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Jim Grant Tech Tips Jim Grant Tech Tips
A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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  Jim Grant's Tech TipsJim Grant's Tech Tips
Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.



Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

82 Chevy Van, Charging System Question
Q:#I recently installed a new battery in my 82 Chevy Van. It starts fine but the needle in the gauge never moves off discharge unless the vehicle is idling, then it moves to the halfway point. All the other gauges are working fine. Do you think it will ruin the new battery or do you think the gauge is not working?

A: # Relying on the dash gauge as the sole answer to your question may leave you in a not so nice place or time, looking for a phone. To really answer your question requires a voltmeter. With the ignition key in the off position, battery voltage should be 12.6 volts. This reading indicates a fully charged battery. Anything less means that the battery is low in charge. With the engine running, all accessories off, the battery voltage should test in the range of 14 to 14.5 volts, give or take a bit depending on temperature. This indicates that the charging system is functioning. If the gauge on the dash shows a discharge then you know that the gauge is less than reliable. The charging system performance also must be checked (engine running) with the accessories on at idle and at 1500 RPM. This tests the ability of the charging system to keep up with the demands of the electrical system. Keep in mind that the primary job of a battery is to store electricity. Once the engine is running it is the job of the charging system to recharge (replace the electrical energy used to start the engine) the battery and provide for the electrical demands of the vehicle.

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