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Discussion Starter #1
my alternator is not charging, therefore my car decided to die on my today. I had to get jumped, which obviously got it started, but the shop said that the alternator is messing everything up. Is there something leading into the alternator that would cause it to not function right, i.e. not charge? could there be a short or a disconnection? this is the third time I've had the alternator replaced and they can never seem to figure out what is causing it. anyone have any freakin ideas to tell me....please. this sucks, I need a drink
 

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What kind of car?
Battery posts and cable clamps clean?
Cables in good condition and the other end (opposite from battery) clean?
Does GEN light come on with IGN key in ON position, engine off?
Is belt tight?
Is the car a changeover from external regulated alternator to internal regulated alternator?
At night, when you disconnect a battery clamp from the post, are there sparks?
Small sparks or heavy sparks?

Here, have a glass of water......
 

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Discussion Starter #3
83 Z28, 305 4BBL
Decent
haven't checked
would that the be the dash lights, cuz in that case none of them come on, how could that be fixed as well
yes
no
not that I am aware of

thank you , refreshing

if you have anything else from what I told you, thanks
 

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If you jump the car and it runs, that tells me your alternator is putting out something. Do you have a voltmeter? If so measure the battery voltage with the car off and then again with it running. Let me know what you find. Sounds to me like you may have a short somewhere. When you said the car died, was it actually running and shut off on you? or did you park it and then it wouldn't start? A bad ground will cause you charging problems as well. If you have a short (as I suspect) it will also cause alternators not to last. Do you have a high powered stereo system in the car? These can also beat up a regular alternator. If you have a test light try connecting it in series on your postive terminal (take the cable off and put the clip of the test lihgt on the cable and the point of the light on the battery terminal). Do this with the car off and see if the light comes on (make sure the doors are closed and everything is off). When you are troubleshooting an electrical problem you can skip any steps if you want to fix it right the first time. Once you have tried the things above get back to us and let us know what you found. We can then make suggestions. Hang in there it really isn't that hard to figure out.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
well, I had the alternator changed today.
yesterday I parked the car and turned it off and when I came back out, it wouldn't start. so that's what happened. I don't have subs in there either, so there is no unusual drain or strain on the battery/alternator.
but, the battery was tested and there was no problem with it. the wires connecting to the battery and the alternator were fine, no frays or wear. the guy said that the alternator just wasn't charging and that was the reason. I think there is a short somewhere too, I just don't kow where. I will try to get the test light done and let you know what happens. Thanks
 

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Since you now know your alternator is good and you had your battery tested (good). That only leaves a couple of possibilities, When you have this starting problem is the car still hot? If you can borrow/buy a meter that would make it a little easier to troubleshoot. Once you get the test light hooked up, you may need a friend to help you but, if the light is on, pull one fuse at a time until it goes off (or gets very dim). One that happens you will be on to your problem. Hang in there, Im sure it's something simple.
 

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Like the guys above have said. Jump the car and get it started again. With a meter, while it's running, measure between the large red wire on the alternator to ground. Look for around 14.5 volts. Tells you if the alternator is putting out. Harbor Freight sells cheap digital meters for about $6.00. They should have a store near you. To find a store look here.
www.harborfreight.com
 

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As others have suggested, get the car running and check charging voltage at the battery terminals, 14.0 -14.5 volts. Compare it with John's suggestion of 14.5 volts at the BAT terminal, big red wire, at the alt to ground.

Also, check for no more than 0.5 volts from alt frame to the battery negative terminal. This will insure a good return path between the two. Then check for less than 0.5 volts betwen the BAT terminal on alt to battery positive post. This will insure a good connection. A quick and dirty check to see (feel) if alt is charging, is take a screwdriver and lay it across the bearing cap at the rear of the alt being careful not to touch other terminals at the same time. If you "feel" a magnetic pull on the screwdriver, the alt is charging some. The greater the "pull," the heavier it is charging.

I was asking about the GEN or ALT light, red in color with the IGN on and engine off. Dash lights, or dash illumination is a function of the headlamp switch. Another quick check is to turn on headlights, shining against the wall, and attempt to start. If they dim, then low charge of battery, or starter may be drawing too much current, as it may have a shorted field or worn brushes/armature.

If dash illumination doesn't work, then you might rotate the headlamp knob to see if they come on, all the CW(?) will turn on the dome/interior lights.

Let us know what's happening.....
 
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