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Grdinding and smoke for the alternator?

12083 Views 30 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Ridgedave
I will try to make this short. 2009 Ridgeline, 60K miles
1. Get in car and it is DEAD. No clicks or anything.
2. Jump starts in 2 secs. Surprising seeing as it was DEAD.
3. Starts to make a grinding noise, almost like metal on metal, but with some smoke and electrical type smell. Looks like it is coming from the alternator area.
4. Have it towed to local garage, not a Honda dealer. He says it was a shorted battery. I explain about grinding noise and smoke and he says he had it running for 30 min and no issues.
5. Drive it for a week and no issues. Then yesterday the noise starts again so park it and take wife's car on our trip instead.

A. Anybody experience this before?
B. Any suggestions on what I can check myself?
C. Think it might be best to take it to the dealer this time?

The local garage is reasonable and has always been good to me, but I need to get this fixed and be sure it won't fail me when on a trip.
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Thanks for the feedback. Yes I had the battery replaced when this happened, but it was 5 years old, not 3 or 4.

I will take it back to the shop I trust and see if I can stand there with them while it happens.
Re: Grinding and smoke for the alternator?

Thanks everyone. We have a winner and it is DumbJarhead. I knew I could count on a Marine. The AC relay was indeed bad but it was intermittent, locking on (or failing) apparently after it heated up or something. We could sit there with the keys in our pocket and listen to it click on. Replaced the relay and it stopped. Put the old one back in and problem would start again.

My mechanic was pretty decent about it. $35 + tax including labor. He had to replace the battery he just put in because it was DEAD, but it was under warranty, heck only a week old. I did have to pay for towing but it was only $50. Yea, I could have told him it would not have needed towing a second time if it was diagnosed correctly the first time, but his prices are so reasonable and I know how hard he works for his money.
I asked about what caused the grinding noise a couple of times and did not get a complete answer. Or at least we were not communicating in a way I fully understood. But the basic thing he was saying is that the compressor was locking up due to the relay being on all the time and overheating and that maybe the the lifespan of the clutch was shortened, and time will tell. I was not sure how the clutch being engaged would cause that to happen but admit I do not know much about it and maybe he does not know how to speak "AC clutches for Dummies".

But I am confident the AC relay was bad, so will see how it goes from here. I have a 5 hour drive to Hilton Head next week so it will get a full test.
This is copied from the thread you will go to in the last link of DumbJarheads post. It describes the exact same symptoms and the Honda dealers rapid recognition of the apparently "familiar issue" when described to him over the phone. Fell even more confident now that the AC relay was indeed the issue.

" Dead battery, A/C made horrible noise/smoke after getting started.
Went out yesterday to a dead battery. My '08 RTL has 200K miles now, and this battery is just 2 years old. Battery terminals were pretty corroded, so cleaned everything up, jump started the truck, and when it started, left it to run for a few minutes to charge battery up. After running for about 30 seconds, all of a sudden there was a horrible, loud screeching sound from the right (front) side of the engine, and what appeared to be a large amount of smoke came out. I quickly shut off the engine, let it sit for a few minutes, then restarted it. Same thing happened again, so I called my Honda dealership to have it towed in. I was afraid the alternator had frozen up (hence the dead battery) and I assumed the serpentine belt was slipping on the locked up alternator pulley.

My great Honda service advisor, whom I've gotten to know quite well over the 200K miles, stopped me in mid sentence and said he knew right away what the problem was. He told me he thought the A/C clutch relay was bad, causing the A/C compressor clutch to stay energized even when the key was off, which was what killed the battery, and that when I jump started it, the noise I heard was the A/C system over-pressurizing and blowing off the pressure, which appeared to be smoke but was in fact freon and oil from the A/C system. He advised me to pull the relay (middle of three small square relays about 1 inch square in the fuse/relay panel under the hood at the passenger side rear of the engine compartment near the firewall). Simple to pull the relay, which released the A/C compressor, drive to the dealership, spend $25 for a new, upgraded relay (Honda has apparently realized a problem exists with the O/E relay), plug it in, and good to go. No problems or noises since, and what great service from a Honda service advisor that could have let me spend $100 on a tow, and another $100 to diagnose. Big thumbs up here. I did not even need to recharge the A/C system, but I suppose that might have been a possibility had it lost too much."
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Re: Grdinding and smoke for the alternator?he system

Once it got warm here in Georgia I noticed that I had apparently leaked enough coolant that the AC was not cooling as well as it should. Bought a kit at the auto parts store for about $40 and charged it back up myself. Simple instructions, very easy to do.
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