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Thought it was the voltage regulator...but no....

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Due to travel, weather, etc. I haven't driven my '01 much in the past couple of months, but I am now experiencing problems that I originally thought were just a low battery from sitting so much. The battery is a 6 month old Optima that tests OK on my home charger/tester/starter, and after a short charge, the car starts right up. The next day, I would go to start it and it didn't have enough juice to turn the engine over. Once I hooked up the jumper cables, it would start right up. It did this to me three days in a row.

I installed a Carrera cluster about a year ago so I would have a volt gauge and an oil pressure gauge (and the OBC with the dot matrix display..very cool). So I went for a short drive after charging the battery while watching the volt gauge, I noticed that it would vacillate between 11 and 14 volts. Which made me think that the voltage regulator had gone bad, or was going bad.

So I pulled the alternator (thanks for the DIY in taking it out that I got from searching previous posts) and took it to my local Autozone. The alternator checked out fine, lamp/diode trio - good, regulator - good, rectifier - good. My next thing to test is to take the Optima out and have it checked.

Anything else I should check? Possible ground problem?

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A load test wouldn't hurt and if it checks out fine I would check your grounds. Lastly, the starter could be getting grouchy but I would bet on the first two ideas.

Looks like you don't drive that car in poor weather so I doubt the grounds are corroding unless there is just a lose one on the starter.

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