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View Full Version : Low Voltage Alarm? Cause?


shepherd
07-02-2007, 11:18 AM
My boat is an '03 197 with LQ9 engine. On the lake yesterday, a warning alarm went off and stayed on until I shut down the engine. Oil level and pressure was OK, engine temp was OK, but I noticed that the voltage gage was showing only 12 with the engine running. I put a multimeter on the battery -- 12 volts showing with engine off, 11.7 volts showing with her running (no stereo on).

My first suspicion was bad alternator, second guess maybe bad connections? I'm going to check and clean all my electrical connections (at least the ones I can find). But can anybody tell me how to check my alternator properly? Anything else I should be looking at?

I'm no mechanic, so any tips will be appreciated.

TMCNo1
07-02-2007, 01:06 PM
My boat is an '03 197 with LQ9 engine. On the lake yesterday, a warning alarm went off and stayed on until I shut down the engine. Oil level and pressure was OK, engine temp was OK, but I noticed that the voltage gage was showing only 12 with the engine running. I put a multimeter on the battery -- 12 volts showing with engine off, 11.7 volts showing with her running (no stereo on).

My first suspicion was bad alternator, second guess maybe bad connections? I'm going to check and clean all my electrical connections (at least the ones I can find). But can anybody tell me how to check my alternator properly? Anything else I should be looking at?

I'm no mechanic, so any tips will be appreciated.


Just for the giggles of it, have the battery checked too and that can be done anywhere batteries are sold, like Sears, AutoZone, Advance or any battery service center and most do it for free too.

pq2
07-02-2007, 01:13 PM
Good thread Shep, the same happened to my boat this weekend, I already sent a PM to Jim asking him what it could be. Let me know if you get more ideas. Our boat is an 04 and has 200 hours. I really hope i dont have to buy a new alternator. Im going to check the battery also.

G-man
07-02-2007, 02:05 PM
If you battery is as old as the boat I'm betting on it. It seems any battery lasting over 3 years is rare unless you keep up the charge in the winter.

pq2
07-02-2007, 02:07 PM
we check the battery and it is ok. The alternator is sending only 11.4 amps.

PendO
07-02-2007, 02:11 PM
you need to have the battery load tested, not just tested with a multimeter

pilot02
07-02-2007, 02:16 PM
Definitely verify all electrical connections as good first. Although I'm sure the alternator's on the newer boats are likely different, on my 89 tristar, I had similar issues and thought the alternator was bad but found out that due to poor connections in the harness, the alternator was not reading through it's exciter lead that it needed to charge. Took the alternator off and had it tested at 2 different shops before I believed that it was in fact "good." Went back through my harness and cleaned all of the piggy backed ground connections and the problem was solved.

pq2
07-02-2007, 03:46 PM
I will take the battery to a test.

03 35th Anniversary
07-02-2007, 03:55 PM
How many batteries are you running? 1 or 2???

pq2
07-02-2007, 03:56 PM
one battery

justinxstar
07-02-2007, 05:22 PM
We had the same problem earlier this year in out 04 x-star, it was the battery. In this boat there are two, we replaced one last year. The weak battery actually caused the alternator to burn up, an expensive fix.

shepherd
07-02-2007, 05:41 PM
I have only 1 battery (which is a concern too, since my stereo has 3 amps). Sounds like I need to do this:

1. Check battery.
2. Check alternator.
3. Check connections.

Is there a way to test the alternator without removing it and taking it to a shop?

03 35th Anniversary
07-02-2007, 05:55 PM
Your right you probably need a 2nd battery. Your alt. is only 70 amp. If you goto 2 batteries go with 2 dry cells, the charge rate is alot lower on them and that is easier on the alt. Thats what I did and I haven't had any more problems. As far as getting your alt. checked your probably going to have to take it off. Remember dry cells, they cost more but they don't make a mess either.

pq2
07-05-2007, 11:13 AM
Shepherd, did you find the problem on your boat????

shepherd
07-05-2007, 11:21 AM
Not yet. My battery tested OK. I'm looking for a new fuse block right now (see this thread http://www.tmcowners.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=17486). The connections were pretty corroded and I broke it trying to remove the cables. :mad:
When I replace it - with clean connections - and clean any other suspect connections, I'm going to test it out. If the problem is still there, the alternator is coming off and going to the shop for testing.

FiremansMC
07-05-2007, 11:42 AM
Sounds like your battery is ok. Have it checked just incase. The 12 volts you were getting is probably off the battery. With the engine running you should have 13.5 or better. Sounds like your alternator is bad. You can take your multimeter and check it on the boat. Ground your black wire and put the red to the HOT wire on the back of the alternator itself. Like I said, you should have atleast 13.5 volts there.

pq2
07-05-2007, 12:08 PM
Feel your pain Shep, I think Im going to have to ask Jim for a new alternator. The thing is that just shipping it and paying taxes of it will be almost what im going to pay for the alternator.

BrianM
07-05-2007, 12:10 PM
Not yet. My battery tested OK. I'm looking for a new fuse block right now (see this thread http://www.tmcowners.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=17486) (http://www.tmcowners.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=17486%29). The connections were pretty corroded and I broke it trying to remove the cables. :mad:
When I replace it - with clean connections - and clean any other suspect connections, I'm going to test it out. If the problem is still there, the alternator is coming off and going to the shop for testing.

After reading that thread the other day and then you posting this one I would be willing to bet that that little coroded fuse block is your problem/

shepherd
07-08-2007, 07:38 AM
I replaced that fuse block (circuit breaker, actually) and cleaned all my battery connections. Skied all morning yesterday with no low voltage alarm. However, I put a voltmeter at the alternator as fireman suggested -- it only read 12.15 volts with engine running. :confused: Alternator going bad?

TX.X-30 fan
07-08-2007, 12:02 PM
I don't think at idle I get 13.5 more like 12. With the rpm's up mine goes to 14+. ????

shepherd
07-11-2007, 11:00 PM
Shepherd, did you find the problem on your boat????

Yep, it was the alternator. My mechanic confirmed it. I just got it replaced today.

pq2
07-12-2007, 11:29 AM
thanks Shep, mine was replaced too.

03 35th Anniversary
07-12-2007, 11:38 AM
Yep, it was the alternator. My mechanic confirmed it. I just got it replaced today.

Did you go back with the same alt. (size) or did you find one that puts out more amps and will bolt into the same spot?

shepherd
07-12-2007, 02:04 PM
I got the same one. The mechanic actually had one on the shelf already, said it's the same alternator they use on the 6.0L Nautiques.