Battery-alternator problem.

It's been really cold here (~10 F) over night and my car has developed a strange problem. It's a 1991 Accord EX StatWag. The battery is 37 months old. It's my wife's car so I only discovered the problem when
I used it the other day. The car started fine but the battery light stayed on and eventually the car almost didn't start after one stop. When I got home I measured the battery voltage and it was about 12 V. I charged the battery and things started fine and light did NOT come on even as I drove it on a short trip. I measured the voltage at the battery with the engine running and it's 14.6V. Next morning a problem again with the charge light. The battery drops down to 12.5V overnight after being charged. When the car is running the voltage at the battery is only 12.1V under this low voltage condition. If the car runs long enough the charge light sometimes goes out and the voltage from the alternator goes up to 14.6V. So my question is can a low (going bad) battery make alternator voltage drop, and the charging light stay on?
Thanks, Bob
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Try the five checks listed at http://home.earthlink.net/~honda.lioness/id13.html
Has the battery been allowed to go dead in the last 37 months? If so, what means did you use to re-charge it? Is the alternator the original one? If not, how old is the current one?
What is the make of the battery?

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No, Don't know I've only owned the car for 3 years. Kirkland (Costco).
bob
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wrote:

batteries can go bad early:I had one die after one year,it was replaced under warranty(PepBoy battery.)
Cold weather can accellerate that death.
Get a load test on the battery.
--
Jim Yanik
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in

I measured the voltage while my wife hit the starter. Battery voltage dropped to 10V but it started without much trouble.
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lswpubrw wrote:

potentially, but check the belt for slippage and the alternator brushes for wear first.
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Belt feels tight, little give when I press down. The brush assembly be removed without removing the alternator? I'm trying to avoid taking the power steering pump off.
Bob
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wrote:

3/8" deflection at the middle of the longest run with 20 lbs pressure is proper tension. But this is not your problem here.

The brush assembly can be removed with the alternator in-situ, but you need a NEW, WELL-FITTING Phillips screwdriver to remove the two holder screws.
My experience from 2002: <http://groups.google.com/group/rec.autos.makers.honda/browse_frm/thread/611d2083a2bb174c/f963e0cb2ba9d689?lnk=st&q=&rnum=1#f963e0cb2ba9d689
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Your alternator is faulty! During the low-voltage episodes, the alternator is not charging. You need to replace either the brushes or the entire alternator.
You can buy a new brush holder from the dealer for about $20.
Do yourself a favor if you replace the entire alternator. Go spend the extra hundred or so dollars and get a Honda reman from the dealer. The headaches and problems you'll save will be priceless.
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Cold, eh? :)
Try -25 F on for size, them complain about the cold. And my wife busted the plug off of the block heater cord... It still starts, but boy she sure don't wanna!
Terry in WINTERPEG
lswpubrw wrote:

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replace the alt. this just happened to my car the alt light came on during the day at a idle but not all the time as soon as i stepped down on it the light went out it did that for a couple days then it stopped then a week later it came back tested the bat load test it was fine it was low but charged it up and fine took alt to autozone they checked it and it checked out fine put back on car and no light a couple days later light came back replaced alt and no more light the old alt was going bad
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