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Battery gage fluctuations

Battery gage fluctuations

Postby TFin04 [OP] » Jun 27 2011, 8:53pm

All,

I recently purchased a 2008 Silverado 1500 with 31k on the clock.

I have owned two other modern GM vehicles before this one (04 Canyon, 05 Envoy), all three have had the same set up for a battery meter on the dash.

My Canyon and Envoy always sat right at 14 (volts?), except for an alternator issue on the Envoy which caused it to slightly dip low, then catch back up. I traded that vehicle in for this truck.

My Silverado is very inconsistent with it's reading. Sometimes it will sit at 11.5, sometimes at 14, sometimes at 16.5. It will sometimes adjust itself while driving, but the truck seems to be running without a problem.

I haven't had the battery tested, but I'm wondering if the symptoms above give any indication as to what the issue might be. Faulty gage? Battery issue? Alternator issue?

I know the difference of 11.5, 14, and 16.5 don't seem like much, but it's a drastic change of the needle on the meter.

When I let off the gas (or turn off the cruise control), sometimes the headlights will dim slightly. I have seen this with other vehicles in the past, but those are typically older vehicles with their own set of problems, and I attributed the dimming lights to old batteries and alternators.

Any ideas?
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Re: Battery gage fluctuations

Postby lzn197 » Jun 30 2011, 1:46pm

Check and tighten your battery cables first. Some of the battery voltage fluctuation might be normal. Check your owners manual about the special feature your truck has that was designed to increase battery life.
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Re: Battery gage fluctuations

Postby dp121 » Jun 30 2011, 3:14pm

I have a 2011 Silverado with a 5.3, 2,200 miles and it does the same exact thing. I have not brought it back the dealership for this problem yet, but I will just as soon as I have time.
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Re: Battery gage fluctuations

Postby TFin04 [OP] » Jun 30 2011, 3:34pm

And just today I noticed my oil pressure gauge acting funny. It normally sites at 40 (psi?) and will move up to about 60 when I'm on the gas, but today began dipping down toward 20 when I first accelerate.

I know GM has a history of unreliable gauge clusters, making these issues hard to diagnose as an actual engine problem or just a faulty display. I'm doing an oil change tonight, so we'll see if that cures the new problem.

I love me some GM vehicles, but the damn gauges are annoying as hell.
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Re: Battery gage fluctuations

Postby Coachrgraves » Aug 05 2011, 5:53am

I have recently purchased a 2011, 1500 extended cab, 5.3L engine. voltage gauge varies depending on RPM and when going from high RPM to idle, lights dim, air conditioning blower slows. Glad to see i'm not the only one to experience this. Maybe it is by design, though can't imagine to what benefit?
I plan on checking with the service department next time i'm in. Doesn't seem right to me.
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Re: Battery gage fluctuations

Postby NYsteve » Aug 05 2011, 10:49pm

+1 on checking the battery cables. Also. see if you can see the date code on the battery. If it's the original battery from 2007-2008, it could be about time to change it.
Oil leak? What oil leak? That's just sweat from all that horsepower!
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Re: Battery gage fluctuations

Postby LLAMA » Aug 06 2011, 3:39am

Correct me if I am wrong but someone told me that the alternator shuts down to save fuel. My 06 did this and now my 2011 does the same. If u put it in trailer mode it will charge all the time.
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Re: Battery gage fluctuations

Postby old iron » Sep 01 2011, 10:48pm

:twisted:

I have a 2007 LT Vortec Max that I bought last year at auction. The manual that I bought from the dealer does not refer to this feature.

Is there a feature in these trucks that decreases the charge rate? If so, are there facts (ie: manual or repair book info) that back this up?

I am about to put NAPA reman 160 amp alternator #4 in it. Charges OK for about two weeks of driving (14.5 volts), then starts to peter out. This week ran 14 volts steady until this evening when my DVOM read 12.8 volts. Shut it off and restarted it, it came back to 14.5. Then it falls off to 14 or less.

Do these trucks need a computer re-flash following an alternator replacement? Pretty stupid engineering if this is valid.

I plow snow with the truck, Fisher Minute Mount setup. I installed an Odyssey battery (top of the line) after Alternator #1 gave up the ghost. Still have charging problems. I heard any GM warranty did not apply to anything they sold before they became Government Motors in 2008. Any truth to that? Truck only has 46K on it.

Any Ideas?
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Re: Battery gage fluctuations

Postby EKinMN » Sep 02 2011, 2:07pm

Mine drops consistently to around 13 (based on the in dash gauge). It does it if I am running with minimal accessories running. Although it's not what I am used to, it does not seem to create any issues.

Have you had starting issues? What other symptoms of an issue do you have? You did not mention any issue other than the gauge.

As far as warranty, I have not seen any facts on that, but if GM did not honor warranties, I am sure it would have been heavily discussed here. So, pretty sure warranties are intact.
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Re: Battery gage fluctuations

Postby glens08 » Sep 02 2011, 7:33pm

Mine does the same. I take it as a sign the guage is working properly and my charge rate varies depending on the needs of the vehicle. As I recall (I'm "old" and forget easily) what Llama & EKinMN say is correct. Like our 8 -> 4 engine management system, these trucks conserve fuel by shutting down un-needed accessories. Glen
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