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Ammeter readings

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Hey guys! I'm hoping you can help with a question I had regarding the ammeter in my 71.


The situation so far:I was driving my beloved Z last night. In fact I had been driving it pretty much all weekend without any issues. Stopped at a light the car just died. It was cold last night and I had the choke on, I noticed it was still partially engaged so I returned it to it's normal position. The RPMs dropped and the car died, I'm hoping a simple carb retune will help with that. When I tried to start it back up I got nothing, no response at all. I pushed the car to the side and then checked the wires for loose connections. I tried a second and third time. the last time I tried the starter clicked and the lights were one but the car still wouldn't start up. I've encountered this before with other cars and it seems to be a dead battery. I took the batt out and brought it home. It's now fully charged in the hopes the car will start and make it back home so I can properly diagnose the issue.


When I start the car, at idle, and driving around the ammeter sits at 0. I'm not sure if this is even normal. However, at night when I turn on the headlamps the readings drop into the - side but never return to 0. It's never read past 0 in all the time I've owned the car. Because of the cars reaction noted above I think the battery is simply not being charged while the headlamps were slowly draining it?

I tried doing some searching and found this post, which is what's lead me to the conclusion that my issue if somehow related to my charging system. I haven't had enough time to properly diagnose this as my car literally died on me last night on the road forcing me to push/park it at a friends house. I'll be returning to get my car tonight with a fully charged battery.

Any ideas on things to check? Using the post I linked above, I plan to use that as a guide when taking a MM to my batt, alt...

I guess I'm looking for advice. Is my understanding of the electrical system wrong? Based on what I've encountered is there something that's not adding up?

Thanks guys!


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I've had this happen after I first got my 260Z. The alternator was not charging the battery. You should see about 14.5V at the battery at around 2500rpm. I went through the FSM diagnostics, and while I was testing the alternator and VR it started working. Turned out I had a bad electrical connection at the alternator.

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