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Triumph TR6 - Battery, Alternator or Nothing?

I took the TR6 for its annual inspection yesterday, and the guy let it sit and idle while he went about the various checks - about 20-25 minutes. Surprisingly for Houston, it was hot and humid yesterday, so I imagine the electric fan was on for most of that time. He also left the headlights on, now I think of it.

I got home and was told that we needed something from the supermarket, so headed off in the TR6. When I came out and turned the key, there was just a click. A few choice words followed by a second attempt resulted in a slow crank which was just enough to get it running. Went home and plugged the battery charger (maintenance type) in.

When I leave the car for a while, I always use the battery charger, since the fuel seems to evaporate from the carbs and I always have to crank for 30+ seconds before it fires. Yesterday morning I noticed that it was turning a little slower than usual, but fired up as normal.

My question is how to check what the problem is - the battery is about 5 years old, the alternator is of unknown age (though certainly not the original unit), or could this just be down to the fan running for a long time with the alternator turning too slowly to supply the various demands (10+amps for the fan plus headlights etc?)? I would rather fix the problem than face the indignity of calling for help with a broken down Triumph!

Thanks in advance for any advice

PS- on the plus side, the car passed the inspection!
A Hewitt

I've been through a TON of batteries in the past year.....they are built like crap with poor quality control and all the batteries in the states are built by three different manufactures...I think johnson controls builds the most. You can get a bad one from the word go theses days, I'd chuck the batt and get a new one. If your not a purist and have the $ I'd get an optima, probably the best bang for the buck battery wise these days...YMMV
JT White

Thanks JT

I have been looking at Optima batteries and might just take the plunge (I really hope it isn't going to turn into a hassle with the hold down hardware or something like that!), but I just bought a new set of wheels for the TR6 and would prefer not to spend $150 on a new battery if I don't actually need one - is there any useful way to test the battery I have? I also don't want to junk a battery because my alternator is on the blink! Again, any tests I can do? Simple tests are good - no idea how all this electrickery works!

A Hewitt

Any garage or service station (as we call them) can do a load test on your battery and tell you whether it's "good" or not. Even AUTOZONE will do a courtesy check of a battery for you. That should tell you whether you have a bad or going bad battery or it's the alternator or something else.
Doug Baker

I haven't had a chance to take the battery and/or alternator to get it tested, but after a week on the trickle charger the battery is reading 11.4V (connected only to the meter). To me, this means that the battery is dead, but I would be happy to be corrected!

I was certain I wanted an Optima battery, but from some recent posts on various forums it appears that they were taken over by Johnson Controls and are now not really much better than any other battery. Certainly not worth more than double the price of a regular battery, so I think I will go for a simple replacement. With the money I save there I am tempted to go with a Bosch Fiesta alternator - I figure the extra 12A will be handy since my electric fan works a lot more of the time here in Texas than it did when I installed it in New Jersey! Anyone any recent experience with these alternators?


A Hewitt

a 5 year old battery is definitely on its way out, Add an electric fan on it and you make things worse. It pays to check the alternator output though to make sure what is the true reason. With my double fans and other electrics, I go trough a battery every couple of years.
By the way it's a good thing that you have to crank the engine for sometime before it fires as this gives the oil pump time to built up pressure.
Kypros Christodoulides

This thread was discussed between 05/07/2012 and 12/07/2012

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