem to be damaged but
I have not changed it.
working on the other stuff and focus on your charging problem.
You’re replacing a lot of components that have nothing
to do with your problem. If the engine was just replaced
I’m betting that the wiring to the alternator is damaged
or not connected correctly. When you turn the key on does
the battery light turn on before the engine is started?
It should, if it doesn’t, check fuse number 13 in
the passenger compartment fuse block. That 10 amp fuse provides
the “it’s time to start charging signal”
to the alternator’s voltage regulator when the key
is turned on. If the fuse is good and the battery light
is still out then that wire has to be checked at the alternator.
The electrical signal has to be there with the key on or
the alternator, no matter how many you replace, will never
start charging. If that checks good then go under the hood
to the fusible link box. In that box there will be a 120
amp or 140 amp fuse for the alternator. This fuse must be
good along with a little 7.5 amp. That small fuse provides
the electricity that the alternator’s voltage regulator
needs to know how much charging needs to be done. One other
little detail; the alternator on your vehicle has a ground
wire which can be tricky. If the ground wire is open/bad
or not connected that battery light will turn on with the
key but will go out when the engine is started. With an
engine that has just been replaced I wouldn’t be surprised
if a ground wire or 2 never got reinstalled.