Re: charging problem with 93 dodge spirit - voltage regulator?

On Wed, 8 Feb 2006, frankvan@xxxxxxxxx wrote:

93 dodge spirit 220K miles
Next step - voltage regulator?

Yep, next step voltage regulator. I post the facts and fix on this
issue about once a month.

The consensus seems to be that the voltage
regualtor lives in the computer

Correct, the voltage regulator is in the SBEC (Single Board Engine

alternator has 5 connections (3 large posts and 2 small).
I assume the large posts are B+ and field connections?

Nope, the shielded large one is B+ and the unshielded one is case
ground. The two small ones are fields.

This voltage regulation issue is the most common SMEC/SBEC failure
(which is not to say it's very common; Chrysler's modules tend to be
pretty durable-just that this particular failure is usually how they
fail.) The official fix is to replace the SMEC/SBEC.

Here is a much less costly fix that *will* work, without replacing the
engine computer and without causing any additional problems:

First, pick one of the following regulators:

Regular normal electromechanical regulator:
NAPA Echlin VR32

Extra heavy duty electromechanical regulator w/vibrationproof mount:
NAPA Echlin VR34

Extra heavy duty electromechanical regulator w/vibrationproof mount and
convenient external voltage adjustment screw:
NAPA Echlin VR35, Standard-Bluestreak VR106

Transistorized regulator with no moving parts (no adjusting screw):
Standard-Bluestreak VR101, Wells VR706 (the wells item is very
inexpensive; it works but Wells doesn't make my favourite stuff)

Waterproof potted IC regulator with no moving parts (no adjusting
NAPA Echlin VR1001, Standard-Bluestreak VR128

Any of these regulators will have two terminals on it, one marked "IGN"
and the other marked "FLD". (the VR1001 and VR128 have the "fld"
terminal on the end of a short wire lead). The alternator gets the
original field wires removed from its two field terminals (right next
to each other, small studs with nuts retaining the two flag terminals
-- be careful not to break off the studs!).

The regulator IGN terminal gets 12V via the ignition switch, and the
"FLD" terminal gets connected via a wire to one (either) of the field
terminal studs on the alternator. The other field terminal on the
alternator gets connected via a wire to ground. Run a ground
wire-16ga is plenty-between the regulator base and the battery
negative terminal, and mount the regulator such that it won't rock 'n'
roll around. At this point, your charging system will once again work
fine. If you got the adjustable regulator, set it for 14.2v across the
battery with the engine fully warmed up and idling, no lamps or other
accessories on, and ambient temperature above 50°F.

Your "Check Engine" light will probably come on in response to this
fix, because the SBEC does not see itself as able to control the
voltage (right, it can't, because that's now the job of the new
regulator you just finished installing!) To silence the spurious
warning, put a resistor across the two original field wires that you
removed from the alternator, before securing these wires such that they
can't ground out or get caught in any moving parts.

Close the hood; you're done.