Car lost power while driving and just clicks when i try to start it

So i was driving home when my radio started to go out, headlights and gages were dimming and it seemed like my car was struggling to keep going and then it died. Hazard lights were blinking real slow and dim after also. Now when i try to start it just clicks and if i turn on my lights my radio goes out. i have a new battery, changed my alternator about 4 months ago, new battery terminal cables, and new starter relay. All fuses are good and new spark plugs. HELP PLEASE!

I took my alternator to get tested and supposedly its still good. And by the way its a 1979 chrysler newport

Battery, battery connections, alternator would be first suspects. If it is none of those, there may be a wire or splice or fuse or circuit breaker that is bad. What I’d do if this were my car is remove the battery, charge the battery with a battery charger, then replace the battery, along with cleaning the battery connections and a visual inspection for any wiring problem. Especially important to do a careful visual inspection if your prior battery was leaking.

This happened 3 times already. This all started after i tried testing the alternator by removing the negative cable from battery while running. It was good, kept running, but the cable accidentally touched the negative post after i had removed it and it sparked and shut the whole car off. That night when i drove home was the first time it died on me

You fried something. Are the symptoms no start after sparking? There is probably an inline fuse that blew. If it dims and then dies I would say alternator.

You could remove the battery cable with the engine running when vehicles had generators. But doing this with a vehicle that has an alternator can cause a voltage spike damaging electrical components.

So who knows what got damaged?


It seems to me the alternator is now compromised and isn’t charging the battery. I’d get a new alternator. If the voltage regulator isn’t integrated into the alternator you could try replacing the regulator. But I think you shorted out a diode or some other electrical circuit when you got sparks during that alternator “test”. The battery should be tested too, perhaps you just got a defective new battery.

I dont believe Oreillys when they told me that the alternators still good. From what ive seen it seems to be that the alternator is bad.

I wouldn’t trust Oreillys about the alternator either, for what it’s worth

They sell parts

They aren’t mechanics

I agree that it sounds like the alternator, but have you checked the fusible link? I’ve seen one blow and become very high resistance rather than a total open.

Don’t '79 Chrysler’s have external regulators, a 4" square black box mounted on the firewall? That probably got fried when you were arc welding with the negative cable…

looks like no agreement on whether alt is good or bad. you test alt at shop off car and they say its good. you put it on car and see if it puts out proper voltage. i had a situation with broken sense wire on gm car.

Tinyloco writes …

This all started after i tried testing the alternator by removing the negative cable from battery while running

Tiny … you’ve probably heard this before, but it isn’t a good idea to remove the battery from the circuit when the engine is running. The battery is an important part of the circuit as it buffers the large current spikes which are output from the alternator. Removing the battery from the circuit when the engine is running is like the government engineering corps deciding to remove a damn during a flood. Nothing good will result.

The most likely damage would be to an alternator diode or the voltage regulator. But pretty much anything in the car could get zapped, including, unfortunately, expensive sensors and even the car’s computer.

My vote is on the voltage regulator. It is external on these cars. And it should be a silver box with a two or three wire triangular shaped connector. A green wire and a blue wire. In the 90’s, with electronic fuel injection, the ECM regulated the alternator. If that circuit burned out, you could wire in the external regulator to get it charging again. Here’s a pic:

You don’t test an alternator at the parts store. You test it on the car in normal working environment and check the entire charging system, not piecemeal one at a time. All that does is lead to more confusion. Charge your battery fully, install everything properly, and start the car. Tell us the voltage at the battery, at the B+ lug at the back of the alternator, and at the 2 smaller spade terminals at the back of the alternator.

So i changed my alternator. The car ran great for a couple days but just today when i tried to start my car after work, same thing as before. Click click click, no start. As i was driving to work that morning my radio started to turn off when using blinkers or brake

Caddyman i wasnt aware of the external regulators? Do u think that could be causing the problem?

could it be voltage regulator?

If the regulator is external, either test it or replace it. Dimming and things going haywire when lights or turning signals are used means there is not enough juice going back into the battery. If you have a battery/alternator tester, hook it to the battery, turn on EVERYTHING and watch and see if it stays in the normal charging range, or is under or drops in and out of range, If you have only a volt meter, that could work, but watch it over some time (Baby sit it for 30 min). I have seen a alternator with internal regulator show good for a little, then go bad for awhile, and then kick back into being good. A regulator monitors the battery to prevent over charging that can damage a battery. If it isn’t working right, two things can happen, the battery eventually goes dead while in use…or over charging overheats the battery and causes it to go bad before it’s time. I am NOT a mechanic, but I am an electronic/electrical tech. and I do know how batteries and chargers behave.

When the engine is idling, if you measure the voltage at the battery, it should be between 13.5 and 15 volts. What does yours measure?