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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

The alternator on my 2012 CRV was replaced about 8 months ago (August 2019). In December, we had trouble starting the car. It cranked for a few seconds when cranking the first time, and took about 3 turns to actually start the car. Upon starting, the Check Engine, Traction Control, and Power Steering lights were illuminated. The car also seemed to be running a little rough. I took it over to Advance, and they tested the battery, starter and alternator. All 3 passed their test and showed no issues. The vehicle was still under warranty, so I took it in for service to a facility that honored my warranty. The Check Engine generated code P0339 (Intermittent Crankshaft Sensor).

The service facility told me the rough idle was due to engine mounts that were cracking, and those were replaced under warranty. When I asked about the check engine light, they said the code (P0339) was due to a faulty alternator. They also reset the code, so another shop couldn't even diagnose it. I reached out to 2 other shops and Honda, and all said that the code refers to a crankshaft sensor, which was probably causing the rough idle, and that an alternator should not set off a check engine light. The repair facility insists the issue is the alternator, but since the work was done at another location, they said I have to take it there to have it replaced. I took it there, and their alternator test showed the correct voltage.

It took 2+ months, but the check engine light came back on, and sure enough, code P0339 was back. I took it to the shop that had previously replaced the alternator, and they changed the sensor and the car seemed to be running fine.

So basically, from the day the repair shop (who sent me elsewhere) told me the issue was the alternator to the day the code came back again was around 2 months. I'm thinking if the alternator was truly the issue, the battery would have been dead some time within those 2 months. Never did we need a jump..

So my wife got a new car (Pilot) and I got the CRV. I was noticing that it's taking a little longer to crank than it did previously, and last week, I had another hard start and got the Check Engine, Traction Control, and Power Steering lights again. I brought it back to the facility that did the Alternator and Camshaft sensor repair, and everything checked out okay. The lights had also gone off, so there was no code to read. I started doing some research and learned a lot about Honda's charging system, and it seems that low system voltage can set off the lights, and once the system is back to normal, the lights could go off. Has anyone else heard of this?

I had the battery, alternator and starter checked at Advance again. Starter and alternator came back fine, but the battery (which was replaced when the alternator was replaced) was showing a low charge (around 12.3V) and it was recharged. Their charger got it charged 100%, and it tested as a good battery. i checked it with my multi-meter after getting the car home and it was at 12.49V, which is not a "full" charge. I've been testing it daily, and the battery seems to drop around 0.05-0.07V over a 24 hour period. I thought it could be a parasitic drain but I know Honda's don't have the "additional battery" for accessories like the radio, alarm, remote entry, etc so it could be within a normal range.

I also tested the alternator on my own. At idle, it's around 12.3-12.6V. If I turn on my high beams and the AC, it jumps over 14 at idle. Based on research on Honda's charging system, it's my understanding that it will run at varying voltages, depending on how much power is needed. What is strange though, is that this morning, the battery was at 12.35V. After driving it to the store (probably less than 5 miles), it was 12.25V (yes, I checked it in the parking lot after leaving the store
). On the way back from the store, I went a longer route (maybe 6-8 miles or so), and it was 12.45V when arriving home. So, it's almost like the battery lost charge on the way to the store (possibly the alternator wasn't charging correctly or enough), and the battery definitely got charged on the way home.

I'm wondering if the alternator is intermittent, or could it just be that the alternator doesn't give much of a charge for short distances? My wife previously drove the car about 40 miles a day (200 miles a week), and I'm now driving it maybe 10 miles each way, 3 days a week (60 miles a week). I know short trips can kill a battery.

I picked up one of these devices from Harbor Freight Battery & Alternator Tester
I'm not sure how accurate it truly is, but when starting the car, the "battery" side of the device shows red and yellow, and the green will eventually light after driving for some time. As per the instructions, the alternator side will only illuminate when the car is idle, but it's come on while driving (mainly when at a constant speed without stops), and showed Yellow and Green. The lights will then turn off, and the cycle will start again eventually.

Has anyone experienced a similar situation, or does anyone have recommendation of what else I should try? I was thinking of ordering one of these
Voltage tester Voltage tester
from Amazon, as it should show voltage in real time. Again, I'm not sure how accurate it is. Even if it's off, I should be able to mount my phone next to it and record the outputs in real time. I'm just trying to figure out if I truly have an alternator (or some other) issue. Another thought is that maybe there is truly an alternator issue and my wife drove the car enough in which the battery would never run down (even if the alternator is intermittent).

I apologize for writing a book here, but I don't think I left anything out. Thank you for reading, and I look forward to your responses in hopes that this issue can be resolved.
 

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Yes 12.4V is normal when honda's charging system is on low volts ( not really charging ), and 14.4V when it senses a high electrical load such as turning the headlights on. There are other conditions that will set the alternator to high voltage. If you search on Google for "Honda Dual Mode Charging" you will find a PDF from theSouthern Illinois University detailing how honda's charging system functions and under what conditions it switches from low volts to high volts. The current draw while the car is parked should be around 14 mA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Traylaw.

I actually came across the "Honda Dual Mode Charging" study while doing some of my research. It made me realize that even if the alternator isn't pushing out 14 at all times, it could be working correctly.

You mention the current draw while the car is parked should be around 14mA. I tried to convert that to volts using an online calculator, but apparently it depends on the number of ohms (14mA = 0.014 volts per ohm). I guess my missing variable is the number of ohms. Is there a standard number of ohms for auto batteries or does it depend on the individual battery? I'm just trying to figure out if the .05-.07 volt drainage over a 24 hour period is too much.
 

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If you want a ruff estimate of the voltage decay over time with a 14ma load you need to know the battery's amp hour rating. For a typical 51R battery it's 30 amp hours. Probably a better estimate is the chart Honda provides their dealers for the typical discharge rate for cars sitting on the lot. What you are measuring is about the same as I have seen on my 2014 CRV. Also when you measure the battery voltage you need to let the car sit for 10 mins or so to let the cpu's to go to sleep. Just opening the doors will cause the systems to wake up and the current draw will go from 14ma (sleep) to several amps.

Does the engine turn over quickly when you are having the starting problem? It maybe as simple as a dirty battery terminal connection or loose negative lead connection from the battery to the chassis. I'm also wondering if the shop that replaced the crank shaft sensor used an OEM or aftermarket sensor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Marty1. I'll disconnect and use my multimeter as the"bridge" between the cable and neg battery post. My multimeter is a Sperry DM350A (picture is attached). Would I want to plug the red (positive) probe into the mA plug (it's currently in volt/ohms before testing? I assume I would also want to move the dial to the DCmA. Whether I would put it on 200, 20 or 2 is what I'm unsure of.
138416


Thanks Traylaw. It's encouraging that you're seeing similar "drain" on your 2014. I wasn't sure what amount was acceptable. My battery is an Autocraft Gold Battery, Group Size 51R, 500 CCA link: Autocraft Gold Battery

When I've been doing my testing, I usually pop the hood, and then close all doors and lock using the remote and then wait 5 minutes. When I initially started testing, I noticed that the voltage would fluctuate within the first 5 minutes (it would go from 12.20-12.25), which is why I would let the car sit for 5 minutes. I can let it sit for 10 minutes or more and then check.

To answer your question, when I have trouble starting I'll turn the key and hear it trying to turn over, but it won't. After 3-5 seconds or so, I would let go of the key and try again. It usually starts right up the second time. It's intermittent though. It could start every day for a week, and then one day we have the trouble cranking. The battery terminal connections are clean. I don't know about the connection from the battery to the chassis. I'll check that out this afternoon. I'm assuming I just need to follow the wiring to see where it's attached to the chassis and make sure it's making good contact.

Regarding the crankshaft sensor; they got it directly from Honda, so it's OEM.
 

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From Honda's service manual for code P0339 CKP circuit intermittent.
1. Check for poor connections or loose terminals at these locations:
CKP sensor connector
PCM connector
Engine ground
Body ground
2. If connections and terminals are ok than inspect CKP pulse plate
REMOVE THE CKP SENSOR , and check for damage to the CKP pulse plate.
3. Replace CKP sensor.
 

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Yes the red lead gets plugged into the mA port on the meter to measure DC mA. Put the setting at 200 mA to start. I notice the mA circuit on your meter is protected by a 0.5A (500mA) fuse. I'm concerned there could be a current surge which could blow the fuse when you connect the meter between the negative post and the clamp which has been removed from the post. Various circuits in the car may need an initial charge.

To prevent this you need to touch the meter leads to the post and the clamp before the clamp is removed from the post. First loosen the negative clamp and have it sitting at the top of the post so that it can be easily lifted off. Then firmly touch one meter lead to the bottom of the post and the other to the clamp. Then gently lift the clamp off the post and take the mA reading. You may need two people to do this.

Also as noted in a post above, before starting ensure everything is shut off, all doors closed and the car has sat for 10 minutes. If the hood latch is connected to the alarm system close the latch with a screwdriver. (Remember to open it with the latch release before slamming the hood shut.)

For safety keep the positive post and clamp covered while working around the battery.
Don't wear any rings, dangling jewelry etc.
Wear safety glasses.
Don't conduct the above test right after charging the battery with a battery charger. A charging battery releases explosive hydrogen gas and you will be creating small sparks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Traylaw. I'll reach out to the repair shop on Monday just to get an understanding of exactly what they did when replacing toe Crankshaft sensor. It seems there's more to the job than just replacing the sensor :)

Thanks Marty1. I was hoping to remove the negative terminal today, but it rained. I was able to get some quick battery readings with the multi meter. I do not think that I have an issue with parasitic draw though. I haven't been driving much due to Covid19, so the car has been sitting for a few days. Here are my readings:

April 14th = 12.35v
April 15th = 12.45v after returning from grocery store (noon)
April 15th (4 hours later) = 12.35v
April 16th (24 hours later) = 12.3v
April 17th (24 hours later) = 12.28v
April 18th (24 hours later) = 12.27v

The only major drop was 0.10v, which was over a 4 hour period. I'm thinking that the battery more than likely was showing a higher charge after just shutting off the car/warm. When it's cold or cooler (due to the car not being run), the drain on the battery is minimal. I'm using the 12.35 a my baseline.

So it's could be the alternator but it's more than likely a bad battery, as it's usually not at greater than 12.4 when cool. Advance charged it and said it's a good battery and sent me on my way, but I've had situations when a battery would run down overnight even it was charged the day before and then taken out of the car and checked the following day.

I did purchase one of these Car Charger & Volt Meter from Amazon the other day, and based on the reviews it seems to give voltage readings in "real time." If we're in the 14+ range most of the time (at least when the high beams, AC, etc are on), the alternator is probably fine. The dual-charging system does complicate things a bit because it could be operating in the 12s if it doesn't "need the power", but if with loads it's at 14+, the culprit is probably the battery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just an update...
So I haven't been driving the vehicle much due to Covid, and even when I do, it's mainly short distances. When I start the car the voltage usually ranges from 12.7-13.2 after starting the vehicle and driving for a few minutes. After a few minutes of driving, it will drop closer to 12.3-12.4. If I put the headlights and AC on, it's still usually in the 12.4 range (it may jump to 12.7 at times). It will only jump to 14+ if I put the high beams on.

So, I've been driving with the high beams on during the day. When returning home and checking the voltage a few hours later, it's always in the 12.5-12.6 range, and is usually in the 12.4 range 24 hours later.

In reading up on Honda's charging system and checking out these forums, people mention that the voltage should be 14+ when turning the headlights on. Would this just be the standard headlights, or the high beams? I had the alternator tested again at a mechanic, and the "load" we generated was revving the engine to 2K RPM and turning on the high beams, front and rear heaters, A/C, etc. We're getting output in the 14.4 range with all these loads.

My thought (as well as what others have mentioned) is that this is a battery issue or a bad ground as opposed to an alternator issue. With the dual charging system, it may see that the battery is charged enough, and therefore isn't keeping the vehicle in "charge mode." Another thought could be that the battery just isn't holding a full charge anymore. It's a 51R and though it's only a year old, I'm in South Florida where we're lucky to get 3 years out of a battery due to the heat. When it's time to replace, I'm definitely going to get a Group 24F or 35R
 

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It should be either high/low. The high beams do draw an additional 10 watts per bulb. So in your case, the additional load appears to finally trigger the higher voltage from the alternator. Since the ELD module is what measures the load you may have one that's a bit out of calibration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Traylaw.

I went over to O'Reilly's to pick up an ELD module, and they checked the starter, battery, and alternator while I was there. The starter showed as good. The battery showed as good, but with low charge. Regarding the alternator; at idle with no loads, it was around 12.3. When turning the lights and AC on, it jumped to about 12.5-12.6 for a few seconds and then leveled out around 12.4. The reading the machine came back with is a failure in the voltage regulator. Luckily they were able to print out the diagnosis so I can bring it to the mechanic.

Since the alternator will only pump out 14.4 volts when the high beams are on, but won't go about 12.6 any other time, your recommendation seems to be spot on. It will operate at 14.4 when "loaded" I'm going to call the shop that replaced the alternator tomorrow AM. I'm thinking they're either going to end up replacing the alternator (as it's still within their 12 month warranty) OR the ELD module.

Is there anything else I should mention to them? I know these things are sometimes hard to pinpoint, but I'm hoping they'll do the right thing and thoroughly test. Changing out the ELD module first might be their best option, as that may correct the voltage issue. If after changing it, if the alternator still has issues, it's was probably the alternator from the beginning.
 

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Thanks Traylaw.

I went over to O'Reilly's to pick up an ELD module, and they checked the starter, battery, and alternator while I was there. The starter showed as good. The battery showed as good, but with low charge. Regarding the alternator; at idle with no loads, it was around 12.3. When turning the lights and AC on, it jumped to about 12.5-12.6 for a few seconds and then leveled out around 12.4. The reading the machine came back with is a failure in the voltage regulator. Luckily they were able to print out the diagnosis so I can bring it to the mechanic.

Since the alternator will only pump out 14.4 volts when the high beams are on, but won't go about 12.6 any other time, your recommendation seems to be spot on. It will operate at 14.4 when "loaded" I'm going to call the shop that replaced the alternator tomorrow AM. I'm thinking they're either going to end up replacing the alternator (as it's still within their 12 month warranty) OR the ELD module.

Is there anything else I should mention to them? I know these things are sometimes hard to pinpoint, but I'm hoping they'll do the right thing and thoroughly test. Changing out the ELD module first might be their best option, as that may correct the voltage issue. If after changing it, if the alternator still has issues, it's was probably the alternator from the beginning.
Here is what I think the problem is. There is a ground wire from the transmission to the frame under the battery box. This is what I found. Shine a flashlight standing in front of the car under the battery battery tray. After removing the 10mm head bolt found shiny paint. use rough sandpaper and sand to bare metal. reattach. There is also a ground from engine passenger side engine mount that goes to the strut tower. remove bolt and sand at the tower. Let me know. Mine did not have power to start but good battery. Also put a meter from battery positive to engine, mine got 9 volts . The fuses under the hood had 12 volts but inside fuses had 9.The engine was getting its ground through the harness Small wires to find ground. Others have had this problem after car wash. I thought how ? My 2015 crv quit beside a friends service garage and we pushed it in. its not the water but the dirt that gets in. We found it was literally grounded by the threads of the bolt only. Let me know I hope this helps. Also sand under where the battery grounds to the frame.

Leg Auto part Wire Electrical wiring
Fuel line Auto part Hose Engine Wire
 
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