Question about 1995 Chevrolet Lumina

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Intermittent charging Occasionally the battery won't start the car. It was cold this morning and I cranked it for 30 seconds before it started. The battery had enough for that, but yesterday I stopped at a store for a few minutes - the engine was still warm - and it wouldn't crank the car at all. I jumped it and it worked fine for the rest of the day. I once had a Chevy that had a bad ignition switch that wouldn't always connect the idiot light and field circuit so it wouldn't charge.. This doesn't have a light. Could the field connection be intermittent?

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The first thing is to have the battery load tested at your local Napa, autozone or what have you. This is a free service. If the battery checks out good, Next step is to remove the cables and clean the terminals. With this done and with the car running you should use a volt meter to see how many volts the alternator is putting out, Honestly a good Alternator will give a minimum of 13.2 volts to a maximum of 14.8 volts. Do not trust the "dummy lights" or even the volt gauge in the car...They lie. Use a good DVM.

Posted on Jan 19, 2013

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  • Stephen Van Buskirk Jan 19, 2013

    The battery tests poorly (I'm not exactly sure that most batterys won't test poorly - the tester certainly is a big sales tool) but I don't think that's the problem. I haver all the cstuff - I've checked the alternator a few times and it puts out the right voltage. (I didn't think to see if the charge light was on when I checked) However this is an intermittant problem. It happens about one out of ten starts andf is as likely to happen after a long drive anda short stop as on a cold morning. It seems to me that this could be an intermittant charging problem so I was hoping on information on the charging system. If it's like my old chevy van if the charge light circuit isn't complete the alternator won't charge. I thought that the charge light never cane on but I just saw it so it must work sometimes - I've only had this car for a couple of weeks. Some cars don't require the idiot light circuit to charge (like my beater Volvo with 350k miles). Does this? Does anyone have a schematic of the charging circuit?

  • xkikbxr Jan 24, 2013

    Idon't have a schematic but if this problem is intermittent then I would start at the battery terminals and make sure they are clean and tight, then I would start back tracing all cables and wire from battery and Alternator to make sure all wires are clean and tight. The internal voltage regulator may also be going bad, you may want to have the alternator tested but being that sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't The test may not show anything wrong.

  • Stephen Van Buskirk Jan 24, 2013

    I have checked all the usual things and made the usual tests - twice - but as you said extensive tests of an alternator are useless if it's working, which it is most of the time. I have had it jumped 3 times in as many weeks. That wouldn't be bad if I had someone following me who could jump it. I did buy one of the emergengy start units with a battery, but that's a bother and I'm not sure I'd like to depend on it. There must be a solution. As I said I had a similar problem with an older chevy van from the late 80's, that was fixed with a new ignition switch. I'd hate to have to do that in this car unless it could be bad, as it's both hard to get at and has theft protection.. Does anyone know whether the idiot light and alternator field are disconnected when starting? Could it be that the switch is the problem?


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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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SOURCE: 1999 chevy astro van 4.3

I have had the same problem in trying to start my van. I noticed that it only did this in the rain or high humidity day. In tearing apart my van to find a solution, I had noticed that when trying to start the van, the ignition coil was arcing onto the mount holding it in place. I only noticed this due to the fact that by now, it was dark. After changing the coil, I never ran into this problem again.
I do hope this helps.


Posted on Apr 25, 2009

  • 11800 Answers

SOURCE: 2001 Chevy Express van 4.3L

the fact that it needed a jump is a sign that the alternator wasn't charging the battery properly - either because the alternator belt was loose or the battery was itself defective/aged. This has nothing to do with the current problem.
The problem you have now is caused by the humidity: either the distributor or the ECM (or one of its sensors) have been shorted by the water droplets. Disconnect the battery, dismantle the distributor and all the wiring on the engine and thoroughly dry them. Once you are done and the motor starts , wait for the motor to cool down then spray some water repellent solution on all the electrics.

Posted on Jun 06, 2011

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