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7.3L Powerstroke Technical Discussion Technical info, repair and non performance related discussion for the 7.3L Power Stroke engine here.

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Old 02-01-2010, 07:45 PM
sandnut sandnut is offline
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Default Electrical problem - bad voltage regulator??

I've had this electrical problem for a few weeks now & it seems to be getting worse lately. It's sporadic, but a few things happen all together:
The OE dash gauges lose power. Sometimes they go to the off position, other times they go to the other extreme (i.e fuel gauge reads full, tranny temp gauge in the red, etc). The trip/ODO usually goes off, but not always. Also the stereo HU loses power. I'va also noticed that the battery light will flicker on & off, and that both my dash & head lights will flicker.
I've got a scan gauge from Joey @ TE, and have started watching the battery volts. They usually run between 14 & 15, which is a bit on the high side, isn't it? The above problems ONLY happen when the volts go up to and stay at 15.9. I looked in the user manual for the gauge and didn't see it, but I suspect that its max reading is 15.9, and the voltage may be going over that , that's when stuff goes crazy. I have an Autozone alt & Optima batteries, and they have passed Autozone tests (for whatever that is worth, which I guess is not much). Truck fires up with no problems, and these problems can't be created/controlled by by changing RPM or reducing/increasing power consumption.
I've been told that the voltage regulator is internal in the alternator, which I'm guessing Autozone doesn't test. The wiring looks good under the hood.

Any ideas? Bad alternator or something else? I haven't had any performance problems, just strange electrical issues.
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:08 PM
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Ben, sounds like a voltage regulator problem. You should never see 15 volts. Mine never goes above 14.3 volts. Might try swapping out the alternator and see what happens.
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Old 02-01-2010, 10:15 PM
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The voltage regulator bolts to the back of the Alt with 4 torx screws. And you can buy just that.
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Old 02-01-2010, 10:16 PM
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Cody is right. I forgot about that... Much cheaper then a new Alt as well!
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Old 02-01-2010, 11:09 PM
sandnut sandnut is offline
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Thanks for the help guys.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:33 PM
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Could the voltage reg do the opposite of that? My battery light just came on, and my volts are 11.75 when running. Could it just be the reg, or is it most likely the ALT?
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:43 PM
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that can be a voltage regulator as well but to the op that sounds like the regulator is getting full feilded by battery voltage it is bad for everything the guages go crazy because they use a 5 volt reference voltage any thing out side of 15 volts will cause all kinds of problems.
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