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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:48 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:00 pm
Posts: 12
Car Models: 9-3 Aero 2.8t Saloon
Hi all

I have a 2.8t Saab 9-3 which has been laid up for the best part of 6 months. Every month I let the car run for approx. 20-30 minutes, then disconnect the battery until the next month where I repeat the process.

Unfortunately last month I forgot to disconnect the battery for reasons unknown - and when I went to start the car this morning it was very laboured... however it started after 2-3 seconds of cranking. All was fine for 5-10 seconds, then I got a red warning message stating 'Battery not Charging, go to Workshop' or something along those lines. I left it for a few seconds thinking it may be because the car isn't getting regular use, but then lots of other errors started popping up - abs, tcs, etc with all leds noticeably dim. Put a multimeter on the battery, and voltage was approx 10v and slowly dropping.

At this point, the SID itself became almost invisible along with the other interior lights so I switched the car off.

Is there anything I should realistically explore before opting to change the alternator? I've read that replacing the battery cures some issues, but I don't want to needlessly change parts unless I have to. It's just odd that it's been fine for the last 6 months with no change, until I forgot to disconnect the battery last month and it's had zero use in the past 30 days.

Cheers all.

EDIT: Solved Page 2


Last edited by Renesis on Mon Dec 14, 2020 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:13 pm
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Location: Peterborough UK
Car Models: 9-5 Aero 2001,1.9TID x 2
Put in a fresh battery and then see if you are getting towards 14V measuring at the battery.
You need to find out if the battery is contributing the problem so get it fully charged and load tested.
Running at idle for 20-30mins every so often wont do much for an already bad battery.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 9:11 pm
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Location: Down Sarf'
Car Models: 9-3 2.8 V6 Saloon and Vert!
Agree with above.
You’ve killed the battery, a 20 minute idle a month would have used more power than you’re putting back in via the alternator.
I’d say 99% the alternator is fine.
2 choices :
Take battery off and recharge it properly and see if that works or probably best to buy a new one. If you are not using the car just leave it until you do?
The battery has a harsh life anyway on the 2.8 - sits right next to a hot CAt in an already hot engine bay.

Hope you get it sorted , best of luck

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:29 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:00 pm
Posts: 12
Car Models: 9-3 Aero 2.8t Saloon
Thanks for your replies. As an update, I charged my original Varta battery and it was holding a charge at 13.5v. Started the car and it came to life straight away, with no charging light. Result I thought, but 15 seconds later the light came on and I got the same error message on the SID. Voltage at this point was 11.98 and holding.

Thinking it could still be the battery, I purchased a brand new one this morning but after fitting, unfortunately it does the exact same thing.

I can hear a low sort of screech sound coming from the engine which I hadn't noticed before but I'm not sure if that's because I'm just looking for symptoms and perhaps that has always been there. With it being the 2.8t, there's little to no access to the alternator that I can see, and worried this is going to cost me some big bucks.

Is there anything else I can do to narrow down the issue? I recently had a voltage regulator fail on my 1.9 TDI which I changed in under 15 minutes - however the alternator in the Saab is buried in deep and can't see any way of me being able to get to it, let alone check the brushes.

Thank you in advance.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:13 pm
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Location: Peterborough UK
Car Models: 9-5 Aero 2001,1.9TID x 2
As I said above fully charge the battery and get it load tested...Halfords and many other places will test for free.
If you arent measuring close to 14v at the battery when the engine is running your alternator is toast.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:39 pm 
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Car Models: 2009 Turbo X Wagon; 1971 VW Beetle 1300; 2013 VW Shuttle (T5) WAV
https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=you ... -OCZ471rcQ

How to replace the alternator.

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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2020 2:59 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:00 pm
Posts: 12
Car Models: 9-3 Aero 2.8t Saloon
Right - Thread update.

As I have already replaced the battery, I opted to replace the alternator with a £80 used one I had bought from eBay... unfortunately I'm getting the same problem. I triple checked it's the exact same model as the one that was removed (Bosch 155A, same model code etc). The seller assured me the alternator was 100% working when he had it taken out. He advised his car was written off in an rear end accident so is refusing the return, worried I am trying to pull a fast one by sending my old 'broken' alternator for a refund since they're identical.

I've checked all cables from alternator to battery the best I can, and continuity testing shows there's no breaks in the main wire from alternator to battery. I also removed the voltage regulator from my old alternator to check the bushes, as it all looks OK (visually anyway) so now I'm officially at the point of tearing my hair out.

The way I see it, there's 4 possible reasons

A. eBay alternator is infact faulty
B. New battery bought in November is faulty
C. I am extremely unlucky and both alternator/battery are faulty and need re-replacing
D. Something else

Before I lose my mind, is there anything else I can try to narrow this down before I get this taken to a garage? You could argue that I should have done this in the first place (removing the alternator was an experience!) but at least I've saved on the diagnosis cost! I'm reluctant to buy a brand new alternator for £400+ but willing to try anything else... hoping I've missed something obvious.

Apologies it's taken so long to do this, I only got round to replacing the alternator thanks to lockdown.


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2020 5:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2004 9:39 am
Posts: 42462
Location: SW Herts
Car Models: 2007 9-5 Aero est. 300hp Hirsch. 9-3 2010 9-3 Carlsson
What voltage were you seeing across the battery terminals with the engine running?

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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2020 9:29 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:23 pm
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Location: Sussex
Car Models: '04 9-5 Aero est., '97 9K Aero
when you do eventually get it sorted out, put an intelligent trickle charger on. A few of use use the CTEK Mx-5 successfully.


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2020 11:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:00 pm
Posts: 12
Car Models: 9-3 Aero 2.8t Saloon
sgould wrote:
What voltage were you seeing across the battery terminals with the engine running?


With the battery fully charged, starting the car left it at approx 11.9v-12.5 at the battery posts. Main alternator wire showed same voltage as battery, including the decline.

Leaving the engine running with all electricals off, saw a drop of .5v every couple minutes or less (faster if revving the engine)

At around 10.5v, the cars electrics would all start to fail, with warnings left right and centre.


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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 6:08 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:14 pm
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Location: N Yorks
Car Models: 9-5 Aero Estates, 9-5 2.2 TiD estate, 9-5 2.0 Saloon, 9000 Aero
That confirms that the alternator, or more likely the voltage regulator is faulty.

An alternator should be giving 13.8-14.4 volts when the engine is running and you have confirmed that the output at the alternator is the same as at the battery so no bad connections to cause a voltage drop.

The only other possibility is a slipping drive belt so you should check that, but that would normally be accompanied by screaming and you have just fitted that along with the alternator.

ECU's will start to shut down at around 10.5 volts


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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 9:14 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 5:31 am
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Location: Bucks
Car Models: Saab NG 9-5 Aero
Before spending any more money, check the earth strap between the engine and the body and the battery -VE terminal and the body if there is a sensor make sure the cable is correctly routed, ensure they are both correctly tightened at both ends. Then check the cable between the alternator and the starter motor this cable then connects to the battery, again check the terminals are correctly tightened.

If there is a sensor on the -VE cable check that it is connected to the vehicle wiring, if the system can't see the charge current it will shut down the charging system.


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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 9:17 am 
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Location: Bucks
Car Models: Saab NG 9-5 Aero
paolo wrote:
Agree with above.
You’ve killed the battery, a 20 minute idle a month would have used more power than you’re putting back in via the alternator.

Unfortunately that isn't the case, alternators provide sufficient current at idle to restore the battery to a fully charged state. Dynamo type generators need higher RPM to provide a sufficiently high voltage for the battery to charge, which is why manufacturers switched to alternators many years ago.


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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 10:57 am 
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Location: N Yorks
Car Models: 9-5 Aero Estates, 9-5 2.2 TiD estate, 9-5 2.0 Saloon, 9000 Aero
Easiest way to eliminate the earth side is to run a temporary jump lead from the alternator body to the battery earth


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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 11:08 am 
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Car Models: Saab NG 9-5 Aero
carrera wrote:
Easiest way to eliminate the earth side is to run a temporary jump lead from the alternator body to the battery earth

Battery earth point rather than the -VE terminal on the battery.


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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 11:23 am 
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Car Models: 9-5 Aero Estates, 9-5 2.2 TiD estate, 9-5 2.0 Saloon, 9000 Aero
........ and if you are testing across the battery terminals for voltage, how would that eliminate a bad connection between the battery and the battery earth point.


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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 12:45 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:00 pm
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Car Models: 9-3 Aero 2.8t Saloon
Cheers for the reply guys, all sorted now

For anyone coming here from a search engine, the alternator I bought from eBay which I was assured was working fine - was in fact faulty.

Bought a brand new Bosch unit from Germany which arrived this morning. Car was still half dismantled from fitting the last one so only took 15 odd minutes to put the new one in. Is all working fine now.


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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 2:07 pm 
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Car Models: 9k, 2 x 9-5's & a Jaaag
Possibly worth going through eBay to get a refund for the "good" used alternator ... glad to hear you got it working though.

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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 8:13 pm 
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Location: Sussex
Car Models: '04 9-5 Aero est., '97 9K Aero
Agree with sounds. eBay’s default position is to side with the buyer anyway, and if you send them evidence that you had to buy a new one, weight is added to your argument.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2020 6:28 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:00 pm
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Car Models: 9-3 Aero 2.8t Saloon
Thread Update

Sigh, sigh and bigger sigh. The warning light has reappeared and the battery is not charging yet again.

I was laid off from my job in June so the car was taken off the road at the end of that month. I had done approx 293 miles from the new Bosch alternator being fitted to it being taken of the road, and in that time there was absoutely zero issues. Knowing I wouldn't be using the car for a few months with no job (and in lockdown) I disconnected the battery completely this time and stored it in my garage on a shelf next to the car.

I am due to start my new job tomorrow, so installed the battery again and fired her up this morning. Started first time but 15 seconds later, the Battery Not Charging light came on again. I checked the voltage, and it was 12.5 and dropping steadily - exact same symptoms I had the first time. Really at a loss as to what the issue is now, as it's had 3 different alternators on it in the last 12 months and this keeps happening.

To confirm this is the timeline:

- After not using the car for 6 months, got Battery Not Charging warning light on dash.
- Battery replaced with a brand new Bosch S5 in November 2019. No change
- Alternator replaced with one from a crashed car in May 2020. No change.
- Battery replaced again as per advice on this thread straight after alternator replacement, No change.
- Alternator replaced again 2 weeks later, this time with a brand new Bosch unit from Germany at a significant cost. All problems resolved and car was faultless for 293 miles. Hurrah.
- Car not used for another 6 months due to being laid off. After reconnecting the battery, got another battery not charging warning light with battery voltage approx 12.5 when car was running (checked across batt terminals) rather than 14+. Battery was on 12.8v idle before installing it to the car, checked with multimeter.

Coincidentally, it looks like this issue happens after 6 months of non use as it's only after it's been laid up that this issue happens - 3 seperate alternators and the problem has reappeared. I can't be that unluckly to have a 2 alternators not work, and a brand new alternator fail after 280 miles surely?

Does anyone have any ideas on what I should try next before I end up selling it for parts? I don't think I have it in me to do a 3rd alternator replacement.


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