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Ammeter dance

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  • Ammeter dance

    For the last week or so, my ammeter has been doing a strange dance in the mornings. It'll jump from charge (first tic), to discharge (first tic). Also, the lights seems to be brighter, then dimmer[}]. It'll really do it bad when I first start out in the morning and becomes less noticable when I'm on the interstate. It'll finally settle down to the middle of the gauge or slightly on charge. It's much less noticable in the daytime when the headlights are off.

    It's a 65 Cruiser with the 194 six. Within the last 6 months I've replaced both the alternator and the voltage regulator.

    Is this a bad voltage regulator? I've checked all the connections and all are tight. I still have my old regulator and it was okay when I removed it, I just replaced it when I replaced the alternator.

    ________________________
    Mark Anderson
    1965 Cruiser
    http://home.alltel.net/anderm


  • #2
    Did you check the wires going to your ampmeter? It they are ok I would try the old regulator.

    GARY H 2DR.SEDAN 48 STUDEBAKER CHAMPION NORTHEAST MD.

    Comment


    • #3
      If it was just the headlights, I'd finger the regulator, but the charge/discharge oscillation sure sounds like classic symptoms of an alternator going south.


      [img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

      Clark in San Diego
      '63 Lark Standard
      http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

      Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

      Comment


      • #4
        It's definitely worse with the headlights on, but of course that's the biggest drain. I don't notice the needed jiggling in the daytime.

        I just replaced the alternator 6 months ago--sure hope it's not that again[}]

        quote:Originally posted by showbizkid

        If it was just the headlights, I'd finger the regulator, but the charge/discharge oscillation sure sounds like classic symptoms of an alternator going south.


        [img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

        Clark in San Diego
        '63 Lark Standard
        http://studeblogger.blogspot.com
        ________________________
        Mark Anderson
        1965 Cruiser
        http://home.alltel.net/anderm

        Comment


        • #5
          I had something similar happen in my '64 Daytona when the lights were on, but I never really figured out what the issue was. My '66 Cruiser began having some erratic ammeter readings and I found two things going on. The first was that one of the wire connectors to the voltage regulator had so much metal fatigue that is was cracked and when I just moved it a little to inspect the wiring it broke right off! Fixing that helped some, but I also found that I had no ground wire hooked up to the alternator. It still worked, but I guess it wasn't really hooked up completely. Once that wire was re-attached to the alternator my ammeter acted normally with no more sudden jumps either way. I hope that helps.
          "Madness...is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks. I'm going to go over all the wiring thoroughly this afternoon again.

            quote:Originally posted by Scott

            I had something similar happen in my '64 Daytona when the lights were on, but I never really figured out what the issue was. My '66 Cruiser began having some erratic ammeter readings and I found two things going on. The first was that one of the wire connectors to the voltage regulator had so much metal fatigue that is was cracked and when I just moved it a little to inspect the wiring it broke right off! Fixing that helped some, but I also found that I had no ground wire hooked up to the alternator. It still worked, but I guess it wasn't really hooked up completely. Once that wire was re-attached to the alternator my ammeter acted normally with no more sudden jumps either way. I hope that helps.
            ________________________
            Mark Anderson
            1965 Cruiser
            http://home.alltel.net/anderm

            Comment


            • #7
              Last night, I re-cleaned all the connections and made sure everything was tight. This morning the "dance" was over. Call it dumb luck, but I never really found anything wrong--which I don't like. None of the connections were dirty, I keep the underhood area spotless.

              Anyway, I guess I'm good at this point. Thanks for all the tips![)]

              ________________________
              Mark Anderson
              1965 Cruiser
              http://home.alltel.net/anderm

              Comment


              • #8
                Those electrical issues are always maddening. I'm glad you took the time to start with the simple things like connections first before going overboard. It's REALLY easy to get get sucked into doing all sorts of expensive things that weren't really needed.
                "Madness...is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yes, but what concerns me is that I already did that once[}]. GOKs what I missed the first time.

                  quote:Originally posted by Scott

                  Those electrical issues are always maddening. I'm glad you took the time to start with the simple things like connections first before going overboard. It's REALLY easy to get get sucked into doing all sorts of expensive things that weren't really needed.
                  ________________________
                  Mark Anderson
                  1965 Cruiser
                  http://home.alltel.net/anderm

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It's also possible that while you were cleaning tings you bumped a wire with an intermittent ground or short and temporarily fixed the problem. Of course THAT thought won't make you sleep better at night! Sorry...
                    "Madness...is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      97.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot so, for what it's worth, 90% of electrical problems can be attributed to bad grounds and will often only require tightening the elusive screw or nut. Clean, tight connections are our friends.

                      Brad Johnson
                      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                      33 Rockne 10
                      51 Commander Starlight
                      53 Commander Starlight

                      previously: 63 Cruiser, 62 Regal VI, 60 VI convertible, 50 LandCruiser
                      "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

                      Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
                      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                      sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The problem returned[}]. I've again checked all the connections, but this time the symptons are a bit different. In the morning when driving with the lights on the ammeter stays about center or just left of center (discharge). However when I stop for a traffic light, it's definitely on the discharge side. Once the engine speed increases, the needle comes up. In the afternoon driving with no lights, it's slightly to the right of center so it appears to be charging.

                        It's as if the alternator is charging, just not enough[}]. Also, once or twice, I've seen the lights go bright and the needle jump far right (like a really fast charge--but only happens for a minute.

                        Alternator (again)?[}][B)][8]

                        ________________________
                        Mark Anderson
                        1965 Cruiser
                        http://home.alltel.net/anderm

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think it might be helpful if you can get some voltage readings out of it and see what it is really doing.

                          1955 President

                          Location: Central PA
                          Job: Student @ Penn State
                          Love of Studebakers?: High

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Where exactly do you place that breaker, Mike? And what value?


                            [img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

                            Clark in San Diego
                            '63 F2/Lark Standard
                            http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                            Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Tell me about this regulator.

                              quote:Originally posted by hotwheels63r2

                              When a 63-66 does this expect a meltdown. I'd pull that off of there faster than you could say rebuild.

                              A good rebuild and electronic voltage regulator will fix it. Sounds like the points are sticking in the regulator, or the windings are crossed causing 'max output' .
                              If left unchecked plan on replacing them anyway along with a wire harness if it decides it wants to 'peg'.. I add a breaker in line to protect the wire harness in my cars. If the meter is more on the NEG side, you have lost more than 1 diode.

                              Sometimes the electronic regulator will fix it all. No points to 'stick' A less than 20 dollar fix and in stock.
                              ________________________
                              Mark Anderson
                              1965 Cruiser
                              http://home.alltel.net/anderm

                              Comment

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