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Battery not charging: A Cautionary Tale

Electrical and Electronic

Vehicle Information: Model: 911 Carrera; Year: 1987; Body Type: Targa; Engine (type, size, modifications): 3.2; Total Mileage: 85,500;

Okay, so I am loathe to even post this, but a cautionary tale will hopefully save someone from the nightmare that the past 3 months have been for me. I have seen nothing like this anywhere.I have a 1987 911 Carrera that I bought last year. I wish it were a white coupe but that's a different story. Anyway, it always had a weird charging problem that seemed intermittent. I replaced the battery. It stopped charging. It had the original alternator. Symtoms point to bad alternator. I figured I'd get it rebuilt. I sent it off to California. I got it back a few weeks later. It charged like a bastard.And then it stopped charging again.I took the battery to the place I purchased it a few months before. They tested it. Sure enough, it had a dead cell.It charged for awhile. Then it stopped.I took the rebuilt alternator out and took it to a local parts place to have it load tested. It burned up their machine, so they're like, "uhhh, something is wrong with it."I sent it back to the man who rebuilt it. He said, "there's nothing wrong with it, but I'll put a new voltage regulator on it and send it back."While it was out of commission I did the brakes. I did the brake lines. I did the rear wheel bearings (a task I heartily encourage you NOT to do).The alternator came back. It still wouldn't charge.I had oil leaking from the high pressure oil line going to the oil pressure sensor. I think, "hey, maybe oil is leaking onto the belt and making it slip . . . ."So I replace the feed line and the cam oil line while I'm in there, what the hell.Still won't charge.I try all the suggestions. I've read every post on every Porsche bulletin board. I thumb through my Bentleys. I even replaced a PERFECTLY GOOD alt. light on the gauge cluster, since I vaguely recall this being part of the circuit.I REPLACED A BULB THAT WORKED!That's how desperate I was.The sad thing is, the charging system on a 911 is one of the simplest in the world. I have seen lawn mowers that were more complicated.So, today, I locked myself in the garage and refused to leave until I figured it out. Now, the only thing I have never checked was the connection at the starter, because frankly, there's no way the car would start, drive, etc., without it is a bad connection at the starter.Or at least I had convinced myself of that.Needless to say, terminal 30 on the starter solenoid (from the battery) was loose. It had to have been lose since the day I bought the car. The nut was about half-way off.I knew it was a possibility, but the assumption was, if this connection was loose, the car would not start, or the charging light would come on . . . SOME indication that the contact was not complete. But, it was the only component in the circuit I had not checked.Incredible.At least I tightened the half-shaft bolts while I was underneath there (having replaced the axles last month), so it was technically a two-fer.Sad to think the hundred times I have been under the car in the last year I never thought to look. Curious that the car started at all, much less would charge intermittently.Don't be like me.Regards,BillTeam NoMesa, Arizona

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