CHEVROLET VAN BATTERY PROBLEM
1995 Chevrolet Van • 223,000 miles
Where do I locate the voltage regulator for my 1995 Chevy G30 HD Van- 5.7L V8 Gas? I have been told various things like it's mounted to the alternator or it's built-into the alternator. Nobody will give me a straight answer. Is it EXTERNAL or not, and if so where is it located at? Running fine except when I turn on a variety of electrical items like driving lights, heat/fan and park lights all at once. Voltmeter shows battery staying charged (without use of other electrical items) at 12-13V and while running tests at 14.6V. Turn on the headlights/park lights and the voltage drops when it should go up in charging value to what my book says of 15-17V. In other words it's not upping the voltage to accommodate the extra power draws and charge the battery too. Internal Voltmeter (dash) drops to 1/4 from the normal halfway mark when adding draw to the system. Based on what I have read it's the voltage regulator, but now I need to know where it's located at to change it. The image provided is what every parts house says is in my vehicle.
December 28, 2012.
December 28, 2012.
Your voltage regulator is indeed inside the generator and is extremely difficult to service. The entire assembly is a very poor design since they introduced it in the 1987 model year. It's predecessor, described here:
was a very nice unit. GM has always built assemblies that are expensive to replace but don't require much troubleshooting. Other manufacturers build theirs to be serviced. For example, I replaced the nine-dollar brush assembly on my '88 Grand Caravan's alternator last year in less than an hour. Many Chrysler alternators can be repaired without even removing them from the engine. A lot of Fords were the same way in the '90s. Sorry to say that's not the case with yours. To get to the voltage regulator inside the rear case housing there's a plastic plate in the way and no way to remove it without unsoldering the three heavy stator wires, (through the slots in the housing), that are attached to very flimsy sheet metal tabs on the diode block. Most of the time you'll break some of those tabs off so the diode block will be junk, (which it sounds like yours is already), AND there is no way provided by GM to test or bypass the regulator, like they did in their much better older design, so you have no way of knowing which part is bad. It takes way too much work to get it apart so you will want to replace the regulator and the diode block to insure you don't have to do the job a second time.
Additionally, they have had a lot of trouble with the front bearing seizing up and causing the serpentine belt to burn off. You'll want to replace that too. At first these generators were not designed to be repaired, just replaced, but some tool manufacturers developed tools to get them apart, then other suppliers started making replacement parts. The problem is by the time you get done replacing all the parts and hope you didn't make a mistake, you'll have almost as much in it as you would pay for a professionally-rebuilt unit with a warranty.
The next thing to be aware of is your original failure most likely is due to the battery. Because of the design of these generators, they develop huge voltage spikes that will destroy the voltage regulator, those diodes, and they can interfere with engine computer sensor signals and cause weird running problems that defy diagnosis. Part of the battery's job is to dampen and absorb those spikes, but as they age, they lose their ability to do that. If your battery is more than about two years old, replace it to reduce the chance of a repeat failure. When people don't replace the battery, it is common to go through four to six replacement generators in the life of the vehicle. If your battery is fairly new, it is most likely a diode was destroyed a while ago when the old battery was still in the truck, and you're just seeing the symptoms now.
Dec 28, 2012.
Dec 28, 2012.
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