Question about Chevrolet Cavalier

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Well first i got this car and everything was running decent on it, the lights dimmed and the gages went out and i tried to fix that by wirebrushing my ground and copper coding all the wires. but after

I am having trouble with my electrical charging system, my battery light stays on and for some reason it seems like its charging my battery a little but not enough to keep my car going.

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  • James B
    James B Mar 27, 2014

    well first i got this car and everything was running decent on it, the lights dimmed and the gages went out and i tried to fix that by wirebrushing my ground and copper coding all the wires. but after the past few weeks its been getting worse. First of all my batter charging light turns on(the red battery symbol) and i didnt think anything of it because i put a voltage meter to it and it was saying 15-16 volts. so 3 days ago i was coming home from the store during the night and my lights got dim and my gages where going out and for the first time my radio didnt have enough power to stay on but luckily i got home. so the next morning i was driving about 1 miles down the road (and my car started just find and i know that the battery can gain juice if it sits for awhile) so iw as going down the road and my gages go out then my radio then my car starting idling wierd so i turn around and my car stalls not even a half a mile away from my house. so i get it towed home and what i did was first of all charge the battery then replaced my negative battery cable and put a ground from the engine to the battery tray(which was the orginal spot that chevy had it and the battery tray wasnt loose in there or anything) and copped coated all the wires and wire brushed them and made sure all the bolts where tight i even added some gear washers in between the bolt and the stud on the engine and also on the bolt of the battery tray. i read on the internet thats very common for my cavalier. so i took it for a test drive and i thought all was well. so the next day i drive to the city next to me about 20 miles away and i didnt really have probles getting there( im guessing because my battery was still charged ) then i went into the store and started my car and about 5 miles later my battery starts to die and all my lights start lighting up then my gages turn off and same with all the lights in my dash and my car is idiling weird and hesitating and finally about half way home my car stalls and i get a jump and make it home. so i read on the internet more and more so what i did was take a wire from my positive battery terminal to the back of my alternator so it was a direct connection and also i took my alternator to auto zone and they tested my alternator twice and it passed both times, i elminated the connection from the back of my starter solenoid to the back of my alternator and just ran a wire staright from my positive terminal on myt battery to the back of my alternator so i knew my alternator was getting a good connection. so after getting my alternator tested and running that wire (and i made sure i copper coated allllll my electrical connections) i put it all back together and put a voltage meter on it when it was running and it was steady at 12.40-12.43 volts. (and before my voltage meter was going anywhere from 7v to 15v) so i test drive it thinking all of it was fixed but sure enough exact same problem happens with my battery light turning on and everything, just drains my battery and i check the voltage meter when its running (with my lights on this time) and it reads 6v. so i dont think anything is draining my battery because i can start it up then next day no problem. anyways so what i did next was but the positive cable of my voltage meter on the back of my alternator and put the negative cable of my voltage meter on my ground wire that i replaced on my battery tray and some how it reads 12v and this is before i charge my battery or anything, so when it was started with my lights on after i test drove it, it had about 6v on the batter then when i tested again when it was off it had 12v. if anyone can help me with this you would be a life saver. if you have any questions about what im talking about just ask and i will get back to you very soon im good with computers and i have me and my dad which know alot about cars but my dad knows everything about older cars but not much on the newer cars and i know on the newer cars the electrical system is a big deal. i all things about this and all i havnt tried is stuff dealing with my computer of the car of the body control module. if you read all of



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It does point to a dodgy alternater as you should get a constant 13-13.5 volts charge even with lights etc on when engine running,i know you said you've had it tested but sounds like an intermitant fault so try a new alternator ,might just stop you going mad ! good luck

Posted on Mar 27, 2014

Testimonial: "yeah i been thinking that the whole time but just didnt want to spend the $170 to get a new one, but rather spend that then breaking down all the time. thanks you stephen_poll for your input. im taking the car to a car mechanic my dad knows and ill let you know what he says, if anyone else has anything to say on this ill be more than glad to read it."


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in order to answer your question i need to know if you have internal or external regulator for alternator

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14.6 means your voltage regulator or diode is suspect Despite having new alternator .Ive cross refrenced your smptoms in the haynes workshop manual and alternator is your only end answer.The haynes test is to start vehicle with multi meter connected across the battery terminals,increase the engine speed until the reading remains steady should be approximately 12 to 13v and no more than 14v.switch on as many accessories as possible(headlights heater blower radio etc)check that the alternator maintains the regulated voltage at around 13 to 14v.If the regulated voltage is not as stated then alternator is to be repaired/replaced.Good luck with it and a happy new year.

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check battery voltage when you turn off car. it should be 12.5 volts.if drops 11.0 volts the battery is got a weak cell in it.i bought a sears die hard battery it last 2 years the battery had a defect .it had a bad cell it short out the battery.check alternator wires for defects.

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SOURCE: issue with dash lights dimming while driving,

If the battery and alternator tested fine. I would have the charging system rechecked when engine is hot and at high rpm's. This way the checks are being done as if you were driving and driving for a long time. Alternators can work fine when cold but weaken when hot or stop working. This problem is not rare but only is seen occassionly. Unless it was checked at an electrical shop the average shop doesn't run these tests for they don't see the problem often enough to automaticly run them at all times. Good luck and let me know how you make out.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009

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