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Old 04-17-2005, 05:04 PM   #1
schultp
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Default Charging System Problems

I am starting a separate thread for this issue. The other thread's title doesn't represent the current problem (See: Starter Changed, Still no start )

I can't get my charging system to work on my 93 SL2 automatic.

A quick review....

I have a fairly new battery (about 8 months old) and it passes a load test.
I have a new starter (probably didn't need to replace as it turns out).
I have had 2 "new" alternators (first was a reconditioned unit. The second is a brand new unit).
I've tested the red cable between the battery terminal and the starter. There is no voltage drop.
I had to build a new alternator cable (between the starter and alternator B+ post). I used 8 gauge wire and crimped and soldered the terminal loops. It passes a continuity test.

I haven't tested the other connector on the alternator (with the 2 small wires that plugs in).

After fully charging the battery on my charger it reads 12.86 volts across the terminals.

When I run the engine at idle I get a 0.1-0.2 volt drop across the battery terminals. It does not register above 13.5 volts as you would expect with an active alternator.

I ran the engine and checked the voltage at the B+ terminal of the alternator. I placed the positive probe of my voltmeter at the B+ terminal and used a jumper cable to ground the negative probe at the battery terminal. When doing this I can read about 1.5 volts at the B+ terminal of the alternator.

If I run the car with hi-beams on, radio on, flashers on, heater blower on it doesn't take long for the voltage to drop.

I sprayed contact cleaner on the other connector that plugs into the alternator. Wires leading up to this plug do not appear visually to be damaged or overly bent.

Any ideas on what is going on?

Here are some of my random thoughts (I'm at the stage of scrambling for new ideas):

1. The 2 wires to the other connector (Lamp and ignition I believe?) are bad. Where do these lead to? How can I check continuity without digging through the wiring harness?

2. The alternator cable I built is to blame. It has good continuity but is there something special about this short wire I'm not aware of? In my other thread there was mention of this being a fusible link...but my FSM doesn't show this to be the case.

3. Could the battery still be bad? I've tested it at Autozone and used my own load tester and it looks OK.

BTW, battery terminal connections are clean and tidy as well.

Paul.

Last edited by schultp; 04-17-2005 at 05:06 PM.. Reason: typo

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Old 04-17-2005, 05:52 PM   #2
Tom92SCm
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Default Re: Charging System Problems

Are you sure your alternator is good?

With the car idling with a good alternator, you should get 13.5V+ across the terminals.

--Tom

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Old 04-17-2005, 06:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: Charging System Problems

Tom,

That's why I posted my dilema here I've exhausted all the major players (alternator, starter, battery all tested and/or replaced. Red cable checks OK.) I don't think this is a 'bad alternator out of the box' situation any longer. I think I have something funny going on.

Paul.

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Old 04-17-2005, 08:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Charging System Problems

The charging system is really a fairly simple circuit. Every thing is regulated internally. The alt recieves a voltage signal in to let the voltage regulator know if the voltage output is right. It will regulate the field for the alt based on that. You should have power to the connector to the alt with the key on. You should have 13.5 to 14.5 volts (+-) out of the alt engine running. If you are not sure of your wiring for the fusible link from the alt to the starter check it right at the alt, engine running. If every thing is good then the alt can not be good.

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Old 04-17-2005, 09:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Charging System Problems

I've had the same results with 2 alternators 'out of the box'. Both tested OK on the test machine at Autozone. So, I'm not thinking the alternator itself is the culprit.

After reading some more on the web I am now understanding that the 2-wire connector has one wire going to the instrument panel bulb and the second wire is a 12V line activated when the ignition key is turned on. This wire in a way tells the alternator to be active. If it is faulty and never carries a 12V signal I'm wondering if the alternator will generate and output? Anyone able to clarify this for me?

I'll go out and check this line for voltage with the key on and let everyone know.

Paul.

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Old 04-17-2005, 09:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Charging System Problems

I would imagine, even with an alternator that's not 'active'; you should at least see battery voltage (or something close to) @ the positive terminal off of the alternator. If you don't it dosen't sound like there's a good connection from the alternator to the rest of the system?

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Old 04-17-2005, 10:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Charging System Problems

Yes I agree. I can get a 12V reading at the starter terminal post where the red battery cable connects. I have my home made alternator charge wire connecting between the starter post and the B+ terminal of the alternator. I tested the wire and it has full continuity (using my ohmmeter and touching each terminal loop). But, I get minimal voltage (1.5V) at the B+ terminal side! I'll see about either making a new wire or ordering a new one through Saturn.

So, tomorrow I will:

Check voltage at the I and L wires on the 2 wire connector.
Get a replacement alternator cable (charge wire) from Saturn.

I'll keep eveyone posted.

Paul.

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Old 04-17-2005, 11:26 PM   #8
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Post Re: Charging System Problems

Check the voltage at the alternater. Pos. lead from voltmeter to the alt. output, neg. lead from the voltmeter to the alt casing, engine running at 2 grand and note voltage. Connect voltmeter to battery, pos to pos. neg to neg, run at 2 grand and note voltage. Drop should be .5 volts or less. If the drop is higher than point 5 test insulated side and ground side. Excessive resistance limits available charging voltage. When demand for current is greatest (lights on, heater/AC blowing, charging the cell phone, running the seat masasager, Stereo on, and so on ) the battery will discharge.

System requirements (low battery, lights, fan, etc.) let the internal voltage regulater know how much to let the alt. put out as Sscarman stated. If you have jump started a friends car you can actually hear the alternater engage on your auto. If that feed is disrupted (open circuit) or diminished (high resistance) The voltage regulater does not know to increase alt. output.

Silly question? Is the serp belt within size and properly tensioned?

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Old 04-17-2005, 11:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Charging System Problems

Insulated side is the alternator cable (charge wire).
Ground side is the negative battery cable and the alt casing ground (housing bolted to engine).
Either side or a combination of both can cause the problem.

If your homemade wire from the alt to the solenoid register 0 ohms resistance it should be fine. If it was undersized it could be a problem. New 8 gauge should be plenty.

Take a good look at the large wire from the alt output to the positive battery terminal..

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Old 04-18-2005, 08:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Charging System Problems

I don't have a large wire going directly from the alt output to the positive battery terminal. My large wire (red) goes from the positive battery terminal to the starter. I have the alternator cable (charge wire) going from the same post on the starter to the alt output post (B+ terminal). This is my homemade wire. It is 8 gauge.

Paul.

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Old 04-19-2005, 02:27 AM   #11
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Post Re: Charging System Problems

Sorry I can be somewhat confusing.
The alternater connects back to the battery in order to charge it. Your new B+ cable (battery positve) the first part of that connection. Somehow it gets back to the poitive battery terminal (big red positive battery cable). It could have another wire running off the solenoid or possibly work thru the starter. You should be able to follow the circuit in your fsm.

The main idea is that You need to see what the alt is putting out at 2000 rpm.
Check the voltage at the B+ terminal with the pos lead from your voltmeter. Have the negative lead grounded to the alt. housing. You should read over 13 volts.
Next check the voltage at the battery + and - @ 2000 rpm. It should be the same as the alt output. Half a volt drop is max allowed.

If the battery is not getting the alt. voltage that is why it is not charging.
There is either an open circuit or too much voltage loss/resistance in either the positive side or the ground side between the alt and battery. There is a simple voltage drop test to tell wether it is +or -.

If the alt. and the starter are good it has to be in the connections on either the positve or negative side. Check your fsm for the insulated/positive side (it starts at the B+ terminal wire and ends in the positive battery cable).
The negative side consists of the ground at the alt. (housing to the block/bracket) and the negitive ground wire from the battery to the block.

I looked online for pictures, the autozone service site, and it mentioned using a seperate back up wrench on the B+ alternater terminal to keep it from spinning internally as this can cause alt failure. Check out the link if you like.
http://www1.autozone.com/servlet/UiB...3d80199926.jsp

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Old 04-19-2005, 08:37 PM   #12
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Default Re: Charging System Problems

FINAL UPDATE:

I bought the Saturn Alternator Cable at the local dealer....it is a fusible link. I installed it and everything is fine. With car running voltage across the battery terminals is 14.3V.

Once I had my homemade wire out and _carefully_ tested its continuity with my ohmmeter it registered 1.0...no continuity! I guess while on my back under the car in cramped quarters I must have shorted the ohmmeter probes and falsely led myself to believe the wire was fine. It still looks fine too....and it worked for about 3 months!

Anyway, the car is purring like a kitten. Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions and ideas.

Paul.

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Old 04-20-2005, 06:10 AM   #13
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Happy Re: Charging System Problems

I see a good tech issue on internet
Alternator Repair Instructions:
http://www.alternatorparts.com/cs130_sbpage1.htm

The fellows data just for reference :
My friend told me the VOLTAGE REGULATOR of Saturn s series is (VOLTAGE SET POINT:14.7V; REGULATION:A-CIRCUIT;OEM & CROSS NO.: ETOMAN: B2VA-Y02DA-1;CARGO:139467 ;DAEWOO:276010 ;LANDMAN B.V:W VR218 ;LECLERCQ:017-0557
MOBILETON:VR-D276 ;SAS COMPONENTS:10044 ;TRANSPO403)
The RECTIFIER of Saturn s series is(OEM & CROSS NO.: ETOMAN: B2RF-B001B-1;ACE-ELECTRIC:S6001 ;AES:2073 ;CSRGO:135337 CEA 607 ;DELCO:10475758,10492837,1047578 ;DUBOIS:501055 ;HELLAUK AEIDR:5164 ;J&N ELECYRIC:172-12046 ;LANDMAN B.V.:W7889 ;LECLERCQ:009-1062 ;MOBILETRON:RD-03T,RD-97A ;NAPA:AC84;RENARD:5151,5158
SWSR51602T ;TRANSPOR4200,DR4200HD,DR5168, DR4201 ;UNIPOINT:REC-992A,REC-992AX ;
WAI:31-120,31-133,31-133-1 ;WOODAUTO:RTF 39833)

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Old 04-20-2005, 09:32 AM   #14
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Default Re: Charging System Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by schultp
FINAL UPDATE:

I bought the Saturn Alternator Cable at the local dealer....it is a fusible link. I installed it and everything is fine.
Wow! I never would have thought of that.

Seriously, though, I'm glad you finally got it fixed. Congratulations!

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Old 04-20-2005, 07:24 PM   #15
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Default Re: Charging System Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razorbak
Wow! I never would have thought of that.

Seriously, though, I'm glad you finally got it fixed. Congratulations!

Yep you called it over a month back!....lack of motivation and time caused me to leave the car in the garage until recently. My FSM definitely does not show a fusible link in the schematics. The guy at the counter at the dealer said "that was a recall for that year a long time ago!" I'm just glad to have it back on the road. The last year has seen this car sitting in the drive waiting for one nagging repair after another. I hope I've worked out all the immediate concerns/issues.

Next time I'll know better and listen to Razorbak!

Paul

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