Originally Posted by stevespiderguy
In my last test, unfortunately the cheap aftermarket radio I had installed in the dash emitted some smoke and stopped working. I am grateful this was the only breaking to happen, and now this leads me to wonder - does that suggest the voltage put out by the alternator could have exceeded a safe limit? What does that imply since I put in a new external regulator already?
You've probably figured this out already, but yes, it sounds like >> 12v is getting into your electrical system, causing the lights to be extra bright and the radio to fry. Typically this is caused by a bad regulator, so installing a new one was a logical thing to try, but unfortunately, that didn't seem to solve it.
Perhaps it would help us to know what kind of a regulator you installed to replace the old one. Mechanical or solid state? From what source? It isn't impossible that your new replacement was DOA. Does the replacement look like:
The new regulator connects using the same three pin plug the old one did, so I have no idea if it is the wrong connection. I figured it would be the same as the previous one if the plug wires were oriented the same directions on the new unit.
Yes, the orientation of the three wires in the plugs shouldn't (*) change between your old and new regulators. However, your problem could be caused by a broken wire at one of the connectors.
The fact that a new regulator didn't make any difference suggests that the old regulator was OK and that some other part of the charging system (like the alternator-regulator harness or bellhousing ground strap) is the issue.
*) I'd say "couldn't
change" if I knew for sure that you had installed an OEM-type regulator.
I've also discovered poking/pulling on part of the wiring harness under the dashboard causes the dash gauge lights to turn off if they're on when they shouldn't be
I suspect that is a separate, more minor problem than the over-voltage. Probably just a worn/flakey connector. I'd concentrate on why the charging system is putting out too much voltage, and get back to the intermittent dash lights later.