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Old 03-15-2015, 04:48 PM   #1
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Help on battery or alternator question

so I was heading on a trip a couple of hours away from home I noticed that my battery volt meter was going down off of 12volts it dropped down to 10 volts on the dash read out so I fired up the generator and it went up to 12.7 volts. We pulled into our park so I charged all weekend with 50 amp Ac started it up to come home had 12 volts traveled about 100 miles and it was going down slowly? Got to 10 volts fired up the generator and it came right back up to 12 volts and went to about 13 volts?

Ideas?
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Old 03-15-2015, 05:03 PM   #2
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Check your fan Belt for tightness. If you can turn the pulley on your alternator by pushing on the cooling fins of the alternator (if it has those fins) then the belt is too loose.

At a high Idle, with the chasis air & high beams on-the alternator should put out more than 12.5 Volts, 13.5 would be great.
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Old 03-15-2015, 05:14 PM   #3
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I will try that first good idea better than a bad alternator
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Old 03-15-2015, 05:40 PM   #4
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If the belt isn't at fault, you have a bad alternator.

I did the same thing you did with the generator for almost 2K miles so I could get back home
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Old 03-15-2015, 06:11 PM   #5
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Have had both a bad belt and bad alternators...Dons has it right.

The Belts were older "V" Belts,, Modern Serpentine belts do not NORMALLY go loose,,,,, Might be a bad idler arm though.
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Old 03-15-2015, 06:37 PM   #6
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Assume you have a Cummins powered DP so forget about fan belts etc. you have a serpentine belt with a belt tensioner. If the belt breaks or comes loose, you will see High Engine Temp almost immediately. So, let's talk about dead batteries.

First thing to check is the batteries for loose or corroded connections. Make sure the batteries are topped up with water if you have flooded batteries. Are the batteries any good?
If all that is good, dig out your Voltmeter and with the engine stopped, check the battery voltage at the batteries. Now, start the engine and rev up to high idle 1000RPM and check the battery voltage. If you see less than about 14 VDC, your alternator is kaput.
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Old 03-15-2015, 10:04 PM   #7
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Yes it has a 400 Cummins and the engine temp was normal today. The batteries were replaced in 2011 but I will check the terminals. When I used the generator the battery's went back up no problem starting the coach.
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Old 03-15-2015, 10:54 PM   #8
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It sounds like alternator is not working.

But wait...

Alternator is part of the charging SYSTEM...

Could be bad alternator or loose wire or bad isolator.

You will need a voltmeter and a helper to control the engine and start checking voltages from back of alternator to battery.
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Old 03-16-2015, 08:54 PM   #9
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The belt is tight and the alternator is turning. When I turned on the genarator the load is 9 amps while the engine is running. When I turn off the engine and plug into Ac the amp are 3 to 4 volts.

I don't see any wires to tap on to test the alternator any ideas to do this a different way? Does anybody have a easy test to determine?
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Old 03-16-2015, 09:03 PM   #10
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Had that same condition on the '02 Dutch Star. Was a bad alternator, cost me over $400 for a new one. Took the old one in and got it rebuilt for $196 so I have a spare, then traded the MH in on the Magna. Sure wish I had kept the Dutch Star now!
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Old 03-16-2015, 09:23 PM   #11
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Simple test for alternator is check chassis voltage at rest and note then start the engine and note the voltage. It should rise to 14.4 or so but in any case it will be higher then the at rest voltage you note. If the running voltage is the same as at rest voltage you are not charging. A final test would be to check the main wire coming off the alternator for the presence of voltage. You can do this with the engine off. This is just to confirm the circuit to the battery has not failed.
Hope this helps.
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Old 03-16-2015, 09:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IASM View Post
Simple test for alternator is check chassis voltage at rest and note then start the engine and note the voltage. It should rise to 14.4 or so but in any case it will be higher then the at rest voltage you note. If the running voltage is the same as at rest voltage you are not charging. A final test would be to check the main wire coming off the alternator for the presence of voltage. You can do this with the engine off. This is just to confirm the circuit to the battery has not failed.
Hope this helps.
Rod

Yup, exactly.
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Old 03-17-2015, 01:06 AM   #13
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Another method we use when no meters are available. The rotor in the alternator is magnetized when rotating and putting out amperage . While running touch a small non-magnetized screwdriver to the shaft and if working you will feel it stick. I don't recommend anyone do this unless there comfortable and understand the rules when sticking your hands around running engines.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:42 AM   #14
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Look at the alternator and thete should be one large wire usually attached via bolt.

Then a few smaller wires often via a plug.

Not usually a ground wire.

First check voltage on every wire and make drawing and note to help you remember.

Now just turn ign on and remessure.

One of the small wires should change from 0 to 12 which indicates it is control or exciter.

The big one may stay at 0 or may change from 0 to 12 or may always be 12.

That is dependent on isolator.

If no small wire goes to 12 then that may be issue.

If looks okay you can add a clip lead wire to the large wire to allow you to measure with engine running.

Start engine and measure and if voltage does not go up and you had the exciter voltage go up then alternator likely is toast.
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