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Workshop Forum "X1/9 Tech": Shop talk, repairs, mods, specs, info, how-to advice

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  #1  
Old Sep 18 2013, 8:49 pm
jvandyke's Avatar
jvandyke jvandyke is offline
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Location: West Michigan
alternator light flickering

Sometimes my charge light flickers on and off when I'm cruising at speed. It's a GM CS130 alt. Belt feels appropriately tight to me. It's a bit inconsistent and I only notice it at night with quite a bit loading the system but turning systems off doesn't bother it. The voltmeter is indicating decent voltage the whole time. Weird.
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Jeff 1981 X1/9, FI
plasti dip paint, bumper delete, white face gauges, LED cluster and switches, relays: wiper/headlighs/starter, brown wire mod, custom idiot lights: amp on/engine lid open, cooling fan on, manual cooling fan switch, shaved head, adjustable cam gear, 30,000 miles in 4 years and counting
  #2  
Old Sep 18 2013, 10:17 pm
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Dan Sarandrea (Phila) Dan Sarandrea (Phila) is offline
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LED or incandescent bulb?

(I went back to incandescent for that one bulb in the inst cluster.)
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  #3  
Old Sep 19 2013, 1:09 am
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Black-Tooth Black-Tooth is offline
Tony Natoli
 
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Location: Santa Clarita California
If it is NOT the bulb Jeff...

Even GM alternators can have some problems.

Could be a simple thing like a sticky brush or a marginal diode. If you have one with a warranty I would yank it out and retest and replace at the point of purchase.

BUT... do not neglect checking all the wiring & connectors first! At teh starter as well!
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  #4  
Old Sep 19 2013, 11:06 am
m5art m5art is online now
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I would

suspect brushes.
Have had similar problem in my wife's BMW E30. Replacing regulator module (the brushes are integral to it) solved the problem one time. The other instance I had to replace entire alternator.

Perhaps the best bet is to remove it from the car and take to the shop for testing. They usually do it for free (Parts Source in Canada, for sure others in US as well).
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  #5  
Old Sep 19 2013, 12:01 pm
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jvandyke jvandyke is offline
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old incandescent bulb for warning light
good advice, I will suspect the alt. I went GM for cheap replacement and maybe that will pay off. I have been running a splash guard under it but I'm sure it's getting uber hot in there, I should put the air tube back on, (no rear cover to connect to and pull in air of course but couldn't hurt).
I took that hose off this spring as I was convinced it didn't do anything, oops, could have lead to early demise.
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Jeff 1981 X1/9, FI
plasti dip paint, bumper delete, white face gauges, LED cluster and switches, relays: wiper/headlighs/starter, brown wire mod, custom idiot lights: amp on/engine lid open, cooling fan on, manual cooling fan switch, shaved head, adjustable cam gear, 30,000 miles in 4 years and counting
  #6  
Old Sep 19 2013, 12:13 pm
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Dan Sarandrea (Phila) Dan Sarandrea (Phila) is offline
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I was thinking that since LEDs need so little electricity to illuminate, an LED bulb might flicker on a minute current flow that would not even be noticed by the filament on an incandescent.

Just an idea, no science to back it up
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Old Sep 19 2013, 7:59 pm
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If I understand this light correctly (fat chance) any time the balance of roughly 13v is upset, it lights, so either the alt is dropping out or ramping up? But the volt meter just sits in the middle, well, slightly below middle, thing is at idle something is drops to darn near 10 but the light doesn't come on, it just flickers at steady cruise while the meter sits in the middle.
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Jeff 1981 X1/9, FI
plasti dip paint, bumper delete, white face gauges, LED cluster and switches, relays: wiper/headlighs/starter, brown wire mod, custom idiot lights: amp on/engine lid open, cooling fan on, manual cooling fan switch, shaved head, adjustable cam gear, 30,000 miles in 4 years and counting
  #8  
Old Sep 19 2013, 8:51 pm
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Idles at 10v and flickers while cruising....unless your connections got loose or corroded or something, time to yank it and take it back to the store for testing and probably replacement.
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  #9  
Old Sep 20 2013, 12:05 am
m5art m5art is online now
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analogue voltmeter

has quite a bit of inertia and will not show higher frequency voltage dips, that you are observing as bulb flickering.
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Arthur
88 E28 M5 dd
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82 X1/9 summer dd (some work still req'd)
  #10  
Old Sep 20 2013, 6:32 am
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So my voltage maybe quite erratic and the meter won't show it but the light will? I can buy that. I think it was a tad worse this morning. Better address before it quits making juice and I'm screwed.
Reading the tech manual for the CS-130 and it talks about temperature:
"The charge indicator works in much the same way as on other charging systems-the indicator lights when the switch is closed, and then goes out when the engine is running. If the charge indicator is on with the engine running a charging system defect is indicated. For all kinds of defects, the indicator will glow at full brilliance. A new feature of this regulator is that it will cause the charge indicator to be on with the
engine running if the system voltage is too high or too low. The regulator is temperature-compensated; that is, it's voltage setting varies with temperature."

Better put the cooling duct back on! It also states it pulls air through the back (maybe they all do, I assumed they blew it back from the front) anyway, then for sure the cooling duct can be helpful, I used to have the end of the duct just sitting hear the back of the alt, not thinking it did anything but maybe it really was providing cool air to the thing after all. Interesting.

I sure don't have "full brilliance" of the indicator light yet though, just a flicker with occasional brighter longer on, then periods of no light at all.
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Jeff 1981 X1/9, FI
plasti dip paint, bumper delete, white face gauges, LED cluster and switches, relays: wiper/headlighs/starter, brown wire mod, custom idiot lights: amp on/engine lid open, cooling fan on, manual cooling fan switch, shaved head, adjustable cam gear, 30,000 miles in 4 years and counting
  #11  
Old Sep 20 2013, 7:25 am
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Shiny!

Here you go Jeff. If I had a spare I would send it to you, but I don't see an extra in my pile of stuff.

http://www.midwest-bayless.com/store...=0&i=312464219

Maybe someone else has one laying around?
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---- 1978 ---- ---- 1985
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MWB Lightened flywheel in 78
Vick's Header in both cars
  #12  
Old Sep 20 2013, 8:22 am
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air flow

not sure how much good that would do on my GM alternator but could maybe mod it to fit somehow, or "nearly" fit, which is better than just pointing the open end of the duct in the general vicinity of the alt, now here's a thought:
I believe air flow through the engine bay is up from below, out through the top, so pointing my air duct down at the alt is bad, routing to below would be best as the cool air would dump into it as it draws the air up and through.
The other day I forgot to latch my engine lid (as I've done before), at anything above 40ish it starts to rise, at highway speed, it's straight up, great cooling, silly looking, no rear view, bit embarrassing, like leaving your fly open maybe. Does illustrate how powerful the air movement is though, enough to raise the pretty hefty lid like it's paper.
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Jeff 1981 X1/9, FI
plasti dip paint, bumper delete, white face gauges, LED cluster and switches, relays: wiper/headlighs/starter, brown wire mod, custom idiot lights: amp on/engine lid open, cooling fan on, manual cooling fan switch, shaved head, adjustable cam gear, 30,000 miles in 4 years and counting
  #13  
Old Sep 20 2013, 8:32 am
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Been there done that

more than once too. It is a little weird when you suddenly sense the rear window has gone dark for some reason.
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. .
---- 1978 ---- ---- 1985
1500 w/FI in both cars
4-speed in 78, 5spd in 85
MWB Perf Head & 35/75 Cam in both cars
MWB Lightened flywheel in 78
Vick's Header in both cars
  #14  
Old Sep 20 2013, 8:51 am
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jvandyke jvandyke is offline
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yah, it amazes me how much air must be pouring through there to lift that lid, hard to believe it has cooling issues with all that air (at speed), shouldn't need a water cooling system at all........not.
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Jeff 1981 X1/9, FI
plasti dip paint, bumper delete, white face gauges, LED cluster and switches, relays: wiper/headlighs/starter, brown wire mod, custom idiot lights: amp on/engine lid open, cooling fan on, manual cooling fan switch, shaved head, adjustable cam gear, 30,000 miles in 4 years and counting
  #15  
Old Sep 20 2013, 9:14 am
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It's also helped by the negative pressure that develops at the trailing edge of the roof/targa bar. It's also sucking the lid up is my point.
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  #16  
Old Sep 20 2013, 9:41 am
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jvandyke jvandyke is offline
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yes, good point, draft from below or (more likely) a vacuum above=air flow, be cool to see an airflow simulation of the x, with and with targa in place and such, maybe that's the genesis of the snorkel, hard for the carbs to pull air in that is rushing up and out?
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Jeff 1981 X1/9, FI
plasti dip paint, bumper delete, white face gauges, LED cluster and switches, relays: wiper/headlighs/starter, brown wire mod, custom idiot lights: amp on/engine lid open, cooling fan on, manual cooling fan switch, shaved head, adjustable cam gear, 30,000 miles in 4 years and counting
  #17  
Old Sep 23 2013, 7:51 am
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It caught up with me! I got about 1 mile from home light flicker and meter dropped to zero. Then it came back up, then dropped back down. Aborted commute and reverted to minivan, (ouch).
Will tear into it.
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Jeff 1981 X1/9, FI
plasti dip paint, bumper delete, white face gauges, LED cluster and switches, relays: wiper/headlighs/starter, brown wire mod, custom idiot lights: amp on/engine lid open, cooling fan on, manual cooling fan switch, shaved head, adjustable cam gear, 30,000 miles in 4 years and counting
  #18  
Old Sep 23 2013, 3:58 pm
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jvandyke jvandyke is offline
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belt was loose after all, cracking and obviously stretching as I had just tightened it, replaced, reshimmed alt for a tad better alignment (it appeared that the pulleys weren't quite aligned so I added another washer)
meter is now running higher overall, no flicker, doesn't drop as much at idle either (could it be it runs better too? sure seems to, maybe the low erratic voltage was piss'n off the ECU).
Anyway, will watch that belt for signs of fatique.
CS130 alt seems fine, will put the cooling duct back on too when I have a chance.
I just eyeballed from above and didn't like what I saw, looks mis-aligned still. From below, crank pulley to alt, straight edge held up there it looked good, from above, not so good, might have to tear into it and try again.
I'm pretty sure running the belt slightly cock eyed doesn't make it very happy.
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Jeff 1981 X1/9, FI
plasti dip paint, bumper delete, white face gauges, LED cluster and switches, relays: wiper/headlighs/starter, brown wire mod, custom idiot lights: amp on/engine lid open, cooling fan on, manual cooling fan switch, shaved head, adjustable cam gear, 30,000 miles in 4 years and counting

Last edited by jvandyke; Sep 23 2013 at 4:31 pm.
  #19  
Old Sep 23 2013, 7:23 pm
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lookforjoe lookforjoe is offline
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misalignment will definitely impact belt longevity & function - it will be more likely to glaze & slip if it's off kilter....
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