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Discussion Starter #1
I'm having a little trouble with the electrical system on my 86 IROC (VIN H). Normally, the voltmeter on my instrument display reads between 12 and 14 volts, which is normal for that car. Lately, though, the meter has been falling to around 10 or 11 volts.

At first I thought it may be a bad battery connection, since I had a problem with that about a week ago, so I cleaned and tightened the battery terminals. It seemed to return to about 13-14 volts when I drove it, but later in the day it started falling off again to about 10-11.

Occasionally while it is low it'll return to normal (about 13) when I'm driving, but then fall back off gradually. I haven't noticed any dimming headlights or power loss, but I want to get this before it leaves me stranded somewhere.

My guess is alternator or voltage regulator, but the voltage regulator is built into the alternator, so I'm thinking of replacing the entire alternator, not a big deal, but I wanted to make sure I haven't missed anything before I buy it. The belt for the alt is tight enough, I have a new belt I've been waiting to put on for a while, anyway.

Does my thinking sound correct? Sorry to waste time with something this small but I want to know if there's anything else that could be causing it.

Thanks.
Squirrels
 

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First thing is to check all the ground connections. Just loosen and retighten the bolt connections. Might get a voltage gauge that plugs in the cigarette lighter and verifiy the voltage. Pretty handy anyway. Autozone and other parts stores will check the alternator for free. They can put a load on it and check voltage and amps.
 

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I had this problem, turned out I had a bad ground connection between the instrument panel and the chassis, never had a problem since.

Hope this helps,
Peter
 

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For shure check the connections and verify the voltage reading at the alternator bat lead and the battery terminals.
If your alternator has been on the car over 75000 miles, it's due to go. It usually is the brushes that wear out. But I've heard those alternators are really hard to dissasemble.
Mine went on my 92 blazer at 85000 miles.
Starter and water pump went bad around then too.
David

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Discussion Starter #5
OK...I replaced the alternator and the belt and checked both ground connections to the battery (cleaned them and tightened them). When i started it up it looked good, but as I was driving it, while I was stopped at an intersection, the voltmeter fell down to around 10 again and jumped back up. It did that once more as I was driving. It also seems like it doesn't want to get over 13, and falls when I put it in gear while I'm stopped.

I also noticed that when I turn on the ignition without starting the motor, if I try to operate my windows (power), I either get a moaning or a clicking from under the dash on the driver's side. This stops when I start the engine.

I don't know if this is a ground problem, if it IS, I don't know where to start looking for grounds. If someone could tell me the locations of ground connections that could be the culprit, I'd appreciate it. I am not sure where all the grounds are.

I installed a stereo into the car only a week or two ago, but I pulled that out and tried "jiggling" the wires, it didn't seem to have an effect. I'm out of ideas. It seems like the car is operable, but the voltage is nowhere near what it is supposed to be. Can someone help? I would really appreciate any advice on how to rectify this.

Thanks
Squirrels
 

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One of the most important ground connections is on the back of the engine, passenger side head. If you have an automatic the trans dipstick has a bracket on a stud/bolt with a copper braid from the firewall and a couple other wires. These are main ground leads. Check this close. Don't know about under the dash, but it's a jungle under there.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, it seems to be working fine now. I dunno, I checked the stereo wires and they seemed OK, plus I cleaned that ground under the dash, that may have been it. I'm not to worried, now, but I do appreciate your help, all of you.

Squirrels
 

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I dont know if you guys know this but you can return old batteries at kmart. In exchange you only pay 39$ for a new battery.

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