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alternator undercharging? 1996 Olds Cutlass Supreme


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Julie
Anonymous Poster

Jul 27, 2006, 12:09 PM

Post #1 of 4 (1664 views)
alternator undercharging? 1996 Olds Cutlass Supreme Sign In

I have a 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. My battery gauge has dropped to about 10.5-11 volts, although it doesn't seem to be dropping any lower (this problem began this morning). The "check gauges" light came on initially, but went off after a few minutes. The car is running fine otherwise.

Does this mean that the alternator is just undercharging? Or could it be much worse? I was able to drive for an hour straight with no trouble. Perhaps it's the voltage regulator? I plan to have it checked out tonight, but I'm trying to make it home first. If I keep radio/lights/AC off, is it safe to drive an hour plus with the gauge at 10.5-11V?

I would appreciate any advice. Thanks!!


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jul 27, 2006, 12:25 PM

Post #2 of 4 (1662 views)
Re: alternator undercharging? 1996 Olds Cutlass Supreme Sign In

Most likely is that is the alternator either the voltage regulator or brushes not connecting or more. Some place will bench test it for little money and if a no go I suggest buying the whole unit rebuilt but you can get the parts and do it yourself if you want.

voltage while running should be about 14V and off after a while about 12.2 (I forget exactly) or close to that, T



Guest
Anonymous Poster

Jul 27, 2006, 12:34 PM

Post #3 of 4 (1659 views)
Re: alternator undercharging? 1996 Olds Cutlass Supreme Sign In

Thanks for the advice, Tom! So do you think it is safe for me to drive about an hour with the voltage reading this low? I just don't want to stall out on the interstate...

Thanks again for your help!


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jul 27, 2006, 1:27 PM

Post #4 of 4 (1657 views)
Re: alternator undercharging? 1996 Olds Cutlass Supreme Sign In

No!! This car uses juice not just for ignition but a fuel pump and either will kill the battery fairly quickly. A real good new battery fully charged with NO accessories on may last 1/2 hour to 45 min.

If you are sending this job out charge the battery first and if close enough make a run for it and don't even hold the brake at lights or whatever -- use the parking brake so even the brake lights don't drain it further. That is just stopped and certainly use the brakes in traffic.

If engine quits remember you only have one more good stop and power brakes will quit or diminish but work but not well, T







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