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Discussion Starter #1
This past weekend my wife and I were driving around in her 97 Nissan Sentra when everything electrical stopped working, and the car lost power. It would come and go: everything would work, then it'd quit, work, quit, etc., until it finally died. After letting it sit for about 30 minutes, it started right up and worked fine for about 30 minutes or so, when it started the cycle again. After about 20 minutes of that, it finally died for good. I'd already called a friend with greater automotive knowledge than I and he was on his way to us with a new battery. We put the new battery in, and it's been working great, with the exception of a CEL and a couple of other lights that flicker on every now and then.

Essentially, my question is this: I noticed that, of all things, the car seemed to come back to life when going up hill, but would die on the flats and downhills. Do I need to worry about the alternator, or was the battery the culprit?
 

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well when you were going up the hill you were accelerating I assume, and when you were going downhill you just let the car roll. So it sounds like it could be the battery, cuz when you are accelerating the power is coming from the alternator, so it was giving the battery the juice it needed. But when you were just rolling, the alternator was not working as hard, so the battery just used what it had left and died. Sounds like the battery was your problem.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, I had the pedal to the floor the entire time, because I was trying to maintain 60mph. When I had no power, I'd slow to about 55 or so (couldn't really tell, since the speedo would quit), and with power I'd accellerate back up to about 65. Thing is, I wouldn't start to accellerate until after I'd start up the hill. And usually, about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up I'd lose power again.
 
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