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Old 06-26-2012, 11:13 AM   #1
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Alternator issues

Preparing to change my alternator on my 97 southwind. I might have to be double jointed to do it. Is it hard to do? I assume I will have to jack up the front so I can reach from underneath.

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Old 06-27-2012, 08:14 PM   #2
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Can you remove the engine shroud inside the cab and reach it there? I did mine on a 99 Pace Arrow with a Chevy 454 and most of the work was done in the cab area.
It wasn't easy but I wouldn't consider it the worst thing I've had to do on it.

2004 Fleetwood Discovery 3126 CAT engine
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:02 PM   #3
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Hi and Welcome to iRV2.
Cold engine , batteries disconnected, draw a diagram of the belt routing.
Be ready to get dirty. You will probably need to have access from the top and bottom. Good Luck.
99DSDP 3884, Freightliner, XC, CAT 3126B, 300 HP /ALLISON 3060
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:12 PM   #4
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I found that I needed my wife to hold the alternator from the the top so I could come in from the wheel well to get the main bolt in. I could not start the bolt on my own, I played with it for a half hour.
Bob & Rita Bazley, the pups Tia & Kali ( shi-poohs)
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Old 06-29-2012, 07:15 PM   #5
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I JUST put in a new alternator in my 89 southwind. It wasn't the hardest thing to do...BUT be prepared to lay on the floor hovering over the engine while twisting your arms in ways you NEVER imagined...lol. You can do it..good luck and keep us posted
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:55 PM   #6
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I pulled the alternator today and had it tested on the bench. The alternator is good and strong. This of course leaves me puzzled. Why the voltage at the battery is a lot lower than 10vdc. I need to find out what relay maybe disconnects the main battery. Does anyone have the phone number of GM for an ordering of an electrical manual? I have a 1996 Chevy P30 chassis. There is a relay box on the front right side of the motorhome. But without prints it is a guessing game.
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Old 07-01-2012, 07:16 PM   #7
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Is this a job you just 'pay up' and leave to the 'Pro's?'
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Old 07-01-2012, 07:22 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by fredaevans
Is this a job you just 'pay up' and leave to the 'Pro's?'
I wouldn't think so, I replaced mine and yes, it was awkward to get installed but nowhere near the difficulty I had working on the genset. Time and patience makes the job do able.
Ron & Wendy-Kansas
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:04 AM   #9
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Believe it or not it can often help if you are blind (In this case it means working on things you can not see). Never done the job you are talking about but have done a few not far removed, I think auto manufacturers, and this includes RV's have contests for their engineers "How can we make this harder to do".

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Old 07-02-2012, 09:14 AM   #10
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I assume based on the volt reading that the engine will not crank. Have you had the battery tested? If there is a dead short in the battery the volts will read low if you put your meter leads on the battery posts. Just a thought.
Ian, Debi, Shannon, Brendan and Dillan

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Old 07-02-2012, 09:41 AM   #11
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There might be a 'Field' voltage coming from the ignition system that adjusts the alternators output voltage...there's usually a diode in that line along with the usual wires and connections. A bad diode or corroded connection can cause your symptom. (Note that some alternators have their own internal voltage regulator so wouldn't have that system, but many older rigs do).

And it certainly could be a corroded cable connection between the alternator, the 'Main' solenoid, and the chassis battery. And the solenoid could be bad. Several places to look, so maybe follow the fat cable from the alternator back to the battery control center. Measure the output voltage along the route.

My rig had this same problem where it would occasionally not charge the batteries and it turned out to be a corroded connection to the 'Field' terminal on the alternator. The corrosion caused a lower then normal voltage to the field, which caused the alternator to put out around 10V.
'02 Winnebago Journey DL, DSDP, 36' of fun.

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Old 07-02-2012, 09:47 AM   #12
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10VDC kinda implies a bad cell to my mind. Doesn't each cell contribute 2VDC to the battery output?

6cells X 2VDC = 12VDC
5cells X 2VDC = 10VDC

I'd disconnect the battery and have it tested before becoming a contortionist.

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