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Discussion Starter #1
My car was working just fine as I pulled into a parking lot, nothing out of the ordinary. I got in an hour later and turned the key. My generator light was on (although dim), with the right turn signal lit up. The lights inside turned on and were dim, and dimmed more when I would tap the brake. My CD player would not light up. Later I found turning the key causes the passenger light and signals to turn on at full brightness (even with lights off), and the drivers lights on and dim. When I turn the lights on manually, it's the same thing, but no tail lights. However, when I open the door, or turn on my dome light with the key off, the inside light works fine. I tried jumping a few times, and it only bumped (and a quick, split second bump) twice. The car is now towed home. I can't find anything in the dark so I'm going to wait till tomorrow after school to fix this. I'm trying to look for suggestions though. When the car was working, my headlights and dashlights would like to get bright and dim, and my blower motor would blow harder and softer, and they seemed to correlate, which made me think something like voltage regulator? I don't really know anything electricl so I'm in the dark on guessing that, but that seemed to make sense. If it completely went kaput, would that cause these symptoms, or do I have a bigger problem than I think? I would like to fix this asap as this is my daily driver, but I know it's probably going to take a lot of time with voltemeter. I've checked all grounds I could easily see in the engine compartment, and tried to check the fuses. If any of this needs clarification I'll be on here for a while to help. Thanks a lot in advance.
 

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If it was me, on a college budget, I'd convert the car over to an internal regulated alternator and not look back. In spite of what Wes says, SI alternators are still in the boneyard. Out here they are about $20.00. Grab one and cut the connector off of the donor harness. Do the conversion per the instructions. The internally regulated alternator either works or it doesn't. No guessing around with a meter.
http://www.chevelles.com/techref/ftecref14.html
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So, just to be sure, I was correct in my blind diagnosis of it being the voltage regulator?
 

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Hopefully it's a good place to start. I should have converted my car anyway when we were working on it, I'd read it was a good thing to do but never did it. Thanks.
 

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could be a problem with the ignition switch
or the light switch or even the turn signal switch
I think the alt would probably not be the problem only because the turn signal light comes on
I would check the main power feeds to the lights and igniton switch
then check power leads coming from the ignition switch
sounds like something is shorting out momentarily
maybe also try disconnecting light switch connector the try
then try the long flat connector on steering column
then try heater control connectors
etc. etc. etc.
until you find the right circuit
some of these circuits dont work through the fuse panel and is why you must remove the connectors
I would check the steering column first though since you notice the problem when you turn the key
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just an update, swapped out voltage regulators with one I had off another car. Wasn't sure if it was good or not, but since the 'symptoms' are still the same and not better or worse, I'm gonna have to say it's not the regulator. Thanks Tom, I'll try those next.
 
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