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Flickering Lights

Mr Dark

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 26, 2002
Messages
103
Location
Sauk Rapids, MN, USA
Corvette
1985 White Coupe
Well, it's time to fix the next problem on my car. I've noticed that when I am idling the car (putting it in the garage, sitting at a light, etc.) all of the lights will flicker (not on /off, but a little brighter then a little dimmer, etc) a little bit. Dash lights, parking lights, fog lights, etc. When I check the voltage on the dash gauge, it's at 14.1, and the battery is new and very strong. It seems to me that when this used to happen on other older cars I had, it was the voltage regulator going out. What do you guys think? Alternator or voltage regulator? Is it easy to test and/or replace? Any advice appreciated! :)
 

Mr Dark

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 26, 2002
Messages
103
Location
Sauk Rapids, MN, USA
Corvette
1985 White Coupe
It would be really ironic if it were Mr. Flicker. ;)

I hope it doesn't go dark! I just spent a bundle having a bad ground fixed that did cause the dash to go dark. I swear this car is monitoring my checkbook; whenever it detects a positive balance it does something negative to me! ;)
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2002
Messages
2,509
Location
Tallahassee, FL
Corvette
none right now :(
I think the money monitor must be a feature on C4's, mine can sense an excess amount of money as well!

Anyway, I am thinking your lights are ok, are they dimming out when you put your foot on the brake, or when something kicks on? It could be the fan, A/C, or anything with a high power draw... it seems normal for it to dim/flicker for a second when another big power component kicks in, and you are at idle... the real person who would know though, is Vig... maybe he will reply with a more technical electrical explaination.
 
V

vettepilot

Guest
Just checking something while I ponder your flickering problem. The new battery... being "strong" isn't the whole story, is it the correct capacity for your car? If the capacity isn't sufficient to pick up the load as the load fluctuates such as the A/C compressor cycling on/off, or turn signals making /breaking the circuit then the voltage regulator might not compensate quickley enough to prevent the dimming or flickering that you notice, especially so if there is a combination of loads such as headlights, all other running lights, A/C, and stereo on producing an already high load. The new battery may spin the engine over well at crank, (in most cases about 1/2 revolution is all that's needed on the new cars) but it just might not have it for the loads I mentioned.
The voltage regulator is internal to the alternator, so checking / replacing isn't like it was in the early cars. Also, one other thing that popped into my head, many people who like to dress up their engine compartment by spraying silicon or other dressing on the rubber hoses and components will also get overspray on the drive belt(s). Under increased loads this may cause the belt to slip, and not squeal because of the slick lubricative qualities of the silicone. Something to check.
vettepilot
 
E

Eagle85C4

Guest
Your alternator is talking to you....watch the voltmeter in your dash...it should be around 12 volts at an idle...it will run up to around 14.2 or there abouts after starting and during cruise it should stay around 13.8 volts. If your readings are different you might as well replace the alternator now before it leaves you stranded somewhere.
My 85 did the same thing...I put new brushes in it and it ran good for another 2 weeks then went all together.
 

Mr Dark

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 26, 2002
Messages
103
Location
Sauk Rapids, MN, USA
Corvette
1985 White Coupe
I'll watch the alternator output more closely for a bit to see what it does. From the limited amount of observation I've done so far, it seems to stay at about 14.1 most of the time. I don't think the battery is a problem; I bought one with humungous cranking amps and reserve power. Thanks for your input! :)
 

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