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Discussion Starter #1
Things still do not seem to be right. Once I started the car, the volt meter showed about 14V, but sitting there iddling for 5-10 minutes it went down to about 12 again.

I drove the car around the neighborhood and it seemed that the voltage stayed at above 13. I have not taken the car out at the freeway yet, so maybe the battery is kind of low and it needs to be charged for things to be back to normal.

The question I have is that the alternator is extremelly HOT to the touch after a couple of minutes running the car at iddle. It is one of the chrome units (yikes, I did not realize that) is that normal for it to be that hot?

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Discussion Starter #2
I drove it on the freeway, and it stays slightly above 13, but it seems like at iddle it is at about 12 or so. Also, when I first put the key in the ignition before I turn the car on the gauge shows 11 volts.

Is that all normal?

I would appreciate an answer.
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I don't know much about aftermarket alternators. Tend to stick with GM. Those voltages don't seem quite right. May want to talk to Powermaster.
 

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I agree with John. Call Powermaster.

My Powermaster 100A chrome one wire alternator works great and voltage always reads between 14 and 15 during the day. It drops below 14 with lights and hurricane force Mark VIII fan dragging on it.

It gets pretty warm, but I've had it for 16 months now with no troubles.

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'68 El Camino, 357, L31 Vortec heads, 700R4,
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I think you have some other electrical problem. It almost sounds like you have something causing a fairly high current drain when the car is running. I have no idea where to start looking exactly, but it would have to be in the main power feed wire for the car or the big +ve cable that feeds the starter (any other wiring would burn with that much current). I'd look for hot spots in the wiring or find someone with a DC clamp-on ammeter that can read 200A to try to find the problem. I guess you could also disconnect things or bypass them. For example, some cars had jumper terminal blocks mounted by the battery and they can short sometimes.

Also, have you double checked the operation of your voltmeter? Maybe it's no good and begins reading wrong once powered for a few minutes.

That alternator should be able to push the battery voltage back up to 14 volts literally within seconds of starting the car. It also shouldn't really get hot unless you're running some decent electrical loads, such as the lights.

Peter
 

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I beleive Yanni is running some serious electric fan that could be the load draw.

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69 SS Chevelle - 502 CI, 610 HP, 2004R, 1320 unknown
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Had a bad cell in my battery last month. The symptoms were just like yours. The alternator was still good, but it was getting hot from the overwork situation of trying to charge the bad battery. I could get 13-14 volts at cruising rpm but any lower rpm and it went to about 11. If it goes dead again after sitting in the garage for a couple of days, I'd bet the battery is your problem.

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for your replies guys.
Peter, Mike is right. I run the Windstar dual electric fans that supposedly draw a lot of current.

Also, is there any way to test the battery by myself, or so I need to take it somewhere.

Hope I can get this thing figured out, would like to drive the darn car again and there is a bunch of racing coming starting the week after next.

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Discussion Starter #9
Battery positive to car ground with the car off shows 8.4V. Don't know if this means anything or not, but should it not be closer to 12 V?
 

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Yes it should always read almost 12 volts. Weak battery or bad battery. Ask Auto Zone or Kragen to test it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks John, I just measured again right on the 2 posts of the battery and I get 8.4V. Also, right on the positive to car ground is 8.4V.

I will check it out tomorrow and go from there. Might have gotten a new alternator for nothing!
 

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I was having the same problem as you are, so took my alternator to the parts store and had them test it. It was throwing off 16 volts on their bench-spin-tester. Next, I did like you and checked the output on the battery. Got about the same voltage as you are, (8 or 9). Checked it again the next day and it was a couple of volts lower. Since it had been unconnected this whole time I figured that the battery had to be the problem. I can sure see why you'd buy a new alternator. I was certain that was my problem too, since the thing was getting so hot. But nope, it was the battery. And it was one of those expensive Ultima's, and only 2 years old.

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Discussion Starter #13
Bob,
it kind of sounds like my situation. My battery has 500 miles on it, I paid almost $200 for it, the Optima something..something fancy. I bought it earlier in the restoration, about 1 year ago and it did sit for a while, but it was fine a couple of months ago. I would think that this battery would last little longer than that. Also, does this explain the alternator running hot?

Oh well. Thanks for all your help guys, and hopefully it is a bad battery and not something draining the battery dead! I will let you know how it turns out.
 

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Yeah, Optima that's what it was. I called it Ultima by mistake, (I used to smoke those). My battery was only two years old and I had let it go dead a couple of times from just sitting. But still, I expected it to last longer than it did. It worked fine one weekend and was toast the next. And yes, the bad battery was definitely what was making my alternator run hot. I put in a new battery and the old alternator runs just fine now.
 

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If you can't get the battery to remain at 12V after being charged it is a goner. A bad battery can overwork the alternator and make it hot if some of the cells are shorted. It should be hot and boiling too though.

I believe in one of the other posts I did ask how you were starting the car


Those Optima batteries should have a decent warranty on them for that kind of money. Maybe you can get it replaced.

Peter
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, the latest developments of this saga! The battery is fine. I had it tested today, and it showed up 12.5V!! My meter must be screwed up.

Looking at the starter, there was a wire (2" long, ground?) that goes from where the 2 gauge starter cable comes in from the solenoid to a little tab on the housing. The screw on that had come undone and the crimp connector wven though it was still on the screw, it was not tied down in place to the tab.

I am hoping that is my problem. I have not had a chance to start the car, as I just finished tieing this connector done and the 2 year old just went to bed and if I start the car him, along with the rest of the neghiborhood will wake up


So another day tomorroe that I will not be able to drive the darn thing!!

Will let you know how it goes tomorrow, and thanks for all your help so far.

Peter, I am starting the car regurarly, turn the key in the on position for 3-4 seconds to let the fuel pump do its thing, then step on the gas once and turn it over.

P.S. By the way, when I put the battery back together do I connect the negative cable first or the positive? I had a little fireworks going tonight, grounded the positive as I was trying to tied down, and destroyed another allen wrench!!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ok, I drove the car and I am stuck. Don't know what the heck is going on. The voltage seems to stay above 13V, 13.2 or so. Until the rpms drop below 1000, then it goes to around 12V, and as soon as I step on the gas it goes back up to 13.2.

The alternator is hot to the touch. I went around the block, maybe 5 minute drive and it is hot. But so are the rest of the Zoops brackets, so I am wondering if the headers just heat things up under there.

Any suggestions are welcomed. At this point I am not sure if this all is normal or not. I will call Powermaster tomorrow as well to check on the heat issue, but I am afraid to drive the car like this.

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Yanniz, do you have the alternator hooked up as a one wire or did you plug in the stock harness making it a three wire. If it is running as a one wire, it will not charge at idle, therefore explaining why ur voltage goes up when you give it some gas
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by AzN_Chevelle:
Yanniz, do you have the alternator hooked up as a one wire or did you plug in the stock harness making it a three wire. If it is running as a one wire, it will not charge at idle, therefore explaining why ur voltage goes up when you give it some gas<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That's sort of true.

It won't begin charging until you rev it, but once it starts charging it doesn't stop when it returns to idle. Output current will drop at low speeds though, and with my Mark VIII fan and all 4 headlights burning, it will drop below 12 volts after an extended period of idling. But it takes longer than a stop-light cycle to drop that far.



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My Web Page (updated 06-21-02)

"Long Live Freedom!"

Chad Landry
TC Member #643
ACES Member #4556
'68 El Camino, 357, L31 Vortec heads, 700R4,
8.2 10-bolt, 3.55 gears, Auburn Pro Posi.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks guys. I did wire it as an one-wire unit. Chad, you are right I have to rev it up to about 1200 or 1500 rpm when I first start the car, but after that it charges ok.

The strange thing is that it does not even have to sit at iddle to drop at 12, but as I was driving last night at low speed (20 mph) and let off the gas to step on the brake, as the rpms went to around 1000, the gauge showed about 12 or so. I soon as I stepped on the gas to accelerate again it went up to 13.2 or so. This is just weird, the voltage should not flactuate like that. Maybe my gauge has given up on me.

Anyway, I am just puzzled. If the alternator was not so hot to the touch, I would drive the car to work and see how it behaves. Not sure if I can drive with the alternator being so hot (I put on the fan that came with my surpentine pulley, maybe I should put the Powerm. fan back on and that round plate that goes behind the pulley. What is that plate for anyway?)

Thanks
 
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