87 Turbo Esprit - high voltage ~14.7V - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-24-2018, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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87 Turbo Esprit - high voltage ~14.7V

My 87 Turbo Esprit volt meter is 'pegged' beyond 15V (on left dashboard).

I put a cigaratte lighter volt meter and it shows 14.7V at times but so far the last 50 miles of driving (see upside down in picture)

Earlier it was showing a lower voltage - about ~13.5V max.

I have the Bosch AL 49 X conversion unit - my late 88 Esprit had that for ~40K miles without incident. But not sure why this one is having an issue.

My concern is the high voltage is going to fry something, but the only scenario is to replace the Bosch 49 ALX alternator. I believe the voltage regulator is inside the unit.

The dashboard also the Moss Motor's voltage stabilizer. Not sure if this has failed, but it is a non-standard modification that may have impact?

https://mossmotors.com/solid-state-voltage-stabilizers

Any feedback for those that may have seen this issue is appreciated.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-24-2018, 06:54 PM
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Too much voltage is going to fry things. A couple of things you should do before condemning the alternator. Make sure the connections on the battery are clean and tight. Test the battery. Look for sticky black goo dripping out of the bottom of the alternator. Get a GOOD voltage meter and put it right on the output of the alternator and a good ground. Most large auto stores will test your alternator and battery for free. If the battery is over 5 years old replace it. If you wind up replacing the alternator you should also replace the belt. Check if it pays to rebuild your old unit or it might be faster and cheaper to just exchange it.
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-24-2018, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Battery was recently removed to be cleaned and put back in with tight connections. This alternator is the Bosch AL 49 X unit so no black goo (been there, dripped that). The belt is 3rd belt in 3 years (had it replaced when bought in 2016, replaced due to squealing in 2017 twice and now new belt with the new one piece alternator bushing to prevent loosening.

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-25-2018, 06:30 AM
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Voltage regulation is internal to the Bosch AL49X. Only way to be sure that the unit is putting out proper voltage is to pull the alternator and have it bench tested at your local rebuild shop.

Tom Mieczkowski
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-25-2018, 08:03 AM
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Do you HAVE to pull it to test it?

My favorite auto electric shop tested mine 'in car' when it was under-charging. (<---Turned out to be a loose alternator belt...no squeal though)

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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-25-2018, 08:38 AM
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14.5 is within the normal range for an alternator.

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-25-2018, 08:49 AM
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Is the battery actually getting charged? Sometimes an alternator will float high with no load. So maybe a connection issue. Does the voltage vary wildly with load. Turn on the headlights and heater fan see what happens

I am not sure of that alternator, but a whole series of Bosch alternators have a regulator brush pack held on to the back of the unit with two screws. 2 minutes to change
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-25-2018, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vulcan Grey View Post
14.5 is within the normal range for an alternator.
I'm sure Eddie has noticed something 'different'.

FWIW our '88 with Bosch alternator runs about 13.9VDC max (after starting) and settles down to ~ 13.5. <----This, on the dash gauge.


I WILL admit that when I was worried about my alternator, I measured with another device, and that gauge was ~.5 VDC higher.

Atwell Haines
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-25-2018, 01:25 PM
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14.7 volts is on the high end for sure. Something is wrong. 13.5-14.0 volts is more typical and healthy.

As JT pointed out, is the battery old? If it's four years old or more then it should be replaced. Batteries have a finite number of cycles and years in them. I know, I run a battery company.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-25-2018, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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Correct as Atwell mentioned. My alternator was marginally putting out voltage. The reading for a long time were no higher than 13.7- maybe occasional 14.0. But it would drop to 11.5 at 700 RPM at the stop light.

Now the Smith's voltage gauge is peaked 16v + with digital gauge peaking 14.7v It used to read 13v and the digital gauge said 12.5v. I was worried about undercharging, but now that changed.

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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-26-2018, 04:53 AM
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https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f16...edures-438897/

pics in post 3


regulator is cheap
two screws if you can get to in place
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-26-2018, 07:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Beerman View Post
[snip]
As JT pointed out, is the battery old? If it's four years old or more then it should be replaced. Batteries have a finite number of cycles and years in them. I know, I run a battery company.
Just contacted the PO - he confirmed the PPO (Previous Previous Owner) replaced the battery in 2014. With 2 East coast non-heated garage years and 2 West coast non-heated open air garage years - that 4 years of colder-than-normal battery exposure.

My batteries in California (non-heated garage) can last over 7 years, but lately 4-5 is the norm. However I never experienced a voltage surge before battery failure - usually just weak cranking.

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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-26-2018, 09:12 AM
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From what I understand if you have a bad cell in the battery it can cause this. The voltage drop in the battery makes the regulator turn on full tilt. Perhaps try swapping in another battery (from your fleet, LOL) and see what happens.
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-26-2018, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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From what I understand if you have a bad cell in the battery it can cause this. The voltage drop in the battery makes the regulator turn on full tilt. Perhaps try swapping in another battery (from your fleet, LOL) and see what happens.
I'm going to get a new battery - lazy and easy to do (and at 4 years old in cold winters, it's probably not a 7 year California-style battery).

Eddie B
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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Put a new Exide 34 battery - same high voltage. Even though the old battery tested as OK at O'Reilly, I decided getting a new battery was still in order. Guess the Bosch AL49X needs to be yanked.

Update - tried to find a voltage regulator as a Bosch # 1197 311 023 and no where to be found.

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post #16 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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Found what appears to be genuine Bosch 1197 312 023 voltage regulator for $34 plus $10 shipping ground at Summit Racing. Hopefully that cures what ails the car.

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post #17 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 06:22 PM
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If you are going through the trouble of pulling and replacing the voltage regulator you should be replacing the bearings, belt, and brushes too. If you see any windings showing signs of overheating don't waste time rebuilding it, exchange it for another.
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post #18 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 04:59 PM
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Eddie, have you considered hugging the car?

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post #19 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by delomike1049 View Post
Eddie, have you considered hugging the car?
I'm not going there....

Another theory (based on voltage meter readings) says the alternator is charging just fine; not high after 1 hour of running.
It is suspected the Smiths (?) voltmeter in the car is inaccurate.

I have the Moss Motors voltage stabilizer device that brought the readings back to Earth (they were way too high and pegged).


During my visit with Van in Nor Cal (owner of 4 88 Esprits - mechanically similar to my 87) said the Moss Motors device damps the other gauges, but not the voltmeter.


After driving the 87 Esprit ~500 miles yesterday, it seemed to work fine - the cigarette lighter voltage I used indicated ~13.9-~14.5V while running and about ~12.5V ignition off (new battery).

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post #20 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jtrealty View Post
If you are going through the trouble of pulling and replacing the voltage regulator you should be replacing the bearings, belt, and brushes too. If you see any windings showing signs of overheating don't waste time rebuilding it, exchange it for another.
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The PO (delomike1049 on this thread) replaced the Valeo with the Bosch AL49X in ~2015. I bought it from him in 2016 and the alternator had probably less than 500 miles max on it. So mechanically, I'm OK with just dealing with the voltage regulator.


And as exigeus pointed out, the voltage regulator is on the outside of alternator and is a 2 screw replacement procedure.

Debating about just installing the new voltage regulator; the existing one may be good and the Smith's voltmeter is bad.

And I suspect finding a Smith's voltage not gonna be easy.

Eddie B
87 Esprit 'SLEEK GT'
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