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Old 11-21-2012, 02:40 PM   #43
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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 always take mine over for testing, just to make sure it's bad. The last one broke their machine! I didn't even buy anything and felt sort of guilty.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:47 AM   #44
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Back again

It's been awhile since I started this thread, but I wanted to bring it back to the front and let folks know that I have not accomplished much since my last post. With the holidays, and life just getting in the way, I have not had time to focus on tracing the wiring and locating "stuff" that makes up the charging system which IS my goal.

At this point, I have the original alternator out of the coach, and I have an exact refurbished alternator obtained off of eBay. Neither one has been tested at this point, but that IS my intention.

Although I'm fairly sure the original alternator is bad, I'm reluctant to simply install the new alternator until I have check out the rest of the system.

Not knowing what, if anything, caused the first alternator not to be charging, I'm hesitant to install the new one.

What would YOU do?
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:11 AM   #45
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Hi.
I'm new to the forum since you started this thread. The relay you posted is not a sterter solenoid. It has battery cables on one side and a smaller wire one the other side. It is likely there to close and allow the alternator to charge the coach batteries. If you have a battery disconnect switch for the coach, that relay will look similar but is usually black and larger. The starter solenoid on a GM engine is on the starter. If you have basicly battery voltage on the large wire from the alternator with the engine running, the alternator has failed. It should be over 13.5V. Since the regulator is internal, it still requires removing the alternator. I think you are on the right track. Good luck.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:02 AM   #46
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At this point, I have the original alternator out of the coach, and I have an exact refurbished alternator obtained off of eBay. Neither one has been tested at this point,...

What would YOU do?
I'd test the first/bad one, at least. If it's bad, as expected, I'd test the good one. If it's good, as expected, I'd install it with a charged battery and make sure everything looks good. Check that the charging voltage is well above 13 volts and below 15 volts. I'd expect around 14.4 volts if the battery is already charged.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:02 PM   #47
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Your local auto supply (Pep Boys, Autozone, Advance Auto, etc.) should be able to test your alternator off the rig for free.

Dave
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:25 AM   #48
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I'd test the first/bad one, at least. If it's bad, as expected, I'd test the good one. If it's good, as expected, I'd install it with a charged battery and make sure everything looks good. Check that the charging voltage is well above 13 volts and below 15 volts. I'd expect around 14.4 volts if the battery is already charged.
Ya, I agree. But it's the "make sure everything looks good" part that's hanging me up so far. Thus the feeling that I need to trace all the charging/starting system wiring to find whatever other "appliances" are in the lines between battery, ignition switch and alternator.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:30 AM   #49
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Your local auto supply (Pep Boys, Autozone, Advance Auto, etc.) should be able to test your alternator off the rig for free.

Dave
Ya, we discussed these places earlier in the thread. This may sound quirky, but the reason I have not taken either the old or the "new" in for testing, is that these places have an incentive to sell me a new one and I'm presuming both would "fail". This probably says more about ME than them, but it IS a bit paralyzing. Do we have a therapy section on this forum?
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:44 AM   #50
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I've found the testing to be reliable. They may push the alternator hard, but if it fails their test, you don't want it in an RV. As to the "make sure everything looks good" in my comment, I just meant that I'd install the tested alternator and start the engine and make sure the alternator is producing the correct charging voltage. I've had several alternator failures in 40+ years of RV ownership. It's always been the alternator - not something in the wiring or the RV. I wouldn't expect to be able to spot any problems by just looking unless you've got some obviously burned wires or melted connectors.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:31 AM   #51
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Most testing is honest, the operation of the equipment is for unskilled workers, leaves little ability to cheat.

They usually do it where you can watch, if not, ask to watch.

If both fail then ask them to test one from stock, the one you bought was sold for a reason. It very well could have issues.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:36 PM   #52
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Bringing this thread back up to the top.
I apologize. I'm still employed so things don't happen as quickly as I'd like.

I've now tested the old alternator and the "new" ebay-purchased alternator. Both multiple times at different locations (Autozones and O'Reilly's). The old one failed at all locations. The new rebuilt one tested as good 7 times.

I installed the new one. With a new battery, I have the same problem as before...a discharge showing at the guage. And only battery voltage at the battery (12.86). I DO have a terrible shreek, but I think it's the age of the belt, although it never squeaked before. As always, I have exciter and battery voltage to the back of the alternator.

I'm near suicidal and at a total loss. I have NOT traced the wiring.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:21 AM   #53
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Thumbs up Squeek is good!

Your belt is both too loose and too old maybe

The best way to test the belt is NOT pushing in to see how much it moves in between the pulleys, the manuals state that, and there are gauges for that, but it assumes new belt.

Absolute BEST way for alternator is simply try to turn the alternator by hand on a NOT RUNNING engine by grasping the fan on the alternator pulley.

IF the belt is NOT glazed AND the belt is tight enough the engine will turn.

IF anything is wrong, too loose or glazed or both the pulley will slip and turn in place.

Simple.

The noise is the slippage due to the new energy the alternator needs to charge the battery.

If the belt is old, replace it.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:06 AM   #54
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Your belt is both too loose and too old maybe

The best way to test the belt is NOT pushing in to see how much it moves in between the pulleys, the manuals state that, and there are gauges for that, but it assumes new belt.

Absolute BEST way for alternator is simply try to turn the alternator by hand on a NOT RUNNING engine by grasping the fan on the alternator pulley.

IF the belt is NOT glazed AND the belt is tight enough the engine will turn.

IF anything is wrong, too loose or glazed or both the pulley will slip and turn in place.

Simple.

The noise is the slippage due to the new energy the alternator needs to charge the battery.

If the belt is old, replace it.
Thank you for the advice. Changing the belt is my next step. It's original, so that means it's 24 years old. DUH! Even so, it felt like I had it tight enough, so I'm wondering why the DISCHARGE in dication. Oh well, I'll install a new one and report back here as to the result.

Thanks again "Tony & Lori"
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:59 AM   #55
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Change ALL THE RUBBER...ALL BELTS AND HOSES!
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:08 PM   #56
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Change ALL THE RUBBER...ALL BELTS AND HOSES!
No doubt, you are correct and that WILL be the plan. But first, I need to solve this alternator/charging system issue. And for whatever it's worth, until 2 years ago, the coach was always garaged. With only 35,000 original miles, it's not QUITE as bad as it may seem. Even now, the outside storage is protected from the sun.
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