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Electrical Problems?

I love my Chevy Chevette!
Posts: 2
Joined: 11/11
Posted: 11/11/11 08:48 AM

As you will find out fast, I know nothing about cars.  I have a 1988 Corvette with 20,000 miles on it - mostly summer driven.  The car would not start.  When jumped, it did start, but only ran for a minute and then died.  Again, when jumped, it started and voltage read 14.2, then when disconnected from the other car, voltage read from 13.2 to 14.2, with lights on dash and inside flickering at times and then the engines died.  Have you any idea what is happening?  Any advice would be appreciated.  

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I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 1114
Joined: 08/09
Posted: 11/12/11 02:37 PM

engine off.. disconnect battery...

clean the battery cables..   use HOT water..

take the battery cable bolts out of the cable ends..  use a stainless steel wire tooth brush to clean the bottom of the heads of the battery bolts..

use the  same brush to clean the face of the side terminal battery posts..

clean the face of the battery terminal ends..   if you have corrosion inside the rubber .. you can pour hot water over the rubber and with a small flat screw driver.. usually pry the rubber over the ring terminal so you can clean it..

you can also use baking soda  and hot water to clean the battery cable ends..  don't get any on the battery..

the stainless steel tooth brushes are available at most hardware and paint stores..  about 2 bucks..  i like the wooden hander versions over most plastic handled versions as the wire bristles are stronger..

you might want to invest in a digital volt meter from the parts store.. they start at about 7 bucks.. and you really never need to spend more than about 20 ..

please.. engine off.. turn the headlights on for one minute. then turn them off..

set the digital volt meter to 20 volt DC scale..

12.65 volts is a fully charged battery
12.45 volts is a 3/4 charged battery
12.25 volts is a 1/2 charged battery

these are engine off voltage readings after you have removed any surface charge.. by running the headlights for one minute..

try not to jump start a discharged battery.. its always best to use a 10 amp charger... watching the amp meter on the charger..   keep an eye on it..  when it drops below the 10 amp mark.. the battery is usually fully charged..  
most of the battery chargers lately.. if you leave them hooked up at the 10 amp setting.. will overcharge the battery and ruin it..

depending on your amount of discharge..

what happens..  if you have a deeply discharged battery.. the alternator on that model is probably 105 amp to 120 amps..  it can attempt to force the battery to accept the charge at a high amp rate..  this cooks the battery plates.. hardens them.. ruins the battery sometimes depending on the amount of discharge..

once you get the battery properly charged.. or replaced.. so it will start without a jump..

with the engine running .. headlights on..
set digital volt meter to 20 volt DC scale..

1.  test between the positive and negative battery posts.. 14.1 to 14.7 volts is expected..

2.  test between the negative battery post and the engine block..   0.04 volts is expected..

3.  test between the negative battery post and the chassis/body ground.. 0.02 volts

4.  test between the chassis ground and the engine ..    0.02 volts is expected..

if you get 0.00 on tests 2, 3, 4.. reset the digital volt meter to 2 volts DC scale..   redo tests 2, 3,  4

please post results by number..  

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