Do you think my problem is related to my voltage regulator ? - Team Camaro Tech
Tech 2002 General Tech questions from 2002
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old May 16th, 02, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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I have been recently experiencing a starting problem with my 454. I put in a new battery and during the past two weeks, when starting the engine,it has been turning over slowly when I go to start ita and progressively getting worse .
Well, the other day after it starting real slow, I got it to start, drove down the road and it died, almost as if I removed the battery terminal. I have an MSD ignition system.
So, since the battery is new, I figure its a connection problem.
Anyway, after cleaning all the terminals, I charged the battery and took it to a mechanic who tested the battery and volt regulator. The battery was fully charged of course. Seems there was nothing at the volt reg. We then checked the volt reg which is a Blue Streak brand that has an external fuse mounted to it. It was blown and we put on another fuse. He got a reading of 14 but after a few seconds, the fuse would blow again. Another fuse, another blow.
I opted for getting another volt reg, same model. Put it on and the fuse did not blow. In fact, my lights are brighter and the car turns over real fast when starting.
So, after all of the above, is it possible that the volt reg went bad and would cause this problem OR is something else related to it blowing fuses.
Also, the old one had a condenser mounted on it that plugged into the volt reg, What is it for and do I need it. I did not put it back on cause it was old. Is it needed ?
Sorry for the long post
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old May 16th, 02, 07:26 PM
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The condenser is there just for radio noise problems - if you don't have a problem, you don't need it. If you hear a high pitched noise out of your speakers that gets slightly higher with engine RPM (not to be confused with Spark wire noise that closely follows engine speed) then you may need to put it back on.
Yes - the regulators fail quite often in the way you discribed. They will provide a path to ground for the Positive circuit and drain a battery quite quickly.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old May 17th, 02, 04:38 AM
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I agree with Vintage 68. I most likely it was your voltage regulator. I've had so many problems with them and I about to remove one from my 67 and go with the interally regulated altenator.

On the condensor, with the MSD ignition, you will most likely not have a problem with the radio. I have MSD ignition through out and I haven't had a problem with out the condensor.


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old May 17th, 02, 09:56 AM
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Is there a way to test an original voltage regulator? If it turns out faulty, is there a way to repair it, for example for someone who wants to keep their original dated part?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old May 17th, 02, 11:24 AM
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Yes and Yes - we used to adjust and repair them 'back in the day'. There is a section of the GM Service/Overhaul manual devoted to regulator adjustment and repair - check it out. Also old copies of the "Motors Manual" had an excellent section on regulator repairs.
If you need the "Original" look you can exchange the cover from your old one that says 'Delco' onto the new ones or aftermarkets that don't. Drill out the rivets they use now and tap the holes for the original screws.

[This message has been edited by Vintage 68 (edited 05-17-2002).]
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old May 17th, 02, 04:46 PM
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Good idea, but the date codes (I think) are on the metal base part, not on the cover.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old May 20th, 02, 05:05 AM
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If you don't want to convert to an internally regulated alternator, you can get an electronic external voltage regulator at most parts stores. They are supposed to be much better than the old mechanical voltage regulators and most modern aftermarket ignition systems (i.e., MSD) will work better with the electronic regulator. I bought mine at Auto Zone for $11. I believe the manufacturer is Wells and the part number is something like 715 or 1715.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old May 20th, 02, 08:35 AM
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"Much better" is a relative term - the newer electronic type regulators do offer a smoother analog output signal to the field of the alternator than the older vibrating air-gap types, they are very prone to failure if they are reversed currented or you generate sparks (noise) while trying to jump start your (or others) car.
If you are aware of the short commings of them and you treat them as you would the electronics of newer cars then you shouldn't have any problems. If your car sits around alot and you need to jump or charge it at times, then I would recommend you stick with the older type while they are still available.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old May 20th, 02, 04:03 PM
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My 67 used to have the headlights flicker when driving. I guess it was due to the mechanical regulator.
I've read elsewhere on the web, speculation that the old mechanical regulators could cause enough voltage fluctuations that might be bad for modern electronics on our cars these days.

I'm not qualified to comment on this, just passing it along. Seems electronic regulators came to be about the time of electronic ignition...

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