hi all, ive been lurking on these boards for a long time, due to my slew of mopars past and present. i love the boards and info on allpar.
let me preface by saying ive combed the internet and these forums before i took the plunge and asked here, and im stumped and in need of guidance.
the vehicle is a 93 landau, v6, 107000 miles. it was old lady owned all its life until my SIL bought it about 3 years ago with 88000 miles on it. she drove it til the driver door started falling off, and she bought a new car. it sat at my house for 4 months untouched, and i resurected it to use as work transport (read: beater) because it has a/c, where as my 01 neon did not. i fixed the door and charged the a/c, and enjoyed it for 3 weeks, until last week.
on the way home i noticed the "check gauges " light flashing, and saw the voltage had dropped below 12, swinging toward 10 at a red light. i turned off the radio (mild amp and subs, btw) and it came back up some, and when the light went green it went back above the 12 mark. i continued to drive it home, about 30 miles, thinking the battery was going bad, which seemed right, because it had sat for a 4 months and the battery was probably old anyway. went to autozone, they tested the battery and reccomended it be replaced, so i did. the new battery didnt "fix" the problem, it still flashed the check gauges light. had the counter monkey come back out with the handheld check box they use, and the new battery tested fine, but said the voltage regulator was bad. i knew from past mopar experience about the computer controlled VR, so i went home and did some checking with the volt meter. battery across terminals shows 13.4, voltage at alternator b+ shows the same, and the field wires also checked out. all grounds (that i know of) also checked out for continuity. i even tried to wire in an external VR per the many FAQs and walkthroughs on this and other forums, which also did not affect the "check gauges" warning, although it did start to overcharge for a brief second when first started it up.
so then i removed the alt. and had it bench tested, it check out as good. went back to reading about bad brushes and burned out diodes, and false "good" tests on parts store equipment... so today i bit the bullet and bought a remanufactured Denso alt and new serpentine belt, along with running a new ground from the battery to the alt, since i managed to break the lug off the factory alternator harness.( it broke off with very little force, so i though it may have been weak to begin with) i also ran a new ground wire from the firewall to the other lug on the alternator, just to be safe. both of these are 10ga wire, with soldered ring terminals. after installing all of that, i crossed my fingers and fired the car up... and found it still doing the same thing, with the "check gauges" light.
now heres the thing, the battery still shows 13.2 or so volts, even after driving it around for 20 mins with the problem. when the car is moving, it seems to be charging, even with all the accesories running (a/c on high, headlights, defroster) it stays right at 12 volts on the gauge. when i come to a stop, it dips to the 10-11 volt area and keeps going slowly down. the car however, does not seem to run differently, and the blower only slows slightly. since im doing this in daylight so far, i can not tell if the headlights/dash dims at all.
after the new parts test drive i checked the voltage again, batt is at 13.2 with car running, alt. B+ is at 13.2. the battery terminals look good, and test good with the volt meter, at the terminals and by poking the VOM leads into the wires downstream of the battery, so i dont think it could be the terminals.
i am stumped. ive been my own mechanic since i was 16 (im 37 now) and as stated before ive have a bunch of mopars and other cars and have never ran into anything like this before. very sorry for the long first post, and if i get this beast functioning properly i promise ill contribute more, im just stressed and strung out the past two weeks from trying to work a full time job (at 55 hours a week, i drive a semi for a living) and repair this car afterwards in my limited free time. thanks in advance.
cliff notes: car charging funny, replace battery and alternator and two main ground wires, still getting low voltage.
oh, btw, the amps are disconnected through all of this, and the stereo face is removed, so it shouldnt have any power except the memory circuit going to it.