96 subaru loses power, preceded by needles going dead

Hi – This winter my dashboard lights started conking out intermittently, but would always come on when I’d flip the headlights off and back on again. This happened randomly. Then two months ago after driving 75 miles, the speedometer and tackometer needles started going haywire, dancing around and then dropped to zero yet I didn’t lose power. Check engine and ABS indicators also came on. Two different mechanics ran diagnostics, one a day later and one several days later, but couldn’t determine problem. Then yesterday after it had been running great for two months following a tuneup, after I had driven 100 miles from home and was on the way back after a four hour meeting, the needles started jumping up and down and then went to zero. Drove another 45 miles before I completely lost power and had to be towed final 50 miles home. This morning mechanic says it started right up and he can’t tell problem right away, though still looking for answers. Says it’s probably not alternator. What could it be? It runs great otherwise. Thanks for any suggestions!

It’s the alternator.

My mechanic doesn’t think it is… what questions/details should I know to ask him to double check this? THANKS!!

Has your mechanic looked at the car yet?

These are common symptoms of sudden power loss. Common causes are a failing alternator, a bad battery cable connection, or a bad battery. I’ve seen an internally loose battery post do this. Less common would be a blown fusible link. I’ve seen one of those act intermittant, although that’s not common.

He needs to thoroughly check your charging system, battery, and connections for starters. I don’t mean starter connections, I mean all connections forming parts of the battery and charging system circuits.