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#1 (permalink) Old 02-10-2006, 12:27 AM
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Charging Problem Help

Alright im still at it... 98 323is,,,, found the bat dead, did a load test on it, thats ok. Changed the alternator but it seams im still loosing voltage at the bat while the car is running. Any ideas? does the brand name of the replacement alternator matter....? I took the bosh out and put in a beckarnley/80amps.... I can't imagine getting 2 alternators with bad regulators in it.... maybe a bad ground? but where? as long as the conects are tight at the alternator and the bat right?... any ideas.. please help...


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#2 (permalink) Old 02-10-2006, 11:33 AM
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What do you mean by "it seams im still loosing voltage at the bat while the car is running."? With the engine off the battery voltage should be 12.6 or greater if fully charged. With engine running the voltage should be between 13.5 and 14.5 volts. What are you're readings? If you don't have a voltmeter,get one. They're cheap. It's not possible to do any diagnosis without accurate information.
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#3 (permalink) Old 02-10-2006, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gator
What do you mean by "it seams im still loosing voltage at the bat while the car is running."? With the engine off the battery voltage should be 12.6 or greater if fully charged. With engine running the voltage should be between 13.5 and 14.5 volts. What are you're readings? If you don't have a voltmeter,get one. They're cheap. It's not possible to do any diagnosis without accurate information.

When the bat is fully charged 12.8 somewhere around there.. I start the car and at the same time the car is running im at the bat reading the volt meter, it starts up around 13-14v then you watch it drop 13, 12, 11 ect.. till the car dies.....

so thats where it stands,, thanks again im so frustrated....


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#4 (permalink) Old 02-10-2006, 09:16 PM
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Been here, done that. You car is running off the battery=BAD. You can bench test your new alternator and I'll bet it will come up good. You've already tested your battery and it's good. When this happened to me I went out and bought a new alternator anyway=STUPID. Car still wasn't right. Problem ended up being the cable from the alternator output to the positive battery terminal=no alternator output getting to the battery and beyond.

Try this. If you can get the car to start again, touch your voltmeter negative lead to a good ground under the hood like bare metal on the head and place your voltmeter positive lead on the nut on the back of the alternator where the BIG wire is. If the voltage leaving the alternator is where it should be (13-14 vDC) but the voltage at the battery does the fade to black thing you describe above, you have a cable issue. That's when you hand-over-hand the cable from the alternator to the positive battery lead looking for obvious cracks, burns breaks etc. Then you can disconnect the cable at the alternator and at the positive battery lead and check resistance end to end. Shouldn't be much more that 10 ohms. If all that is good, hand over hand from the negative battery terminal to ground (chassis). If visual is good, check end to end resistance and check the chassis connection;make sure it and your battery posts and cable connections are spotless.

As I said mine ended up being the alternator output cable, but there's other things to look at too.
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#5 (permalink) Old 02-10-2006, 09:25 PM
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It's very unusual to have the voltage drop as you describe. The only thing that makes sense is that as some wire heats up it's resistance increases as it expands and as a result the voltage drops until the car dies. First, take off both battery terminals and clean them just to make sure that they are ok. Next, look at the ground wire.( It's unlikely that the new voltage regulator is also bad. )
It connects to the engine on the passenger side by the strut tower at the rear of the engine. Unbolt it and clean the connetion and terminal. If you still have the problem, take a jumper cable and connect one end to the negative battery terminal and the other to the engine block if it will reach. (Leave the ground wire on the battery)If it's not long enough, clamp it to the chassis under the car. ( THis is to check that the ground wire itself is ok.) If this corrects the problem, the ground wire needs to be replaced.
Also, if it was me, I would temporarily replace the battery with a known good one from another car BEFORE I did anything else. I know that you had it load tested, but batteries are strange birds. They can act in bizzare ways. I've spent a lot of time and money troubleshooting problems that ended up being the battery.

If you still have the problem, I'll go throught the next steps n troubleshooting.
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#6 (permalink) Old 02-10-2006, 09:43 PM
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Good point by Gator. In my situation, when I first checked the cable cold it showed continuity end to end, but only when I compared running alternator output to battery voltage and saw a two volt difference did I become suspicious of the cable.
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#7 (permalink) Old 02-10-2006, 11:12 PM
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Thanks everyone for all the help,,, i'll do just what everyone has suggested... i'll let you know from there on.....


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