Click the link that johnf posted and see what that says about the rotor of an alternator. It is NOT a magnet until it is energized by, guess what, the excitation voltage through it. And the test you got at Advance? Guess what the two wires to the alternator did before they started pulling current out of the spinning alternator? Yup...sent excitation voltage into it. Of course you'll get 14ish volts off a running alternator if you pull the wires. You already had it started with excitation voltage before you pulled the wires. An alternator's excitation voltage is self-sustaining once it's producing current.
I'm not trying to be an ass either, but I know alternators and electrical systems. I've been working on them for forty years.
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Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW
buying a ratty example (of a BMW) is a parasitic relationship.(and you ain't the mosquito)
Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 Forum Mod/Craigslist addict/Hoarder of all sorts of stuff
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira"; 1985 635CSi "Katja"; 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"; 1987 325is "Odette"