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So I had a leak in my power steering pump and all the fluid was leaking on/near my serpentine belt and my alternator (Acura tsx 2006). I changed the seals on my ps pump and it stopped leaking. Now I'm driving home yesterday and all my dashboard lights start flashing and then everthing just died and I come to a complete stop.

I went home cleaned the serpentine belt with degreeser, charged my battery and left it running with high beams on for about 30 minutes. Everything looked great. My charger has Alternator Check on it - so with the car running it told me that ALTERNATOR IS GOOD.

Then I started driving on a road - after about 15-20 minutes I noticed the CHECK CHARGING SYSTEM light and then everything went berserk and car died again. Tried to jump start it and did successfully - but once I took the cable off my battery it died again - after about 3 tries - I was able to get it running and drive it to a safe place.

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Here is where I would start. First check the tension of the belt, just a quick push on the belt and you'll be able to tell, if its firm it's good, but if the belt has slack you'll need to tighten a tensioner pulley, or tighten down the pump or other pulley somewhere. Also while the car is running, go check the serpentine belt and watch it to make sure it isn't slipping, or if its running smoothly watch it to make sure it isn't running/slipping and then catching again (Maybe try revving the engine and seeing if that does anything) The power steering fluid could have lubed up other components making them slippery, but if you said you de-greased it, then it shouldn't be too much of a problem. You might also want to check and make sure your pumps and pulleys are all free and able to move while the belt is not on them. If it isn't a belt problem, your next best bet would be to take your alternator and battery in to a shop to get them tested, could be a failing alternator or bad battery, but if the car ran fine before it would be best to go through and check the easy things first before going out and fixing something that isn't broken.

To Summarize:

  1. Check the tension of the belt while the car is off, push on the flat side, and pull on it, if there's any slack at all it should be tightened a little.
  2. Watch the belt with the car running, check to make sure that it isn't catching, and then slipping somewhere, if it is, check for grease or p/s fluid somewhere, or proceed to step 3.
  3. Pull the belt off and make sure your p/s pulley and any other pumps or pulleys are free moving.
  4. Pull the alternator and battery and get them tested (Autozone, Advanced Auto, and some other shops do this for free)
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    Yes, was going to make the suggestion of having cleaned off the belt, were the pulleys cleaned as well, but you touched on it. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 13 '16 at 17:01
  • The belt was covered with grease/oil. Changed it and everything is running perfectly! Thanks. – BobSki Dec 14 '16 at 13:45
  • Glad it was a quick fix, glad to help! – Iqbal Khan Dec 14 '16 at 16:12
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Assuming there is good belt tension, there may be an issue with your alternator's voltage regulator, which is built into the alternator in most modern vehicles.

While your alternator tested good, the voltage regulator may have an intermittent issue which could explain the erratic performance you are experiencing.

I recommend either replacing the alternator, or pulling it off and testing it at a local auto parts store.

  • Testing it first may save you a nice chunk of change if that's not the problem. Better to test and determine if the part is bad than swap it before you know that's the problem. – cdunn Dec 13 '16 at 21:59

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