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Ignition switch and wiring issues


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This is the ignition switch connector on my 65. Batt wire terminal appears burnt. This all started with my Vintage Air heater just quitting, then randomly start back working again. Jiggled some wires under the dash and the whole car just quit and wouldnt restart, just sit there and spin over. I need to hook a test light and see if it's getting power to the switch, but it was pretty cold yesterday. Car eventually started after jiggling wires again, but is it a safe bet the switch is shot, and where does the other end of that red batt wire go, the horn relay? Also to top it off, noticed the cable from horn relay to starter is toast with a lot of rotted insulation and the windings are actually turning green with corrosion, so I ordered another from Lectric Limited. Any thoughts or ideas on the switch/heater issue? Possibly directly related?

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2 hours ago, jframe said:

This is the ignition switch connector on my 65. Batt wire terminal appears burnt. This all started with my Vintage Air heater just quitting, then randomly start back working again. Jiggled some wires under the dash and the whole car just quit and wouldnt restart, just sit there and spin over. I need to hook a test light and see if it's getting power to the switch, but it was pretty cold yesterday. Car eventually started after jiggling wires again, but is it a safe bet the switch is shot, and where does the other end of that red batt wire go, the horn relay? Also to top it off, noticed the cable from horn relay to starter is toast with a lot of rotted insulation and the windings are actually turning green with corrosion, so I ordered another from Lectric Limited. Any thoughts or ideas on the switch/heater issue? Possibly directly related?

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Hi Mark,

  Do a search on this forum. A year or two ago there was a thorough discussion in which I posted pics of several wiring harnesses and fuse boxes which exhibited typical overheating issues, etc...long story short, there is no accessory relay as in modern cars so the switched amp load is carried to the fuse box through the ignition switch. The heating and cooling cycles of the amp load cause the tension of the female connecting terminals to diminish and as the connections become compromised the resistance goes up and causes overheating issues like burnt wiring and connectors. Electrical connections must always be clean, bright and TIGHT! Do a search. you`ll find it informative and should answer most if not all your questions,

Tom

 

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Ok started the car tonight with the ignition switch and keys dangling out of the dash. Started up and ran, but when I let go of the switch and keys, it dies. My test light lit up when I pulled the connector off and put the probe on the bat red wire port.  Does this rwd bat wire run to the bottom of the fuse box? Tom I read your responses on the thread you suggested to me and I am inclined to think this is where that wire ends up. Also, the amp light comes on and stays on with the car running. Alternator is less than a year old, but the regulator is the original from what I can see. Got a new regulator coming today as a precaution, along with that battery cable to the starter. Thanks for your replies and patience. I'm jist a parts man at heart, and electrical is like Chinese arithmetic to me.

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Mark, any progress?

It appears you might have more than one issue with your wiring. What year Riviera? All original? A multi-meter is a must when trouble-shooting.

I'd say removing your ignition switch, re-inserting the lock and testing for continuity from BAT to various contacts according to switch position is a starting point. IGN-1 is 'ON' and IGN-2 is 'Start'

The connector appears to be in rough shape. Releasing each contact from the connector 1-at-1 time, cleaning and re-inserting so they lock into place is a good idea while the switch is out.

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On 1/23/2021 at 2:29 PM, XframeFX said:

Mark, any progress?

It appears you might have more than one issue with your wiring. What year Riviera? All original? A multi-meter is a must when trouble-shooting.

I'd say removing your ignition switch, re-inserting the lock and testing for continuity from BAT to various contacts according to switch position is a starting point. IGN-1 is 'ON' and IGN-2 is 'Start'

The connector appears to be in rough shape. Releasing each contact from the connector 1-at-1 time, cleaning and re-inserting so they lock into place is a good idea while the switch is out.

Had a wiring guru look at it last night. Car read 12.7 volts with battery disconnected, no matter where you ground the voltmeter, so it's hot all the time. Finally started pulling wires one at a time from horn relay, and discovered when you undo the one for the Vintage Air thats positive, and the red wire that bolts to the bulkhead connector at the firewall, that the voltage drops to zero then, doing the same test. He seems to think it's a short, maybe two, up in the dash. BTW, the car is a 65 that has the Vintage Air in place of the factory unit, and a Custom Autosound stereo.

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1 hour ago, jframe said:

Had a wiring guru look at it last night. Car read 12.7 volts with battery disconnected, no matter where you ground the voltmeter, so it's hot all the time. Finally started pulling wires one at a time from horn relay, and discovered when you undo the one for the Vintage Air thats positive, and the red wire that bolts to the bulkhead connector at the firewall, that the voltage drops to zero then, doing the same test. He seems to think it's a short, maybe two, up in the dash. BTW, the car is a 65 that has the Vintage Air in place of the factory unit, and a Custom Autosound stereo.

What you said makes no sense.......all the voltage on your car's electrical system comes from the battery. when you

disconnect the battery everything on the car has to be dead. Your vintage air system doesn 't have it's own battery generating voltage.

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51 minutes ago, Seafoam65 said:

What you said makes no sense.......all the voltage on your car's electrical system comes from the battery. when you

disconnect the battery everything on the car has to be dead. Your vintage air system doesn 't have it's own battery generating voltage.

The ground cable was off the battery when he was testing it. He touched the positive on the meter to the positive on the battery, and the ground on the voltmeter to several different points on the engine, the master cylinder, ps pump, air cleaner stud, and so on. The meter kept showing 12.7 or so. He said the car was "hot" everywhere. Like I said, I have hell of a time understanding electrical. Bench tested the alternator Saturday, and it showed 14.5 on the sheet, but the AMP light is on when the car is cranked. Swapped voltage regulators from new to original and back again with no difference. It gets more confusing to me by the minute.

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54 minutes ago, Seafoam65 said:

What you said makes no sense.......all the voltage on your car's electrical system comes from the battery. when you

disconnect the battery everything on the car has to be dead. Your vintage air system doesn 't have it's own battery generating voltage.

Agree with your observation. If the OP goes to VintageAir’s website under the ‘Builders’ area, you can download a copy of the Installation manual and it includes wiring diagrams. Should be 3 wires if a Magnum 4 series, 1 red to Positive and 2 white to Negative. There should not be any other wires that are not going to the evaporator or compressor. 
 

Ray

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21 minutes ago, BulldogDriver said:

Agree with your observation. If the OP goes to VintageAir’s website under the ‘Builders’ area, you can download a copy of the Installation manual and it includes wiring diagrams. Should be 3 wires if a Magnum 4 series, 1 red to Positive and 2 white to Negative. There should not be any other wires that are not going to the evaporator or compressor. 
 

Ray

The red wire comes from the Vintage Air circuit breaker and terminates at the horn relay, and the white wire actually is hooked to the negative battery terminal.

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When he was testing it was there absolutely nothing hooked to the negative post of the battery? If that

is the case, it would be impossible for the car to show voltage anywhere. For the master cylinder

to ground a voltmeter there has to be a path from there to the negative battery post.

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)
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Trouble-shooting can be confusing. Don't under estimate your abilities. In your assessment, are your symptoms related to 1 problem or do you have several problems? Keep that in mind when trouble-shooting.

I use process of elimination. I'd remove AC off horn relay and neg. battery post when doing checks.

 

Check V @ Horn Relay with engine running. 14 Vdc? 

Note, Amp light is not grounded but floating. It should see the same volts on each side other wise it will illuminate if there is a difference (as in engine at 0 RPM). A regular 194 bulb for the AMP light I hope, no LED here.

Back to your Ign Switch. With switch in RUN, IGN-1 and ACC contacts should be closed for Amp light to remain off when charging (engine running of course)

 

With an original External V. Regulator, your Alternator should be a 10DN type. It has a sq. connector for F & R plugged into it.

 

Good Luck Mark!

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A good reference for Riviera wiring is on eBay by Classiccarwiring. They have laminated diagrams for all Gen 1 Rivieras and show where the wiring originated from. FYI, they do not show all options that could be installed on your car, nor do they show the wiring installed for options that are not in use. Between the laminated diagram and the one in the factory service manual, I was able to trace all of the circuits in my car and verify a sound wiring harness with good connections.

 

Ray

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I can relate since we both have 63s Ray. The shop manual has it all on 1-page. The 64 shop manual has it across 2-pages.

Mark is trouble-shooting a '65 which has a different bulkhead connector. I'm not intimate with '65 wiring harnesses.

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1 hour ago, BulldogDriver said:

A good reference for Riviera wiring is on eBay by Classiccarwiring. They have laminated diagrams for all Gen 1 Rivieras and show where the wiring originated from. FYI, they do not show all options that could be installed on your car, nor do they show the wiring installed for options that are not in use. Between the laminated diagram and the one in the factory service manual, I was able to trace all of the circuits in my car and verify a sound wiring harness with good connections.

 

Ray

I have just got one of those charts

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1 hour ago, XframeFX said:

Trouble-shooting can be confusing. Don't under estimate your abilities. In your assessment, are your symptoms related to 1 problem or do you have several problems? Keep that in mind when trouble-shooting.

I use process of elimination. I'd remove AC off horn relay and neg. battery post when doing checks.

 

Check V @ Horn Relay with engine running. 14 Vdc? 

Note, Amp light is not grounded but floating. It should see the same volts on each side other wise it will illuminate if there is a difference (as in engine at 0 RPM). A regular 194 bulb for the AMP light I hope, no LED here.

Back to your Ign Switch. With switch in RUN, IGN-1 and ACC contacts should be closed for Amp light to remain off when charging (engine running of course)

 

With an original External V. Regulator, your Alternator should be a 10DN type. It has a sq. connector for F & R plugged into it.

 

Good Luck Mark!

Your suggestion of removing the AC wiring completely and testing was what was on my mind as well. Guy told me not to hook battery back up it may catch fire. But I'm willing to try, I ran it to operatimg temp in the garage on Saturday.

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38 minutes ago, jframe said:

Your suggestion of removing the AC wiring completely and testing was what was on my mind as well. Guy told me not to hook battery back up it may catch fire. But I'm willing to try, I ran it to operatimg temp in the garage on Saturday.

Hi Mark,

  From your description I`m assuming your mechanic was checking for a dead short?

  Have you repaired the connectors at the ignition switch and hooked things up? If you did, when you hooked up the battery was there an audible "snap" or a spark to indiate a draw?

Tom

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1 hour ago, 1965rivgs said:

Hi Mark,

  From your description I`m assuming your mechanic was checking for a dead short?

  Have you repaired the connectors at the ignition switch and hooked things up? If you did, when you hooked up the battery was there an audible "snap" or a spark to indiate a draw?

Tom

Waiting on a new connector for that switch from Best Offer Counts. Its in the mail now. You dont think there would be a fire danger if I start the car and check at that horn relay like I was describing?

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  There is a possibility of meltdown if you have a dead short. Make the necessary repairs at the ignition switch first. It makes sense to repair what you know is bad, right? If you have reason to believe the stereo or the aftermarket AC system are shorted, disconnect the power feed for those before connecting the battery. After connecting the battery (you may want to connect the battery at the ground on the PS pump or the junction block on the fenderwell in case something else is shorted, temporarily touch the power leads for both the radio and AC system one at a time and see if they snap or throw a spark (not in close proximity to the battery) to test for a dead short.

  I dont know your electronic guru but it sounds to me like you guys are chasing your tails and guessing....I dont know, I wasnt there, just a vibe I`m getting. Fix what you know needs attention first and progress from there. For instance, your AMP light can be a symptom of your wiring issues at the ignition switch.

Good luck!

Tom

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On 1/25/2021 at 11:04 PM, 1965rivgs said:

  There is a possibility of meltdown if you have a dead short. Make the necessary repairs at the ignition switch first. It makes sense to repair what you know is bad, right? If you have reason to believe the stereo or the aftermarket AC system are shorted, disconnect the power feed for those before connecting the battery. After connecting the battery (you may want to connect the battery at the ground on the PS pump or the junction block on the fenderwell in case something else is shorted, temporarily touch the power leads for both the radio and AC system one at a time and see if they snap or throw a spark (not in close proximity to the battery) to test for a dead short.

  I dont know your electronic guru but it sounds to me like you guys are chasing your tails and guessing....I dont know, I wasnt there, just a vibe I`m getting. Fix what you know needs attention first and progress from there. For instance, your AMP light can be a symptom of your wiring issues at the ignition switch.

Good luck!

Tom

These are my wires after disconnecting from the ignition switch plug. The last one is the battery wire in the melted housing before I got it out. When it came out, I had to bed and break the plastic to remove it and it had like white piwder corrosion. Going to put on a new plastic connector this weekend and a new terminal on the battery wire as well. Question is, how do the other wires look condition wise to you? They seem to look in decent shape, at least at the ends in these pics. Like you said, gonna try to fix what is obviously broke first and see if the amp light goes out. Got Vintage Air completely disconnected at the circuit breaker it has and at horn relay and battery as well, just to try to isolate issues. The red wire is the one that melted the connector.

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Edited by jframe (see edit history)
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  Hard to tell from these pics but keep in mind sometimes corrosion or charring from overheating sets up between the wiring and connector inside the crimp. As a tech, I would replace all the connectors because I have the correct tools to do factory type crimps and I`m very good at it. But from a novice perspective probably best to change the connector on the red wire and re-use the others. HOWEVER, in the long term, after you are satisfied basic function, get rid of those blue scotch lock connectors.

Tom

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My thoughts exactly on doing the one red wire. I bought a pair of crimpers yesterday at Harbor Freight, and ordered the terminals from Oreilly and Dorman. Tom, I'm with you on doing away with that Scotch lock and the butt connector as well. I think it would be better to put those wires together and heat shrink them. Fixed an alternator wire back in the spring that way, and it just seems more professional. If it's not just freezing cold this weekend, I'm doing the red wire terminal and new plug, then see if that pesky amp light goes out and go from there.

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Mark, no doubt that Red #10 wire could benefit from a re-crimp as it appears 'cooked' about an inch back from the connector. However, doing so will make it shorter than the others and will bear the most stress. It is live 12V!

Unless cutting back to that wire tap and doing a quality splice to the original length, I'd focus on your ignition switch. Crimping on a female Series-56 connector with dual cavity jaws is do-able for #14 - 18 wire size. But, #10 wire?

I've been unable to source GM Packard Series-56 or 58 connectors for big gauge wire. You want the correct connector for a quality crimp, again, because of live 12V. Also, I slip on a piece of adhesive lined shrink tube first before crimping any connector. If there are clearance restrictions, it can always be cut off.

If that Red wire has no broken strands, I'd dip the connector in muriatic acid to clean it up and focus on the switch. You indicated you had to hold on to the key to keep it running. Did you check the contacts at different switch positions? A new (not used) Ignition Switch will eliminate any doubt. Offerings from Corvair.com will work?

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On 2/2/2021 at 12:17 PM, XframeFX said:

Mark, no doubt that Red #10 wire could benefit from a re-crimp as it appears 'cooked' about an inch back from the connector. However, doing so will make it shorter than the others and will bear the most stress. It is live 12V!

Unless cutting back to that wire tap and doing a quality splice to the original length, I'd focus on your ignition switch. Crimping on a female Series-56 connector with dual cavity jaws is do-able for #14 - 18 wire size. But, #10 wire?

I've been unable to source GM Packard Series-56 or 58 connectors for big gauge wire. You want the correct connector for a quality crimp, again, because of live 12V. Also, I slip on a piece of adhesive lined shrink tube first before crimping any connector. If there are clearance restrictions, it can always be cut off.

If that Red wire has no broken strands, I'd dip the connector in muriatic acid to clean it up and focus on the switch. You indicated you had to hold on to the key to keep it running. Did you check the contacts at different switch positions? A new (not used) Ignition Switch will eliminate any doubt. Offerings from Corvair.com will work?

image.png.7c5566c1610654e6b04e015f9879fb99.png

I don't have to hold the key to make it work, I had to hold the whole shebang up to keep it running because it's not installed in the dash hole right now, it's just hanging down. I found a guy here locally that builds rods, does Vintage Air installs, and seems to be fairly sharp when I talked to him on the phone. I think it's in my best interest to trailer the car to him, since he is close by, and this car is just too nice for me and my inexperienced electrical troubleshooting to carry too far. I told him I wanted the ignition switch harness redone, the Vintage Air issue with just dying out found and fixed, and the AMP light issue with the charging problem fixed. He said to call him Monday; he was putting a new Hemi engine in an old Dodge truck, and was wiring it all up, but might be able to get mine in next week and try to fix me up. Hopefully, this will get me back on the road. I tried an NOS ignition switch that was still in the GM box, and had exactly the same issues, so there is definitely a wiring/shortage/ground issue somewhere I believe.

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1 hour ago, jframe said:

I don't have to hold the key to make it work, I had to hold the whole shebang up to keep it running because it's not installed in the dash hole right now, it's just hanging down. I found a guy here locally that builds rods, does Vintage Air installs, and seems to be fairly sharp when I talked to him on the phone. I think it's in my best interest to trailer the car to him, since he is close by, and this car is just too nice for me and my inexperienced electrical troubleshooting to carry too far. I told him I wanted the ignition switch harness redone, the Vintage Air issue with just dying out found and fixed, and the AMP light issue with the charging problem fixed. He said to call him Monday; he was putting a new Hemi engine in an old Dodge truck, and was wiring it all up, but might be able to get mine in next week and try to fix me up. Hopefully, this will get me back on the road. I tried an NOS ignition switch that was still in the GM box, and had exactly the same issues, so there is definitely a wiring/shortage/ground issue somewhere I believe.

  Show him the pics of the switched and unswitched leads to the busbars on the back of the fusebox in the past thread I referred you to.

Tom

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18 hours ago, 1965rivgs said:

  Show him the pics of the switched and unswitched leads to the busbars on the back of the fusebox in the past thread I referred you to.

Tom

Will do. Brown and red, correct?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Little update. Got a friend who is a master tech to install CORRECTLY a good pigtail I got from Steve Lorenzen. Soldered everything and heat shrinked the repairs. Eliminated the cloth covered resistance wire, and car fired right up. Still got an amp light on steady. Now that the car is running, he checked at the alternator and battery. Alternator only showing 12.26 with engine on and battery was showing same. I know O'Reilly's bench checked the alternator and got 14 or so, but we are really thinking it could be bad anyway. Turn on all the lights and load it up, and the meter drops to 12.18 or so at the battery. Remove the ground cable and it dies. I know the battery cable from horn relay to starter is toast and I have a new one to go on from lectric limited. Meter showed a big drop on that bad cable as well with engine on. Dont know if its related, but it sure aint helping. Do y'all think its worthwhile to swap that alternator just to see what happens? I know all the parts house ones are not as good as what came on it, but I was thinking it might be worth a try. Left the switch out for now til I get things going, but I'm going to tape the wires in a bundle and get them back up in the dash. At least we got rid of the taped and butt connected stuff along with the Scotch lock.

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Find an auto electric place that rebuilds starters and alternators and have them go through it. You may just have a bad diode in there that can be replaced. Keep the original unit if at all possible.

 

Jim

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24 minutes ago, Jim Cannon said:

Find an auto electric place that rebuilds starters and alternators and have them go through it. You may just have a bad diode in there that can be replaced. Keep the original unit if at all possible.

 

Jim

Well, it's an O'reilly unit on it now. I had to remove the one that was on it due to the batt post on the back breaking off because the nut was frozen up. Hindsight is 20/20; should have held onto it and paid the core.

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Mark,

  Give your master tech the shop manual. There are very clear and thorough troubleshooting instructions which should include full fielding the alternator IN THE CAR to isolate and observe alternator output.

  Make sure all your terminals at the voltage regulator pigtail are clean and making good contact.

  Clean, bright and tight!

Tom

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23 minutes ago, 1965rivgs said:

Mark,

  Give your master tech the shop manual. There are very clear and thorough troubleshooting instructions which should include full fielding the alternator IN THE CAR to isolate and observe alternator output.

  Make sure all your terminals at the voltage regulator pigtail are clean and making good contact.

  Clean, bright and tight!

Tom

10-4. Y'all have been EXTREMELY helpful through this whole process. Hopefully, I can get somewhere now with that ignition switch harness redone.

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11 hours ago, jframe said:

Little update. Got a friend who is a master tech to install CORRECTLY a good pigtail I got from Steve Lorenzen. Soldered everything and heat shrinked the repairs. Eliminated the cloth covered resistance wire, and car fired right up. Still got an amp light on steady. Now that the car is running, he checked at the alternator and battery. Alternator only showing 12.26 with engine on and battery was showing same. I know O'Reilly's bench checked the alternator and got 14 or so, but we are really thinking it could be bad anyway. Turn on all the lights and load it up, and the meter drops to 12.18 or so at the battery. Remove the ground cable and it dies. I know the battery cable from horn relay to starter is toast and I have a new one to go on from lectric limited. Meter showed a big drop on that bad cable as well with engine on. Dont know if its related, but it sure aint helping. Do y'all think its worthwhile to swap that alternator just to see what happens? I know all the parts house ones are not as good as what came on it, but I was thinking it might be worth a try. Left the switch out for now til I get things going, but I'm going to tape the wires in a bundle and get them back up in the dash. At least we got rid of the taped and butt connected stuff along with the Scotch lock.

 

Mark,

 

I had the same problem 3 or 4 years ago as you are having with your battery/alternator. To make a long story short. Several components were replaced with no solution. The old components were tested, including the alternator and they tested good. It ended up to be the solution that Tom had suggested, clean, tight and bright. My problem was caused by the connections at the alternator. They looked good with a visual inspection but, were bad. My mechanic clipped off the old connectors and redid them. Problem solved and no problems since. 

 

Bill

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Usually when a battery cable is removed while the car is running, & dies which it's supposed to do, one of the diodes in the alternator INSTANTLY goes bad.  It's not a big deal to replace diodes.

 

Tom T.

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1 hour ago, telriv said:

Usually when a battery cable is removed while the car is running, & dies which it's supposed to do, one of the diodes in the alternator INSTANTLY goes bad.  It's not a big deal to replace diodes.

 

Tom T.

Yep, I've heard that before too. Thing is, this thing was only showing 12.25 at the battery post BEFORE he removed the cable.

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Two things - 1) The AMP Light will illuminate when there's a differential voltage or if the voltage is below setpoint. 2) Have you considered updating to a 10SI Alternator? It has a dedicated terminal (#1) for the AMP Light.

 

My 10DN Alternator made a racket at startup. I learned this after installing 2 shorter V-Belts bypassing the A6 Compressor and still had the noise. At the wreckers, I stumbled upon a dual groove 10SI 61A Alternator on a '78 LeSabre for $26. A low mileage OE original. To install, I believe jumpering terminals F & 3, 2 & 4 at the voltage regulator was all it took. Also, piggy-backed a red #8 charge wire on top of the original #10 wire. The boot had to be kept back but, no more noise.

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Swapped to a new alternator today, and now the amp light is on at idle, but goes out when I rev it up. Put on a new Napa voltage reg at the same time. I am tending to think like XframeFX; an ipgraded internal regulator alternator may be in the future. One thing I DID notice is that I cant get the two wire connector to click into place on the alternator, so I ordered a new pigtail for it today. That may also be a source of trouble.

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6 hours ago, jframe said:

Swapped to a new alternator today, and now the amp light is on at idle, but goes out when I rev it up. Put on a new Napa voltage reg at the same time. I am tending to think like XframeFX; an ipgraded internal regulator alternator may be in the future. One thing I DID notice is that I cant get the two wire connector to click into place on the alternator, so I ordered a new pigtail for it today. That may also be a source of trouble.

 

Mark-

Is the new voltage regulator mechanical or electronic?

 

I went fully electronic many years ago and the charging system has been rock solid (knock on wood).

 

:D

 

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1 hour ago, Jim Cannon said:

 

Mark-

Is the new voltage regulator mechanical or electronic?

 

I went fully electronic many years ago and the charging system has been rock solid (knock on wood).

 

:D

 

It's a standard replacement. Car acts like the belts aren't tight enough, but they appear to be as snug as they were before the alternator swap, at least to me. Jim, I may try your suggestion as well. Still got to get under this thing and replace that battery cable from the horn relay to starter.

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