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Username Post: 3 wire alternator and then engine problem        (Topic#356611)
drew1987 
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drew1987
Age: 32
Loc: Rochester, New York
Reg: 02-23-14
05-30-19 06:11 PM - Post#2767367    

Hey all

I wanted to throw this out to y’all before I dig in on my own. It’s going to take quite a bit to isolate this issue and you all always provoke clear thinking. I need that right now.

My car had electrical issues last week, ended up being the 3 year old alternator only putting out 11.9-12.1 volts. Seriously?! 3 years, 3,000 miles. It was a one-wire.

Tonight I took a 1985 3-wire I had laying around and threw it in with the 2 wires from the harness doing nothing. Got 12v. Hooked the thicker wire (load wire) to the main post with the 10mm nut (yes it’s metric so was the 1-wire) hopefully this wasn’t wrong. It gave me my 14 volts so off I went. I drove the car hard but no more so that many many times in the past

When I pulled in the driveway the car was stumbling and seeming like it was going to stall. No timing or idle mixture adjustments help - it just won’t run right. Vacuum gauge shows a fast jiggle of about 1 psi as always but also a pulsating fluctuation of almost 4. It’s getting gas - fuel filter full, I can see the carter AFB squirt when I hammer the throttle. But it is running terribly if at all.


So my question. I thought maybe I jumped time (distributor though unlikely, or even the timing chain) or
Maybe damaged the motor it self. NOW i wonder if the alternator hooked up that way fried the distributor.


I am done for the evening. I messed with timing and air fuel for about 15
Minutes even though it’s unlikely either magically changed on my ride.

I’d like to see what you have to say before I just back at it.

Andrew D. Carapella (Drew)

'50 Deluxe 4dr v8 auto

Member:

Rochester Street Rods - Est. 1970
http://www.rochesterstreetrods.org

CrossMembers Car Club - Hebrews 12:2
http://www.crossmemberscc.com


 


YOUNG57 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1141

Loc: Tennessee
Reg: 12-06-10
05-30-19 09:16 PM - Post#2767384    
    In response to drew1987

I’m surprised the 3-wire alternator put 14 volts with just the charging wire connected to the BAT terminal. They normally require the #2 terminal of the two-wire plug also connected to the BAT to excite and generate voltage.

Are you sure that 14 volts is getting to the battery and the rest of the system? Check voltage at the battery post while running / charging.

If you’re not getting 14 volts at the battery you may have been driving on just the battery and now it is very low and not providing 12 volts to the distributor for adequate spark causing it run very poorly.




Edited by YOUNG57 on 05-30-19 09:26 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
drew1987 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
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drew1987
Age: 32
Loc: Rochester, New York
Reg: 02-23-14
05-31-19 04:36 AM - Post#2767396    
    In response to YOUNG57

Thanks, Sadly that’s not it. Even as it sits, the battery is 12.6v, up from 11.9 with the bad alternator.

Hard to believe this is a coincidence right after hard driving and the alternator (in order of likeliness) but I also notice what looks like oil vapor or mist - how things look when there is a small oil leak not to pool but to more or less cover things like spray paint - at my fuel inlet and carb a/f adjustment screws.


It comes down to gas, spark, and compression. All in the right time. I guess I ought to start there. Just not sure how to eliminate having damaged the engine somehow. Oil pressure is fine

Andrew D. Carapella (Drew)

'50 Deluxe 4dr v8 auto

Member:

Rochester Street Rods - Est. 1970
http://www.rochesterstreetrods.org

CrossMembers Car Club - Hebrews 12:2
http://www.crossmemberscc.com


 
tommy49 
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tommy49
Loc: Kaleva, Michigan
Reg: 09-28-12
05-31-19 06:45 AM - Post#2767403    
    In response to drew1987


Here's some good info on charging systems. Might help with your troubleshooting.

http://www.madelectrical.com/electricaltech/onewir ...

Tommy

49 Deluxe Sport Coupe, 4.8/4L60E swap in progress, Blazer rear axle, 4 wheel power disc brakes.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tommyfortynine /album...




 
YOUNG57 
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Posts: 1141

Loc: Tennessee
Reg: 12-06-10
05-31-19 01:09 PM - Post#2767419    
    In response to tommy49

You might check your vacuum advance canister to make sure it didn’t fail / diaphragm split / rupture for a loss of proper timing.

Might check the intake and carb base for air leaks / loss of intake vacuum and running too lean.

Since you have the other two wires for the alternator you may as well connect them for proper charging and indication.




 
drew1987 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 3328
drew1987
Age: 32
Loc: Rochester, New York
Reg: 02-23-14
05-31-19 02:48 PM - Post#2767429    
    In response to YOUNG57

Thanks guys!!!

I’m thinking this issue is in my dizzy. Young57 I am not clear on what those other two wires actually do.,,

Andrew D. Carapella (Drew)

'50 Deluxe 4dr v8 auto

Member:

Rochester Street Rods - Est. 1970
http://www.rochesterstreetrods.org

CrossMembers Car Club - Hebrews 12:2
http://www.crossmemberscc.com


 
dsacton 
"2nd Year" Silver Supporting Member
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dsacton
Loc: Boulder, CO
Reg: 11-01-11
05-31-19 03:59 PM - Post#2767432    
    In response to drew1987

Bad points or condenser perhaps?



Scott Acton
1954 Chevy Bel Air 2-door
http://www.my54chevy.com


 
drew1987 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 3328
drew1987
Age: 32
Loc: Rochester, New York
Reg: 02-23-14
05-31-19 06:39 PM - Post#2767443    
    In response to dsacton

It’s actually hei

Andrew D. Carapella (Drew)

'50 Deluxe 4dr v8 auto

Member:

Rochester Street Rods - Est. 1970
http://www.rochesterstreetrods.org

CrossMembers Car Club - Hebrews 12:2
http://www.crossmemberscc.com


 
wagonman100 
Super Senior Member
Posts: 14319
wagonman100
Loc: Baltimore, MD
Reg: 11-27-04
05-31-19 07:32 PM - Post#2767452    
    In response to drew1987

Could be a bad ignition module. Either a coincidence or something happened from the alternator change. I had a bad module in my HEI that I bought new. I didn’t think it was bad because it was new. The engine ran okay at first but never idled well. Eventually it started to act the way you described. I put in a new module and the car idled and ran great after that

Jay
Friends don’t let friends drive Fords.

1999 Silverado Z71 4X4 extra-cab short bed
1983 Malibu Fauxmad - tubbed
1978 El Camino Kustomized
1972 Monte Carlo
1957 210 handyman wagon
1957 Nomad sport wagon
1957 Cameo Carrier


 
bobb 
Super Senior Member
Posts: 5468
bobb
Loc: paradise
Reg: 09-05-03
06-01-19 10:39 AM - Post#2767486    
    In response to drew1987

run the engine dead cold for 10 seconds. shut it off and go feel the exhaust manifolds at the exhaust ports for a cold cylinder.

70 L camino, grampa engine, g-force 5 spd, road rage suspension. Pray first before all else fails.


 
50_Fastback 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 176
50_Fastback
Loc: California Central Coast
Reg: 09-08-14
06-01-19 10:36 PM - Post#2767516    
    In response to drew1987

Hi Drew,
Here's a pic of the schematic for my 3 wire alternator.

Attachment: Alternator1.jpg (120.36 KB) 18 View(s)




Ron Starkey

Life's full of risks..........take one!

'50 Fleetline 350/350



 
50hotrod 
"7th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 1025
50hotrod
Age: 62
Loc: Wisconsin
Reg: 07-25-11
06-02-19 04:34 AM - Post#2767521    
    In response to drew1987

  • drew1987 Said:
Thanks guys!!!

I’m thinking this issue is in my dizzy. Young57 I am not clear on what those other two wires actually do.,,




Drew,

Bat wire goes to Battery

#2 on the plug goes to the Bat term on the alternator

#1 on the plug gets switched 12 volt power (you splice in the idiot light on this wire if equipped)


If the engine jumped time you would have a significant power loss also....not just an idle problem. I would also replace the ignition module in the distributor. Get the module from a reputable source, they are not all made the same.


1950 CHEVY 2 DOOR 327 TRI POWER FENDERWELL HEADERS HEIDT FRONT SUSPENSION 700R4 TRANS 411 REAR



Edited by 50hotrod on 06-02-19 04:44 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
drew1987 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 3328
drew1987
Age: 32
Loc: Rochester, New York
Reg: 02-23-14
06-02-19 05:49 AM - Post#2767529    
    In response to 50hotrod

Bobb I like that idea! Thanks.

50 fastback thanks for that. It’s how I have mine hooked up. Though if I remember correctly, the alt and the batt meet at the starter. I am not sure I have to dig up my wiring diagram from when I built the car. It was my own design more or less based off of the 1950 schematic in the manual. So it’s probably the same as that. I am a fool for not putting it in my manual.

50 hotrod as of Friday I am a little less worried about the motor and dialed in on the ignition I think. The module for sure and maybe the coil

The button that goes down to be rotor and the middle of the three wires that go from the cap to the base should be 6,000-30,000 ohms. I get 11.10xxxxx when on the 20,000 setting. That means 222,xxx.xxx ohms. Possibly indicating a short or break in the coil (probly the latter) and I am guessing it gets worse with heat, causing what happened Thursday night



Andrew D. Carapella (Drew)

'50 Deluxe 4dr v8 auto

Member:

Rochester Street Rods - Est. 1970
http://www.rochesterstreetrods.org

CrossMembers Car Club - Hebrews 12:2
http://www.crossmemberscc.com


 
50_Fastback 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 176
50_Fastback
Loc: California Central Coast
Reg: 09-08-14
06-02-19 06:48 PM - Post#2767572    
    In response to drew1987

What is curious is that this happened after you installed the replacement alternator. I'm not an electrical genius but is it possible for an alternator to be out of spec and put out a ripple or pulse instead of an even steady 12vdc? if it did it would really play havoc with digital devices.

Just Thinkin'


Ron Starkey

Life's full of risks..........take one!

'50 Fleetline 350/350



Edited by 50_Fastback on 06-02-19 06:50 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
drew1987 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 3328
drew1987
Age: 32
Loc: Rochester, New York
Reg: 02-23-14
06-03-19 05:11 AM - Post#2767583    
    In response to 50_Fastback

It puts out 14.3. That’s actually correct. 12v wouldn’t be enough to charge the battery.

Now that said, reading this, I second guessed that 14.3 should make it to all the devices and not just the battery. As a control I went out my my 2002 Lexus and put my multimeter on the cellphone charger cigarette lighter thing. 12.1 volts. Started the car, 14.22 volts.

One time some years ago, a mechanically identical car to this Lexus died on me 1.5 hours from home. Got jumped, and had to keep it over 1500 Rpm or it would die. Awful ride home. Windows would not close tight because the auto down to prevent pinching was wonky. The windshield wipers couldn’t be used under 70mph. Did I mention it was the heaviest rain of that summer? No radio. No HVAC. That alternator tested at 11.8 or something close to 12. Ironically that’s what my Chevy was doing until this new-to-the-car alternator (very ironically the one from the 1985 donor truck where I got my motor)



I am suspecting a coil issue that is worse when it’s hot. Also suspecting the control module as the idle has never been quite perfect. When I okay with the dizzy, I get a perfect isle here and there for a second

Andrew D. Carapella (Drew)

'50 Deluxe 4dr v8 auto

Member:

Rochester Street Rods - Est. 1970
http://www.rochesterstreetrods.org

CrossMembers Car Club - Hebrews 12:2
http://www.crossmemberscc.com


 
YOUNG57 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1141

Loc: Tennessee
Reg: 12-06-10
06-03-19 07:34 AM - Post#2767592    
    In response to drew1987

Don’t start swapping a bunch of parts at same time. Replace one part and test results before trying something else.

I would start by replacing the ignition module, it seems the most likely suspect.



 
drew1987 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 3328
drew1987
Age: 32
Loc: Rochester, New York
Reg: 02-23-14
06-03-19 03:16 PM - Post#2767632    
    In response to YOUNG57

That’s not only good advice with cars, but diet and health as well LOL I’m learning that at my young age


So a friend offered me a dizzy from a 1987 Camaro. That was a tuned port motor, and according to rock auto, the distributor is quite a bit different than my 1985 carbureted pick up truck motor. Is there any reason that distributor won’t work with simply 12 V like my current one? The differences, it looks like the coil is not mounted on top

Andrew D. Carapella (Drew)

'50 Deluxe 4dr v8 auto

Member:

Rochester Street Rods - Est. 1970
http://www.rochesterstreetrods.org

CrossMembers Car Club - Hebrews 12:2
http://www.crossmemberscc.com


 
50_Fastback 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 176
50_Fastback
Loc: California Central Coast
Reg: 09-08-14
06-08-19 12:19 PM - Post#2767956    
    In response to drew1987

Drew, did you sort out this problem. Curious to know the outcome.

Ron

Ron Starkey

Life's full of risks..........take one!

'50 Fleetline 350/350



 
drew1987 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 3328
drew1987
Age: 32
Loc: Rochester, New York
Reg: 02-23-14
06-08-19 05:17 PM - Post#2767980    
    In response to 50_Fastback

A new control module made it run was better cold when I first start it but the quality deteriorates As it warms up, the idle gets worse. Definitely thinking coil

Andrew D. Carapella (Drew)

'50 Deluxe 4dr v8 auto

Member:

Rochester Street Rods - Est. 1970
http://www.rochesterstreetrods.org

CrossMembers Car Club - Hebrews 12:2
http://www.crossmemberscc.com


 
drew1987 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
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drew1987
Age: 32
Loc: Rochester, New York
Reg: 02-23-14
06-10-19 04:14 PM - Post#2768163    
    In response to drew1987

Its not the module or the coil. Both are new (the module out of matianence and the coil cause it was out of spec) but its not better. The most replicable symptom, other than a hunting idle, is just as throttle is given, I mean literally just a tiny bit, the engine stumbles and shakes. I have been doing some reading, and other than plugs/wires, ive ruled out the ignition. I wonder about the carb even though its got 3,000 miles on it, and/or fear an engine issue?

More or less reporting back to keep you guys in the loop, but id love some pointers if anyone has any

Andrew D. Carapella (Drew)

'50 Deluxe 4dr v8 auto

Member:

Rochester Street Rods - Est. 1970
http://www.rochesterstreetrods.org

CrossMembers Car Club - Hebrews 12:2
http://www.crossmemberscc.com


 
50_Fastback 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 176
50_Fastback
Loc: California Central Coast
Reg: 09-08-14
06-11-19 05:52 PM - Post#2768261    
    In response to drew1987

this sure sounds like an ignition system problem. Do you have a distributor that is correct for your motor in your spare parts pile to try?

Ron Starkey

Life's full of risks..........take one!

'50 Fleetline 350/350



 
Kyle G. 
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Age: 24
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Reg: 11-29-15
06-11-19 11:17 PM - Post#2768285    
    In response to drew1987

Quick question Drew, I know you said the problem probably wasn't ignition related. Did you put a timing light to the balancer and rev the engine up to where it stumbles to make sure the timing and/or the dwell isn't wandering around?

When I had just installed my 235 it idled okay, but was a severe boneshaker when it was revved slightly past idle, the problem was an incorrectly installed set of points with very little spring tension. It was a severe case of ignition point float causing all kinds of misfiring and knocking. Of course you have a solid state distributor where points are a non-issue.

Also, i'm just throwing this out here. You said you drove the car hard after installing that alternator. By 'hard' did you mean you kept the engine revved up? It's possible that the alternator is putting out more than 14.7 volts at higher rpm and fried something. Did you test the alternator output voltage at high rpm or just idle?


1950 Chevy Styleline Deluxe w/ '60 235 engine and '58 torque tube 3-speed overdrive with 3:55 gears in the back

1946 Willys CJ-2A


Edited by Kyle G. on 06-11-19 11:44 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
drew1987 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
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drew1987
Age: 32
Loc: Rochester, New York
Reg: 02-23-14
06-12-19 07:47 AM - Post#2768307    
    In response to Kyle G.

The dizzy is good, at least the control module and the coil. I am wondering about a carb clog and or vacuum leak, but now i am certainly going to check the timing marks during the stumble. Strangely if felt a good deal better on the drive home last night - makes me wonder if it was a clog that frees it self. I should really get a plastic fuel tank (with my spare money HAHAHAH)

The alternator is good at all RPM - i actually have a volt gauge and it doesn't move. The multimeter shows 14.3


By hard I mean many open throttle accelerations to the speed limit or perhaps a bit more. I always ease into it... like, i put my foor into the pedal gently so its not floored until right around the 1-to-2 shift. I know its so bad for the car but its addictingly fun

Andrew D. Carapella (Drew)

'50 Deluxe 4dr v8 auto

Member:

Rochester Street Rods - Est. 1970
http://www.rochesterstreetrods.org

CrossMembers Car Club - Hebrews 12:2
http://www.crossmemberscc.com


 
eplantage 
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Posts: 2220

Loc: Southern MN
Reg: 03-15-04
06-12-19 12:30 PM - Post#2768327    
    In response to drew1987

Do you have any rubber hoses in the fuel line from the gas tank to the fuel pump? I had an issue with an AD pickup I had. One of the fuel hoses would collapse internally when the fuel pump created any suction. Drove me nuts. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary from the outside. Just a thought.

Age: 65 at the moment
1950 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery
1953 BelAir Convertible Project
2002 Heritage Springer FLSTSI
1930 Model A Standard Coupe


 
drew1987 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 3328
drew1987
Age: 32
Loc: Rochester, New York
Reg: 02-23-14
06-12-19 05:51 PM - Post#2768346    
    In response to eplantage

I do! I can replace that small piece as an elimination. Today I replaced the carb to manifold gasket. That made the idle better but it’s apparently a different issue that’s plaguing the car. After my test run, same thing. Pulled in the driveway and it barely ran. Actually stalled as I was pulling it. All my adjustments before the test run were made well after reaching Operating temp and I left the house just dandy. No idea. Going to check out the spark plugs as they are the only ignition component I didn’t check. Can’t imagine they cause an issue only when warm

Andrew D. Carapella (Drew)

'50 Deluxe 4dr v8 auto

Member:

Rochester Street Rods - Est. 1970
http://www.rochesterstreetrods.org

CrossMembers Car Club - Hebrews 12:2
http://www.crossmemberscc.com


 
drew1987 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 3328
drew1987
Age: 32
Loc: Rochester, New York
Reg: 02-23-14
06-13-19 12:21 PM - Post#2768388    
    In response to drew1987

Interesting findings:

The motor makes between 111 and 120 PSI on all cylinders so thats fine, I did find a vacuum leak where the intake manifold meets the block on bank two, in the middle. I'll have to deal with that.

I get the highest vacuum at 35deg advanced. My motor called for 12deg, according to the 1985 manual. At the 12, I get the smoothest feeling while in drive, brake applied. doesn't make sense that its 4 less vaccum and a way less steady vacuum needle, but it seems to run better. The exhaust sounds better too.

I cleaned all my plugs, set to .045 gap... I am curious to see what getting rid of that vacuum leak will do.

I also cleaned my idle circuit.

Andrew D. Carapella (Drew)

'50 Deluxe 4dr v8 auto

Member:

Rochester Street Rods - Est. 1970
http://www.rochesterstreetrods.org

CrossMembers Car Club - Hebrews 12:2
http://www.crossmemberscc.com


 
drew1987 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 3328
drew1987
Age: 32
Loc: Rochester, New York
Reg: 02-23-14
06-16-19 02:36 PM - Post#2768590    
    In response to drew1987

New intake manifold off. Idles Way better. Haven’t run it long enough to see if it dies when hot.

The vacuum gauge still jiggles which doesn’t make sense with raven compression and no vacuum leaks... but it idles quite a bit nicer.

Andrew D. Carapella (Drew)

'50 Deluxe 4dr v8 auto

Member:

Rochester Street Rods - Est. 1970
http://www.rochesterstreetrods.org

CrossMembers Car Club - Hebrews 12:2
http://www.crossmemberscc.com


 
Shepherd 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1852

Loc: Lake George, NY
Reg: 11-11-15
06-16-19 03:40 PM - Post#2768594    
    In response to drew1987

Slight fluctations in the gage are normal as the vacuum created by each cylinder varies slightly.



 
drew1987 
"6th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 3328
drew1987
Age: 32
Loc: Rochester, New York
Reg: 02-23-14
06-16-19 07:08 PM - Post#2768610    
    In response to Shepherd

It’s just strange because it seems to idle it’s best at 12° passed Tdc, which happens to be the spec for my motor according to the manual for the donor vehicle. However, the vacuum gauge fluctuates greatly from 17 down to probably 14. If I put the timing to the highest vacuum, I get about 20 with a fluctuation of only about one, but an idle that’s not nearly as smooth, that is, it vibrates more, and the car is in as calm and drive with my foot on the break stopped

I’ve tuned with the vacuum gauge for years, never came across a situation where the highest vacuum didn’t produce the nicest idle

Andrew D. Carapella (Drew)

'50 Deluxe 4dr v8 auto

Member:

Rochester Street Rods - Est. 1970
http://www.rochesterstreetrods.org

CrossMembers Car Club - Hebrews 12:2
http://www.crossmemberscc.com


 
Shepherd 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1852

Loc: Lake George, NY
Reg: 11-11-15
06-17-19 04:34 AM - Post#2768629    
    In response to drew1987

Hmm, too much variation. Is that the only performance issue, does the idle quality follow the vacuum variation? You meant 12 degrees before tdc, no?



Edited by Shepherd on 06-17-19 04:35 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 


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