Lets start this thread by saying "Not A Bonneville" and "Not a 3.8", now that we have that covered
The 3.5 has a factory alternator defect, to sum it up, the electrical field of the alternator collapses, causing a voltage spike, which in turn causes the voltage regulator to engage and drop the car to battery power. Its not a big deal if it only happened once or twice, but it happens repeatedly, making your car look like a travelling light show at times.
GM claims that vibration causes the field to collapse, cold temperatures do it as well, because I dont notice it that much during this time of year when its 90-100 degrees outside, but as soon as winter rolls around, it comes back.
So some things Im considering are:
Somehow rigging a capacitor to handle the voltage drop.
Upgrading my battery wiring to a thicker gauge to carry more current.
Getting a rebuild kit for the alternator.
Im just wondering how viable these ideas are, there is a newer model of alternator available that has the problem corrected but they run in the neighborhood of 150-175 bucks, and im not willing to pay that much.
I like the idea of a rebuild kit if they arent too pricey, but Im not entirely sure exactly what causes the problem, so i dont know if a kit would take care of it or not. Another reason I like this idea is if I could keep costs down, it would make an excellent short term business venture, because there are several Intrigue owners like myself that hate this problem but cant justify the prices to fix it.
Also, after reading up on capacitors, it seems theyre mostly designed to provide a momentary boost or power and be almost instantly recharged by the cars electrical system. My problem with that is this, the alternator will kick the car onto battery power several times repeatedly, sometimes it will last for several seconds, during this time the alternator is essentially not charging the battery if im correct, so wouldnt that quickly drain the capacitor, making it useless for my intended purpose?
Below is a copy of the technical service bulletin for this issue:
Headlamps/Interior Lights Dim Intermittently in Cold Weather
1999-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue with 3.5L V6 Engine
(VIN H - RPO LX5)
This bulletin is being revised to add VIN breakpoints and to include information on 2001-2002 vehicles which may exhibit a similar condition. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 01-06-03-001 (Section 06 - Engine/Propulsion System.
Important: Short term voltage drops (flickers/fluctuations of lights) may occur whenever high demands are placed on the vehicle'* electrical system. This is considered a normal generator output characteristic and a repair may not be necessary. Some owners of the 1999-2001 model year Oldsmobile Intrigue built prior to VIN breakpoints 1F237068 may comment on an intermittent condition where the headlamps or interior lights may dim intermittently. This condition may also be noted in the blower speed slowing or changing pitch intermittently. Some 2001-2002 model year vehicles built after the VIN breakpoints may exhibit a similar condition.
On 1999-2001 vehicles built before the VIN breakpoints, this condition may be caused by intermittent low voltage. Transient engine vibrations may induce the generator to experience field discontinuity. This state results in a voltage spike that causes the voltage regulator to reset. During this period, the electrical system drops to battery voltage.
On 2001-2002 vehicles built after the VIN breakpoints, the voltage drop may be due to the electric AIR (Air Injector Reactor) pump cycling. This electric pump causes a large current draw when it starts.
Important: At no time during the above conditions will the headlamps go out.
On 1999-2001 vehicles built before the VIN breakpoints, replace the generator with a revised generator, P/N 10464469, that has circuitry to inhibit the voltage regulator reset condition. Use the procedure below to replace the generator.
On 2001-2002 models built after the VIN breakpoints, do not attempt any repair to the vehicle. This is a normal condition of the vehicle and does not indicate the need for service. If the customer requires reassurance that this is a normal condition, please refer to the AIR pump demonstration section below.
Important: 2000 model year California and Northeast states emission equipped vehicles and all 2001 Intrigues are equipped with the electric AIR pump. After generator replacement, these vehicles may still exhibit very short dips and/or headlamp dimming due to the AIR pump cycling. Refer to DTC P0410 in the Engine Controls sub-section. If the generator has been replaced, any short term headlamp dip should be considered normal. If the customer returns a vehicle that has been corrected with a generator replacement, you may reassure the customer by demonstrating the condition. Refer to the AIR pump demonstration section.
2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue 3.5L DOHC V6 15x,xxx miles "The Forgotten W-Body"
shaved badges, Eclipse HU, Pioneer TS-A1370R'*, Pioneer TS-A6971R'*, 20% tint, cleared corners, Silverstar Hi'*, 9005 Low'*
Fenderwell Intake, Hi-Flow Cat, U-bend delete, GMPP Handling Kit, MOOG endlinks, and 12-inch front rotors
1996 Bonneville SE RIP 157,751 miles, totaled 8/29/05