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Is this even possible?

So here's the deal. We've got a 2009 SXT 2.0 CVT, nothing fancy whatsoever. The ADP had been bad for a while but it kept on going until it finally didn't a couple weeks ago. I got a junkyard alternator (I know, but at least it has a year warranty and it was really all I could afford) and finally found someone willing to do the job last night. He had the "new" one installed in no time, fired it up, sounded better than it has in ages, all seemed well. My wife drove the car probably 30-50 miles last night and she said it was fine. Now, here's where it all goes wrong.

The whole time the old alternator had been rattling like a bastard, the check engine light had never come on. When it finally gave up the ghost and stopped charging it must have turned on (but I don't know - my wife is the main driver and I wasn't there when it happened. She was able to get it home fine, but it had been parked ever since. I fired it up last night so that I could move the car somewhere more convenient to be worked on and that's when I noticed the CEL was on (or I guess MIL is what they want to call it?)

Anyway, I noticed that it was - of course - still on after he'd installed the new one and knew (or thought I knew) that it would have to be reset manually somehow. I didn't attempt to do so last night but I hopped in this afternoon to go return the junk alternator for core charge and thought "Well, I'll just reset that right quick first" and tried the old Trip Meter/Ignition Cycle thing and found that it seemed to do absolutely nothing. I didn't even get the "-----" or "dOne" codes. But whatever, the MIL didn't come on so I figured I'd achieved my goal, slapped it into Drive and headed out. As soon as I turned onto the street I realized something was all kinds of wrong, and the ETC lightning bolt was on. I pulled off quickly, turned the car off, restarted. Everything seemed fine after that, I made my way to the junkyard, and as I slowed down to make the left turn...there's that goddamn light again. I sputtered and wheezed my way to the place, did what I needed to and when I got back and started it again I found it was still on bullshit. As many have noted with this problem, it was idling at 1000-1500rpm and sounded terrible doing so. The gas light was on (though it wasn't super-low, there was more than enough to have made the trip home) and so I considered maybe this was something to do with it and decided to limp it a mile up the road to the closest gas station - but it wasn't even wanting to cooperate enough to do that, so I pulled off once more, shut it down, and tried a couple of the various throttle position "relearning" procedures found online. The problem here is that I have no idea if any of these are even remotely relevant to anything anymore and which ones specifically would do anything for a 2009 model, if any. For all I know they're probably all just as useless as the key trick. But nevertheless, "something" did the trick - after restarting the car my idle was normal and I made it to the gas station just fine. I decided not to take chances and didn't even shut the car off as I put my lousy ten bucks in, but everything still seemed fine in terms of my idle, so thinking maybe I was in the clear now, I pulled onto the road and...yep, immediately the sonuvawhore did it again. One more pull off/restart attempt and I made it home.

But now I'm left wondering - wtf is going on here?! I'm sure a cleaning wouldn't hurt it, but I truly don't believe there's anything really wrong with the TB or other components that would cause a legit ETC error, if only for the fact that it's never had a single issue like this. What are the odds it would just suddenly fail without warning right after getting the alternator replaced? And I'd be inclined to think the alternator had something to do with it, except for the fact that it was perfectly fine during all the driving my wife did immediately after the new one was installed. (And sure, it's a junkyard alternator, but there's nothing indicating a charging issue and it runs as quiet as you could hope for.) It seems everything was fine until I tried to read the stupid codes using the stupid trick that allegedly does nothing now! But...really?! Is it remotely possible that somehow this screwed up something or messed with the TBI calibration this much? Or maybe just a short somewhere that hadn't revealed itself yet? I did check the battery terminals and everything seemed secure there. I haven't yet tried removing the battery cables to power drain it, though that's really the only thing I know to try right offhand.

Any ideas? Sorry for the length and stupidity.
 

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good, a low battery can cause the warning lights on the instrument panel to come on without any problem. The battery voltage must be between 13V at idle (Vima March) and 14.5v approx at 3000RPM. and never exceed 15.5v. Greetings. Cheers
 
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