Help - Sean's '84 Coupe problem(s) (forwarded)

Ben Swann bswann at
Thu Aug 29 22:52:09 EDT 2002

In behalf of Sean, I am forwarding this perplexing problem to the list for him.


-----Original Message-----
From:	Sean Shoemaker [SMTP:shoe007 at]
Sent:	Thursday, August 29, 2002 2:24 PM
To:	bswann at
Subject:	my other address

  I am planning on getting over to your place tomorrow.  If i can ever get
out of the house I am headed to the alternator shop.  I wonder if you could
post this for me.  I can't remember what my outgoing mail server is for
Comcast.  This is my other address and if you want to send something to me
direct I check this one very often.

Using good old deduction I believe I have narrowed down my problem, but a
solution still eludes me.  I have had earlier postings about electrical
problems and many, many incorrect assumtions on my part.  I have finally
listened and worked on eliminating systems.  I found that I was getting a
1.5 amp draw on the battery with no fuseable equipment connected.  I
disconnected the alternator and the draw went away.  I wanted to prove what
the problem was so I performed the following experiment.

Here is my test that in included 4 alternators and one known good battery.
I constructed the circuit with only the battery and the alternator on a
bench.  I ran the ground to the alternator chassis and put my multimeter,
set to measure current, between the postive battery post and the alternator
post.  I tested with the exciter wire on and off of ground as I was not sure
about the proper testing conditions.

The first three alternators have been tried in the car previously.  The last
one was in another car and was used as a baseline for sanity.  A showed 1.5
amp draw; B and C showed 4 amps.  Fearing that I was going insane and that I
was doing something wrong I tested D and that it showed .30 amps.  So one
would think that I have found my problem, but it still bothers me that this
problem has shown in 3 seperate alternators.  One of them is a new rebuild.

I guess what I am looking for someone to tell me why this test isn't showing
me the right thing or that it is possible to have this many bad alternators.
  If they are just bad, then is there anything in the car that could be
causing them to go bad before I go sticking more alternators into the car
and potentially ruining them.  When I first started all of this the wiring
was not in the greatest shape, but I have tried to clean up all of the
ground straps and wires I could find.

Thank you once again and please help me to get this thing out of Ben's yard.
  Besides I have owned this car for 6 months now and I have yet to be able
to drive it.

-Sean Shoemaker
'84 Coupe GT WE 5spd

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