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Unread 12-24-2008, 03:13 PM   #1
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Default Charging problem

97 Cavalier with 160K miles. Yesterday I was driving along and the ABS light goes on then I noticed the lights where a little dim then things started flashing on and off (even the wipers and they where turned off) eventually the car died and would not start back up. 20 minutes later the car starts back up without doing anything but the problem is still there I barely made it home. Today I charged up the battery and took the charger off the battery. The battery was reading 12.5 Volts. I start up the car and the voltage on the battery gradually goes down. I figured even if the battery was bad I'd get around 14 volts on it if it's charging. So I replaced the alternator and I still have the same problem. I cleaned up the grounds on both the battery and where it attaches to the motor along with the other connections. I'm stuck I have no idea what to do.

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Unread 12-24-2008, 03:24 PM   #2
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Did you replace it with a brand new alternator?

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Unread 12-24-2008, 03:37 PM   #3
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It's a remanufactured alternator.

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Unread 12-24-2008, 03:41 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Vair guy View Post
It's a remanufactured alternator.
It could be the voltage regulator inside the alternator.... I don't know if Cavaliers have an exterior voltage regulator but that could also be your problem if you have one.

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Unread 12-24-2008, 03:54 PM   #5
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The regulator appears to be available so that makes me think it's external. I have no idea where it's located on the car though. I'm not doubting you but I'm having a hard time understanding how a regulator could cause this problem. Is there any way I can check the regulator with an ohm meter?

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Unread 12-24-2008, 03:58 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Vair guy View Post
The regulator appears to be available so that makes me think it's external. I have no idea where it's located on the car though. I'm not doubting you but I'm having a hard time understanding how a regulator could cause this problem. Is there any way I can check the regulator with an ohm meter?
Your symptoms (dim lights, etc.) suggest that your voltage regulator is faulty. You already replace the alternator so that probably isn't your problem.

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Unread 12-24-2008, 04:02 PM   #7
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Is there anyway I can check it? I already threw away 120$ I'd hate to throw away another 55$.

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Unread 12-24-2008, 04:02 PM   #8
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Is there anyway I can check it? I already threw away 120$ I'd hate to throw away another 55$.
Read up:

http://books.google.ca/books?id=3q85...esult#PPA90,M1

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Unread 12-24-2008, 04:26 PM   #9
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Hi

The regulator is available but it's built into the alternator.

You can test the output simply & cheaply.

You need a voltmeter, it can be a cheap RadioShack one.

Boost the car if needed, turn off everything on the car. You should have a minimum of 12.5 volts at idle. It should jump up to about 14.0 - 14.5 volts when you rev it up a bit.

If that's OK, turn on everything on the car; wipers, heater fan, headlights, etc.

Now you should have a minimum of 12.2, ideally still at least 12.5 volts.

When you rev it up you should still be able to get 14.0 volts with everything on.

If you can make these numbers the alternator is working.

It could be the regulator, I usually just replace the alternator complete. If you put a regulator in it and it doesn't work you can't return it. Now you end up buying both.

If it's charging and you still can't start it, the battery/cables might be suspect.

If you have lights dim/flickering you have grounding problems somewhere.
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Unread 12-24-2008, 04:41 PM   #10
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If it's built into the alternator I should have a new one. I did check the voltage on the battery and all it did was decrease that's why I replaced the alternator. Even with the motor over 2000 rpm it never got past 12 volts. That's with the old and the new alternator. I cleaned all the connections to.

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