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Discussion Starter #1
Hello -
We (my wife and I) bought our 2011 Scion xB last May. In June, the alternator went out and I replaced it (scarred my hand on a cut zip-tie doing it too... Lol). Since Covid-19 mandates occurred my business has made negative dollars, so I got a part time dishwasher & food prep job & DoorDash to barely stay afloat & since indoor dining was taken away I have been laid off of the kitchen job, so DD has been our sole source of income.
3 months ago, our passenger side headlight (low beam) seemed to go out but when I uninstalled it, it came on, so I reinstalled it & returned the new bulbs. Passenger side was dimmer but it worked.
This Monday 08FEB21, it blew fer sure, so we had to work with fewer breaks & daylight hours only, to save for the headlights and I was able to replace both bulbs with the recommended H11 bulbs.
This morning we got in the car & the battery light came on and stayed on. I turned off the lights & eventually the light went off but later proved not to be the cause (battery light going on and off regardless of light usage). Drove to Autozone - diagnostics had no codes thrown... Battery readings were 13.2V. So we were advised to "keep an eye on it... Maybe it's just a fluke..."
Then, driving down the road - the power steering light comes on... Followed by the airbag light... Followed by the ABS light, the brake light, the swervy car light, practically all idiot lights came on... Made it back to Autozone... Still no codes & new battery readings were 10.3V, 0% charge, 710 CCA. It was too dead to check the alternator so I had to leave the car, while it trickle charges... Sort of sounds like the alternator, but it's so new it's also doubtful... The diagnostic charge at Toyota is $140 per hr and we just saved up for $50 headlights... Any helpful/cheap suggestions? I'm pretty handy with tools and schtick, just don't even know where to start... & honestly it's all I can do to not break down crying...
 

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Sorry... I just joined & am unfamiliar with the 1st and 2nd gen separation... Lol. The battery is a 2019 & is good. Overnight it was trickle charged & was at 100% charge when I put it in. But after only 3 starts and 1 hour (not running) it had only 16% charge left and running had 11V which Autozone suggested was the alternator, but that seems pretty heavy discharge while mostly not running. Thank you for the tip though. I have no money to help with shipping... (and I don't know yet how to PM in this platform...)
 

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still sounds like dead cell action. have you popped the caps and topped off water? was battery light on after trickle charge when running it first time? Another option could be junkyard alternator but battery shouldn't be discharging like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
still sounds like dead cell action. have you popped the caps and topped off water? was battery light on after trickle charge when running it first time? Another option could be junkyard alternator but battery shouldn't be discharging like that.
Well the battery is only 2 yrs old. I can't remember what it is, but when people see it they're like "wow, that's a really good brand" & start looking elsewhere. It's sealed, so no topping H2O off (the name is 3 letters). A lot of mechanic friends are voting voltage regulator which unfortunately is now a part of the alternator. Still another is saying it's a parasitic drain & to check all of the wiring... That should only take a few years by myself... Lol
 

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Lots o leather and copper
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I see two main things it could be. The new alternator is bad, most likely, or you have some bad main grounds.

While you may have just replaced the alternator if it was bought from Autozone most of them are remanufactured units and it's common for them to fail. This feels like it's the problem because the battery light coming on while driving is due to poor/non-charging voltage. At this point the car starts running off of the battery for electrical power instead of the alternator like it normally would. Once you get down to 10 volts things start to shut down because they aren't designed to run below that. Hence all the warning lights turning on.

You could also have a poor/bad ground from the engine to the chassis. Depending on where you live there can be corrosion on the main engine to chassis ground from road salt. Unfortunately it is located under the air box and battery so you have to remove at minimum the airbox to inspect and clean it. This will cause many of the same issues as a bad alternator because it causes the same problem of not getting a charge from the alternator to the battery but does it in a different way.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Okay - so the alternator WAS bad and it's been replaced. After which all readings were good & the charging system is behaving as expected (idles higher with a load (turning on lights, fans, AC, etc.) & drops to normal with no load battery while running is at 14V, etc.... The ONE thing that is not behaving as expected? The frickin battery light is STILL on!! Scouring the internet I found 2 stories similar - 1 had a problem charging a guy's smart phone and tablet & the battery light went off after a day of not doing that... Tried unplugging the charge brick for my wife & my's phones for 2 days & found no glory... The 2nd was the neutral safety switch was dirty and causing bad reads to the ECU, which fried the voltage regulator, then the battery, then the lights... Haven't been able to lift it up to check it yet (our house's landlord died, so we're once again apartment dwellers & need to find property to do so)... Any OTHER thoughts? (battery is fine, alternate is a warranty swap and running well... Starter fires up with no problems...???
 

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Lots o leather and copper
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If you haven't already load test the battery just to rule it out. Going below 12.6 multiple times can cause problems with lead acid batteries, even AGM ones. This will at least rule out the battery as a cause.
 
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