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hey all, ive got a 1970 buick skylark, completely stock, and whenever i am idling, or hit the brakes, the lights dim on the instrument panel, and the headlights. I was wondering if this is a common problem with all old cars, or if maybe it is the battery or alternator. im new to the classic car scene, so im learning as i go! thanks for all your help!
 

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Lost in the 60's
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Sounds like your alternator belt may need tightening.
 

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Lights dimming.

Check the battery ground on the body as well if the battery has any acid on the post clean them real good this will take care of your problem but then again I agree with the other members check what they said as well. My 1970 GTO was doing the same thing. (+ & - post should be real clean).
 

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Doc here, :pimp:

To upgrade your system, you should:

Have a Load Check done on the Battery.

Have The alternator Tested at auto zombie for free..

Replace Both Battery Cables With new Cables.

Run a properly gauged Ground cable from the battery to any handy bolt at or near the starter, From that same bolt get a Battery cable at the parts store, that has two 3/8 ring terminals on each end and attach it there and to the Frame, Make this run as short as allowable.

Next get some 10 gauge wire and ring terminals and run that from your Ground bolt on the block to the Firewall, and another Separate wire to the Alternator bracket or mount bolt.

If the Bracket and alternator is power white remove them both and their hardware, sand or pressure wash them until clean semi shiny metal, dry and reinstall.

You have electrolysis there..and it will also eat a water pump impeller up faster than any acid..The Alternator Bracket and Alternator housing is Aluminum and the block is Steel..(what were they thinking?)

When you go to reinstall the brackets, go to the hardware store and get some aluminum wire compound, and coat everywhere the mount hardware meets steel (bolts, mount surfaces Ect..)

Next get some Wire Braid, (Radio Shack) and install braid from the radiator support to the frame, Fenderwells to frame , hood to firewall, Doors to door posts, gas flap to body, tailgate / Trunk to body.

At each point the wire is grounded, Burnish ALL the paint and grease off to bare metal. Use a proper star-washer and lock. Use sheetmetal or Tech screws where no screws are available.

It sounds like a lot of work, but after you assemble all the parts, it's only a few hours to do..and you'll end up with a system that will work reliably for many years to come..and can eliminate that from your troubleshooting list.

Doc :pimp:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks for the info guys, im going to check it out after i get home from work tonight, and see if i can tighten the alternator belt. I noticed that the battery cables are also the originals, so im going to go out and get some new ones. any recommended gauges? or just get the biggest available? :D
 
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