How Long Can I Drive...with no Alternator?

Posted by Psycron, Jun 9, 2003
Newbie Forum - Beginner/newbie/general DSM modification questions. First mods, how to run 10's when you haven't run 12's yet, any tech question that doesn't fit in another tech forum.

  1. Psycron

    Psycron Proven Member

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    Farmington Hills, Michigan
    Just wondering. I have to start the car 3 more times, and drive 30-40 miles. Will I make it to the dealership to trade in for my beautiful candy apple red '93 Tsi Awd? That is the million dollar question.

    For the record, this battery is fully charged and is only a few months old. I was able to drive 120 miles with my stereo in before I noticed she was getting harder to start but for some reason I don't feel lucky. What do you guys think? How far can I get? If the alternator was going, going and now gone I dunno. I'm thinking I can get back home from here (work) and charge it overnight if need be and take it in the morning. After I get it to the dealer the car will get picked up and auctioned off so it won't matter anyway :D


    Any input is appreciated, I need to know if I should need another flatbed :talon:
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  2. TurBoGs-T

    TurBoGs-T Proven Member

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    Glen Burnie / Balt, Baltimore_Maryland
    Usually when the Alt is totally dead you can only get one trip out of it. So it really depends on how much of the battery you drain on each run. 30-40 miles on a dead alt will probably be all you get. I wouldn't turn the car off if i were you.
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  3. Psycron

    Psycron Proven Member

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    Farmington Hills, Michigan
    Ok, I just put 8 miles on it driving to work. From what you're telling me I'll probably only get one or two starts out of it. guess I'll have to charge the battery again and drive it to the dealership tomorrow. Can I take the freeway? it's about 20-25 miles to get there (I will have a fully charged battery. I know that running anything will decrease my chances of making it there so I don't want to be hitting my brake lights. I swear I drove for a while before I even noticed the alternator was bad/going bad so should I still expect 30-40 miles out of it?
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  4. machgsx

    machgsx Proven Member

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    , San_Antonio
    It will probably get you the one trip. Don't expect any more than that. You can try to jump start it, but it will only last for a few minutes. As soon as the RPMs drop to almost idle, the car will die.
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  5. Psycron

    Psycron Proven Member

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    Farmington Hills, Michigan
    This is what happened before. Do you think on a fully charged battery I could make a 20 mile freeway trip?
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  6. TurBoGs-T

    TurBoGs-T Proven Member

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    Glen Burnie / Balt, Baltimore_Maryland
    Yea just make sure you don't let it idle when you get off the freeway.
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  7. Psycron

    Psycron Proven Member

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    Farmington Hills, Michigan
    I'm not sure if the alternator is completely dead, the car still idles normal. when I let off the gas the rpms drop to 1k, then to 700. It might still have some fight left in it. *crosses fingers* I'm hoping it'll start when I get off work... :(
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  8. machgsx

    machgsx Proven Member

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    , San_Antonio
    I'm going to say you should be fine. Main thing is not letting the car close to idle. I had to move my car when the alt. was dead. It was about 10 miles. I had to jump start it a couple of times because I was in a residential neighborhood. Damn stop signs. But once out of there, the car held her own. Final note, turn everything off that is not necessary.
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  9. sphillips91

    sphillips91 Proven Member

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    , Baltimore_MD
    Heh If your gonna do this, I would bring a jump box just incase.
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  10. Psycron

    Psycron Proven Member

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    Farmington Hills, Michigan
    I think it's about time that I bought one...but I have to get the car to the dealership first. I have hardly any money since I have to cover the remainder of the amount not financed ($1250). I drove 50 miles and didn't know there was anything wrong until I got there- battery seemed to be weak. I managed to get back and not have any serious problems until the next day leaving work the battery sounded practically dead. Started the car one more time, and managed to get a few miles before the car died on me and had to get it towed back. This morning it seemed almost normal. I think I can make it...I think I can I think I can...wish me luck fellas LOL :D
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  11. RipperXX

    RipperXX Proven Member

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    Demorest, Georgia
    "How long can i drive...with no alternator" ---> As long as it takes to kill the battery.
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  12. dcypher21

    dcypher21 Proven Member

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    , Bolingbrook_IL
    Good luck

    I know I have driven a car for 45-55 minutes on a dead alternator. (On an old battery)
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  13. Psycron

    Psycron Proven Member

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    Farmington Hills, Michigan
    thanks dcypher, that's was I was looking for. someone who had first-hand experience...thanks to everyone who replied. I'll post up pictures as soon as I get back with my new car!
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  14. Aikouka

    Aikouka Proven Member

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    If you're gunna trade it in, at least tell the people that the alternator is dead. Don't d!ck some poor guy over who buys the car just because you're a cheap @$$.

    Sorry if I came off as rude, but it's not cool to do that at all.
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  15. Psycron

    Psycron Proven Member

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    Farmington Hills, Michigan
    LOL! the car is getting auctioned off, and I'm not going to throw more cash into the money pit. Would you fix it if the dealer were giving you $932 when you paid 2500 6 months before? If so, you care more about the next guy than I do, especially if he/she can't figure out it needs an alternator. The car has 88k on it, I'm sure even with a failed alternator it'll still sell quickly. It makes so sense to fix a car I've already put a lot of money into when I'm getting something else (which I can barely afford at the moment anyway). I'm going to be broke until next friday as it is. I had to pay $65 to get it towed, and that was money I didn't have...oh well. they'll reinburse me but I needed it now. Anyone that doesn't inspect a car deserves what they get, Just as I did.
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  16. MattR

    MattR Proven Member

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    , Connecticut
    you could always pop-start it... or would tha t be a bad idea on an AWD?
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  17. sphillips91

    sphillips91 Proven Member

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    , Baltimore_MD
    Well if the battery is dead popping the clutch isnt going to do anything with a dead alternator. If the alternator was working, but the battery was dead, than you could pop the clutch :)
    #17
  18. Psycron

    Psycron Proven Member

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    Farmington Hills, Michigan
    the battery was just being drained by the soon-to-be failed alt. I'tll run long enough to get there, it's not even a worry the battery was only down 15% I charged for an hour to make sure it's 100%. Question: auto belts not retracting to the front when you have the key out- is there a fix? no clue how to fix the problem.
    #18
  19. 2-0turbo

    2-0turbo Proven Member

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    Lynchburg, Virginia
    I drove my BMW 323 about 45 miles on a 3/4 charged, 80 amp-hr battery with only the DRL's on. I had no alternator and pulled fuses on everything non-essential. I felt like the Apollo astronauts trying to make it home with only X juice. No radio, no ventilation fan, dash lights off, only the headlights at 40% power. Did I mention I did this at night? : ) I was with two friends, so they sandwiched me front and rear so that no one would hit me.

    BTW, an advantage to having your battery in the trunk: the BMW battery was in the trunk. We ended up throwing another battery in the trunk and connecting it in parallel with jumper cables to effectively give me two batteries. It worked great for the ride home.
    #19

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