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Out of Car Alternator Test proceedure.

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.

1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70, V70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70-XC
1997 - 2004 C70

warcraftjunkie
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Out of Car Alternator Test proceedure.

Post by warcraftjunkie » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:14 pm

Hey folks, I have another thread going for a repair I'm working on, but thought this merited a separate thread for this question.

I suspect I have a bad alternator. I have done drop tests and they seem to be within spec. I took the alternator out of the car and took it to O'Reilly and AutoZone and both said they could not test the alternator as it wasn't compatible with their machines.

I took it to a specialty generator/alternator rebuilder shop here and in town and he put it on the machine. The only way it would fit on his machine had the pully running in the wrong direction. Would this give a bad reading? I thought I read here or on another site that the 99 V70 alternator runs in a different direction than most alternators. Anyway, he said he was only getting 5 volts out of it.

I called another generator repair shop and mentioned my experience and he said that direction does not matter on the alternator as it will produce current in either direction of rotation. I guess the question is, does the direction of the spin matter when testing the alternator?
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Re: Out of Car Alternator Test proceedure.

Post by jimmy57 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:01 pm

If it has the one way clutch on the front it won't do much run the wrong way.
I am not sure on 99's. The OWC was a phase in and I can't recall which ones and when. If you see a nut and threaded shaft=no OWC.
If you have a black cap or see an internally splined hollow shaft then you have a one way clutch.

I had a Volvo alternator tested at AZ not long ago. One batt out put and one connection that is exciter supply/alt warning lamp circuit. The guy had some adapter harness he plugged in and it had an alligator clip lead for the light/exciter blade terminal.

I don't think the machine had an automated test but he checked voltage and had a display for ripple current, what I'd call rectifier diode failure where too much ac voltage is unconverted.

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Re: Out of Car Alternator Test proceedure.

Post by warcraftjunkie » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:30 pm

Here are a couple pics of my alternator... from the direction of the pulley if I spin it counter clockwise, it seems to engage and spin, if I spin it clockwise I can feel the shaft slip a little bit however things still spin inside the alternator.
WP_000049.jpg
Here's the shot of the back of the alternator. It does have the black nut on one of the posts.
WP_000050.jpg
When I took the alternator to the shop he said it was spinning in the clockwise direction... therefore with some slipping.
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08 XC90 3.2 - Wife's people hauler
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Re: Out of Car Alternator Test proceedure.

Post by jimmy57 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:03 pm

Yep, does have the OWC. It can't be evaluated going CW. It has the arrow denoting operating direction on the alternator. It is in the first pic at 1 o'clock.

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Re: Out of Car Alternator Test proceedure.

Post by precopster » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:40 pm

Hope this helps. Posted this in a topic here as on YouTube.

After replacing the regulator the unit produced very healthy voltage after having only 8v while running in the car (with battery attached)



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Re: Out of Car Alternator Test proceedure.

Post by cn90 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:31 am

I believe 1993-98 spins CW.
1999+ spins CCW b/c the belt routing is different.

I may be wrong.
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Re: Out of Car Alternator Test proceedure.

Post by precopster » Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:26 pm

cn90 wrote:I believe 1993-98 spins CW.
1999+ spins CCW b/c the belt routing is different.

I may be wrong.
This is correct. '99 Plus spins CCW and pre '99 spins CW
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Re: Out of Car Alternator Test proceedure.

Post by warcraftjunkie » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:39 pm

I found a rebuilder shop here in town that happened to have one in stock. It went in and most everything is working great. Posting on my original thread regarding my progress on the funny electrical issues.
If you can't laugh at yourself, someday you will be the only one not laughing.

08 S80 V8 - My daily driver
08 XC90 3.2 - Wife's people hauler
87 245 DL - Son's car

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Re: Out of Car Alternator Test proceedure.

Post by warcraftjunkie » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:21 am

Thought I would add this picture in there for anyone interested. It should probably be put in a thread related to serpentine belt removal. I've seen posts about using a 14mm wrench to turn the tensioner on the serpentine belt and then use a nail or some other object to lock it in place while you do the work. I couldn't for the life of me feel where that notch/hole was for inserting the nail. So eventually I let the tensioner fall all the way back to it's neutral position which of course is not a good place for routing the belt when you are ready to reassemble.

So I came up with this rigging. Basically I took a 14mm crecent wrench and tied a loop of wiring to the closed end of it. I would have used some nylon cord or something if I had any lying around, but often I use when I can get my hands on immediately. After tying it on to the wrench, use the wrench to twist the tensioner once there, use your other hand to loop the cord through the loop at the top of the mounting bracket for the power steering/alternator, and then back down and loop it over the end of the wrench. The angle and force of the wrench is enough keep it from popping off. I suppose there's the risk of you bumping the wrench off while you are putting the belt back on, but I found I had plenty of room to work as the wrench is not in the path of the belt.
serpentine belt.jpg
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If you can't laugh at yourself, someday you will be the only one not laughing.

08 S80 V8 - My daily driver
08 XC90 3.2 - Wife's people hauler
87 245 DL - Son's car

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Re: Out of Car Alternator Test proceedure.

Post by Mistermister » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:44 am

I know this is an Old Post but I find myself in a similar situation my 99 Volvo V70 the power steering line is bad and I have a new pump in line ordered through IDP set to arrive sometime at the end of next week however this is my daily that being said I was thinking I might buy a smaller belt and run it from the crank to the alternator and let the tensioner keep the pressure in check that being said it would now spin the alternator the opposite direction mine does not have the black cap nor can I find the arrow that being said do you think my alternator would still charge? Is there something else I can look for to tell before I measure and buy a shorter belt my only other option at this point would be to cut the rubber hose on the power steering line leading to the rack and pinion and loop it back into the power steering reservoir which I really don't want to do if I can just buy a short belt to run on for a week. And yes I know the car will be hard to turn and people will say it's not safe but I've been driving the car for 6 months with no power steering just fine no issues whatsoever I would just like to fix my power steering and stopping it up power steering pumps because there's no fluid being fed to them

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