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Alternator Damaged??

This is a discussion on Alternator Damaged?? within the V6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; A few days ago I pulled my alt. off and cleaned it with simple cleaning stuff/water.. I put it back ...

  1. #1
    Member flybird's Avatar
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    Mid Night Blue
    1999 Firebird 3.8 series

    Alternator Damaged??

    alternator.jpg

    A few days ago I pulled my alt. off and cleaned it with simple cleaning stuff/water.. I put it back on and now its running low volts. When running the volts are between 10-12. On the highway it sometimes goes to 13.. I thnk i may have damaged the alt??

    I also would like to know does everybody else have just one wire connected to the alt to the engine? Bc there seems to be needing 4 instead of just 1.. as shown in the pic.

    PS battery is yellow top optima, so its not the battery..

    Please someone help me with this problem, i seem to be ina bind with this issue.. Its died on me once but started right back up.

  2. #2
    Member flybird's Avatar
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    Mid Night Blue
    1999 Firebird 3.8 series

    The alt has always been putting high voltage, until now since ive pulled it off. does cleanin it damage it

  3. #3
    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    alternators are usually pretty durable......I'm sure if you got it wet enough it wouldn't be good on it. Did you dunk it in water or just wipe it down? Have you checked the connections real good on it including the battery end for corroded cables? Another thing is to not go by your dash gauge only. Put a meter across the battery while at idle and see what the voltage is...should be 14.4 to the battery. It could also just all be coincidental.....the alternator may have went bad whether you cleaned it or not or maybe just moving it around might've damaged it.

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    Member flybird's Avatar
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    Mid Night Blue
    1999 Firebird 3.8 series

    Maybe your right, its just coincidental. I just wipes it down and waxed it. I did check all of the connections, nothing is corroded or anything. I will just volt it out considering you said not to go by the dash. But do you have just 1 wire connected to your alt to the engine as shown In the pic? That little red wire.

  5. #5
    ʢ ൧ ൨ ൩ ൪ ൫ ൬ ൭ ൮Ր Ց Ւ Փ Smittro's Avatar
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    The alt is fine.

    And yes there's only one wire in the harnes plug shown.

    It is the "excite" wire, without it the Alt would'nt charge @ all.

    High ampers is a sign that the ALT is working to recharge the batt. as it takes a lot of juice from the batt. to start an engine @ ~2hp.

    Especially when the engine is stone cold.

    In simple terms.. As the batt. reaches it's charge limit the ALT. ampers will lower to more of a maintaining voltage.

    Clean terminals are essential to good ALT operation, dirty terminals can cause high temps @ connector contact points, and stress on the ALT, as well as high amper conditions.
    Last edited by Smittro; 12-28-2011 at 12:08 AM.

  6. #6
    Member flybird's Avatar
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    I measured the volts at idle.

    11.94-12.53 range.. No lower and no higher. reved RPMs and no change. Regulator ?

  7. #7
    ʢ ൧ ൨ ൩ ൪ ൫ ൬ ൭ ൮Ր Ց Ւ Փ Smittro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flybird View Post
    I measured the volts at idle.

    11.94-12.53 range.. No lower and no higher. reved RPMs and no change. Regulator ?
    It could be, however once the charging system reaches a steady amperage there's no reason for it to add much more voltage even if you rev the crap out of it.

    The Alt. will only put out more ampers if needed..

    Example: such as after a cold start, or a number of Accessories are in use all @ once..

    If it were to constantly be charging, you may see an over charging condition, which then I'd say yes to a regulator.

    Since a regulator can't be replaced by you, (need a rebuilder for that), your best bet would be to pull the ALT. and have it tested @ an auto parts, or auto electric shop. imho
    Last edited by Smittro; 12-28-2011 at 10:13 PM.

  8. #8
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    A good way to test it yourself is to start it up and run the HVAC system (heater blower) on high and watch the amper guage for a steady drop.

    If the ampers continue to fall without stopping there's likely an issue with the ALT.

    I general though,, the cooling fans would have killed it dead by now if it was a case of the regulator or an under charging issue.
    Last edited by Smittro; 12-28-2011 at 10:22 PM.

  9. #9
    Member flybird's Avatar
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    Hmm.. I seem to be always having some sort of issue with this car.

    But I will pull it off and get it tested.

  10. #10
    ʢ ൧ ൨ ൩ ൪ ൫ ൬ ൭ ൮Ր Ց Ւ Փ Smittro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flybird View Post
    Hmm.. I seem to be always having some sort of issue with this car.

    But I will pull it off and get it tested.
    In truth,, I had constant electrical problems with my 01 3800 Camaro..

    Desent car, y87 package, and loaded power everything.

    The car was even garage kept, and stored in winter up till 2 years ago when I took it out once and a coil pack died while driving it.

    We baught the car with ~23-26k on the clock, and it was in the shop 2 months total time in the first year we owned it for service, electrical and mechanical...

    All happened before 100k by 120k I had enough,, so much that a 25+ year die hard chevy (GM) fan almost baught a Toyota....

    Could'nt do it though...
    Last edited by Smittro; 12-29-2011 at 07:43 AM.
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