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Old 04-22-2013, 01:05 PM   #1
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Lights Flickered. Replaced Alternator. Now more flicker?

Hello there! I'm new to the forum, but not new to getting my hands dirty or figuring out my own problems. This one is starting to get me a bit frustrated, so before I start replacing everything under the sun I thought I would see if you guys had any experience with this.

After several months of on and off again flickering lights (headlights, dash, etc.) I took my 1999 Z28 SS to Oreilly's and they tested my Battery and Alternator. They said that my Alternator was bad, but my Battery was fine. This past weekend I replaced my Alternator and now the problem seems to be more persistent. The voltage moves from a little past 13Volts to 14+ Volts (depending on whether or not I'm hitting my gas pedal). If I am at idle, the Voltage appears to be consistent, however once I hit the gas the Voltage starts to move quite a bit between 13.5V to maybe 14+V. Before driving the ol gal I did recharge the battery just in case there was a Battery issue.

I did check my ground connections, they donít look terrible... a little smaller ground cable than what I am accustomed to, but never the less seems to be nothing short of what should be there.

Something I found: The only thing that I did notice is the plug that plugs into the Alternator that has one single Red Wire coming from it became dis-attached while removing the old Alternator. I soldered the Red Wire back and placed the plug back into the back of the Alternators socket. What is the purpose of the Red Wire? I'm hoping that wire didn't come un-soldered while I was trying to re-install it, could this be causing the flicker?
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:10 PM   #2
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Could the belt be slipping causing the alternator to not spin properly at idle?
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Old 04-22-2013, 02:03 PM   #3
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Hmm... maybe. I checked the belt last night and it seemed to be grabbing and not making any those nasty screeching noises. I've heard a screech a few times in the past 5 months, but not enough to shake a stick at or worry about. It's got what appears to be a Gator belt. It was on there when I purchased it.

Do you by chance know what the Red wire does that plugs into the rear of the Alternator?
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Old 04-22-2013, 02:11 PM   #4
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The large wire that bolts to the alternator goes to the battery terminal, make sure it's secure to the battery. I've had a problem starting my car and it was the positive cable going to the battery. I just wiggled it and re-tightened the bolts
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Old 04-22-2013, 02:17 PM   #5
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Ok, I did tighten that one quite well when reinstalling, but I can get under there and verify that again tonight after it cools.

I'm actually referring to one that plugs (not bolts) to the top rear of the Alternator. When installed the plug goes into a socket that is facing the hood on the Alternator. Its a 4 prong plug, but only 1 of the 4 wires actually goes to something, the other three are cut off and capped. The single wire that is actually used in the plug that goes to the top rear of the Alternator is a Red Wire.
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Old 04-22-2013, 02:45 PM   #6
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I'm not familiar with those, I don't know of any such plug on my alternators (v6-v8 )
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Old 04-22-2013, 02:49 PM   #7
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From time to time all my light kinda flash, including my interior lights, alternator has been replaced and my gauge says voltage is fine. I've learned to live with it until I get all led's
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Old 04-22-2013, 04:38 PM   #8
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The small wire is signal to turning the windings on or off or adjust the electromagnetic strength depending on the cars amperage needs.
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Old 04-22-2013, 04:52 PM   #9
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Ahh... I think that's what I am looking for here. If that wire is broken or doesn't have a good enough connection could that affect the draw/power that the alternator is producing? Making the lighting/everything else flicker because it is unsure of how to make the adjustments?
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99Z28SS View Post
Ahh... I think that's what I am looking for here. If that wire is broken or doesn't have a good enough connection could that affect the draw/power that the alternator is producing? Making the lighting/everything else flicker because it is unsure of how to make the adjustments?
Yes, the small wire is the voltage feed to the voltage regulator in the alternator.
If the wire or connector is bad it can cause the regulator to fluctuate, hence the flickering lights..
However, if the meter and lights are steady and not flickering, moving from 13.5 to 14 volts is not uncommon when coming off of idle right after start up.
IIRC 13.7 volts is normal for these cars.
Keep in mind, 12 volts will not fully charge a 12 volt battery.
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:35 PM   #11
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Perfect! Thank you for the information. I dont mind a little movement in voltage. My '74 Charger (440) has all new electrical and it drops a little when idling, but not enough to cause a fuss. I was a little apprehensive on reusing the plug that was on there, but I wanted to get to work today without having to pay $20.00 to get there if I took the Charger. lolz. I just bought a new Battery and ordered a new connector. I will let you all know if that fixed my problem.
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:15 PM   #12
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Well, I got the new Battery installed and replaced the pigtail on the Alternator and the issue was still there. The voltage is just going from normal (at idle) up to 16V so I ended up taking the car to the local Chevy Dealership. Hopefully they can find the issue, I will be sure to keep you updated to let you know what the problem was. : O(
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:32 PM   #13
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what lights flicker? what guage wire on the alt?
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:52 PM   #14
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Everything actually flickers. The Voltage isn't consistent at any level for the whole electrical system. It's not as bad when idling, but once I put any little throttle in it the Voltage just spikes.

It's the stock gauge wire. Everything is pretty much stock under the hood and I dont have a thumpin system or anything because I have this fixation of hearing the rumble to much to cover it up. lolz.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99Z28SS View Post
Well, I got the new Battery installed and replaced the pigtail on the Alternator and the issue was still there. The voltage is just going from normal (at idle) up to 16V so I ended up taking the car to the local Chevy Dealership. Hopefully they can find the issue, I will be sure to keep you updated to let you know what the problem was. : O(
Bad field brush possibly, or possibler bad regulator in the alternator, it's the only thing that can make the voltage go that high.
Or possibly a failing diode in the bridge rectifier in the alternator, which will cause the regulator to make the voltage fluctuate.

Betting they replace the alternator.
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:55 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavyVet View Post
Bad field brush possibly, or possibler bad regulator in the alternator, it's the only thing that can make the voltage go that high.
Or possibly a failing diode in the bridge rectifier in the alternator, which will cause the regulator to make the voltage fluctuate.

Betting they replace the alternator.
Lol, well... you were right, but I didn't have them replace my Alternator. They wanted $459.00 to replace it and I laughed, then (as calmly as I could) explained to him that I wouldn't pay $459.00 for an Alternator. He then told me it was a genuine GM Part, I then explained to him that AC Delco isn't just carried at the local Chevrolet Dealership. I was pretty thrown off by that cost, so now I ask for just a little expertise here... would I be missing anything if I just purchased a brand new Alternator from the local autoparts store (since the one I have now is rebuilt). Is there a pulley difference or anything else that I should be after? Are there any recommendations (short of going to Autozone or Oreilly's) to get a new one that would be comparable or better than the OE?
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Old 04-25-2013, 11:30 AM   #17
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Go to the store where you purchased the one you have now and make them replace it because it is defective.
If it is past the warranty date, go to a NAPA store and buy a rebuilt.
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Comp cams Xtreme Energy LT1 266HR-14 street cam and springs..
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Old 04-25-2013, 01:24 PM   #18
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Go to the store where you purchased the one you have now and make them replace it because it is defective.
If it is past the warranty date, go to a NAPA store and buy a rebuilt.

Cool, thanks! I just called Oreilly's and I just upgraded to the brand new Alternator rather than getting another refurb. Next is to discuss my discontent with the Chevrolet Dealership and their 3x's the price markup on their Alternator. I will really enjoy telling them they will no longer have any more business of mine.
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:26 PM   #19
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The moral of my story is to just go out and buy a brand new Alternator. I removed and returned the refurbished unit and got myself a brand new one. Installed it last night and it works like a charm. I'm glad that I stayed persistent with it and I do appreciate the insights from you guys!

Ps. Thank you for serving our country NavyVet. Glad we have service people who enjoy the industry and serve our country all at the same time. How cool is that! : O)
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Old 04-26-2013, 03:50 PM   #20
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No thanks needed, I had a very interesting and rewarding career.
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AIR delete. Bored .030 over.
Comp cams Xtreme Energy LT1 266HR-14 street cam and springs..
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