Service Info: 1992 SSEI Alternator (Learn from my mistake) - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 07-27-2003, 11:22 PM   #1
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Default Service Info: 1992 SSEI Alternator (Learn from my mistake)

One day my car would not crank over, so I figured I left on a lamp or something. I got a quick jump start and was on my way. DON'T EVER DO THIS. Turns out my alternator was no good, and I got about 2 miles and then all hell broke loose. The dashboard went absolutely nuts, the car would hardly move and the transmission was hardly working. It died right in the middle of the road.

These cars are extremely dependent on having electrical power. Once it goes below a certain voltage level, forget it. You might as well just get out and walk.

The dumb thing is that with all the friggin bells and whistes on this car, the one thing it doesn't tell you is if the voltage is too low !!!!!!!! A separate volt meter is a good idea I am thinking.

By the way, the alternator lamp is turned on by the alternator itself, if I am not mistaken. what a dumb system, to rely on a broken part to tell you it is broken. I was actually thinking of a way to tap into that lamp and create a circuit that would turn on the lamp if the voltage was too low. But it hasn't gone past the thinking stage

Hope this helps
Steve
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Old 07-28-2003, 11:33 AM   #2
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Our '93 SSEi died in an intersection (at night) due to alternator failure too. I've never seen such strange behavior from a car before. When the tow truck driver arrived, he asked if I just wanted a jump start, and I said no because I suspected that it wasn't just a battery problem. I had it towed home, then replaced the alternator and the battery. Both were shot.

I was also amazed that the only warning before the failure was that the alternator light turned on...but the warning chime didn't chime, so I may not have noticed it right when it turned on. I saw the alternator light in the dash and thought I'd be able to make it to our destination about 1 mile away. Wrong!

Yes, I wish the boost gage didn't replace the voltage gage on the supercharged models.
Or at least design the electronics so that failures like these cause the chime to sound.
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Old 07-28-2003, 12:26 PM   #3
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Default Re: Service Info: 1992 SSEI Alternator (Learn from my mistak

Quote:
Originally Posted by TelePlayer
These cars are extremely dependent on having electrical power. Once it goes below a certain voltage level, forget it. You might as well just get out and walk.
I think you could say the same thing about gasoline, too...

But yes, alternators are problematic on the Bonnes. I'm on #4 myself. I also rescued a woman in a GP one night whose alternator had died on her the same way: Her car would fire right up with jumper cables, then die as soon as the cables were removed and the (barely recharged) battery pooped out again.

Quote:
The dumb thing is that with all the friggin bells and whistes on this car, the one thing it doesn't tell you is if the voltage is too low !!!!!!!! A separate volt meter is a good idea I am thinking.
Yes, and/or an ammeter to show that the alternator is not charging anything. (Yes, it'd need to be a high-capacity ammeter and cabling.)

There'* been talk about getting a pillar pod made up for Bonnevilles that would allow two 2" gauges to be mounted on the A-pillar, and if we ever get past the talking stage, my pillar pod'* going to have an ammeter and a voltmeter in it. As I've said before, the ammeter will tell me when my alternator'* quit (again), and the voltmeter will tell me how long I have before the car dies.
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Old 07-28-2003, 02:29 PM   #4
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The Transmission also seems to be very electrical dependent.

All alternators need a 12v source to produce power, this is what produces the magnetic field in the first place, there are no permanent magnets in it.

I don't think it is a "Bonneville" alternator issue, most other GM'* must be similar. Maybe they get hotter because of physical location.
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Old 07-28-2003, 02:38 PM   #5
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Any transmission from 92 up will be very electrical dependent. They use electric shift solonoids (hence the E after your trans part number, for 'electronic')
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