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Mike V.
Mike V., Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 25659
Experience:  Nissan factory trained and Certified Subaru Technician.
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The help I'm seeking from any expert here unfortunately

Customer Question

Hey everyone. The help I'm seeking from any expert here unfortunately requires some detail to explain. I'm so sorry this is a long post!
2005 SE 105,000 miles.
So, I had $5,000 worth of work done at my local Nissan Dealership, and after picking it up I now have a completely different problem! I think the new problem is charging-system-related.
Before I bring it in to them, I've been trying to get an idea if they caused the problem or not. So, I'll detail the new problem first and then list the work they did.
My new issue: After 2,000 RPM (roughly), my "Brake" and "Battery" lights flicker until I depress the gas pedal. The higher the RPM gets (like gunning it from a tollbooth), it will go as far as a quick loss of power and then a "jolting" return of power. Pretty scary the first time it happened. At the higher RPM, my aftermarket Amp will also cut out, and I've seen my HID fog lights flicker off then on once.
The work they did:
Not only did they replace brake pads, rotors, and rear calipers, but I also needed a new ABS Actuator and rear ABS sensor ($2,100 just for that! ouch!).
In addition to the brake repairs, I also needed chain guides and tensioner assembly's as well as two differently priced Camshaft chains.
Next, they replaced a valve assy solenoid "VIAS Solenoid". I'm really wondering if while all the work was done under the hood, the tech screwed up wiring something, or shorted something, etc. Although the car was previously pretty screwed up ( I also replaced a cam sensor myself before the other work), this new issue was no where to be found.
Tested the charging system as best I could with a DMM, and the alternator is fully charging the system. I put on EVERYTHING, lights, fan, 500 watt amp bumping, all my little LEDs I have throughout the car...and the voltage remained consistent. No lights flickering at all! What I did see is when parked and raising the RPMs to the 2000-3000 range, the voltage shot up to the 15's. I don't know if that's normal to be honest.
I have a strong car audio/electronics background, but I've never been exposed to alternator issues like this. I'm wondering if the voltage regulator is fried? Again, I'm hoping it may be a simple fix. I don't want to bring it in and have them tell me I need a new alternator, when they could've potentially caused the problem.
I stopped by the day after I picked the car up and went for a quick drive with the tech that did the work, and he said he didn't recognize the issue at all, which was a giant red flag for me. They said just to drop it off, etc. I remember the tech advisor saying the tech that did the work had 10 years Nissan experience...sounds fishy to me.
So, the real question is, is it a possibility that a mistake in the type of work done could cause this problem? Or was this just horrible timing and I need my alternator replaced? Any advice, or suggestions on any other testing I could do on my own would be such a great help. I really want to monitor the voltage while driving but I held off because I'm a little wary of running a hot wire open wire to my DMM. I'm pretty desperate for help, as I really don't have the money for an alternator.
If you made it this far, thank you so much! I appreciate it.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Nissan
Expert:  Mike V. replied 1 year ago.

HI there,

To sum this up, you do have a issue with the alternator/voltage regulator. It's over charging at the higher engine speeds from the sounds of it, if it's going to 15 or over, that's to high.

I cannot specifically say this is related the previous work or with your sound system and other goodies on the car. The voltage regulator is inside the alternator on the car, so any issues stemming from that would not likely be a wiring issue. Typically any wiring problems would be consistent. I would check the ground wires under the hood, just in case one was missed when they had the engine apart, otherwise to be 100% honest I cannot see where it would be connected to all the work you had done previously. A ground that wasn't reconnected would be about the only culprit to tie the work and the alternator as a connected.

Please let me know what more I can do to assist you today. Also, please remember to rate my answer, Just Answer does not compensate me for my time and resources. Follow up questions are included in the price of your question. If you are using the free trial, or have a subscription a rating is still required.
Thank you so much!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the prompt response!I'll check the grounds, I'll have to find them first. Could this be related to the fusible link? Or potentially the positive terminal assembly (don't know what it's called)? I cleaned the terminals and terminal connections with proper equipment, but that assembly at the positive terminal looks pretty neat up. Plus there's s fuse there for something? 120A
Expert:  Mike V. replied 1 year ago.

This isn't usually an issue. If the main fusible or the large fuses were bad or even giving a poor connection, it wouldn't run. I think since it's over charging the problem is ground related if it's not the alternator.

Check the main negative cable where it connects to the body, then over to the transmission. If it's broken it might be causing this.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, I will be working on "Maxine" shortly. I will be back.
Expert:  Mike V. replied 1 year ago.

Sounds good!