2001 Chevy Silverado POWER TO TRUCK

Tiny
SCOTT FRIEDMAN
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 CHEVROLET SILVERADO
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 116,000 MILES
WHEN STARTING MY TRUCK THE VOLTS METER BOUNCES BACK AND FORTH - AND SOMETIMES THE TRUCK WILL STOP RUNNING. ALSO SEEM TO BE DRAINING MY BATTERY - LIGHTS GO DIMM IF NOT COMPLETELY OUT - BATTERY IS NEW AND ALTERNATOR IS CHECKED OUT FINE. ?
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Tuesday, May 11th, 2010 AT 11:04 AM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Hi SCOTT FRIEDMAN. Welcome to the forum. It is real common for these generators to be intermittent so you have to catch it while it's acting up to do a test on it. When it acts up next time, use a cheap digital voltmeter to measure the voltage on the small red wire plugged into the side of the generator. If it is around 2.0 volts, it means the internal voltage regulator is grounding that wire to turn on the red warning light on the dash. If you find full battery voltage, measure the voltage on the large wire bolted to the back of the generator. If it's around 12.0 to 12.6 volts, the generator is not working. (The engine must be running, of course).

If you find 0 volts on the small red wire, suspect a break in the wire between that plug and the warning light on the dash. Two common places for the break to occur are at the firewall connector and on the flexible printed circuit on the back of the instrument cluster. Those breaks on the cluster can be hard to see. You might need an ohm meter to narrow it down.

99 percent chance the generator is defective. There's no kind way to say it, this unit is a pile. GM had the second best generator in the world up through 1986. With the new design that started in 1987, it is common to go through four or more generators in the life of the vehicle. Since yours appears to be intermittent, I would suspect worn brushes. There are other more common failures that involve the special "zener" diodes needed to dampen the voltage spikes these generators produce. What more and more mechanics are finding is they can reduce the number of repeat failures by replacing the battery at the same time as they replace the generator. Your old battery will work fine in older cars, but as they get older, the battery's "internal resistance" goes up which reduces its ability to absorb those voltage spikes. Since you've already replaced the battery, you should have no trouble with a new generator.

Caradiodoc
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Tuesday, May 11th, 2010 AT 2:16 PM
Tiny
SCOTT FRIEDMAN
  • MEMBER
THE BATTERY WAS DRAINED AND IS RECHARGING, NEW BELT, HAD THE GENORATOR CHECKED AND WAS HITTING IN THE MIDDLE OF GREEN/GOOD AREA - SHOULD I STILL RECHECK THE WIRE COMING OFFF BACK? ALSO STARTER WIRE IS TIGHT BUT HAS SOME SMALL CORRISION ON IT.
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Tuesday, May 11th, 2010 AT 4:57 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You have to do any testing when the problem is acting up. It sounds like you might not actually have a charging problem because the lights should not go out completely. They should only dim a little because they will still be running off the battery.

Use an inexpensive digital voltmeter to measure the voltage right across the battery terminals while the engine is running. It must be between 13.75 and 14.75 volts. If it is low or fluctuating, move the probe on the positive terminal to the fat wire bolted to the back of the generator to see if it's doing the same thing there.

If the voltage is steady and within the acceptable range, but the lights are still going dim, there is a wiring problem somewhere else. In particular, check the connections at the under-hood fuse box.

Caradiodoc
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Tuesday, May 11th, 2010 AT 6:31 PM

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