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Old 09-16-2010, 11:30 AM   #1
chompy630
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Member#: 166434
Join Date: Dec 2007
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Farmington CT
Vehicle:
1998 Impreza L 2.5
Red

Default High Voltage?

Ok so I have been having this problem where my battery and ebrake light would come on while I was driving and also sometimes my lights would get bright to where I assume they should be and then dim again.

So anyways I finally plugged my friends radar detector that has a voltage read out into my car to see what it was really doing.

When the light on the dash isn't on it is running at 13.7v
When the lights on the dash are on it jumps to 14.4v
When the lights got bright it jumped super high to above 16v and stayed there for a while.

Alternator and battery were replaced within the past year
I have a 1200w amp and sub other than that there isn't anything wired into the car at the moment

Does anyone have a clue as to what this is?
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:54 AM   #2
Mulder
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15 WRX/05 GTO

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The voltage regulator is in the alternator so it's probably that, even though it was recently replaced. The alternator should be tested but it's most likely bad.
You may need a new battery again as well, if the voltage has been running that high for a while the battery will be overcharging and venting and eventually that will damage it.
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:00 PM   #3
chompy630
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Red

Default

cool thanks for the quick response I'll get it tested sometime this week.
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:55 PM   #4
Mulder
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Get it fixed ASAP, it's not good for the electronics and bulbs to have fluctuating (and excessively high) voltage like that. And as I said it may have already trashed the battery, look for signs of acid overflow. If the battery has indeed puked out some acid you'll need to do a cleanup with a baking soda solution to minimize any damage and avoid future corrosion, and plan on replacing it.
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:15 PM   #5
porcupine73
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Quote:
When the lights got bright it jumped super high to above 16v and stayed there for a while.
I had this happen on my '00 obw. I replaced the alternator and the problem went away.

I went to start it up one morning and the battery was dead. So I recharged the battery (set on 2 amp rate for about 3 days). Then when I started the engine, it wasn't idling right. It was like it was running on 3 cylinders. Then the ABS light came on. I have a voltmeter installed and that's when I noticed it was reading 16.3V. So I shut her down immediately. It took a few days before the reman'd alternator arrived. The battery again went dead during this time. (Something in the old faulty alt was draining the battery too.) I had also seen this same sort of thing happen on a lifted truck for sale because the guy installed this big Wrangler alt to power these huge flood lights, but when it was running at high rpm and low load it put out almost 16 volts. Another time on a 4x4 for sale something similar happened, but it was because the alternator didn't have a good ground, so it was assuming the output voltage was really lower than it was. When a supplemental ground wire was added (2 gauge, right to the battery, then to the frame crossmember), that problem cleared itself right up. So make sure your grounds are good!

After replacement a couple years ago she's been golden.

Last edited by porcupine73; 06-05-2011 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:16 PM   #6
porcupine73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulder View Post
If the battery has indeed puked out some acid you'll need to do a cleanup with a baking soda solution to minimize any damage and avoid future corrosion, and plan on replacing it.
Yes, especially if you have automatic trans. The PO leaked battery acid all over the ATF cooler lines that run right below the battery on my '94, and it ate through the lines last winter.
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:22 PM   #7
chompy630
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1998 Impreza L 2.5
Red

Default

Well i got ambitious and went and got a new one just now it's in and now the car doesn't run like crap which is great they tested the battery for me and it was fine and I see no signs of acid so I'm gonna run with it.

Thanks for the help
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