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Voltage fluctuations

This is a discussion on Voltage fluctuations within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; No idea what sets it off but I'll be driving and suddenly my lights will start to flicker (all lights ...

  1. #1
    Junior Member phoenixXIV's Avatar
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    '98 Z28 M6

    Voltage fluctuations

    No idea what sets it off but I'll be driving and suddenly my lights will start to flicker (all lights in/on the car) and i'll look at my battery gauge and see the needle rocking back and forth about 0.5-2V. has anybody ever had this problem? the battery is only a year old and its cinched down nice and tight could a cable be loose somewhere?

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    02 35th LE Camaro SS

    I'd start by checking all of your electrical connections at the battery and alternator. Make sure the connections on the battery are clean also.

    Did you recently install anything new to the car?

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    ^^ This. If you do have corrosion, a can of cola and a toothbrush will remove most of it (no joke). Once the terminals are nice and clean, use either dielectric grease or Vaseline on them to prevent future problems.

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    like everyone has said....check your connections first for being loose or corroded. If everything there looks good put a volt meter across the battery terminals with the car running and see if the volts are fluctuating at the battery. Should be 14.4 volts there....if they're fluctuating your voltage regulator on the alternator is on it's way out and time for a new alternator.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Not trying to scare you here but check your power steering pump. Make sure it's not leaking onto the alternator. What you describe is exactly how my alternator died. Started off like you posted then after enough fluid got into it I got very lucky because the alternator died instead of catching fire.

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    Junior Member phoenixXIV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35th-ANV-SS View Post
    Did you recently install anything new to the car?
    A catback. Other than that nope.

    Thanks for all the tips. I'll get to it over the weekend.

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    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    At first, I was going to ask if the fans were kicking on when the lights flickered. Keep us posted.

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    Junior Member phoenixXIV's Avatar
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    Now that you mention it, I have been hearing what i'm pretty sure are the fans going on and off at what seems to me like odd times. I usually cant here the fans over everything else when the light flickering happens so I cant tell if they're connected. I'll pay closer attention to that over the weekend.

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    Junior Member phoenixXIV's Avatar
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    busy weekend. didn't really have a chance to take a good look at it. no problems at the battery, my PS fluid wasn't leaking, but it did look like there might be some crud built up around the alternator. anyways i dropped it off at rpm saturday morning so i asked them to take a look at that among other things before i get any upgrades done. so thanks for the tips but its now in more capable hands than mine for the time being.

  10. #10
    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    Yeah. When the fans kick on, the lights, both interior and exterior, will dim a little bit as accessories put a little draw on the vehicle's electrical system. Let us know the results.

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    Junior Member AtLarge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cammed goat View Post
    Let us know the results.
    Mine is starting to do the same. I just put a new battery in so I know the contacts are clean. Oddly my Alternator gauge doesn't fluctuate at all.
    I was here before the server crashed.

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    my car does the same thing kind of when i plug in my phone charger into the cigarette lighter the light on the charger flashes then the flashes get slower then it looses power ive checked all the fuses and the battery is brand new

  13. #13
    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtLarge View Post
    Mine is starting to do the same. I just put a new battery in so I know the contacts are clean. Oddly my Alternator gauge doesn't fluctuate at all.
    Is your alternator original? Or is it an aftermarket/higher voltage alternator?

    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdformula99 View Post
    my car does the same thing kind of when i plug in my phone charger into the cigarette lighter the light on the charger flashes then the flashes get slower then it looses power ive checked all the fuses and the battery is brand new
    You haven't found any blown fuses? I wonder if your phone charger has an internal fuse like a radar detector and maybe that is blowing out? Is it an aftermarket phone charger?

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    Junior Member AtLarge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cammed goat View Post
    Is your alternator original? Or is it an aftermarket/higher voltage alternator?
    Mine is the original 12 year old alternator.

  15. #15
    Junior Member phoenixXIV's Avatar
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    I'll be getting my car back next weekend so I'll see if the garage found anything wrong with it. I'll check it out myself when I get back as well. If anyone else does some tinkering and figures something out, post up your results.

  16. #16
    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtLarge View Post
    Mine is the original 12 year old alternator.
    How many accessories do you run? If I recall, the gauge won't move as much if you aren't running any accessories(radio, A/C, fan, lights).

  17. #17
    Junior Member AtLarge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cammed goat View Post
    How many accessories do you run? If I recall, the gauge won't move as much if you aren't running any accessories(radio, A/C, fan, lights).
    I could believe that. Zero accessories except for the stock stereo and running lights.

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