Strange electrical problem with '04 Corolla

Messages
10,128
Location
OH
I was driving to work this morning and it started pouring rain, I mean to the point of there being standing water on the streets. I noticed the red battery idiot light came on, and I also noticed the wipers slowed down, and it felt like the power steering was no longer working. This condition lasted about 30 seconds, then everything seemed to go back to normal. I have no idea what could be causing this, and I can understand the wipers slowing down with an electrical problem, but I can't figure out why the power steering seemed to stop working...the engine never quit...the Corolla doesn't have electric power steering does it? Has anyone else had this problem and do you have any idea what's causing it?
 

grampi

Thread starter
Messages
10,128
Location
OH
Does it have an automatic tensioner? And it could be a big deal...what if I'm driving in a heavy downpour for an extended period of time...could be a big deal...
 
Last edited:
Messages
1,084
Location
Ontario , Canada
I would also suspect the belt was slipping . Has your belt been changed ? , it would be a good idea to get that checked out and I'm sure there is a tensioner as well so it might not be working right . Sounds like you were in some crazy conditions , we've been getting some heavy rains up here too . Been one strange summer !
 
Messages
3,084
Location
Cincinnati
This exact thing happened to me years ago in my Caprice wagon after driving through a large standing water situation. It cleared up after a minute or so.
 
Messages
5,651
Location
Iowa
Originally Posted By: Trav
Serpentine belt got wet and was slipping. No big deal, it happens.
Agreed. I'll add to inspect the belt/tensioner and also to make sure the plastic splash guards are still properly fastened in place. Many times there will be some damage and a corner of one will droop down, allowing water or debris in.
 

grampi

Thread starter
Messages
10,128
Location
OH
Originally Posted By: ls1mike
Grampi, what did you do in the Military?
I started out as a tech for SRAM and ALCM missiles, then was a flight engineer on C-5s for a couple years, then finished my career working on Minuteman III and Peacekeeper missiles...
 
Messages
3,637
Location
Occupied Virginia
Originally Posted By: grampi
Maybe I need a new belt and tensioner?
The problem was the lubricating water on the belt and pulleys, not lack of tension on the belt. Of course, if you've never changed the belt and tensioner, you may want to.
 
Messages
2,342
Location
Ontario Canada
The belt and tensioner are not too much cash to change. Just did my own last month DIY. The belt is easy. The tensioner a bit more complex, had to loosen the engine mount and jack the engine up about an inch and a half to get the long bolt out. Mine had leaking power steering fluid on the belt. It was the lower hose leaking at the clamp. New clamp seems to have stopped the leak. How many miles on your belt?
 
Last edited:

grampi

Thread starter
Messages
10,128
Location
OH
Originally Posted By: cjcride
The belt and tensioner are not too much cash to change. Just did my own last month DIY. The belt is easy. The tensioner a bit more complex, had to loosen the engine mount and jack the engine up about an inch and a half to get the long bolt out. Mine had leaking power steering fluid on the belt. It was the lower hose leaking at the clamp. New clamp seems to have stopped the leak. How many miles on your belt?
No idea. I bought the car with 148K miles, it now has just over 200K...couldn't still have the original belt on it, could it? I would guess the tensioner is probably still the original though...
 
Last edited:

grampi

Thread starter
Messages
10,128
Location
OH
Originally Posted By: Bottom_Feeder
Originally Posted By: grampi
Maybe I need a new belt and tensioner?
The problem was the lubricating water on the belt and pulleys, not lack of tension on the belt. Of course, if you've never changed the belt and tensioner, you may want to.
The belt has always been subjected to getting wet in the rain, but I didn't always have this problem when it rains...obviously something has changed...I'm guessing either the belt's worn, or the tensioner is worn, or both...
 
Messages
36,461
Location
ME
Though I like the idea of belt plus tensioner there are some cheap tensioners out there and I wouldn't throw a good toyota part on the trash heap for no good reason. A new belt won't be as stretched out and will have tackier, stickier rubber on it. Especially something like a Goodyear Gatorback. OTOH when you or your mechanic goes in there a bad tensioner might be found... anything that's not perfectly smooth (in moving so as to release the belt) is bad.
 

grampi

Thread starter
Messages
10,128
Location
OH
Originally Posted By: Vikas
Most likely whoever was under the car last time, discarded some of those car bottom protectors.
That's possible...are those things absolutely necessary? I would think it shouldn't matter how wet the belt/pulleys get so long as the belt is good, and the tensioner is keeping the right amount of tension on the belt...I mean the belt still gets wet when it rains whether the protector is on or not, right?
 
Last edited:
Messages
1,084
Location
Ontario , Canada
Originally Posted By: grampi
Originally Posted By: Vikas
Most likely whoever was under the car last time, discarded some of those car bottom protectors.
That's possible...are those things absolutely necessary? I would think it shouldn't matter how wet the belt/pulleys get so long as the belt is good, and the tensioner is keeping the right amount of tension on the belt...I mean the belt still gets wet when it rains whether the protector is on or not, right?
Actually if enough water gets between the belt and pully it will hydroplane just like a tire over water so shields are important in heavy rain conditions . Definately check out your belt and how the tensioner is working .. Thanks for your service BTW Grampi , sounds like you saw some interesting stuff . Both my boys are currently in the CDN military , my father served 28 years , WW2/Korea .
 
Last edited:
Messages
3,577
Location
no. indiana
I had a Dodge Caravan that was missing a splash guard. Drive thru a medium water puddle and it would throw the belt off. Ordered a replacement splash guard and problem solved, didn't even need to replace the belt.
 
Messages
25,945
Location
MA, Mittelfranken.de
Originally Posted By: grampi
Originally Posted By: Vikas
Most likely whoever was under the car last time, discarded some of those car bottom protectors.
That's possible...are those things absolutely necessary? I would think it shouldn't matter how wet the belt/pulleys get so long as the belt is good, and the tensioner is keeping the right amount of tension on the belt...I mean the belt still gets wet when it rains whether the protector is on or not, right?
Big difference between getting a spray and blasted by the whole puddle by the wheel. They are necessary especially on cars where the front of the engine is right near the wheel. Like i said no problem, if maintenance has not been performed on the car in ages then it could sure have a worn belt or weak tensioner. The title of your thread is "Strange electrical problem with '04 Corolla". You don't have one strange or otherwise. Even a new belt with a good tensioner can slip if subjected to enough water.
 
Top