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Old 07-29-2010, 04:55 PM   #15
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There are several possible issues.. The alternator it seems is putting out enough to keep the house batteries up.. The voltage drops when power is called for because of the long, fairly small, wire between the alternator and the batteries.

The chassis battery ... hook a digital volt meter to the battery itself.. Might be a bad ground on the dash voltmeter..... I fail to understand how the chassis battery can be a full volt below the house with the engine running.. can not happen. (Unless you have a bad diode isolator that is)
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:35 PM   #16
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Hmm, I missed the bit about the diode isolator. Junk it and get yourself a good heavy duty Constant-Duty Type Solenoid to use in its place. Upgrade all master feed and charging wires to 4 gauge or thicker.

Upgrade to minimum 130amp alternator.
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:08 PM   #17
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THe diode type isolators are notorious for causing problems like this. If you want to keep it I would not hook the chassis batteries to it, just the coach batteries. Can't remember the years but think it was newer than your rig that had to have a special diode type isolater to keep the alternator energized. Had an additional stud on the isolator. The constant duty solenoid is the way to go though, most of the time there is no voltage drop with these. My '88 Itasca has these solenoids from the factory with a selector switch on the dash.
You can wire your chassis batteries direct to the alternator and have a sol. for the coach, or use 2 solenoids, one for chassis and one for coach.
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:39 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by leadman View Post
THe diode type isolators are notorious for causing problems like this. If you want to keep it I would not hook the chassis batteries to it, just the coach batteries. Can't remember the years but think it was newer than your rig that had to have a special diode type isolater to keep the alternator energized. Had an additional stud on the isolator. The constant duty solenoid is the way to go though, most of the time there is no voltage drop with these. My '88 Itasca has these solenoids from the factory with a selector switch on the dash.
You can wire your chassis batteries direct to the alternator and have a sol. for the coach, or use 2 solenoids, one for chassis and one for coach.
Got the solenoid setup on our '88 Winnie - still the OEM ones in there - work perfectly...

SOMETIMES, "technology" and "solid state", just screws things up...
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:10 PM   #19
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Either the batteries or get an outside voltage regulator.
If you are talking about one of the Chrysler square back alternators, an alternator shop can bump those up to 100 amp by changing the stator in them. That's about as high as you can go with those alternators on amperage.
I went through the same thing you describe on a pickup truck with these things, I never was satisfied, and eventually went to a GM alternator.
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Old 08-14-2010, 08:05 PM   #20
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So I found a gash in the Pos wire that comes off the back of the alt. Replaced the hole wire with 8 ga wire. took it for a test drive and it was fine to the place I was going, coach and chassis batts stayed above 13.5 volts. On the way back the batts to the engine dropped again to 12.5. Im at a loss does anyone else have any ideas of what it can be? I also took the alt in again and had it tested and it was fine. I get 13.6 to the pos post on the isolator and 13.6 to the chassis post, and 12.6 to the engine post. I replaced the isolator a couple of weeks ago. I can not figure it out.
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Old 08-14-2010, 08:07 PM   #21
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Could I take a length of 8 ga wire from the back of the alt and put it strait to the engine batts?
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:50 AM   #22
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If your isolator has 3 posts, center being input, you could move the battery lead to the center post thus eliminating that particular diode....at least for troubleshooting purposes.
Is it possible you have an engine battery failing after it gets warm and internally shorting?
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Old 08-15-2010, 12:33 PM   #23
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Make sure your chassis battery is good, get it tested. There is no problem with running the chassis battery wire from the alternator wire post on the isolator. We did this all the time at work.
this would isolate your coach batteries only, which is what you want so they do not draw down your chassis battery.
Check the wire from the isolator to your coach battery to make sure there is no problem there.
Also check your dash gauge to make sure it is reading the same as a test gauge. Some dash gauges have a resistor on the back or inside and this can go bad and give a false reading. Used to have Chevy cop cars that had factory added on gauges that did this all the time. We finally bought the resistors to replace on the gauges.
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:02 PM   #24
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During the last twelve months my coach has had three alternators that have failed. All three were from the same source who specialized in creating alternators from parts of salvaged alternators and is a very common occurrence. Sold as new but were junk.This was done by the previous owner. Our present alternator was purchased by me from a Diesel truck dealer whose alternators are guaranteed new in all respects. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:08 PM   #25
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Another thing to do is check the grounds on the chassis. This can be done with a voltmeter. Anything more than about .5 volt drop between the alternator and the battery is not good.
The ground path on the chassis relies on the contact between parts on the engine, engine to ground strap, then probably another ground from the battery to chassis. If any bolts are loose or the is corrosion between contact points and you add resistance to the ground circuit.
It might be easier to run a new ground wire from the alternater to the ground on the chassis battery.
If you have a set of jumper cables you could hook one end to the outside case of the alternaet then to the battery negative. If the voltage increased you will know what your problem is.
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Old 08-20-2010, 07:49 PM   #26
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Everything seems to be running fine now for some reason. Thanks everyone for the info. I greatly appreciate it.
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Old 11-29-2010, 02:22 AM   #27
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You need to pull the batteries. Put 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of epsom salts in each cell.

Charge for 24 hours at 5 amps.

Then look for bubbling in the cells, if no bubbling in a cell or cells, add another dose of epsom salts and charge for twelve more hours.

If any cell fails to bubble, trash the battery.

The above process removes sulphation from the plates and allows the battery to fully charge.

After this, put a load tester on the battery to insure it will hold up to a load.

The hydrometer is a waste of time.

I add epsom salts once a year, have the same batteries that came in my used coach five years ago.
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