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Old 11-16-2012, 01:14 PM   #29
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If you decide to get a rebuilt alternator, have the dealer 'bench test' it prior to you taking it home and installing it.
I received a rebuilt starter one time that worked, but drew way too much current. A Bench test found this, but I got to do the installation/replacement twice.
A Bench test is free for the asking and will verify the part works. This will be useful knowledge just in case there is a 2nd issue discovered after the new alternator is installed.
When I get to that point, I will follow your suggestion. Thanks.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:15 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by MRBB
Another thing to know about: I had a 1990 HR with the 454 motor and it had an Alt. that was a dual type and it was no longer made. Neither was the regulator. It took me a month to get an Alt. and regulator that would work. None of the newer units will work. If you run into this problem PM me and I'll try to help you out.




I'm gettin old and it was a few years ago but the Alt. and regulator name started with D but not Delco. It had a regulator on the front panel that plugged in. I wound up getting an ambulance alt. and regulator from the guy who designed the org. ones. A MAJOR pain. I just searched for the name but could not find it. I may be able to find it on one of my post if it still exists. Don't let anyone tell you you can replace it with a modern one if it's this brand because it won't work. It was built to charge your coach and chassis batteries separately and needs a different circuit. I'll see if I can find the info for you.
Once I have the alternator where I can see what brand and serial number, I'll post here for advice. Thanks.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:18 PM   #31
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Exciter line is the (red usually) line that attaches to the back of the alternator. That line should have power to it any time the key is on.
Is the "exciter" the large red one? The MAIN one on the back of the alternator? If so, it was hot even with the key off.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:49 PM   #32
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Exciter wire will be a small one not sure what color on Rv on my boat it was black when key is on it is hot wait a minute then voltage raises
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:38 PM   #33
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You guys have been amazing in offering advice and suggestions. As I mentioned earlier, the motorhome is in nearby storage which I won't have a chance to test, etc. until next week.

For clarification, is the exciter wire the MAIN heavy red wire coming off the back of the alternator? If so, I can tell you that with the key off, the engine off, and the battery connected, there was definitely voltage to this wire.
The exitation voltage will be a smaller wire. I will only have 12 vdc when the ignition key is on.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:46 PM   #34
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Not trying to be Mr. Obvious here, but with the engine running, disconnect the positive battery cable. If the engine dies, you've got yourself a bad alternator.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:15 PM   #35
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Not trying to be Mr. Obvious here, but with the engine running, disconnect the positive battery cable. If the engine dies, you've got yourself a bad alternator.

The problem with your simple test is this: If the alternator is bad then you are correct. If the alternator is good, then you stand the risk of damaging it by disconnecting it while running. With no battery load it can spike the voltage and smoke the circuitry. Not a good test.

If the exciter wire is providing voltage and the large red wire is only showing 12.45 volts while idling, then the alternator is bad.
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:13 AM   #36
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Agree old school was to disconnect the battery but as said can mess up a good altanator
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:31 PM   #37
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Exciter is the small wire

Look at the back if you can, regardless of exact unit, there will be a large wire which may or may not have a 12 volt reading, the isolator may be diode based, so just assume the largest wire(s) are the output

Now look for small wires, these are what control the unit, one will provide power with the key, others if any could be for light.

You measure power on large wire, look for small plug with small wires, engine does NOT need to run, just measure with key on and off, if you get power on with key you likely have bad alternator, if old unit it could be stick brushes, remove and open it up and look, got nothing to loose but your time...
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:42 PM   #38
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Exciter is the small wire

Look at the back if you can, regardless of exact unit, there will be a large wire which may or may not have a 12 volt reading, the isolator may be diode based, so just assume the largest wire(s) are the output

Now look for small wires, these are what control the unit, one will provide power with the key, others if any could be for light.

You measure power on large wire, look for small plug with small wires, engine does NOT need to run, just measure with key on and off, if you get power on with key you likely have bad alternator, if old unit it could be stick brushes, remove and open it up and look, got nothing to loose but your time...
Today, I brought the motorhome to the house. I'm attaching two photos. One is a photo of the rear of the alternator. The only writing I can see is "Delco Remy". There are only two wires. Like you referenced, there is the main larger wire, and another smaller wire and plastic male-female plug. I'm presuming this smaller one is the "exciter" wire.

The other photo is of the solenoid mounted on a bracket directly above the alternator. The photo shows the wiring. These wires are factory original. Never disturbed.

Aside from photos, I realized I could remove the solenoid without disconnecting wires. I tucked it away to get a better view of the alternator. Then I saw that the solenoid bracket could also be easily removed. This gave me clear access to the alternator. I stuck a mirror down in front of the alternator to view the belt situation and discovered this is an old school set-up. One belt drives the alternator and the bract has a slot to loosen or tighten the alternator on the belt. There are only two bolts that I can see, both of which are easily accessible. Tomorrow the alternator comes off to be tested somewhere.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:05 AM   #39
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You got it now:>)
FYI - I think that is the starter solenoid. One big wiire should go from the battery, the other to the starter.
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:04 AM   #40
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You got it now:>)
FYI - I think that is the starter solenoid. One big wiire should go from the battery, the other to the starter.
Getting ready to go over to our storage facility to pull the alternator. But beyond determining if the alternator is bad, I still need to trace the wires. Not just those on the "starter solenoid", but those out front where the batteries are. There are more than a few wires requiring hots or grounds. Those are the ones I disconnected and have never been sure whether I reconnected them correctly along the way. And as a result, I'm also unsure whether the alternator failed over time (if it failed) or if I caused it to fail by shorting something.

As I have mentioned earlier, there is ANOTHER solenoid mounted in the battery area, directly above the engine battery. I agree that the other solenoid is the "starter" solenoid. The wires DO seem to go to the starter and battery. But, I'm still trying to figure the purpose of this other solenoid. I also do not know IF I have an isolator or where it is. AND, I don't know as yet whether this alternator has a built-in regulator or if IT is somewhere that I'm not seeing.

Bottomline: I'll be back. Probably with more photos, etc. Thanks to all.
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:14 AM   #41
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I'll PM you a file that may help (system says it's too large to attach here).
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:26 PM   #42
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Just wanted to update you all.
Tom: Thanks for the file. I replied to your PM.
The alternator is out and sitting here in front of me as I write this. Still don't know if it's good or bad, but I'm going to have the local O'Reilly's and Autozone test it using their test stand. I also identified it a s a CS130 105amp Delco Remy. I had a great telephone conversation with Tech Support at Delco Remy and they have indicated it is still available as a rebuilt. I'll be testing the exciter and other wires as I trace the wiring. I will also look for the possibility of a blown fuse.

I appreciate this forum and the help you have all offered. I intend to pay it forward once I solve this predicament. Stay tuned.
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