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Unread 10-23-2012, 07:07 PM   #1
erickpl
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
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Check Gauges Light - Volt Meter to 0

This just started happening yesterday. Replaced the battery a few months ago with an extreme AGR battery that has been super solid.

Got the chime, the light came on, and the meter went to 0. Things still ran okay though. Got it home and did a voltmeter test. 12.32 volts when turned off and 12.33 when running. I'm thinking the alternator may be bad.

But I've done searching and found other possible causes:
- bad connection at battery - clean terminals
- bad cables - replace cables
- bad connections on dash, but that wouldn't necessarily cause the 12.32V reading
- bad alternator - replace

I'll take the alternator off after checking the cable connections, and have it tested. Can they test with the alternator on? Do they do anything besides use a voltmeter on it?

Any other input would be appreciated!

BTW, my TJ is a 97 and I believe still using the stock alternator with 124k on the odometer.

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Unread 10-23-2012, 07:44 PM   #2
Joe-4
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
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My 97 did the same thing sunday night. Everything seamed to be okay. My belt did scream pretty good for about a min and then went away. Started it up monday morning and it everything was good. I am pretty sure you can check your alternator in the jeep with a volt meter. Just not sure what you should be looking for on the meter. Let me know how you make out.
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Unread 10-23-2012, 09:14 PM   #3
joe108
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You sure the battery is good? I know its new but? When batteries go bad in jeeps they start doing stuff like you described
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Unread 10-24-2012, 06:51 AM   #4
erickpl
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Pretty sure it is still in good shape. It was removed from the Jeep for about 2.5 months while I was doing some work on the TJ and it was working just fine after being reinstalled and driving. No needle fluctuation or anything, but I'll check it out when I have the alternator checked. I plan on cleaning the terminals and checking the cables tonight after work.

If I do end up having to replace the alternator, I heard I can put in a Durango one. Is this true? What year/trim/engine durango would I need for this? Will a beefier alternator send too much power to the electrical system?
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Unread 10-24-2012, 07:12 AM   #5
Pillswoj
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Alternator. You should have ~13.8 Volts when running.
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Unread 10-24-2012, 08:34 AM   #6
erickpl
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Would that number report low if I didn't have a good connection at the battery terminals?
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Unread 10-24-2012, 08:42 AM   #7
TheRealKTrain
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erickpl View Post
Would that number report low if I didn't have a good connection at the battery terminals?
Look at your terminals, are they white and corroded? If not, then I highly doubt the connection has anything to do with it.

Autozone can check your alternator for you while it's still hooked up, or you can pull it and take it in.
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Unread 10-25-2012, 08:01 AM   #8
erickpl
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Okay, so I'm 99% certain it is the alternator (confirming this afternoon).

All the alternators I'm finding are the stock 90 amp. But with winch, dual amps, and external lights, I'm hoping I can find a 'factory' alternator that will bolt on to the TJ 2.5L engine (97). Does anybody know if any other truck's (such as a Durango, Dakota, etc) alternator will bolt on and have higher amperage?
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Unread 10-25-2012, 08:44 AM   #9
Pillswoj
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On my 99 4.0 L I was able to replace the stock 90 with a 98 dakota which was 130, the pulley was wider, but the guy at napa swapped my pully onto it for me.
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Unread 10-26-2012, 07:53 AM   #10
erickpl
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Well, confirmed. Battery is in PERFECT shape and has PLENTY of power - and why I can still drive the Jeep.

But the Alternator is toast. Didn't even get to the point in the test of turning on things to see drain. It was reading a big fat 0.

Ordered online, along with a new serpentine since it has been 8 years, and I can use my current one as a spare if needed.

I just wish this would have happened while I had my fenders off! LOL Replacing the alternator would have been LOTS easier!
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Unread 10-30-2012, 03:13 PM   #11
tecumsa
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Does anybody have a link to a write-up on replacing the alternator? Mine just started doing the same thing. I'm going to check connections tomorrow, then take it to AZ to have things checked out.
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