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When you put a new thread up in the Workshop please put your car's year & model in the post subject/thread title, along with just a brief indicator of the problem.

Year - Car Model - Brief description of issue. FOR EXAMPLE- ''1999 9-3 - Problems starting when hot.''

For Tech II issues or help requests please state the following in your thread title ''Tech 2 help required - state issue and your location ''.


Please also add as much information as you can about the problem, to your post.

This will help us to help you, without having to ask basic details such as what car you have.


Threads with non-compliant titles will be moved to The Pit Lane (in which no replies can be posted, but the OP can edit the thread - upon which the thread will be released to the workshop forum, note compliant threads will be moved back when the mod/admin team next visit the Pit Lane. if your thread has been sat in the Pit Lane for 24hrs+ after editing, pm Tech II to request release)

Nb. Generic thread titles for truly generic issues that genuinely are not model or variant specific (such as "how do I change the spring in an forge wastegate actuator") are acceptable

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2021 11:23 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2021 11:08 am
Posts: 3
Car Models: Saab 9-3 07 vector sport
Hello all brand new member here

So recently I've had an issue when starting the car it would occasionally make a whining noise without cranking the engine. After a couple of days a battery not charging message came up and a few minutes later I was stranded on the a12 at midnight. So I took it to a garage and they said the starter motor was on its last leg. After doing a tiny bit of research this seems a fairly reasonable thing to say so I ok'd a new one installed. Since my battery was drained they replaced that as well. 520£ later I pick up my car turn the key starts first crank (happy days). I drove about a mile and the battery not charging message came up again. Did a 180 took it straight back and we looked at the battery. He measure the terminals and a message saying battery unstable came up. He then ordered a new battery thinking it might have been faulty. When it arrived we tested again same message. Battery unstable. We measured a 3rd car just to make sure the actual meter was working properly which it was. Our next suspect was the alternator (which apparently the 1.9tid are famous for giving up) and at idle with all accessories off it was putting out a constant 14.1v. The mechanic said that the alternator is the problem as its constantly overcharging the battery. He said that at idle it should be putting out much lower than 14.1v as this means that when revd up its goes way beyond 14.1.So there goes an other chuck of cash. My question is this. What should the alternator output be at an idle? Am I just throwing money away here ?


Last edited by Doive on Fri Apr 30, 2021 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Title amended to comply with workshop requirements


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2021 2:39 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2006 12:44 pm
Posts: 13860
Location: Bristol
Car Models: '59 2.8 XWD '08 Diesel SW
Don't know the answer to your question but my first thought when I started reading was "alternator".

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2021 4:55 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:41 am
Posts: 5377
Location: Royal Tunbridge Wells
Car Models: '03 9-5 2.3 Vector Auto Estate Noob Stg 1, Suzuki S Cross, '81 TR7 DHC
Welcome to the forum.

I would have thought the first 'whining' instead of turning the engine over might be low battery power without enough oomf to send the pinion into mesh with the flywheel, although not sure that happens now with pre-engaged starters as opposed to the old inertia ones. That could be down to the alternator not charging the battery properly. However, I would expect 13.5-14V from an alternator even at idle. It was the old generators that had low output at idle. From the comment, did he try revving it to see what the output went up to? It should not change significantly. I assume the battery was at around 13V without the engine running?

Having waffled all that, I think the 9-3 alternators do have a reputation for doing odd things and that would seem the most likely explanation.

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'03 9-5 2.3t Vector Estate Auto Noob Stg 1
'01 9-3 2.0t SE Vert Auto
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2021 5:38 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:31 pm
Posts: 1318
Car Models: 9-3 1.9Tid Vector Sport An.
My first thought of battery not charging would have been the alternator or the battery, certainly not the starter itself. Even £520 seems an excessive amount for a starter and battery, maybe I'm just a tight northerner.
I thought that an alternator should give out 13.5 to 14.4v but happy to be corrected.
I'd try another garage.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2021 9:03 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2021 11:08 am
Posts: 3
Car Models: Saab 9-3 07 vector sport
Thanks for all your replies guys much appreciated. Unfortunately this whole deal happened now (Bank holiday weekend) and I was in desperate need of the car as I travel a 84 mile commute daily for work. In any case we changed the alternator to a brand new one and all the errors went away. I also remembered that previous to all the work done today when I had my head lights on and rolled up my electric windows or side mirrors the lights would dim. Which has now stopped. If I understand that correctly it was a sign of a failing alternator (?). Trying to find the silver lining in a 900£ spend is hard :? But at least now i got a brand new alternator/battery/starter motor :shock:


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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2021 8:16 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:41 am
Posts: 5377
Location: Royal Tunbridge Wells
Car Models: '03 9-5 2.3 Vector Auto Estate Noob Stg 1, Suzuki S Cross, '81 TR7 DHC
Glad you got it fixed, should be good to go for a while now.

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'03 9-5 2.3t Vector Estate Auto Noob Stg 1
'01 9-3 2.0t SE Vert Auto
'81 Triumph TR7 DHC


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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2021 8:40 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 5:31 am
Posts: 5956
Location: Bucks
Car Models: Saab NG 9-5 Aero
The first thing I would do would be to note the mechanic's details and never darken his door again. An alternator should have the same output voltage at idle as at 6,000 rpm. That is why there is a voltage regulator. In any case it is easy to check, just open the throttle and see if the voltage rises, it might rise a bit depending on the load but not by more than 0.5V or so. Normal output is around 14.5V but 15V is possible with some more recent cars.


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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2021 9:12 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2021 11:08 am
Posts: 3
Car Models: Saab 9-3 07 vector sport
GeoffR wrote:
The first thing I would do would be to note the mechanic's details and never darken his door again. An alternator should have the same output voltage at idle as at 6,000 rpm. That is why there is a voltage regulator. In any case it is easy to check, just open the throttle and see if the voltage rises, it might rise a bit depending on the load but not by more than 0.5V or so. Normal output is around 14.5V but 15V is possible with some more recent cars.


Yeah I don't plan on visiting that garage again tbh. It was the only one that could fit me in within a day. Tha ks for taking the time guys. Much love


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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2021 1:46 pm 
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Saab Nut

Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:31 pm
Posts: 1318
Car Models: 9-3 1.9Tid Vector Sport An.
Glad it's sorted , but not at the expense of your wallet. I'd be interested in how a starter and battery was the price it was though. An hour's labour to do the starter!


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