DiyMobileAudio.com Car Stereo Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Vehicle - Acura Integra 2000 LS

Hi I'm having alternator issues, intermittently. It's affecting not only my SPL but now daily driving, hope this is an appropriate place for this.

I have a voltmeter at all times in the car so I automatically see all drops, what I'm seeing is it's charging right after starting the car at 14.4v like normal operation. However when I start driving, especially when coming to a stop my voltage drops to 12.8V like a healthy battery voltage should be...

I've heard your electrical is only as good as the worst ground, so I tried removing the worst ground I have which is the wimpy 4 gauge tranny ground but same deal. Yes my car still starts because ALL other grounds are 2/0 AWG including the valve cover, and everything is also grounded to the block on these vehicles FYI...

I'll be honest, I have a ridiculous sized stereo for this weak 90 amp alternator but I don't play it for extended times ever, and hence why I have my voltmeter to make sure it's not dropping like crazy. Usually when it's working I have no problem maintaining 14V at the volumes I play it at. I'm thinking it's bad and tried checking at autozone with their free test, but of course it passed because it was intermittently charging at 14.4V like normal.

Any suggestions? I realize it very well may be time for an upgrade, this alternator has 15 years on it now. Thanks for any help guys. Fairly new to these forums so again hope this in the correct place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Also the 12.8V voltage drop happens consistently with every single accessory off, just to clear that up. It has nothing to do with my setup because it's been off and it keeps happening.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,301 Posts
You are asking a lot out of a pretty small alternator. In my experience it's usually the voltage regular inside the alternator. You can have the alternator fixed for pretty cheap at a decent shop, but I suspect that will only last short term. You're better off with a much more capable alternator, you can run the thickest cables you can fit, but that isn't going to make a difference if the alternator (when brand new) was only rated at 90 amps.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,394 Posts
isn't there something about honda, the inertia driven exciter for the charging/sense circuit, and fuel efficiency being controlled by, microprocessors?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I understand that's a lot to ask for from a 90 amp alternator but when it's working properly it usually doesn't drop anything below 14V on my normal listening volumes (assuming the alternator is actually charging). I did think the voltage regulator is definitely bad, but I was thinking it may be more than just the regulator considering the age. This is a 15 year old car stock alternator, I'm not 100% it's just the stereo to blame at this point.

Out of curiosity does anyone have experience with external regulators, I'm seeing cheap options but can someone explain why this may be a bad idea to get something like this: JDM Chrome Battery Volt Voltage Stabilizer ECU System Acura Integra B16 B18 D16 | eBay

Hypothetically let's say ONLY the voltage regulator is bad (perhaps improbable), could this be a $20 fix then? Or are these just cheap and a terrible idea considering malfunction can have bad results (overvolting my charging system and wrecking everything).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
isn't there something about honda, the inertia driven exciter for the charging/sense circuit, and fuel efficiency being controlled by, microprocessors?
I'm unaware of this but it is 15 years old, so I didn't think it would. But worth a google, thanks for the suggestion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,301 Posts
I think I spent about $30 to have a new voltage regulator put in. It worked great...for a while, then I had the same problems as before and bought a proper alternator.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,394 Posts
probably won't have success jerry-rigging an external Voltage Regulator to the car.

I think you could look at the idler pulley with the tensioner, it might be weak and causing some mild slippage that the computer interprets as bad and adjusts.

sometimes it's just a worn belt, sometimes it's the spring going weak, sometimes it's a bad bearing that doesn't make noise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Cajunner, I kinda expected to hear that about the external regulator. Those are some good suggestions I didn't even think to check, appreciate all the help. Now bearing you're talking about the bearing inside the alternator correct? My understanding is that a good way to check if this is bad, is to rotate it in your hand and if any vibration is there it needs replacing?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I think I spent about $30 to have a new voltage regulator put in. It worked great...for a while, then I had the same problems as before and bought a proper alternator.
I actually just saw the eBay voltage regulators for around that, so thanks for confirming it is a bad idea. I'm considering grabbing a Honda Odyssey alternator with 130 amp output as the internal regulator would still work with my car. Not much a difference in size either...

Really appreciate all your guys help I am much further than when I started.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,394 Posts
Thanks Cajunner, I kinda expected to hear that about the external regulator. Those are some good suggestions I didn't even think to check, appreciate all the help. Now bearing you're talking about the bearing inside the alternator correct? My understanding is that a good way to check if this is bad, is to rotate it in your hand and if any vibration is there it needs replacing?
I just threw bearing in there to keep it real.

don't worry about a bad bearing, the likely culprit is the belt or tensioner if it's a mechanical issue.

the possibility does exist that a sensor going to the ECM is shot, I don't know where the ECM is taking it's voltage reference from on Acura's, but if it's the circuit that is fluctuating, Eye E, you may be on to something.


I don't know if you have a problem just yet, but it appears the alternator is working at startup and then it's not putting out current to keep the engine at it's most efficient, so I would suspect that there's a circuit that is responsible for this activity, and that circuit could be whack.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
486 Posts
Since you say it happens with every accessory off too:
Take the alternator out and check the brushes if worn, that mostly causes symptoms you are describing if there is no belt slip (usually audible too)
If denso (searching for brush holder it looked like it) it all is under the metallic protector sleeve held with few screws.
While there see if the slip ring is significantly worn where brushes go. You can see it when you unscrew the brush holder. If theres huge grooves and it seems that the two brushes would not make contact for long even if new then it's easier to get rebuilt/other alternator.

You can get new brushes for 5-30$, on the more costly side if you get the brush holder but you don't have to mess with the old one. If it's other than denso alternator there is a possibility that brushes come with regulator. Same brand as original manufacturer if original part too expensive is usually of much better quality.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,063 Posts
Cajunner had it on the money in his first post. The ECU controls this alt and you will only see max charging momentarily like start up or when you turn on an accessory. There is a way to bypass it but it involves digging into the fuse box under the hood. Don't just throw money at it do research this is a very common and very documented issue in the SPL world of Honda's.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,301 Posts
I'm not sure, I don't own a Honda, but I thought their unusual voltage regulation was in newer models than this guy's 2000 Acura.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,063 Posts
I thought those were all the way back to when OBDII was introduced.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,424 Posts
I'm not sure, I don't own a Honda, but I thought their unusual voltage regulation was in newer models than this guy's 2000 Acura.

Nope they had it introduced even earlier.


Here is something I'd Highly recommend looking into. As you said your alt is a good 15 years old. Hell its had a hell of a life lasting that long. Seeing the age it is wiser to replace the entire unit with a new one as replacing bits and pieces will only ever be a band aid.

Now here is where people may disagree with me but actually seeing and feeling what crap is put into reman alts I'd highly recommend having a alt custom built by Singer, Mechman, Ohio gen, ect... (personally I'd look into Singer)

Reason being...

I can only vouch for Mike Singer here but actually seeing what goes into his alts as far as components would make the extra money worth it over reman alts. People would cringe if they saw what crap is put into reman alts. And I'm not talking always a purpose built HO alt. He's actually rebuilding my stock alt as we speak (you would have to talk to him and see if he could rebuild your stock alt) to stock output (actually stock is 120A so I should see around 140A when all is said and done). It's only for a backup as I have a 240A HO alt by him as well.

If your interested I can PM you his contact information
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,301 Posts
I got fed up with cheap, Chinese, remanufactured alternators, so I bought a brand new Bosch and I'm happy I did. I didn't need a custom HO alt, the Bosch provides about 20 amps more than the stock alternator did, and has a great warranty.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Nope they had it introduced even earlier.


Here is something I'd Highly recommend looking into. As you said your alt is a good 15 years old. Hell its had a hell of a life lasting that long. Seeing the age it is wiser to replace the entire unit with a new one as replacing bits and pieces will only ever be a band aid.

Now here is where people may disagree with me but actually seeing and feeling what crap is put into reman alts I'd highly recommend having a alt custom built by Singer, Mechman, Ohio gen, ect... (personally I'd look into Singer)

Reason being...

I can only vouch for Mike Singer here but actually seeing what goes into his alts as far as components would make the extra money worth it over reman alts. People would cringe if they saw what crap is put into reman alts. And I'm not talking always a purpose built HO alt. He's actually rebuilding my stock alt as we speak (you would have to talk to him and see if he could rebuild your stock alt) to stock output (actually stock is 120A so I should see around 140A when all is said and done). It's only for a backup as I have a 240A HO alt by him as well.

If your interested I can PM you his contact information
Honda-ELD
Here it's an ELD Electrical Load Detector that was screwing me, and a way to get around it and still pass emissions (bypass with resistor).

This car I purchased for $1400, I would simply never pay $450+ for this electrical system that now doesn't drop below 13.4V at retarded deafening volumes (although they are GREAT QUALITY alternators). Just picked up a rebuilt alternator I found at a junkyard for $30 lol 3 month free warranty, and keeping my fully functional one as a backup. I'm well aware 99% of companies rebuild them to only last a year so you have to keep paying them. Stinger I've heard great things about, same with Mechman, Ohio Gen, Iraggi. Probably some of the only reputable alternator companies left that don't advertise their 220A output at 6k RPM's like the crooks do.

My alternator swap for me took only 30 minutes, I actually saw this genius DIY write-up who took his axle off when all I did was take a fuel line and power steering hose off, two bolts then pulled it out the top lol. Dropped it back in and done, it's taken me longer to change my oil before(darn Jiffy lube purposely over-tightening it, make me stick a screw driver through it)... Not against these companies, and I realize it costs money for REAL quality. But I'm 24 and poor, and happy to take 30 minutes to swap alternators when needed (probably about a half year from now). Again I'm not trying to say HO alternators from Stinger and other reputable companies aren't worth every penny. They custom build these things and that costs not only money but time, and I give respect when it is due, they are great units.

Perhaps five years from now when I can afford a car that's not a beater, I will invest in the Stinger HO. But I want to have the sound system to suck the juice, mine is only 2,360 watts RMS pretty whimpy.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
865 Posts
Most cars of the last decade or so, even though capable of producing a higher charge voltage, are going to level off at 12.8 or so while running due to their programming...

It's not like it used to be...

As previously mentioned, you can probably cheat the voltage sensing with a resistor, but that might deliver some unexpected consequences.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top