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Alternator Problem? Maybe?

WizardOfOdds

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Been wondering this for awhile just never remembered to ask...

The voltmeter on the dash reads about 16volts (Around the L in NORMAL)... I was just wondering if this is normal? From auto class, I learned the battery should stay around 12 - 14v and if its charging higher than that there maybe a problem with the regulator or something.

My auto teacher tought us that if the battery keeps recieving a high voltage, it could ruin the battery fast, so it has a me a bit worried because I don't want to have to replace the alternator + battery. Im asking you guys though because my auto teacher is not the smartest person, he's like 120 years old and if you've read previous posts of mine, he did not know how to take out my fuel filter or what fuel line retaining clips were. Anyways, Im just going by what the gauge says on the dash, I don't have a voltmeter to check the actual voltage from the battery. Any replies would be appreciated, thanks :)
 



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JDraper

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Don't depend upon the dash gauge for voltage readings, it's not the most accurate gauge....Go buy a voltmeter or multimeter from RadioShack. You can get a serviceable one for under $30. Optimally, you should be reading about 14.4 volts out of your alternator..IIRC 13.6-14.4 is the acceptable range. 16V could do some damage to the battery and the electrical systems in the truck.
 






BrooklynBay

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You could go to AutoZone, and have them test your charging system for free. They have an expensive load tester which is electronic, and does a series of load cycles over a short period of time to determine if the alternator, regulator, battery, and diodes are performing properly. This is done with the engine running. You could also take the alternator, and battery out to bench test them, but it's not necessary.
 






WizardOfOdds

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thanks... I'll get a volt meter and test it myself... No autozones here in canada :) dont think there is any places here that will test your stuff for free either... Not that I know of atleast
 






BrooklynBay

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WizardOfOdds

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Canadian Tire, Part Source, and NAPA are the closests bigger places... There is a few small personally owned shops around too.
 






Bmwz389

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I just get my readings from my capacitor. I read at idle with normal load (i.e. no subs, cb/pa, neons) 14.2v

When under heavy load (i.e. full subs), I read about 12.9/13.0v.

Once the truck is off with power on, it sits at 12.7


I dunno if this helps but these seem pretty accurate.
 






JStrider

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my gauge always reads around the L in normal, I've had it tested and it doesnt have any problems...


recently I've noticed sometimes it bounces down randomly... but not consistently enough to be able to test it.
 






WizardOfOdds

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Thanks JStrider, saying that put my mind to ease a bit.

Thanks BMWZ389, for the stats and that... now I know what to look for when testing :) And yeah, the stats seem to be in the range of what should be charging...

I should probably test it all out anyways just to be sure and avoid problems in the future :)
 






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