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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A couple of weeks ago at a car show my brother shut the Chevelle off and noticed that the radio stayed on. We thought I'd hooked the radio up to a full-time hot wire. Well, I'd noticed a few days before that that the GEN light had stayed on when I had taken the key out of the ignition.

Last night I went out to work on the car, got in to start it---so dead it wouldn't even clatter the solenoid. I had to jump it to get it started.

I put a test light between the battery and the ground cable and it lit up, plus it made the horn relay buzz weakly. I disconnected the left (towards passenger side) bulkhead electrical connector and it still lit the test light. I did the same with the right connecter and got the same result --- although I should point out here that I could not disconnect the hot wire in the right hand connector because I had to remove the old spade clip a couple years ago when it corroded, so there's a new wire that I spliced in there to complete the circuit. (Does that make sense?)

One more thing: after I got it running I let it charge enough so that I could start the car again on its own. The voltmeter was showing a charge. When I shut the engine off the GEN light stayed on and I was able to turn the radio on with the key out of the ignition. I fiddled with the key in the switch to see if it was a bad connection, but that had absolutely no effect. I replaced the ignition switch (not the key switch) a couple of years ago as well, so that's probably not it either.

Where do I need to look? Thanks for all the help!

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Tom H.
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'67 www.iquest.net/~harold2/
 

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Well. I don't think we are talking about a 67 I see in your signature. I assume it's something later because of your ignition switch/key switch comment. I'll assume it's not the ignition switch because the car turns off. Might be a bad assumption but I'll try to come up with some other thoughts.
1, Since you can't remove the red wire, from the bulkhead connector, you can always remove the other end of it. It screws onto the horn relay terminal. If you disconnect the red wire, it separates everything inside the car from everything under the hood. Might try doing this and repeat your light test.
2, Unplugging the connector out of the alternator should turn off the GEN light. Does the radio still work when this connector is pulled and the key is off?
3, Unplugging the regulator connector also should turn off the GEN light. Does it affect the radio?
Thinking it may be related to the voltage regulator but not quite seeing it. Maybe with more information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
John,
I'm wondering about the regulator too. The car does have the old style external regulator (which was also replaced two years ago).

Oh, and it is the '67 I'm talking about. What I meant from the switch comment was that I had replaced the electrical switch that controls the current and not the lock cylinder in the dash. Does that clear things up?

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Tom H.
Member #259
'67 www.iquest.net/~harold2/
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by TH:
John,
I'm wondering about the regulator too. The car does have the old style external regulator (which was also replaced two years ago).

Oh, and it is the '67 I'm talking about. What I meant from the switch comment was that I had replaced the electrical switch that controls the current and not the lock cylinder in the dash. Does that clear things up?

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I understand. Try checking out a couple of more things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay, I've checked a couple more things. Tonight the battery has been fully charged. Now the test light won't light when I put it between the neg post and the neg cable. However, when I touch the neg cable to the post I get a spark. There shouldn't be a spark, should there since the circuit shouldn't be complete until the key is turned from the OFF position to RUN, or whichever.

Secondly, if I run the test light between the POS wire for the alternator it glows dimly and I can hear the relay give a soft little *thunk* noise. Disconnecting this wire will stop the GEN dash light from lighting with the key in the OFF position as well.

I know it's said that this means there's a bad diode in the alternator, but if I leave the alternator POS wire disconnected and hook up the ground cable to the NEG battery post I *still* get a spark! Does that mean the system is leaking somewhere else as well?

I'm going back out to the garage to pull fuses and poke around on it some more.

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Tom H.
Member #259
'67 www.iquest.net/~harold2/
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Pulled each and every fuse and not one of them made the GEN light go off. When I pulled the spade clip that I added to power the HEI it made the GEN light go a little dim, but then the BRAKE light lit up also.

I got the test light to glow when placed between the neg cable and the neg batt post.

The neg batt cable sparked big when the alternator POS wire was connected. After I disconnected it the cable sparked only a small amount on the post just once and then quit sparking altogether.

When I disconnected the voltage regulator that made the GEN light turn off.
When I disconnected the POS wire to the alternator that also made the GEN light turn off.

My girlfriend and I took the car out for two hours and it ran fine. The voltmeter constantly showed a healthy charge to the battery.

Oh, and I understand that it may be the alternator diode(s), but why the heck is the radio now also receiving current when the ignition switch is in the OFF position?

Should I go with an internally regulated alternator if it's time for replacement, or should I just stick with the old setup?

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Tom H.
Member #259
'67 www.iquest.net/~harold2/
 

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As you were pulling all the fuses and connectors, did anything stop the radio from working?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just wanted to cap this post off and say that, after some additional mucking about I got the problem figured out.

I took the alternator and regulator off and had the alt checked at Autozone. The employees working with me had very limited knowledge of how to work the test equipment, so I left know that it was charging (which I already knew), and their statement that "There's something else wrong with it." (Thanks, guys.)

I went back to work, did some research on updating to an internal reg alternator, and in the process remembered the two Cad motors I have sitting at home --both with alternators still attached! Got home, pulled the alt from one, and the proper wiring connector from the other, used Wes V's fabulous tech article to guide the way, and with help from my brother the Chevelle is once again functioning properly!

I appreciate all the help I get here. Saves lots of time AND money!


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Tom H.
Member #259
'67 www.iquest.net/~harold2/
 
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