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97 Subaru Legacy GT Alternator Voltage Output

Last night the lights on my 97 Subaru Legacy GT were changing from dim when I was idling to normal when I accelerated. I could hear the speed of the heater fan varying, too.

I checked the alternator output at idle and found it to be at approx 14.25 volts. When I turned on the headlights and heater at the same time however, the voltage dropped to approx 13.8 volts and did not recover to 14.25 volts until I accelerated the engine.

By comparison, I tried the same test on my 2004 Subaru Forester and found that the voltage would briefly dip to about 13.9 volts, then recover to approx 14.25 volts while still idling.

Does this sound like the alternator/regulator in my Legacy is going bad? (Maybe the brushes are wearing down?).

The original alternator was replaced during a 2001 recall. The Legacy now has approx 120,000 miles on it.

Thanks. Any help will be appreciated.

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  • Myleg Dec 28, 2008

    Hi I have the Legacy Twin Turbo 2000cc '96. (imported from Japan - to G.B.) . It has the same problem. We have changed the alternator and the battery but it still has dim mights after a while. The lights are o.k. when the engine is reved. Any idea what amp hour battery should be on these cars. Mine at the moment is 60



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Battery is probably on it last legs... alternator sounds normal.

Posted on Dec 26, 2008


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