Question about 1999 Chevrolet Lumina

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I keep having to replace the battery I had the voltage test done to the alternator it was fine the only other thing I can think of is a short or switch stuck draining the battery. What do you have for a solution?

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Was the voltage checked at the battery! if not, check it at battery. at least 14 volts or 14.2 volts at battery with vehicle running. if it is less, then you may have a bad wire coming from alternator to battery or a bad battery ground. vehicle when engine is off should read at least 13 volts or a bit higher. make sure battery terminals are clean and tight. the cable connecting alternator to battery has a fusable link in it. if the alternator is over charging it will blow the link. also you may have a light or other thing that is not turning off. good-luck! let me know if you fix it ok!!

Posted on Nov 06, 2010

  • dpizzamon Sep 21, 2011

    Had same problem, battery would discharge at random times and may not happen for a month or more. Finally found that the master window switch would short out the battery on random occasions. unplugged it and the world was right again, no further problem and replaced with switch from ebay. hope this helps someone.


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Posted on Nov 28, 2010


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My reverse drains my battery way down and doesn't have a lot of power anymore I replaced the battery and the same thing is still happening? Could there be a short somewhere?

Hi. Why you think it is reverse? If you sure your battery is good, first thing you check after is alternator. Test it. Could be shorted to ground or not charging properly. If it's ok, use drop voltage test to determine which circuit is at fault. Would be to much to write so go to website: Fluke. com for awesome info how to test for voltage drop and other tests.


May 03, 2017 | Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

2nd newly rebuilt alternator burning out.

Due to the nature of the battery technology used with vehicles the alternator is mostly incapable of charging the battery. The car alternator is designed to keep a fully charged battery fully charged and to provide all the power for the car equipment.

The alternator charge rate is regulated by a voltage regulator. Because the alternator output is connected to the battery, the alternator and battery voltage will be the same and the voltage regulator monitors that voltage.

The lower the battery voltage the more output the alternator will produce in order to correct the situation but because a lead acid battery has a high internal resistance to accepting a charge the terminal voltage will quickly rise to the alternator regulated voltage and fool the alternator into thinking the battery is fully charged when the output will drop to the order of just a couple of amps.

Switch on the headlights or a similar load that will lower the battery voltage and the alternator will increase it's output again - but only by the amount of current the headlamps or other load is consuming.
It matters not what the alternator rated maximum output is, it is designed to provide only the necessary current and no more.

The only time an alternator should ever need to produce maximum output is when on a dedicated testbed and then only for a short duration to avoid damaging the unit. Testing the current output on a modern vehicle is not recommended except for the regulated voltage testing and a rule-of-thumb output test where all equipment is switched on and the engine speed raised while the battery voltage is monitored.

Most modern alternators use an internal voltage regulator but a few systems use a separate voltage regulator. No alternator rebuild would be complete without a regulator test and probably a new or replacement regulator, which is where the majority of charging system problems are, or the brush gear.
Assuming the wiring is ok, no alternator should suffer any harm if the voltage regulator and auxilliary diodes (if fitted) are in good order though fitting a defective or a discharged battery can cause it to overheat and be damaged.

The alternator usually just about stops producing an output when the battery voltage is in the region of 14.5/14.8 volts.
Your description indicates the voltage regulator is not working correctly - unless 40 amps was being consumed by the car equipment the alternator should not have been producing 40 amps.. I suggest you also have your battery tested

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New battery keeps going dead no low voltage light

Have the vehicle taken to one of many places that will test the Alternator output etc--narrow it down first without replacing that.

Voltage may drop enough to prevent starting without triggering the low voltage issue.

Jun 14, 2012 | 1997 Ford Escort

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1991 park avenue change starter,alternator and battery, but battery light still on

I've had those machines says alternators are good when they really weren't; first try starting the car and disconnect the positive battery cable while it is running, don't touch the cable to anything, just hold it in the air... if the car stalls then the alternator is no good. "only do this for a few seconds, no more than 10 seconds"

The first thing you need to do is check for voltage at the back of the alternator. There is a big wire that bolts to the back of it and it should have battery voltage to it at all times. Check that wire for voltage, if it has voltage then I can help you go deeper to see what needs to be done. The voltage regulator is inside the alternator. Keep in mind that, on alternator replacement, the wires are not replaced with the alternator and could have a short.

Hope this helps and just keep in mind that your feedback is important and I'll appreciate your time and consideration if you leave some testimonial comment about this answer.

Thank you for using FixYa.

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My car keeps loosing power. i replaced the battery and the altinator and the battery just wont stay charged for long.


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I have a 1996 grand am gt v6. While driving this morning the heater fan slowed and the battery light came on. tested the Battery and it was 12.5 vdc not running, but running it was 11.5 vdc. I think it...

Yes it is the alternator, running should have no less then 13.5 volt's, not running your voltage was battery volt's which was good voltage, running was less due to battery running every thing and not the alternator, replace it will be fine.Hope this was very helpful.

Jan 19, 2010 | 1996 Pontiac Grand Am

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Battery wont hold charge, trying to determine if anything else should be assessed before replacing the alternator.

Get a volt meter and check alternator voltage at battery while engine running, should have no less then 13.5 volts, if you have good voltage at battery, disconnect battery terminal neg. hook test light at cable (neg) and at battery, make sure every thing is off and door's are close if test light lights up you have a battery draw you'll need to fine short.

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Electricall problem w/2002 V6 mazda tribute

When that light comes on, it is indicating charging system problem which could mean alternator not charging for one reason or another like loose belt, faulty alternator, or yes, bad battery or connection at battery, for example. First & easiest thing to do is check all your connections to battery, which you've probably done, and make sure they're tight & clean. Make sure belt driving alternator is good & tight, and in good shape. Now boost the vehicle to get it going & test voltage at battery, after you take cables off. My guess is in your case, the voltage will begin to go down, indicating a bad alternator, that will need to be replaced.

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