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'06 and newer Chevy HD charging issues

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by Zigblazer, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. Zigblazer

    Zigblazer Member
    Messages: 79

    I'm just checking to see if anyone else is having charging issues with their 2006 and newer Chevy HD pickup while using a plow. I don't have a plow on my '06, that is what I bought the '87 for. But my Dad is having issues.

    He bought a 2008 Chevy Reg Cab Long Box 2500HD 6.0L gas pickup new in 2008. It still has less than 10k miles on it. He only uses it to pull a trailer, his boat, and to plow. He special ordered it with the options he wanted, Including the Snow Plow Prep Package. He had a Western Pro Plus 8' plow installed before the first snow fell after he bought it. I think he took delivery in Apr 08 and had the plow installed in Aug 08.

    Short story long, his alternator quits charging when he uses the plow. After a few lifts and turns it drops the charging voltage to 12.8V. It is not draining the battery that bad, it simply stops charging at its normal 13.9V. He has taken it to the dealer 6 times now, and to the Western Dealer 2 times. After the first 4 times at the Chevy Dealer when they kept telling him there was nothing wrong, even though they replaced the battery twice, he called me.

    I am ASE Master certified and went down to take a look at it. After an hour of checking with no scan tool I figured out the ECM was telling the Alt to stop charging. I found that '06 and newer Chevy HD's use a Alternator that the output is controlled by the ECM. After that he took it back to the dealer and they again told him that there is nothing wrong, it is just the Fuel Saving system going into effect. Problem with that is that once the headlights are turned on it should disable the Fuel Saving system, and putting it into Tow/Haul mode should also disable the Fuel Saving mode. After I had a talk with the dealer, they conceded that it was not the Fuel Saver causing it, and agreed to take another look at it with the regional rep in attendance. They looked at it and the Rep told my dad that it is a design flaw, once the plow drops the voltage the ECM thinks there is a problem and lowers the output voltage to the minimum. He then told him there is nothing they could do and to live with it. Of course my Dad is pissed and is thinking of taking the truck back and telling them to shove it.

    My Dad always takes everything in to get serviced, and never accepts any problems. His last truck was 10 years old with less than 50k on it, with absolutely nothing wrong with it. He is a dealers dream customer, always buys new, always does whatever is recommended, and as long as they do it right, he never complains. I called the dealer back and urged them to simply install an Alternator that is not controlled by the ECM to fix the problem for good, but they said they couldn't do it under warranty, and my Dad would have to pay for it, which would void some of his warranty. I would think they would just do it simply to keep a good customer, I mean if they spend $3-400 on a new alternator and keep him as a customer, it would more than come back to them, but what do I know.

    Anyway, has anyone else had this problem with their newer Chevys?
     
  2. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    I'm not a big fan of the new style charging system design but it does generally work. Although not the way we're all used to as you've discovered.

    I've only ever run across this a couple times where it wanted to stay in a low charge state, once was on a truck that wasn't even equipped with a plow. That one turned out to be a defective battery voltage sensor combined with an incorrect calibration. But the ones that were plow equipped the plow installer didn't have the plow power and ground cables connected DIRECTLY to the battery. Moved them to the battery terminals and the system was much happier. Doesn't totally solve the lazy but it allows it to ready battery condition more accurately thus work as intended.
     
  3. Zigblazer

    Zigblazer Member
    Messages: 79

    His are connected directly to the battery. And once the voltage drops, it doesn't come back up until you shut the truck off, and restart. What pisses me off is that according to the rep GM knows there is a problem with their programming, and they don't care, and won't do anything to fix it.

    I thought adding a second battery and running the plow off from that with smaller cables connecting it to the original battery would make a difference too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  4. vegaman04

    vegaman04 Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    So would just installing an 05 or older alternator fix this issue? Anything else have to be done to remedy this, disconnect or disable the ecm control?
     
  5. Zigblazer

    Zigblazer Member
    Messages: 79

    I know there are 1-wire alternators available, and I'm sure that you could get a non-computer controlled one that fits right in. But the dealer won't do it under warranty (or just to make a customer happy) and my Dad doesn't think he should have to replace the Alternator on an almost new truck, especially when it is GMs fault it isn't working right in the first place.
     
  6. no lead

    no lead PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,308

    ever wonder why they went out of business and ford didn't?:D
     
  7. vegaman04

    vegaman04 Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    Is that all you ford boys complain about? Yes GM took money, they also paid it ALL back. FORD also borrowed money a few years ago from the market. They all have been hurting.
     
  8. plowking15

    plowking15 Member
    Messages: 91

    I have the plow prep package on my 07 2500HD. It came with double batteries,higher amp alternator and skid plate. Your father's truck should have two batteries if it has the snow prep package. plowking
     
  9. Zigblazer

    Zigblazer Member
    Messages: 79

    That's what I thought. But I did check, it does have the High Output alt and Plow Prep, but no second battery. It is the 6.0L gas engine, I don't know if that matters, but my truck is the Diesel so it has both batts anyway and I can't compare the two.
     
  10. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Actually the Fords have been a problem for years. Just getting their PCM controlled system to begin to charge is sometimes a feat in itself. If that's news to you consider yourself lucky. :D



    Aux battery was a separate option.

    Adding a second battery will help slightly but won't solve it. Need to run a completely independent isolated (from the main system) alternator and battery dedicated to the plow. More effort than it's worth since it's still charging...just not as you want it or expect it to.
     
  11. mike1316

    mike1316 Senior Member
    Messages: 155

    Hey there go to the chevy form and ask for b and b help he has helped me with all my proe
     
  12. mike1316

    mike1316 Senior Member
    Messages: 155

    Problem. Sorry about
     
  13. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,269

    Did you not notice that B&B has been responding to every post in this thread?

    I see the OP's problem with all of this but at the same time you can't blame the dealer for not covering an aftermarket altenator under warranty. It sounds like a programming issue that could be solved by new programming. Is there a way to command full charge from the altenator with a scan tool?

    For instance- on my truck I was able to command my fog lights to stay on while my high beams are on by using the chrysler scan tool through the vehicle computer. Its just an example, but sometimes there are ways to make the computer do things that weren't intended by the factory.
     
  14. Zigblazer

    Zigblazer Member
    Messages: 79

    First - I see the reasons the dealer won't do anything, however I also worked at a Med/Heavy truck dealer for 7 years and know what we would have done. We would have fixed the problem ourselves and just ate cost to us simply to keep the customer happy. Our dealership understood that loosing a few thousand now would usually come back in repeat business as well as a happy customer spreading the news that we were a good dealership to work with. I think in school they said a happy customer would tell 2 people about the good experience, but an unhappy customer would tell 20 people about their bad experience. Which makes sense, most people won't talk about a business that did what they expected, but won't stop talking about one that screws them. So I understand that it was not that dealers fault, and they shouldn't have to eat the cost of fixing the problem, but it would have been much better business for them if they would have. They are in a small town and rely on word of mouth. And I'm sure my Father will tell everyone about them not standing behind the new truck they sold him.

    As far as GM is concerned, they won't spend the time on reprogramming a fix unless enough people have had the problem. Simple economics. They don't care about loosing a couple customers, it won't hurt their bottom line.

    So I was just looking to see if anyone else has had this problem. Or maybe everyone else running a Chevy HD has a 2 battery setup that is just enough better to not have a problem, or his plow is pulling a little more juice than most since it is the Western Pro Plus heavy friggin plow.

    I don't know what he has done yet, but I'm sure GM has been getting an earful, or he already has his lawyer involved.
     
  15. JCByrd24

    JCByrd24 Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 232

    I did not have as bad of a charging problem but my 06 1500 on the stock battery would go low enough to trigger the battery light and and ABS message in the mesage center because the ECM did not react quick enough to keep the voltage up. Upon a recomendation from here last winter ( I believe from B&B) I replaced the stock battery with a better one. I went with a Sears Diehard Platinum, which appears and is rumored to be made by Odyssey (a very highly respected battery manufacturer). It solved my problems as the voltage didn't drop so low before the alternator was told to charge. I believe I also heard the GM batteries aren't great, and I recall the specs (Ah) weren't as good as Diehard. The more AH, the less voltage drop while running the plow motor. Dual batteries would certainly help this without a totally separate alternator, but I'd try the biggest/baddest single you can find anywhere outside of a chevy dealership and highly recommend the Diehard Platinum.
     
  16. Zigblazer

    Zigblazer Member
    Messages: 79

    I don't know what he's done with it yet. He is fairly stubborn, and may have not done anything that would cost him any money, and waited for GM to cut the bull and fix the problem.

    As far as batteries go, GM used to have great batteries, at least they did 20 years ago, and now I think they have fallen flat. Unless DieHard has changed in the last 10 years, they were junk. Interstate used to be great, and I haven't had any experience with them lately. I don't know what batteries are good anymore. They all seem to have changed on me.
     
  17. jimmysnow

    jimmysnow Junior Member
    from 81611
    Messages: 18

    i have te same low charge problem on my chevy 2500hd 2010....what you do for fix it....my blade kit is the new fisher xls......thanks
     
  18. Zigblazer

    Zigblazer Member
    Messages: 79

    We did get it fixed this summer. When I got EFI Live for my truck, I bought a tune for his also. With his tune I disabled one of the alternator codes. Then I cut the control wire to the alternator and ran the alternator end to another 5 volt signal from the ECM that would not turn off.

    Long story short, his Alternator is no longer controlled by the computer. Anytime the engine is running it gets a full 5 volt command signal to produce full voltage from another source.

    So far this winter he has not had a problem. We also haven't had much snow, but I would assume that he would have noticed a problem by now. He found out his wife had cancer the next day, so we haven't talked about it since. He has been fairly busy since then.

    I don't remember what the code parameters were, so I don't know if the check engine light would come on without the tune to tell it to ignore the circuit, but it would have set a code from cutting the wire. I can check what the original tune was set for once my garage is warm today, this computer doesn't have the EFI Live program on it, my old one in the garage does.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
  19. jimmysnow

    jimmysnow Junior Member
    from 81611
    Messages: 18

    First i whish her good luck in cancer treatement......................but for the truck with always 5 volts what is the output voltage... Because its possible to charge near 15.50 at full duty cycle......the best is near 80% of duty cucle to get 14.70 and do you think with efi live is possible to order a recommand duty cycle at the computer????for the alt... Thanks for your precious help
     
  20. Zigblazer

    Zigblazer Member
    Messages: 79

    EFI Live only changes ECM or TCM functions. The alternator is controlled by the BCM so it doesn't help.

    His wife is doing much better, by the way. Her liver is very slowly improving, but was in complete failure for a while, on the verge of needing dialysis.

    Ok, I can't remember exactly what I did. But it worked, and the output stayed at around 14.7volts. I have been so busy since then. I will have to figure it out again. I see where there could be a problem, but I can't remember what I did to not have the problem.