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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
My question is how does holding the hand held meter make the voltage meter make it work? The rubber boot locks on fine no issues. The battery cables aren't loose, I make sure they are tight. I'm trying to figure out what wire needs replaced, that's the reason I'm asking for help and sharing the weird things that are happening.
 

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disconnect the 2 wire connector and with the key on you should have ignition voltage on the brown wire, 12V on the other irregardless of the key position. If no voltage on the brown wire your meter is supplying something to excite the field in the alternator.
 

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78, Try moving the battery terminals with out the hand held meter to see if it makes a difference. Just use your hands.
Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
I've taken them off and put them back on during this situation. Makes no difference. I am going to replace the activity wires and see what happens from there. I believe that will make a difference. I just think it's strange that the battery test while running made it do, what it did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #65 ·
After testing the new alternator, which tested great, I put it back on today. I started it up again. It ran great. The voltage meter dropped down again, but after It ran a minute, the needle got up to 13 volts. I'm planning on receiving the new wire end tomorrow evening, so will probably get it put on on Friday. It ran great and didn't use a battery charger of any kind.
 

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Just a few questions for others to share their thoughts.

On the 78's is it common to run the ground from the battery to the alternator bracket?
On my '70 (which is not stock anymore), to help with starting/electrical issues it now has a very heavy ground that goes to the front of the engine block, in front of the block mounted fuel pump ( attached to front of block, not fuel pump).

In his third image, is the smaller wire connected to his positive terminal, a fusible link? it looks like it might have a heat separator that if it burns might protect the rest of the wires in the that harness section?

I have difficulty figuring out how tight to get those side mounted terminals. I confess. I strip them. It does not take much torque, even with a short wrench. I think they screw into soft metal, possibly lead. Once stripped, they might not make good contact. I think I heard that the auto parts stores ( @cyberray ) might have slightly oversized battery bolts, since many of us strip them.

If I understand correctly: You test voltage at the battery, and your voltage gauge inside the car reads higher. Can you determine if where you touch the meter leads need to be at certain spots?
Example: On the bolt and against the washer? On the end of the battery bolts? On the cable metal?
This might lead to thoughts about:
  • battery post/connection that improves with a little pressure.
  • connection that might benefit from cleaning.
  • marginal cable (corrosion between the strands of wire on the larger cables).
in answer to your first question, here is a picture from my flooded '81 Caballero
Automotive tire Automotive fuel system Hose Automotive exterior Gas


in regards to oversized battery bolts, we certainly sell longer/taller bolts, but not a larger diameter shank to my knowledge. the longer ones are good for people who do add on power taps for things like winches that pull direct from the battery. those add-on cables will have a flat-washer style ring connector just like the battery cable and the bolt clamps it down.
regarding corrosion, I have seen corrosion in the threads of the clamping bolt and side-post receiving threads while the hex head of the bolt remains shiny.
 

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After testing the new alternator, which tested great, I put it back on today. I started it up again. It ran great. The voltage meter dropped down again, but after It ran a minute, the needle got up to 13 volts. I'm planning on receiving the new wire end tomorrow evening, so will probably get it put on on Friday. It ran great and didn't use a battery charger of any kind.
question, did you ever pull the gauge cluster and clean the terminals on the back side?
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
No, the activity wires is where the problem seems to be. If changing the pigtail doesn't fix it, then I'll check that out. I'm not sure how to do that,since the gauge is touching the printed circuit board, which is working excellent with the other gauges.
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
I started up the 78 Elk again today and the voltage meter read 13 volts, then dropped down to the orange line and didn't come back. I just did this to see if it had improved. I got the new pigtail and hope to get it installed on Friday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
I put the new pigtail on the alternator, with no charge. Still not getting up to 13 volts, so the search continues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
After the engine warmed up it went to 13 volts and isn't jumping around.
 

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After I start mine it is not instantly at 13. Not till warmup but maybe a minute. Does not jump up. Works it’s way up from lower.
Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
Thank you Tom. I'll have to give it a try. The old one didn't do that until it started acting up. Your help is much appreciated.
 

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As said above make sure you get your alternator checked BEFORE you buy a replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
You are correct, I should have. I didn't know that the people I work for had a machine to do that. It's part of my lesson trying to figure out the solution to the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #76 ·
I started it up again today and the volt meter stayed in the orange. I put the hand held meter on the battery, it read 14.3 volts. I then went back to the car and the volt meter in there was then 13 volts. I don't know where to look that's making the volt meter so erratic.
 
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