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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Central PA
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Battery light on dash (charging system)
I am posting to hopefully get input on, and share my experience related to, a battery warning light on my dash. I have a 2006 4 cylinder 4WD base Tacoma. One time during several months of limited use I noticed that my battery warning light was on on the dash. The next time I drove it the light was not on. The next time I drove it the light was on and it has been on every time since then. I did some testing with a multimeter based on some youtube vids I watched and while the readings were on the low end of acceptable they seemed to be acceptable and consistent. 12.4 at battery with vehicle off. 13.8 with vehicle on at battery, between alternator and battery, between battery and vehicle ground when the truck was running. Battery was 7 years old so even though I was not convinced that was the issue I replaced it. The warning light on the dash continues to come on after battery replacement. Had the following tests performed at auto parts store.
1 Autozone in car alternator test while installed in truck and truck running - said alternator was good
2 Advance Auto bench test - they ran test cycle three time - said alternator was good
3 Advance Auto bench test at a second location - said alternator was good
4 Autozone bench test - they ran test cycle three time - said alternator failed the "lamp off" test but passed 3 other aspects of the test (I think what passed was B terminal, ripple test, and lamp on)
The wires near the connector that plugs into the alternator look good (no chaffing or bare wires)
I did not get a clear explanation of the "failed" test from the guy at autozone but after some reading online I think what it means is that the alternator is operating properly but it is just not sending the correct charge to the light on the dashboard. If anyone can confirm that it would be appreciated.
I am tempted to get an alternator from a junkyard on ebay for $60 and see if that eliminates the light on the dash. Any thoughts on that? Or should I just get one with a warranty from the parts store...approx $200? Or toyota for $325?
Thanks for any input and I will update the post if/when I do something.