diagnosing alternator/battery problem
i have a 2003 forester, parked at bottom of my driveway (15" snow, now rain)...it's been there since last friday. every day i went down, started it up, let it run as i shoveled, then turned it off and hiked back up. wednesday, walked down started it up to actually try and go somewhere and it went whrrr, whrr, whr...then nothing. no click, click, click, nothing. i may have left the driver's door ajar, but really didn't think so. got it jumped around noon; walked back down around 3, started it up...fine. walked down thursday. it started right up...about a mile from home i thought i would check outside temp...nothing there. then i noticed, no tripmeter, odometer, speedometer or tach movement. everything else works (fuel/hotandcold/clock,radio) and no red lights out of ordinary. granted i did not check the headlights, but windshield wipers work. i haven't check fuses, but there is nothing in the manual that says what doesn't work would be fixed by replacing a fuse. the battery has never been replaced, but it only has 72000 miles on it. can't really call the dealer until monday, but was told it sounded like the alternator and it will just stop...any ideas...we are in the middle of an ice turned to rain "storm" so can't check right now about anything else...but if it's running just off the battery (indicating alternator failure) wouldn't the batter light be on (and isn't there a battery light...don't have the manual here either).