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Okay, so I was digging through the archives, and I found a few similar problems, but wanted to get a better answer.
I have an '87 Jetta GL that I've had for about half a year now. This past weekend, I started having issues. The alternator light would come on when I started the car, but turn off after I revved it a bit. Then, it would come on at high RPM's, but turn off once I dropped into lower RPM's. Finally, that night, I was driving home from Denver, and the lights started dimming on me. By the time I got home, the lights were very dim, the alternator light was on non-stop, and the dash lights were very faint.
So, the next day, I go out to start the car. It starts right up, I drive it around, and the alternator light disappears. Everything works fine. So I go run some errands, and end up having to drive on the highway a bit to help out with some family stuff. By the time I get back, the alternator light is back on again, non-stop.
This past week I haven't been able to get it looked at, but it hardly turns over, and when it does, it sounds on the verge of dying at any moment.

SO, my question is, is this an alternator problem? I've heard that the dimming lights are a classic symptom, but I've also heard that when an alternator goes, it goes, there's no in-between like I've experienced. Is it the alternator, or could I just have a bad battery?
Any ideas?
 

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Re: Alternator/battery issues (Jux)

That sounds like a classic failing alternator, but to be sure you should pull it and bring it into a shop (e.g. Advance Auto Parts or Autozone) that does free bench-testing and have it checked. You will definitely need to recharge your battery, and you should probably do so *before* installing a new alternator, rather than just letting the new alternator recharge it--alternators are designed to provide a steady flow, not to provide a ton of flow to recharge a drained battery. You can probably find a cheap charger (would take 24-48 hours to recharge the battery if it was completely drained) for about $15-20.
 
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