Charging issues! Puzzling problem??

Asked by Apr 11, 2014 at 09:45 AM about the 1993 Toyota Corolla Base

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a early 90's Toyota corrolla. The alternator belt has been squealing for quite a while now but haven't had any issues until recently. The past week or so, the battery light has come on from time to time and it is obvious that there is a charging issue when the light is on. Most of the time the car drives fine with no warning lights on. Then last night the car died on me. Went back to move the car in the morning and it started right up. No warning lights and drove it home. I figured it is a bad alternator. But I checked the tension on the belt, which seems ok (maybe slightly loose but not much if any). I also did a voltage check on the battery. Read ~12.2 with the car off, then ~13.8 with the car running. However when the car is squealing, the voltage reads ~12.0. Obviously the alternator is not working to full capacity when the car is squealing which I would assume is a loose belt - but seems to be working fine as long as the belt is not 'slipping'. Funny thing is, when the battery light comes on, the car is never making the squealing noise, and it was not making the noise when it died on me. I began wondering what changed between the time that it has been squealing but never had charging issues and recently with all the charging issues. Only thing I can think about is that we hit a large, deep pothole in a construction zone at highway speeds with a full car. Was a pretty violent and hard hit. The first time the light came on was within an hour of that incident on the same drive. Any ideas what could be the problem??

8 Answers


Having tight belts is a must, if it is squealing then it is not tight enough, when a belt gets too hot it looses the ability to grip the pulleys properly, I suggest tightening the belt, then run the voltage test, but you battery needs to be fully charged, the voltage reading should be from 13. 8 to 14.2 volts. I have seen that a hard jarring can break away some internal soldered joints inside the alternator, also check the pigtail on the alternator, they have been known to fail. HTH

1 people found this helpful.

thanks! gonna tighten the belt and see if things run a bit smoother. what is a pigtail?


The jolt jarred your alternator, the alt. brush pickup is about worn out .when not making contact it brings light on ,at that time you are running on battery power draining it, when connection returns, a high demand is in play, an alt. requires several horsepower when pumping at max, high resistance making squeal ,

1 people found this helpful.

The pigtail is the electrical connector on the back of the alternator.

2 people found this helpful.

Jimmy: what do you suggest I do then? tennis: how do i go about checking if the pigtail is functioning?

bump, anyone else got any ideas? thanks


The pigtail problem will be fairly noticeable, it will,have corosion on the contacts or have burn marks around the contacts opening. As far as what jimmy stated, you could have your alt rebuilt or replace it.

1 people found this helpful.

put an alternator on it before their extinct

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