1989 3S-FE Problems

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Old 04 Jan 2005, 09:55 pm   #1 (permalink)
Jason M
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Default 1989 3S-FE Problems

When I was first given this car in December of 2003, it needed both
brakes and a new alternator.

After replacing both last May-June, My car has now begun to have issues
in both areas yet again.

The brake problem consists of a fair amount of noise eminating from the
rear drums when braking from medium to high speeds. I should also note
that stopping distance has increased quite a bit and that the pedal
travels about two thirds to three quarters of the way down to the floor
before you can noticeably feel the brakes engage the rotors/drums.
Could I possibly need new pads this soon (not even a year)?

As for the electrical problems, both the brake warning and the charge
warning lights intermittently illuminate simultaneously. These are the
same symptoms I had when the alternator croaked last summer, so I
immediately was suspect of the alternator (which has a lifetime
warranty). I called Advance Auto Parts where I bought the new
alternator and they tested it and it tested flawlessly (the needle was
perfectly on 15 volts throughout the entire test). The "Parts
Specialist" at Advance suggested that it may be a problem with the
two-weeks-older-than-a-year battery. So I took the battery in and it
was perfect as well.

Just this evening while I was driving home from an errand, the charge
and brake warning lights were flickering as usual. Then the headlights
started to dim randomly and erratically. At no point did the engine,
heater blower, radio or anything else (other than the instrument panel
lights) have any problems with what appears to be the apparent
electrical problem.

I would sincerely appreciate any advice anyone has on either of these
issues.

Thanks in advance!
Jason

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Old 05 Jan 2005, 10:15 pm   #2 (permalink)
Vash The Stampede
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Default Re: 1989 3S-FE Problems

On Tue, 04 Jan 2005 19:55:23 -0800, Jason M wrote:

> When I was first given this car in December of 2003, it needed both
> brakes and a new alternator.
>
> After replacing both last May-June, My car has now begun to have issues
> in both areas yet again.
>
> The brake problem consists of a fair amount of noise eminating from the
> rear drums when braking from medium to high speeds. I should also note
> that stopping distance has increased quite a bit and that the pedal
> travels about two thirds to three quarters of the way down to the floor
> before you can noticeably feel the brakes engage the rotors/drums.
> Could I possibly need new pads this soon (not even a year)?
>
> As for the electrical problems, both the brake warning and the charge
> warning lights intermittently illuminate simultaneously. These are the
> same symptoms I had when the alternator croaked last summer, so I
> immediately was suspect of the alternator (which has a lifetime
> warranty). I called Advance Auto Parts where I bought the new
> alternator and they tested it and it tested flawlessly (the needle was
> perfectly on 15 volts throughout the entire test). The "Parts
> Specialist" at Advance suggested that it may be a problem with the
> two-weeks-older-than-a-year battery. So I took the battery in and it
> was perfect as well.
>
> Just this evening while I was driving home from an errand, the charge
> and brake warning lights were flickering as usual. Then the headlights
> started to dim randomly and erratically. At no point did the engine,
> heater blower, radio or anything else (other than the instrument panel
> lights) have any problems with what appears to be the apparent
> electrical problem.
>
> I would sincerely appreciate any advice anyone has on either of these
> issues.
>
> Thanks in advance!
> Jason



Maybe someone who has experienced these problems may help a bit more, but
I would take a look at the shoes in the rear and the drums as well. Did
you put new drums, or just turn them? Also, are the pistons ok? Is the
emergency/parking brake locking up when you set it?

As far as the alternator, take a good look at the ground connections. You
probably turned in your original Toy alternator when you purchased the new
one; too bad, they are so easy to rebuild on your kitchen table it's
unreal!

I'm sorry I don't have a more definitive answer for you; these are the
places I would check first. Maybe someone can nail it down even further...
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Old 07 Jan 2005, 01:26 am   #3 (permalink)
Jason James
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Default Re: 1989 3S-FE Problems


"Jason M" <jason.maxey@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1104897323.640016.34310@c13g2000cwb.googlegro ups.com...
> When I was first given this car in December of 2003, it needed both
> brakes and a new alternator.
>
> After replacing both last May-June, My car has now begun to have issues
> in both areas yet again.
>
> The brake problem consists of a fair amount of noise eminating from the
> rear drums when braking from medium to high speeds. I should also note
> that stopping distance has increased quite a bit and that the pedal
> travels about two thirds to three quarters of the way down to the floor
> before you can noticeably feel the brakes engage the rotors/drums.
> Could I possibly need new pads this soon (not even a year)?


Those symptoms mean you need to investigate the cause. If you cant do that,
take it to a mechanic.
Noise from drum-brakes is not all that common and usually means there is
either something rattling around inside the drum or the shoes have worn down
to metal. 6 mths is too short a time, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't
investigate.

The low brake pedal is a bad sign. Get it fixed!



> As for the electrical problems, both the brake warning and the charge
> warning lights intermittently illuminate simultaneously. These are the
> same symptoms I had when the alternator croaked last summer, so I
> immediately was suspect of the alternator (which has a lifetime
> warranty). I called Advance Auto Parts where I bought the new
> alternator and they tested it and it tested flawlessly (the needle was
> perfectly on 15 volts throughout the entire test). The "Parts
> Specialist" at Advance suggested that it may be a problem with the
> two-weeks-older-than-a-year battery. So I took the battery in and it
> was perfect as well.
>
> Just this evening while I was driving home from an errand, the charge
> and brake warning lights were flickering as usual. Then the headlights
> started to dim randomly and erratically. At no point did the engine,
> heater blower, radio or anything else (other than the instrument panel
> lights) have any problems with what appears to be the apparent
> electrical problem.


Those two circuits are not related so if they are both intermittantly
flashing together, it may mean there is a short between them. Or the brakes
differential pressure sensor or the master cylinder fail-switch is
implicated. (not sure if these are fitted to that model)

Once again,..this job maybe too difficult for you as wiring diagrams and
such are needed.

The low brake pedal is a bit of a worry and maybe causing the brake light.

A crude but useful test for an alternator is to listen for the engine idle
to slow when you activate hi-beam. The alternator should increase load on
the engine (via its drive-belt) when a high current circuit such as the
hi-beam is switched on.

Jason


> I would sincerely appreciate any advice anyone has on either of these
> issues.
>
> Thanks in advance!
> Jason
>



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Old 10 Jan 2005, 10:20 pm   #4 (permalink)
naandy2002
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Default Re: 1989 3S-FE Problems

lets clear this up the brake light comes on when the alternator is dead so
you have a bad alternator (may be an intermittent problem) or a bad
connection on it. the rear brakes are they after market shoes or is your
pistons leaking and were they adjusted correctly adjusting them engages
your pedal quicker and your parking brake. Ive seen aftermarket shoes get
cracks in them and it requires more pedal to make them engage also check
your brake fluid the only 3 things that cause the brake light to come on
are low fluid or the alternator isnt charging or the parking brake is on

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Old 11 Jan 2005, 09:17 am   #5 (permalink)
Jason James
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Default Re: 1989 3S-FE Problems


"naandy2002" <naandy2002@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:0eb597a1f122b2b8627621b4519188a5@localhost.ta lkaboutautos.com...
> lets clear this up the brake light comes on when the alternator is dead so
> you have a bad alternator (may be an intermittent problem) or a bad
> connection on it. the rear brakes are they after market shoes or is your
> pistons leaking and were they adjusted correctly adjusting them engages
> your pedal quicker and your parking brake. Ive seen aftermarket shoes get
> cracks in them and it requires more pedal to make them engage also check
> your brake fluid the only 3 things that cause the brake light to come on
> are low fluid or the alternator isnt charging or the parking brake is on



Is that so with that model? Is there one instrument-panel light only, for
the charge (alt-fail), handbrake and brake-fluid level ?

Jason


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Old 12 Jan 2005, 04:22 pm   #6 (permalink)
Jason M
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Default Re: 1989 3S-FE Problems

Yes, one light ("Charge" with a battery symbol) for electrical issues
period.

As far as the possibility of a bad connection, I completely tore out
the alternator and replaced it after testing, making sure that all
connections were as clean and tight as possible without
breaking/stripping something.

The thought occurs to me just as I'm writing this, would the grease (I
assume it's grease) on the alternator connector plug be gumming up the
connection? Or is it conductive and a non-issue?

Per a friend's suggestion, I completely cleaned and reconnected both
battery terminals (in case corrosion had deteriorated the connections).

Fusible links everywhere look ok, that's something the Haynes manual
suggested checking in case of electrical problems.

I personally do not believe the brake problem is triggering any
warnings. I think the warnings stem solely from the electrical problems
(but of course I could be wrong).

Jason
(original poster)

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Old 12 Jan 2005, 04:49 pm   #7 (permalink)
Jason M
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Default Re: 1989 3S-FE Problems

How does one adjust the brakes (pads and everything are fine)?

I just assumed maybe the lines had air in them or something. A friend
of mine said it's risky to bleed brakes on such an old car because the
bleed valves sometimes get so rusted that they break when they're
fiddled with.

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Old 12 Jan 2005, 10:08 pm   #8 (permalink)
Jason James
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Default Re: 1989 3S-FE Problems


"Jason M" <jason.maxey@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1105570194.778048.297410@f14g2000cwb.googlegr oups.com...
> How does one adjust the brakes (pads and everything are fine)?
>
> I just assumed maybe the lines had air in them or something. A friend
> of mine said it's risky to bleed brakes on such an old car because the
> bleed valves sometimes get so rusted that they break when they're
> fiddled with.



Unfortunately you do need to bleed the brakes. Put penetrating oil around
the bleed nipple before attempting to undo. Use a ring spanner which has a
tightish fit on the nipples hex.

To bleed, start with the rear wheels. During the procedure you need to
monitor the master cyl resevoir to ensure its full as you will lose some
fluid.

Using a jolting action, undo the bleed nipple by bumping the ring spoanner
(10mm I think) with the palm of your hand and remove.(one wheel at a time,
rear first) Make sure there is no debris in the nipple by blowing thru it.
If its blocked, clean with wire and rinse in metholated spirit. Reinsert
the nipple finger tight.

-place the spanner over the nipple so it can be tightened and undone
successively,..only tighten slightly when required.

-place a length of plastic tube over the nipple (should be a good seal, not
loose) and place the other end into a glass jar with 2 inches of brake-fluid
in the bottom. Make sure the end doesnt lift out of the fluid.

- loosen the nipple one turn by turning the spanner,..leave the spanner on
the nipple,.. get a helper to push the brake pedal to the floor and hold it
there,...you then you tighten the nipple,..once tightened the helper lets
the pedal come back up. Loosen the nipple again and tell the helper to push
the pedal to the floor,...then you tighten the nipple and he lets the pedal
up,...this is the procedure to follow until you can see no more air-bubbles
coming out of the tube.
- repeat this with all 4 wheels,..remember the fluid must be kept
replenished at the MC resevoir or you will allow more air to be pumped into
the brake sustem

NB
Sometimes with power-brakes, its necessary to let the engine idle to assist
the operator who is pushing the pedal to the floor and back.

Jason


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Old 12 Jan 2005, 10:11 pm   #9 (permalink)
Jason James
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Default Re: 1989 3S-FE Problems


"Jason M" <jason.maxey@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1105568535.641006.302490@c13g2000cwb.googlegr oups.com...
> Yes, one light ("Charge" with a battery symbol) for electrical issues
> period.


Right,..the brake-fail light is separate.


> As far as the possibility of a bad connection, I completely tore out
> the alternator and replaced it after testing, making sure that all
> connections were as clean and tight as possible without
> breaking/stripping something.
>
> The thought occurs to me just as I'm writing this, would the grease (I
> assume it's grease) on the alternator connector plug be gumming up the
> connection? Or is it conductive and a non-issue?


The alt-connector may have some silicon-grease on it to aid
removal,..shouldn't matter.


> Per a friend's suggestion, I completely cleaned and reconnected both
> battery terminals (in case corrosion had deteriorated the connections).
>
> Fusible links everywhere look ok, that's something the Haynes manual
> suggested checking in case of electrical problems.
>
> I personally do not believe the brake problem is triggering any
> warnings. I think the warnings stem solely from the electrical problems
> (but of course I could be wrong).


I assume the electrical problems are fixed now?

Jason J


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Old 13 Jan 2005, 04:43 pm   #10 (permalink)
Jason M
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Default Re: 1989 3S-FE Problems

Electrical problems are NOT fixed.

Today, I figured out the electrical problem really only occurs when the
engine has been running for a fairly long time and the engine
compartment is warm.

Should I be supicious of the internal voltage regulator on the
alternator? I still have my doubts about the thoroughness of the
testing I had done with the alternator.

Since it wouldn't cost me anything but time, would it be advantageous
for me to trade the alternator in under warranty?

Pertaining to the brakes, the brake booster still works as a
work-around until I get them bled. Does the fact that the booster still
works mean anything?

Thanks again!
Jason
(original poster)

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