The good news is, I think I may have found the problem but I won't know for sure until after tomorrow. This past Saturday, I was working on it and tried to crank it, but of course, it had been sitting for a while and needed jump starting. It did without any trouble. I checked the battery with my meter and it was only showing 10.5 volts, no surprise there. I then decided to check on the output from the alternator to the battery with the engine running and was still only getting about 10.5 volts.
I thought, maybe, just maybe this was the part of the problem, hoping it would be all of it, but knew better than that. I took the battery and alternator up to the auto parts store and had them check them out and they both checked out bad so I bought a re-manufactured alternator and a new battery.
Got them home, reconnected everything and to my surprise, was only getting 11.5 volts to the battery when it was running. I thought maybe, just maybe the alternator was bad, but before taking it back, I decided to check the main output wire from the alternator to the battery while running and was also getting 11.5. I then disconnected it all and checked the main output wire to the battery and was still getting 11.5. I then checked the regulator wire with the engine running and was getting 11.5. With the alternator out of the loop though, when I turned the ignition to on, the AC/Heat blower began blowing and my electric windows started working. I thought this to be interesting.
So, I took the alternator back and they checked it out and it checked out fine; no problem. They were puzzled why it wasn't working in the van and also were puzzled about the accessories suddenly working. I brought the alternator back home and hooked it up and still got the same results, about 11.5 volts with engine running. I also noticed though that sometimes when I cranked it, the AC/Heater blower would work, sometimes it wouldn't.
I then began looking at the wiring harness on the steering column, remember, I have the whole dash loose/out and the steering column is dropped. With the ignition on, I could wiggle this wiring harness on the column and the fans would come on and go off. Also the power windows would work fine; I suspect that if everything else was connected, it would work too. This harness is the ignition switch according to Chevrolet and looking at it, you can see it has a burnt spot and the connector is weak in some places. It got hot at some point in time. I have ordered this part and it will be in, in the morning.
Well my testing is done since I don't think I can crank it although I may try later and move it into the garage. The parts guy says that this will cause electrical issues like I'm experiencing but should have no effect whatsoever on the alternator issue.
So there's the bad news, I may have found the original problem and may have it fixed, but in doing so, I have found the alternator is not working even after replacing it. Any ideas on the alternator? Could the ignition switch interact someway to keep the alternator from producing voltage? I know it seems unlikely, but there's not much to the alternator hookup, certainly a lot less than what I've been through so far.
Monday, November 5th, 2007 AT 11:58 AM