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Old 09-05-2010, 9:14pm   #1
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Default Charge System Fault

Tonight while heading home from Hampton, my DIC displayed "Service Vehicle Soon", then "Charge System Fault", THEN my volts dropped down from 13.7 to 11.0.

I made it most of the way to the Ocean Front (to Independence Blvd) before I lost power and my dash. My father drove out to jump me, and the battery took the charge but the volts dropped as soon as we unhooked the cables, and there was a slow but steady drop in volts as I tried to make it home, which leads me to believe that the battery was not being charged by the Alternator.

It is too late tonight to do any driveway mechanic work, but is it just my Alternator had gone, or am I looking at something more?
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Old 09-06-2010, 2:10am   #2
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First obvious thing to check is the belt, but since you drove it awhile after getting the charge fault, you would have also overheated and noticed no power steering had you lost the belt, so I doubt that's it.

Check the torque and cleanliness on the battery terminals, and maybe have it (the battery) tested. An internally-shorted battery can cause very weird things to happen.

Removing the alternator and having it bench tested is next. It's kinda rare they just suddenly die like you experienced, but a diode shorting out isn't unheard of.

If the alt tests good, and since you recently installed headers, my gut suspicion would lie in the area of the two wires and fusible links at the starter that essentially connect the alternator to the positive battery terminal (the starter post is just used as a junction point where the three wires tie together).

Because these wires are in very close proximity to the header tubes, melting them can happen if care was not taken to orient them properly on the starter post, so that they don't touch or lie near the header tubes. If you toasted them or they are shorting out to something metal, you would definitely lose charging.

If it helps, here is the schematic for the charging system:




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Old 09-06-2010, 10:23am   #3
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Thanks, looks like it is time to get to work on finding my problem.
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Old 09-06-2010, 11:53am   #4
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Tested the Alternator with a multi-meter and it looked like it was bad, took it off and ran it up to Auto Zone and they confirmed it. Now to find an alternator.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:07pm   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zz4vetteguy View Post
Tested the Alternator with a multi-meter and it looked like it was bad, took it off and ran it up to Auto Zone and they confirmed it. Now to find an alternator.
Why didn't you pick one up when you were at Autozone? $175 bucks or so, lifetime warranty.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:40pm   #6
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Why didn't you pick one up when you were at Autozone? $175 bucks or so, lifetime warranty.
They did not have any in stock (checked with all the ones in the area, only two stores had one in stock but they were both for the manual tranny), so it will be 3 days before they can get one...oh, and $159.99

Also, bills have been up and work has been down lately so I don't have the extra $$$ till Friday...sucks, but that's like I guess.
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Old 09-06-2010, 2:30pm   #7
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Glad you got it figured out Joe.
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Old 09-06-2010, 5:38pm   #8
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The transmission should not make a difference on the alternator. Or am I missing something?
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Old 09-06-2010, 5:51pm   #9
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The alt for the auto has a clutch in it I believe.
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Old 09-06-2010, 5:56pm   #10
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The alt for the auto has a clutch in it I believe.
Yup, sure does.
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Old 09-06-2010, 6:00pm   #11
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Your right it has a clutch pulley.
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Old 09-06-2010, 6:01pm   #12
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The car will not run if the wires at the starter are melted together from header heat.. Don't ask me how I found out.

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Old 09-10-2010, 8:02pm   #13
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AutoZone people are total dipsticks.

Here is how my conversation when tonight...

Him: Year?
Me: 2001
Him: Make?
Me: Chevrolet
Him: Model?
Me: Corvette, NON Z06, with an Automatic Transmission
Him: We don't have any in stock (which I knew), but we have one at the Hub and can have it here first thing in the morning.
Me: OK, order it
Him: Oh wait, they have one at the Oceana store if you want to get it tonight.
Me: Can you call them to make sure
Him: Sure....<gets on the phone>
Him: They have it and they are open till 10
Me: Thanks....<run out the door>

I head off and get to the other store...
Her: Can I help you?
Me: Yes, I am here for an alternator for a corvette, the guy at the beach store just called about it.
Her: Oh yeah, let me get it....here you go.
Me: Thanks, you made me night...ummm, am I supposed to take this part off?
Her: What part?
Me: This pulley clutchy looking thing on the end of the pulley
Her:I don't know, let me look in the computer....hmmmm
Me: What?
Her: Do you have an automatic or a manual
Me: Ummm...automatic, like I told the guy at the other store
Her: Oh, well this is not the right one, this is for a manual
Me: Are you ****ting me?
Her: No, and we don't carry it usually, we have to special order it, can have it by sometime next week.
Me: That's ok, I will order it online so I KNOW I get the right part

dumbazzez...guess a few more days till I am back on the road.
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Old 09-10-2010, 9:16pm   #14
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Good ol' VatoZone.
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Old 09-13-2010, 3:06am   #15
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Well, the car was back on the road early Saturday afternoon. A friend of my father recommended a place call Brownings Alternator and Starter off Independence Blvd. I got it to them around 9:45ish Saturday morning, and they called me just before 11 saying it was ready to be picked up.

They took it apart and replaced the insides, and it works like a champ now.
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Old 09-13-2010, 5:18am   #16
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Probably half the cost of getting another one to boot.
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Old 09-13-2010, 5:36am   #17
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Glad ya got it fixed Joe.
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Old 09-13-2010, 1:53pm   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zz4vetteguy View Post
Me: Thanks, you made me night...ummm, am I supposed to take this part off?
Her: What part?
Me: This pulley clutchy looking thing on the end of the pulley
Her:I don't know, let me look in the computer....hmmmm
Me: What?
Her: Do you have an automatic or a manual
Me: Ummm...automatic, like I told the guy at the other store
Her: Oh, well this is not the right one, this is for a manual
Me: Are you ****ting me?
Both of you were kinda wrong there.

The clutch pulley was only used on automatic cars, but I believe they didn't begin using them until 2002 model year. (GB's 2002 A4 car has it I know).

So, for the record, although the clutch pulley didn't come stock on your 2001, that one would have worked just fine for you (think of it as an '02 upgrade. It's also possible the pulley revision is now retroactive when replacing on older A4 cars, not sure).

But she was even more wrong, the clutch pulley was never used on M6 cars.

Glad you got it sorted out, just some FYI to settle the confusion.


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