What Typically Causes This? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 12, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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Question What Typically Causes This?

I'm (still) having charging issues. The alternator's field is not being excited with load or rpm, (I have to do it manually) and this is the result of a few hours of running.
As you can see it's an externally regulated Delco 10 or 12DN.


My only assumption is that the field is receiving full voltage and it's causing the alternator to run at full charge and overheating.
If so, I wonder what would cause that with a brand new USA made voltage reg?

Nov 68 Van Nuys. 327 floor-shift-auto, Frost Green and not much else when new.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 12, 04:38 AM
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Re: What Typically Causes This?

Checked the trigger lead from the Voltage Regulator, and the VR harness to the alt for a signal? I assume you are using this wire to manually trigger a charge?
Solid State Voltage Regulator or Mechanical? Regulator is got a good ground to the radiator shield? You have checked the output of the regulator to specs?


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 12, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What Typically Causes This?

The trigger lead/s (blue & white) from the VR to the alt are good. Both are ~0.2 Ohms.
The VRs are new USA made mechanical units. The electronic VRs are cheap junk and don't work well on this car, if at all. They sometimes allow charge, but won't regulate voltage. The alternator re-manufacturer strongly recomended a quality mechanical reg and did not recomend an electronic unit.
(Maybe if the crappy electronic units were made of a higher quality, they'd be the choice. Besides, millions of cars used mechanical reg for years with no issues.)
Anyway, all grounds are good and less than 0.3 Ohms to the battery post -inlcuding the alternator's body..

One thing I am wondering..
I have an MSD 6AL, Tach adaptor and RPM switch.. All powered from the horn relay's buss-bar.
Could this unit be retruning an electrical feedback of some sort that is causing the VRs to play up?

Nov 68 Van Nuys. 327 floor-shift-auto, Frost Green and not much else when new.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 12, 05:26 PM
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Re: What Typically Causes This?

Don't know much about aftermarket ignition specs but would find it hard to imagine feedback causing a field coil load failure and not frying the fusible link.

I use a solid state VR since I don't like having to tweak a mechanical several times a year as required by design. I've never had an issue or failure of the SS VR in many years on many vehicles. But in any event having a spare to swap in is always a good investment.

If your mechanical regulator is grounded and is calibrated right then it would seem that the issue is with the other two parts of the three part charging system - the Alternator or the Energizer (battery).

Have you bench tested the Alternator and diodes yet?

Hard if not impossible to tell in most Maintenance Free batteries but you could have a damaged cell or a dry cell that is giving you weird voltage signals. Seen low water show up as this when the vehicle was parked on a hill and the battery was at the low end one reading, battery at the high end another.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 12, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What Typically Causes This?

The battery is brand new, and so is the one I just replaced it with!

Both alternators are brand new and so is the one that just blew the diode. The spare is now on the car.

I borrowed my mate's brand new12SI using an internal reg adaptor and it wouldn't charge either.

Is there any truth that high output alternators kill VRs and/or also require high CCA batteries?

The alternator/s I have are 135 amp units. (same as this but natural finish)
The new battery I was using was 500CCA.
The new battery I am using is ~700CCA AGM.

Nov 68 Van Nuys. 327 floor-shift-auto, Frost Green and not much else when new.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 12, 07:25 PM
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Re: What Typically Causes This?

Well you will find arguments on both sides of that road. Most will say higher output requires a high cap battery to support it. Others will say one wire internals don't function as good as the original designs with the wiring system in place.

I feel in MHO that using a higher output while not replacing the entire electrical system and wiring is a bad idea. While I'm willing to used modern service parts such as maintenance free batteries, and solid state voltage regulators, I don't touch the Alternator output or battery style on my vehicles. But again its just MHO.

So I guess we are at the part of the thread where we need to know all your electrical modifications cause something aint right and looking for a needle in the haystack without at least a magnet sucks.


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 12, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What Typically Causes This?

The car is wired as per the FAIM. All gauges and colors.
The only difference is that I couldn't get resistance wire for the GEN lamp circuit, so I installed two 22 Ohm ceramic resistors in parallel for the required ~10 Ohms. (Well.. OK, that's 11 Ohms, but the closest I could get. I ran two in parallel so they are a better heat sink as all the resistance is now in one place.)

The GEN lamp is the oe replacement so wattage/resistance is correct there too.
The other add-on, as mentioned before is the MSD 6AL ignition and my fear that maybe it's creating some electrical noise/feedback that is confusing all the VRs.
The chap who is now replacing the diodes tells me the VR will be responsible for killing the alternator. Be that as it may, the VRs are innocent man! I've had near 10 different new mech and elec VRs on the car, and they aren't all faulty.
This is why I think something external of the charging system is giving me grief. It's the only non-OE component within inches connected to the buss-bar.

Nov 68 Van Nuys. 327 floor-shift-auto, Frost Green and not much else when new.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 2nd, 12, 03:00 AM
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Re: What Typically Causes This?

Steve, just curious what wiring harness changes you made when converting to right-hand drive?

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 2nd, 12, 04:07 AM
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Re: What Typically Causes This?

Is the alt case getting hot, like hot enough to fry an egg?
I see in the rear picture posted, the center diode is fried - discoloration compared to the rest.
You can buy a cheap inline 60-0-60 ammeter and add it to the BATT stud of the alt for troubleshooting. I mount mine on a 1/8 inch thick copper bar directly to the stud.
Have you tried the charging circuit with out the 11 ohms?

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 2nd, 12, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What Typically Causes This?

Nevermind guys.. I found the problem..
How the use of this pointed panel bolt used for mounting the latch got passed the drawing board is beyond me..



Thanks for your help everyone.

Nov 68 Van Nuys. 327 floor-shift-auto, Frost Green and not much else when new.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 3rd, 12, 12:26 PM
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Re: What Typically Causes This?

Doh! Thanks for sharing your findings.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old Apr 3rd, 12, 01:28 PM
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Re: What Typically Causes This?

Ha the old full field ! Glad you found it
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