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Old 12/30/2005, 01:06 AM   #6
rvrtrash's Avatar
So many cars, so little time!

Location: Post Falls, Id.
Joined: Apr 03
Posts: 3,503

My Garage
I'll try to answer a lot of this, with my limited knowledge. First, use distilled water to fill the battery and only fill it enough to cover the top of the plates. Any more and it will boil out. Second, put a volt meter on the battery and monitor it. You can buy a dash mounted one and hook it up temporarily just to see what's going on as you drive around. It should never go above 14.5 volts. Third, the voltage regulator should keep the voltage within the range of 12.6 volts to 14.5 volts, regardless of the alternator output or what accessory is on- that's it's job. High output alternators provide more charging capacity for vehicles with high current accessories like big stereos, air conditioning, rear window defoggers, etc., but won't overcharge a battery unless something fails. Driving with your lights on is a good idea for safety, but does nothing for the battery. If you increase the system current load the alternator will work harder to compensate (I won't go into the physics of it, but trust me) which will have a small effect of engine power and gas mileage, but that's all. Hope this doesn't make me sound like a stuffed shirt, I'm just trying to help.
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