By October 22, 2006 5 Comments Read More →

Engine Misfires and Fried Alternators

I recently purchased a Toyota Tercel. I noticed a misfire, but it wasn’t too bad. After a few days the battery and brake lights started coming on, so I took the car to the auto parts store and they said my alternator was bad. I bought a new alternator and the misfire got a LOT worse…I drove the car for 3 days and then the misfire stopped, but the brake and battery lights came back on.

I took the car back down and had the alternator rechecked and it was “fried”. The auto parts place gave me another new alternator and now I’ve gone through the same cycle again..(plus I paid for a tune up incase it was the ignition). If the alternator is working the car has a HUGE misfire…when the alternator dies (strangely enough, every 3 days) the misfire stops! HELP! I need this car, I work full time, go to school full time and am as broke as broke can be.

Thanks a million & God Bless,


Hey Ryan Ryan,

That is weird! You got me on this one I am afraid. I talked with my electrical mechanic about it as well and we are both at a loss. The only thing we can think of is that the alternator is OVERCHARGING and freaking out the onboard computer system. I would triple check the part number of the alternator they gave you. You might have the incorrect amperage voltage regulator. I would get a complete charging system test to check the alternator output, but it sure sounds like the problem is with the alternator.


Austin Davis

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • I wonder to! iwas thinking about rebuilding my engine to save me money on a new toyota. it would cost me about 1,100 dollars is it worth it? my tercel 1991 has 196,000 miles on it and runs excellent but one problem I have is that blue smoke that comes out of the muffler when i start it up every morning and engine restore does not help! anyone have any suggestions?

  • Simon

    Hi !
    Well the car has been sputtering, so I changed the timing belt and fuel filter and it runs smooth but when I’m stopped or when I let go of the gas as I’m driving it starts to sputter or hesitate, when I’m stopped the idle is jumping, and if I hit the gas it hesitates before my RPM needle moves. I changed the fuel filter, ingnition coil, and the timing belt, any ideas? Could it be the fuel pump or maybe a leak in the intake?

  • dominick olsen

    i just got a 1991 toyota tercel
    and when i trid to crnk it it would not move it looks asif the person befor me rebilt the engin i know the pistons are not into the wals my dad said if they did rebilud it they might have tort the bults to muck do you have any sugjesons for me befor i go any further on this car would like to know what you think thank you dominick olsen

  • I have a toyota tercel and the info you gave me just saved me about 560.00 dollars! thanks dude!

  • Rachael

    I too have a Toyota Tercel (1991) with some major problems. It is backfiring, has blue smoke, and the electrical system goes completely out at times. When this happens, I get out, jiggle the battery until a connection is made and continue. It is not the best situation. My friends think I’m crazy. Any ideas?

    Blue smoke usually mean there is an internal oil leak in the engine, like from worn out valve stem seals or piston rings etc. etc.  I would try using thicker weight engine oil and one of the oil additives designed to reduce oil consumption and smoking problems.  Engine Restore in the silver metal can is one additive that I have had good luck with.

    The backfiring issue could be due to something simple as worn out spark plugs and spark plug wires or something more serious as a valve problem or ignition timing problem.

    The battery wiggle thing, sounds like it is probably a loose battery cable connection. make sure the cables are clean and tight. You should ot be able to move the the battery cables with your bare hands.