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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:03 pm 
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4 BBL ''Hyper-Pak''

Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:17 pm
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Location: Williamstown New Jersey/Philadelphia
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in the last year and a half ive had to replace my alternator 3 times. the last one only lasted 2 weeks. but im not sure if i missining something. my van is a bare bones cargo van with a basic cd player installed. the newest alternator is a 50 amp. i was stuck getting one from advanced over a year ago and had to warranty it with in 2 months. two weeks ago when that one crapped out, i went back thinking it was under warranty but it was not. being stuck again in order to get home i bought another one. that one only lasted me two weeks. i did notice that it was charging close to 15 volts at times and then it drop down at idle. my commute to work is 66 miles with more than half of that highway miles. highwayspeeds is when i noticed it would be closer to 15 volts. i do believe my battery leads/cables are good. something i do know is that on my instrument cluster the amp gauge contacts are burnt up and broken. i dont know if this is an issue or not? i know reman parts are what they are but if thats the case what does everyone else run into. also my old 74 dart had no problems with alternator for at least 8 years that i know of. i just feel like i missing something. i know that i have a good ground, i checked.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:34 pm 
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Supercharged
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Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2002 9:20 pm
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Location: Fircrest, WA
Car Model*: 82 Ramcharger, 76 D100
Have you inspected the voltage regulator? Made sure it is grounded and/or had it checked at the parts store?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:34 pm 
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4 BBL ''Hyper-Pak''

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Location: Williamstown New Jersey/Philadelphia
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i have replaced it with the new alternators


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:26 pm 
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Turbo EFI
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Have you checked the voltage with a known quality voltmeter? If you are truly getting 15 volts then the regulator is not cutting the alternator properly, which could be from a short keeping it energizing. While not dangerously high, it could cause premature failure of components.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:21 am 
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4 BBL ''Hyper-Pak''

Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:17 pm
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Location: Williamstown New Jersey/Philadelphia
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well when i replaced the alternator new 2 weeks ago. i did check the battery and at idle it was in the 14.2 range give or take .3 of a volt which is good voltage. but while on the highway i cant check it. however since my amp gauge is broken, i installed an aftermarket sunpro gauge for volts, which is wired directly to the battery. thats when i see it almost at 15v if not 15v. wouldnt a short some where cause my battery to drain down? where are you reffering to a short at? alternator or harness somewhere?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:39 am 
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Turbo EFI
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Location: North Georgia
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I am not an expert on charging systems. Far from it. But I had a voltage regulator go out on a different vehicle once, about a dozen years ago, and it spiked at 37 volts before everything fried to a crisp. The armature wiring was actually burnt inside. From what I understand something shorted inside the alternator so the field stayed excited all the time. That was costly, and from them on I decided that it's not wise to skimp on the quality of electrical components. It cost me a whole wiring harness and some bulbs, plus an ignition system. Somehow the radio survived. All of the components were from AutoStoned and were the cheapest.

Hopefully someone electrically savvy can chime in here.

I would start by looking at all the connections. Take them apart and physically look at them, and see if your insulation is brittle on the wires. I also wouldn't rely on the gauge, I'd verify it with a voltmeter at all RPM and load levels. You may just have an optimistic gauge.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 7:31 am 
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4 BBL ''Hyper-Pak''

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Location: Williamstown New Jersey/Philadelphia
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Well I guess I should have mentioned sorry,that the problem isn't now that it charges to high. That was what I noticed before it stopped charging. It now charges at about 12v. Everything about the 15v was leading up to the no charge.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 7:36 am 
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Supercharged
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Location: Downeast Maine
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Reed's comment on grounding of Voltage regulator is important. There can be no voltage drop in any of the charging circuit's ground paths. Place VOM probe on Neg Battery terminal, and the other on base of voltage regulator, alternator's case, and spark controller if equipped. If you see any voltage more than zero you have voltage drop, and it has to be eliminated for any of these components to operate correctly or play well with others.

If there is a one volt voltage drop in harness, in other words voltage regulator sees or detects say 12.2 volts while battery is still at 14.2v, it will direct alternator to make up the deficit to bring the harness back to 14.2v with an additional one volt; resulting in lifting voltage at battery to 15.2v If voltage regulator was reading directly from battery, and not in ignition circuit which most likely for whatever reason has that one volt drop it will correctly charge battery to 14.2 volts.



Start by cleaning battery terminals, ground to block, and head to firewall conductor's connections. remove voltage regulator, clean and promote a good electrical connection of its base and attachment screws to fire wall. Alternator is grounded through all its brackets connections to block, make sure there is one bolt attaching bracket to block that makes a good electrical connection if voltage drop is present in above test.

If achieving zero voltage drop is still a problem it can be abated easily by making a ground loop with #10 wire that connects the chasses or bases of ESC, and voltage regulator tied back to neg battery terminal.

A ground loop will grantee a voltage drop free ground path.

Next is to test the positive side of charging circuit for voltage drop. This task is more involved as it requires checking every conductor and connection in + path from battery, through bulkhead connector, ign switch, back out to engine compartment including black & red charging circuits, and blue wire to voltage regulator, ballast resistor, to coil etc.

Once all that is known to be voltage drop free, that leaves problems with voltage regulator. Regulators can theoretically be tested for free at an auto parts store if you can find a competent establishment.

The third component in the charging circuit that can cause over charge is a defective battery; it can be load tested at a store.

I would gather up your voltage regulator, battery, and alternator, and have all three devices tested.

For your viewing pleasure; a website that illustrates remote voltage sensing that can be a guide to modifying a Mopar charging circuit, and part of possible fix to your over charging problem.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:23 am 
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4 BBL ''Hyper-Pak''

Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:17 pm
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Location: Williamstown New Jersey/Philadelphia
Car Model*:
So I took the alternator to get tested and it tested bad. So for now I'm going to finish out with my warranty at advanced auto. I plan on doing all the grounds mentioned in this thread. But is there anything else I could do with the wiring to upgrade my harness? What else have others done to make thier charging harness better? Thank you so much


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:33 am 
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Turbo EFI
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Location: North Georgia
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I'm not sure which ammeter you have (shunted type versus not) but one of the first upgrades I did was bypass the ammeter. There's more to it that just bolting the two wires together. I replaced the entire 10 gauge wire so that it didn't have the splice in it for the ammeter, then crimped and soldered new connections on each end protected by shrink wrap. It definitely helped in my case.

You probably won't have to replace the 10 gauge wire to the ammeter in yours; mine was melted so it needed replacement anyway. But please don't just twist the wires together and wrap it in electrical tape. Do it right.


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 Post subject: coconuteater
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:11 am 
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4 BBL ''Hyper-Pak''

Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:17 pm
Posts: 29
Location: Williamstown New Jersey/Philadelphia
Car Model*:
can you please explain in better detail as to what you replaced and how you went about it? my ammeter doesn't work and for now will never work, because on the back of the cluster on the backside of the ammeter the copper path is burnt up and broken. I would like to bypass this like you mentioned, so that I can elimate it from every being a potential problem.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:18 am 
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Supercharged
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Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2002 9:20 pm
Posts: 12435
Location: Fircrest, WA
Car Model*: 82 Ramcharger, 76 D100
By 1979 Dodge vans were using a shunt type ammeter, not a full flow ammeter. Bypassing the ameter is pointless. Shunt style ammeters do not cause the same problems as the earlier full-flow ammeters that carried all of the current for the vehicle.

If you are interested, I have a couple spare late 70s/early 80s Dodge B series van instrument clusters and one likely has a good circuit board for the ammeter.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 8:54 am 
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4 BBL ''Hyper-Pak''

Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:17 pm
Posts: 29
Location: Williamstown New Jersey/Philadelphia
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Thank you reed as soon as I get the charging system squared away I'll be sending you a message about that ammeter!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:43 am 
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Turbo EFI
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Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 1:11 am
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Location: North Georgia
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Reed wrote:
By 1979 Dodge vans were using a shunt type ammeter, not a full flow ammeter. Bypassing the ameter is pointless. Shunt style ammeters do not cause the same problems as the earlier full-flow ammeters that carried all of the current for the vehicle.


Yep, I didn't know what year van you had. If you had the older full-flow ammeter, all the current to the battery went through the gauge. Mine melted. since you have the shunt type you are good to go in that aspect.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:46 am 
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Supercharged
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Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2002 9:20 pm
Posts: 12435
Location: Fircrest, WA
Car Model*: 82 Ramcharger, 76 D100
Yep. Dodge finally abandoned the old full-flow ammeter around 73 or 74 for cars and by 75 for trucks and vans. I know my 76 D100 is a shunt ammeter, but I am pretty sure my brother's 74 Duster is a full-flow ammeter. It id always a good idea to get a wiring diagram specific to your year of vehicle so you know.


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