Flickering lights

Voeltagear

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Just had a new experience with an electrical system interaction with an ignition system. I was wondering if anyone could explain how ignition timing could have an effect on the charging system. I've had flickering lights and a surging blower motor since I've owned the 76 aspen. I've also been fighting pinging under load at low to moderate rpm. This week I gave up on the timing marks being accurate and retarded the timing 2°. After I adjusted the timing I noticed the ammeter and my cigarette lighter voltmeter were rock solid. It even charges at 14.4 volts at idle now. It struggled to hit 14v previously and was erratic to say the least. Why would ignition timing have any effect on the charging system? So far the pinging is gone also. Any ideas? Experience with this type of relationship? Just curious. Thanks and have a great day!
 

Mikes5thAve

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Proper timing setting making engine run at more consistent rpm and probably slightly faster also making the alternator run more efficiently.
 

Duke5A

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Did you notice the RPM pickup while making the timing adjustment?
 

Voeltagear

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What about a bad distributor cap? I had a pinging issue on my vortec 5.7 in a 1996 chevy that turned out to be a bad cap. Could it cause feedback to the regulator or alternator somehow?
 

Duke5A

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This makes no sense. My guess would be you disturbed something making that timing adjustment. What kind of shape is wiring and plug in on the voltage regulator?
 

Voeltagear

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Good thinking, I'll check it out. I have cleaned the connection previously however with no improvement.
 

Duke5A

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Good thinking, I'll check it out. I have cleaned the connection previously however with no improvement.

Check it all: voltage regulator plug, voltage regulator ground, field wires on the alternator and wiring between. I've personally degraded plugs on the charging systems in these cars do just this.
 

Aspen500

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The regulator grounds through it's case. Make sure the bolts are tight. It's not a bad idea to add a ground wire under one of the bolts and run it to the engine. At the very least, take the regulator off and sand a small spot bare on the firewall and back of the case mounting tab, if not already tried.
 

Voeltagear

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The regulator grounds through it's case. Make sure the bolts are tight. It's not a bad idea to add a ground wire under one of the bolts and run it to the engine. At the very least, take the regulator off and sand a small spot bare on the firewall and back of the case mounting tab, if not already tried.
I did clean a spot on the firewall. I'll add a ground wire also.
 

Aspen500

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I mention grounds only because I was an auto tech for 40 years and saw many, many electrical and electronic problems that turned out to be poor or missing grounds. Sometimes the bad ground connection was seemingly unrelated to the circuit, item or system that had the concerns. Electricity is a weird thing, lol.

In the shop we always said "electricity is not an inaniminate object, it is a living entity with a very warped sense of humor" :)
 

Mikes5thAve

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The way I read the original post sounded like the flickering cleared up along with everything else when the timing was adjusted so I wasn't sure.
Another easy thing to do is get some of those star washers to use where the various items screw to the body for ground. They bite through the paint and dirt or finish on the different items better.

No kidding on grounds doing strange things and these cars are some of the strangest.
 

Voeltagear

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I replaced the plug wires today. Cylinder 6 was rubbed through on the coil. Fingers crossed I can adjust the timing to the factory setting again.
 
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