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Discussion Starter #1
This weekend was just rediculous!

Was driving home, suddenly get Low Battery Voltage error, I think ok, maybe the charge dropped so I went home and charged the battery and everything was fine. Then, after coming home from work, the Alfas diasl go ballistic, dashlight on and off, speedo stuck, rev counter stuck, car idling rough, limped to a safe stop and then the car died. Had to walk home, fetch my other car, take out battery from Alfa which included removing air inlet hose etc. HUUGE schlepp, put in other battery and at least it started and got me home but still get the Low Battery Voltage.

I checked, battery Voltage at idle was 12,5. Negative to gearbox is rock solid. Then I went under the car and tried to see alternator from below, all I see is the small control wire coming from the alternator, but there is supposed to be a bigger, positive wire going to the battery terminal? Where is it? is it coupled to the small wire?

Phoned dealer, will take 2 weeks to get the part in and empty my wallet.

Does anyone know where this other wire is? Can it be just the control wire being loose? I checked it but it was proper.

:(((((((

I need my car urgently, I cannot wait 2 weeks for the new alternator and then it was just a wire. I did not see any loose dangling wires. I did take the Alfa on a sandroad the other day, gave everything a huge shakeup....
 

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It's not a "huge schlepp" to remove the battery from a V6 FWD Alfa. Come on - you must have noticed before that the air intake runs over it - it comes off very quickly and easily. Try removing the battery on an Opel Corsa bakkie, then we can talk.

Battery voltage at idle should be in the range of 14.2. If you are getting 12.5 you have a problem (clearly).
There should indeed (from what I can remember last looking at one) be two wires coming out of the "back" of the alternator.

If your alternator has failed, you very likely don't need a new part from a dealer. It's probably the regulator that has failed. There are detailed guides online on how to replace it in-situ, or else it's a pretty big job to remove the alternator and fit the new regulator (fit new heavy-duty bearings too while you're at it). It's usually a Bosch part and any auto electrical place would be able to do the refurbishment for you once the alternator is out of the car.
Also look at fitting a new starter while everything is dismantled, saves on possible labour later.

You either need to put the car on a two-post lift or on axle stands when removing the alternator. Can't lift it by the wheels.

As I have said before, I pity that poor GT. Why, oh why would you take it on a dirt road?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
It's not a "huge schlepp" to remove the battery from a V6 FWD Alfa. Come on - you must have noticed before that the air intake runs over it - it comes off very quickly and easily. Try removing the battery on an Opel Corsa bakkie, then we can talk.

Battery voltage at idle should be in the range of 14.2. If you are getting 12.5 you have a problem (clearly).
There should indeed (from what I can remember last looking at one) be two wires coming out of the "back" of the alternator.

If your alternator has failed, you very likely don't need a new part from a dealer. It's probably the regulator that has failed. There are detailed guides online on how to replace it in-situ, or else it's a pretty big job to remove the alternator and fit the new regulator (fit new heavy-duty bearings too while you're at it). It's usually a Bosch part and any auto electrical place would be able to do the refurbishment for you once the alternator is out of the car.
Also look at fitting a new starter while everything is dismantled, saves on possible labour later. You either need to put the car on a two-post lift or on axle stands when doing this. Can't lift it by the wheels.

As I have said before, I pity that poor GT. Why, oh why would you take it on a dirt road?
It was a huuge schlepp because I had to walk almost 3 kilometres with tools and my spare battery, then had to remove intake hose, and like in any civilized car the battery terminals should be 13 spanner but no, positive had to be bloody 10mm, anyway...It was (*&(% standing there being stranded in the middle of the bad part of town then walking there with all the tools etc.

The problem is, all I can see is this small wire coming from the back, from the black cap i.e. regulator? . I want to check cables first before I take it into the dealership for 2 bloody weeks. I did not have a choice, I had to take it down the sandroad.! No choice I tell you.

Battery charge at idle should be more than voltage at rest?
Where is this other, thicker wire?
 

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Ah OK yes, I take your point. The 10mm issue is true. Luckily when I had my first V6 Alfa the owner pointed that out to me so I haven't been caught out.

Yes, voltage at idle should be higher than voltage with the engine switched off. A normal car battery only starts charging when it has 13,8 volts across the terminals - 2,3 volts per cell. Anything lower than that and the battery will discharge. This is the voltage that a trickle charger applies.
Normal voltage at idle should therefore be a bit higher than 13,8 volts - from about 14,1 to 14,3 or thereabouts.
Voltage should pick up when the engine revs, but not a lot - anything from 14,5 and higher can start to cause the battery to release excessive hydrogen gas, and if it's much too high, like 14,8 or 15 it will pretty quickly cook the battery, which will be obviously bulged, smelling of rotten eggs and spitting acid and steam.
 

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Oh, and sorry I can't help with specific info about where exactly the wires on the alternator go. I can't remember exactly. Hopefully someone else will be able to advise.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Could it be the small control wire? It felt a bit crisp at the connection point last night...

Also, Battery was charged with trickle charger at 12,8V, then at rest it was 12,5 and at idle it was 12,34 - 12,33 - 12,32

Interestingly enough now that I think about it, there was no plug, only this thin wire inside the plug recepticle?
 

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Not familiar with the v6 but Alternators should have 2 wires to them, a thicker charge wire usually connected to a threaded stud and a thin check wire usually on a spade connector but sometimes on a smaller threaded stud.

This is a picture of the 3.0 V6 120 amp alternator showing the connections
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Not familiar with the v6 but Alternators should have 2 wires to them, a thicker charge wire usually connected to a threaded stud and a thin check wire usually on a spade connector but sometimes on a smaller threaded stud.

This is a picture of the 3.0 V6 120 amp alternator showing the connections

Thanks allot biddy :)

This morning I took a chance and had hoped that some mysterious power in the universe had fixed my Alfa so I started it to see if it gives me the same low voltage warning and guess what?? The battery was completely drained :0 and last night it still had 12,67V and I didn't drive it at all which can only mean that my battery has gone on to a better place and was the culprit in all of this all along!!

I am going to buy a new battery at this stage, hopefully that was the problem.
 

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Remember, alternator problems can often kill a battery.

When an alternator is on its way out, it can deliver widely varying voltages, which will damage the battery.

So if you put in a new battery, test the alternator at the same time. If voltages are not as they should be, the duff alternator will just destroy the new battery as well after a short while.

What I would recommend:

1. Take your existing battery and bench-charge it and test it to see if it holds the proper charge. It should hold 12.6 V when fully charged. (Depending on whether it's sealed or not, make sure water levels are correct in each cell.)
If it doesn't hold 12.6 V, it's likely damaged. Get a new battery. If it does hold 12.6 V it is likely fine.

2. Put the fully charged, or the new battery, into the car. Test the voltage. Should show 12.6 V.
3. Switch the engine on and let the car idle. Measure voltage. It should be about 14.2 V over the terminals at idle. If the voltage doesn't change at all, or is far below 14.2 V, the alternator is either completely dead, connection is dead or alternator is dying. If far above 14.2 V the alternator is dying and will kill the battery.
4. Have someone rev the engine to about 3000rpm and measure voltage over the terminals. It should go up from the level that it was at idle, but not a lot. From 14.2 to maybe about 14.4 or 14.5. If it doesn't change at all, or if it goes up a lot, the alternator is dying and will damage the battery.

If it's 12.6 V switched off, 14.2 V while idling and slightly higher while at 3000rpm, the alternator is fine and it was probably a battery problem.

Then still, the battery problem could be caused by some other issue. Something drawing excessive current from the battery while the car is switched off. If the battery was still level at 12.6 last night and the next morning it's dead completely, that is what I would suspect.
 

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To check for something draining the battery, you could try the following. (More comprehensive guides on the net)

With the engine off and the car doors closed (to stop interior lights form lighting up), disconnect one of the battery cables (negative's the easiest). Take an ammeter and switch it to a fairly sensitive setting. Connect it to the end of the battery that's still connected and the other probe to the loosened cable. It should read fairly low, like 10 to 50 milliamps. If it reads a lot more than that, there's something drawing too much current while the car's off.
To diagnose what it is that's drawing current, you can remove fuses one by one to see if the current drawn decreases. If you remove, for example, the interior lights fuse, and it drops, you know that's it's an interior light that stays on while the car is off, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks allot Giorget2. :)

Yeah, last night it measured 12,67, this morning the engine won't even turn over so something is draining it, I hope it wasn't the alternator that killed it as you said, I need my Alfa tomorrow, I have a huge, big date :)

I am going to buy a new battery today and check tonight, please cross fingers for me and hope it was only the battery.
 

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A duff voltage regulator will sometimes drain a battery.
 

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If the alternator is completely dead, you could probably drive the car on a fully charged battery for 250 to 350 kilometres in one go, provided no electrical equipment is being used. Not recommended, but it is possible. So you could risk it with the date.

I've had to do that with a 3.2 Busso. Drove on highways, with no lights, no aircon or cabin fan, no wipers, no radio, windows slightly cracked for air, on a very hot day. I made it about 370 kilometres in one go (engine only started at the beginning, never switched it off) under those conditions before the battery was drained fully. Then I fitted the spare battery I had brought with me. The R800 for the extra battery was still a lot cheaper than towing the car would have been :biglaugh:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So I put in the new battery, don't know what I was expecting but still the same problem. Voltage at rest was 12.67, at idel 12.25, a clear sign the Alternator has moved on to the big electric spool in the sky.

It now even pops up an Engine Control Unit Failure followed by the Low Voltage Warning Light. As I sat there in the moonlight contemplating removing the Regulator without removing the whole alternator in my last hope of fixing the car before my date I faltered and called it a night. Even if I would have been able to remove it, it would only have left me with half a night to put it back and I am not so experienced, let alone have the proper tools to do that in the time I gave myself.

I feel sad, let down but I will not go down. Booked the Alfa into the dealership, have to wait two weeks for the alternator to arrive ( what is this, have to wait for the pony express from Texas?).

Anyways, while they remove the alternator I thought they should also replace the aux belt while they are at it, any other things I should replace/service while the alternator is being removed? I'd rather spend the extra and move my service forward and do everything at once.
 

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They will have access to the starter motor, so they could replace that as well as a precaution, if your finances allow it.

Also there is access to the ARB bushes, but the dealer would want to fit a whole new ARB, not just the bushes.

They could do the Aux belt, but it's not really necessary, unless it's old (in which case you should have it replaced anyway. You don't need to remove that much to get access to the Aux belt normally, so it's not such a big job.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks Giorget2

I can't shake the feeling that I could take it out myself, check the alternator, fix it, put new bearings in and repair/swap the regulator in less than the time I have to wait for my booking and new alternator to arrive at the dealership.

I read allot on how to remove it or just remove the regulator through twisting and turning the alternator through the wheelarch. Question is, how do I move the engine forward to wiggle it out? Also, I will have a hard time to remove the small control wire at the back, is it just a 8mm or 10mm nut I can insert to loosen the cable? Has anyone replaced their alternator on a GT v6 before?

From the top or the bottom?

What we don't do for girls hey :)
 

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Hey Aramis,

I did a similar job on mine, earlier this year and wrote a thread about it. Loads of input from other members. ;)

What I can tell you is it's truly a nightmare of a job, for us amateurs!!! But it can be done! (Hell, I managed to do it all alone) ;)

I'm on mobile right now, but I'll try to send you some more info later on...

All the best!:beer:
 

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As far as I know, the eLearn manual for the GT says the alternator comes out the top, but two Alfa mechanics I know both say from the bottom is the best way.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
thank you bernas68. This thread you made, it was on Alfaowner.com? If you can please send me a link?

Well, it seems easier from the top, anyway this damn thing will come out is fine actually I just dont have tools to move the whole engine forward or backwards or whatever
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Hey Aramis,

I did a similar job on mine, earlier this year and wrote a thread about it. Loads of input from other members. ;)

What I can tell you is it's truly a nightmare of a job, for us amateurs!!! But it can be done! (Hell, I managed to do it all alone) ;)

I'm on mobile right now, but I'll try to send you some more info later on...

All the best!:beer:
Found it :)

I have indeed already read your thread, it has some very good info. The 156 and GT are similar but I do not have such a HUGE access hole in the wheelarch like the 156? Can this be? I can peek inside but the front where the pulley is, that part is partially obstructed with bodypanels...;(

I also tried to loosen the first bottom screw, 13mm, that holds the alternator but there is no way to actually reach in with a spanner and turn the second one which is much higher up?

How did you loosen the engine mounts and support the engine? Sorry, I have basic tools, do I just use the 'ol hammer and long iron prybar??

The picture you posted show a huge hole and easy access to the alternator once turned around, I dont have that massive space and it looks a group of tiny people might manage this,lol
 
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