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VOLTAGE FLUCTUATION  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: 08-29-2006 12:17 am
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73healey
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Joined: 03-13-2006
Location: Lodi, California USA
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WHEN DRIVING WITH THE LIGHTS ON THE VOLT GAUGE WILL BEGIN SHOWING 12-13 VOLTS. AFTER A BIT THE NEEDLE SLOWLY DROPS TO THE RED AND THE IGNITION LIGHT COMES ON. A FEW MINUTES LATER THE NEEDLE ON THE VOLT GAUGE WILL BEGIN TO RISE AGAIN TO THE 12-13 VOLT RANGE. IS THIS SOMETHING TO WORRY ABOUT? IF SO, WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?

THANKS,

JIM 10646

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 Posted: 08-29-2006 06:19 pm
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Mark Rosenbaum
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Most likely this is due to a defective alternator.  Occasionally a faulty battery will give the same symptoms (generally, an intermittent cell).  For Delco alternators, this sometimes occurs if the sense wire on the alternator plug is loose or broken.

Before replacing any parts, I would check the following:
  • Using a hydrometer, measure specific gravity of electrolyte in each battery cell.  This is usually a definitive test to identify a faulty battery.
  • Fan belt should take up a roundish shape (not triangular or oval) if removed from engine, and should be properly tensioned when installed.
  • Battery connections must be tight and have bright shiny metal-to-metal contact.  Usually it is necessary to brush or scrape both terminals and connectors.
  • Clean wiring terminals and contacts on starter solenoid.
  • Clean wiring terminals and contacts on alternator (check both ends of the plug).
  • Clean wiring terminals and contacts inside plastic junction box located on main cable between battery and starter solenoid.
"Clean" in the above means metal that is free from any oil or corrosion.  Usually a bit of wire brushing followed by degreasing with carburetor cleaner will suffice.

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 Posted: 08-29-2006 09:35 pm
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73healey
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Thank you Mark. I will start with your list

Jim

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