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Old 07-03-2018, 08:47 PM   #1
srh
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Alternator is Border Line Charging

Hello, All,
The alternator on my 08 Signature is charging from 12.8Vdc to 13.1Vdc which is borderline OK. Does anyone else has experienced this and any fixes you may suggest?
I don't even know exactly what the make and model of the alternator is - anyone knows?
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Old 07-03-2018, 09:58 PM   #2
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I'd pull the alternator and take it to an auto parts store that can bench test it. If it still tests bad, get it rebuilt by an alternator/starter rebuild shop.
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Old 07-03-2018, 11:40 PM   #3
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There are a lot of "smart" alternators that do this , I think all 8.1L Vortec engines have these as a fuel saving feature.
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Old 07-04-2018, 05:33 AM   #4
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Hate to tell ya this but 13.1V is not borderline. Normal range should be 13.8V to 14.2V. I converted ours over to an A/C Delco style alt. like many others here. Depending on how skilled you are removing the alt. and having it rebuilt might be easiest suggestion or removing it and buying a new one out right. Best of luck to ya.
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Old 07-04-2018, 06:25 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
I'd pull the alternator and take it to an auto parts store that can bench test it. If it still tests bad, get it rebuilt by an alternator/starter rebuild shop.
Thanks, Bob - Good suggestion! Definitely worth looking into. Do you know how hard it is getting it out in an 08 Sig.?
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Old 07-04-2018, 06:35 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by BigLar368 View Post
Hate to tell ya this but 13.1V is not borderline. Normal range should be 13.8V to 14.2V. I converted ours over to an A/C Delco style alt. like many others here. Depending on how skilled you are removing the alt. and having it rebuilt might be easiest suggestion or removing it and buying a new one out right. Best of luck to ya.
Yes, you are right, the normal range is what you quoted, but the chassis shop where I had it serviced told me that around 13V is OK if it it stays there. I must admit, I'm not a pro. tech, but can and have replaced parts. Whether this is within my ability needs to be seen. At worst, I have a good friend who is a licensed auto mechanic that I could call on to help. Thanks for chiming in!
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Old 07-04-2018, 08:34 AM   #7
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That charging voltage isn't high enough to signal the BIRD or BIM to combine the chassis and house batteries, for on the road house battery charging.

They are typically set to 13.2 to 13.4 volts.
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Old 07-04-2018, 08:44 AM   #8
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That charging voltage isn't high enough to signal the BIRD or BIM to combine the chassis and house batteries, for on the road house battery charging.

They are typically set to 13.2 to 13.4 volts.
Another "dumb" question! Could it be the belt, not the alternator, and how can one tell?
Here is a pic of what mine looks like - Is it as simple as it looks to take it out and have it bench tested?
Thanks
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Old 07-04-2018, 09:30 AM   #9
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Another "dumb" question! Could it be the belt, not the alternator, and how can one tell?
Here is a pic of what mine looks like - Is it as simple as it looks to take it out and have it bench tested?
Thanks
It looks pretty accessible but heavy. Check the belt for wear and cracking, the tensioner for proper operation, and the pulley for worn bearings. If any question as to a worn belt, now would be the time to replace it.

Be sure to label all wires before removal.
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Old 07-04-2018, 09:39 AM   #10
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It looks pretty accessible but heavy. Check the belt for wear and cracking, the tensioner for proper operation, and the pulley for worn bearings. If any question as to a worn belt, now would be the time to replace it.

Be sure to label all wires before removal.
DISCONNECT, and lablel the batteries ground cables before you touch the wiring on the alternator.
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Old 07-04-2018, 09:50 AM   #11
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Bob and Skip426:
Thank you very much for the pointers - I very much appreciate it!

One other question, I keep my MH plugged it to shore power. After disconnecting the ground wires for the chassis batteries, can I leave it plugged in to keep my house batteries charged as checking the alternator may take a few days?

Regards,
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:21 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
There are a lot of "smart" alternators that do this , I think all 8.1L Vortec engines have these as a fuel saving feature..

Yes.
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:52 AM   #13
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First I would test my chassis batteries with a carbon pile tester and if they test good I would then put a severe load on your chassis batteries and pull them to there knees with a real carbon pile tester not a toy from HF, then after doing so start and run the coach and with the coach while still connected to the tester and running, I would be watching the charge rate of the batteries and the recovery time and compare this to the charging voltage as to the gage you believe has a questionable reading. At this point you will know if you have an issue and if so? what direction to head.

It took me more time to write the above than to do the test mentioned.. and any shop worth its salt will have a real carbon pile load tester to do this test.


My thinking is that the risk of damage and the cost of an alternator as compared to .5 labor hours of testing and knowing if you have a problem?....and if so?... where it's at.

I would not use a capacitance type battery tester to do these test, there is a place for capacitance testers ( lack of knowledge or IMC or speed ) You want to load that electrical system like it is loaded in the real world on the coach and a carbon real pile tester will do just that.

Happy Trails

PS: Keep in mind your batteries tell your alternator what to do. A sulfated battery can fool your alternator and you will see constant low reading as you describe.
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Old 07-04-2018, 11:32 AM   #14
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RobRoy:

I had not heard of this tester and just googled it. Wow! as you have plainly explained, this is a neat tester. I will have to investigate this further. I appreciate the write-up!
Regards
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