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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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charging issue

hi my 97 3.5 isnt charging .... when first started , i t charges a few minutes , then stops and the light comes on . all the wiring connections are clean and tight... (i dont wanna buy an alt for nothing)
thanks in advance... im gonna need .... ps pump/lines, cowl panel, hood hinges, front sway bar links
PAINT!!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 05:49 PM
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How many miles on that bad boy? How old is the battery.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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battery good .... 220k
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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ps fluid got everywhere .... it should be noted that i live in a rainforest
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 11:27 PM
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220k. It may be that the alternator is worn out. When the brushes wear out, they are too short to firmly contact the commutator, and this often shows up as intermittent (may make contact when cold, but loose solid contact as things heat up). I would think that that condition would show up in an alternator test as the brush pressure against the commutator is going to be very low even at cold startup when itís working just enough to keep the battery light from coming on. I agree that you donít want to replace a good factory alternator (Iíd trust a well-used factory alternator more than I would an aftermarket rebuild right out of the box), so have it tested to be sure itís bad before replacing.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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thank you:]
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 07:21 AM
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Easiest way to test an alternator is to connect a Voltmeter up to the battery. It should read about 12.5V. Start the vehicle and take another reading, the battery should register about 14V. If it's less than 12.5 the alternator is bad.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 12:31 PM
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Easiest way to test an alternator is to connect a Voltmeter up to the battery. It should read about 12.5V. Start the vehicle and take another reading, the battery should register about 14V. If it's less than 12.5 the alternator is bad.
If I could add to that, the spec. Is 13.5 - 14.5 volts at a little over 2000 rpm engine speed. In warmer weather, it regulates down closer to the 13.5 end of the range, and moves towards the 14.5 volts upper end in colder weather.

My point about having it tested was to see how the output holds up with a specified current load. If the brushes are worn to the point that they are making only light contact with the slip ring, that would drop itís current capability. Heís getting no dash light at startup, then gets a light. The possibility that Iím proposing is that the brush contact is marginal due to wear - makes enough contact at start up (just above the threshold for lighting the dash light), but contact pressure drops as it warms up so voltage drops just below that threshold. My suggestion as a possibility.

There could be other explanations: Loose connection (resistance and voltage drop rise as the loose connection gets hotter due to current flow), fusible link between alternator and battery eaten halfway through with battery corrosion, etc.


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
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If I could add to that, the spec. Is 13.5 - 14.5 volts at a little over 2000 rpm engine speed. In warmer weather, it regulates down closer to the 13.5 end of the range, and moves towards the 14.5 volts upper end in colder weather.

My point about having it tested was to see how the output holds up with a specified current load. If the brushes are worn to the point that they are making only light contact with the slip ring, that would drop itís current capability. Heís getting no dash light at startup, then gets a light. The possibility that Iím proposing is that the brush contact is marginal due to wear - makes enough contact at start up (just above the threshold for lighting the dash light), but contact pressure drops as it warms up so voltage drops just below that threshold. My suggestion as a possibility.

There could be other explanations: Loose connection (resistance and voltage drop rise as the loose connection gets hotter due to current flow), fusible link between alternator and battery eaten halfway through with battery corrosion, etc.
I said 12.5, since 13V is still within a margin of error for cheap voltmeters, since most cannot afford a decent one like a Fluke. Corroded or loose connections is also a possibility, but easily remedied with a little elbow grease.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 07:37 PM
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I said 12.5, since 13V is still within a margin of error for cheap voltmeters, since most cannot afford a decent one like a Fluke. Corroded or loose connections is also a possibility, but easily remedied with a little elbow grease.
For $20, you can get an accurate meter on eBay: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...dkw=multimeter

I have one of those because I didn’t want the expense of a Fluke for home use. For dc volts readings, accuracy is 0.5% of reading + 5 counts of least significant digit on the scale you’re reading. You don’t need a Fluke for enough accuracy for this kind of thing. So on 20-volt scale with 4 digits (called 3-1/2 digit meter), reading 13.5 volts, possible error would be 70mV + 50mV, or 0.12 volts (less than 1% total error of that reading). So if you’re reading between 13.38 and 13.62, you could actually be at the very bottom of the acceptable 13.5-14.5 volt range.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 07:41 PM
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There are several Fluke model multi-meters that won't "Break the Bank" nowadays. However a $20 accurate meter as shown above is even better!
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-27-2019, 01:34 AM
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Meanwhile, to avoid having a hard time in the morning, I added a battery blanket. Here is a reference of mine: https://www.allmoparparts.com/sku/82300778.html. But what happens is if I put a blanket it still keeps shutting down and can't work. Now I don't know if the cold is the reason why. Will check it with my mechanic this week. Hoping not a really big issue.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-27-2019, 10:48 PM
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I got one of these when I was diagnosing that transducer issue: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01ISAMUA6/
Pretty happy with it.

And if you can get a boneyard alternator, do that over the reman ones.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2019, 08:00 PM
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Any progress here?
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2019, 11:00 PM
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The $5 harborfreight multimeters are within a 1/10 of a volt or so compared to the flukes, and I have a $300 fluke, I use the cheap HF meter more, it's close enough for what most will use it for working on their own cars.

Anyways I'm wondering how you know the car charges for a few mins and stops? Usually the PCM will tell the alt to charge, or not charge. Not just random charge and stop, or an alt will charge or not charge, not just do it sometimes.

He hasn't posted for a while..

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