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Old 05-04-2014, 03:53 PM   #1
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Alt fail light and warning light

I apologize for the length of the post, but i wanted to provide as clear a picture of my problem as possible. I have 2008 HR 36SBD. Cummins 340 AD ISB. I live in the northwest so we camp even though it's wet. We camp pretty much every month.
Last month on the way home from the coast it was raining hard. Pretty soon the alt fail and warning light came on. Voltmeter reading dropped to around 12 is my guess less than the estimated 13+ that it is normally. I stopped and checked battery connections, alt fail and warning lights went off, started back on the road. About twenty minutes later, same thing (lights and warning came on again), voltage drops to below 13. It stopped raining and we had dry pavement, alt fail lights and warning went out. Went the rest of the way home, no more alt fail lights.
Today, coming home from southern Oregon, it started raining. Alt fail and warning light came on and voltage dropped to less than 13. We stopped at a rest area, lights and warning go off. Ok let's hit the road. Dry weather for awhile, then it starts to rain again and the alt fail and warning lights come on. This time then never went out wet or dry pavement. Drive rest of way home with the alt fail and warning lights on.
My thought was its is a ground or loose connection.
Question, am I on the correct track, or should I be looking for a relay or other electrical issue?
All battery connections and electrical connections in the rear passenger side compartment are tight and clean.
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:54 PM   #2
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I had exactly the same thing happen to me last month and I have the same engine. It only happened when it was rainy and/or wet. When I got to a mechanic, it was dry and working fine. They found some questionable connections on the alternator, particularly the ground connection. I had them clean, reconnect and tighten the connections... haven't tried again in the rain... hope it's fixed.

Good luck!

Ron
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:57 PM   #3
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Thanks Ron. I'll check out the alt connections tomorrow.
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:26 AM   #4
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I doubt it's a battery connections since your batteries are in a bay.
I'd agree with the above post. It's got to be an alternator connection or an engine ground since it's on of the few connections that get wet. I'm sure a good Machanic could find it pretty quick.
I'd even spray a little water on the engine to copy the conditions when it fails.
Good luck and safe travels
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:38 AM   #5
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Check the belt tension, rain wet belt will slip and cause a fail.

LEN
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:58 AM   #6
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A very common issue not just with RV's. used to have a car that did that as well.. Major pain in the anatomy but as you found DRYING IT OUT fixes it. Car had other water related issues too on rare occasions, but the alternator one was very common.

Water shorts out the rotor leads, Once they dry out it works again. Far as I can tell no harm... It should (in thoery) Be possible to design a sheld to prevent it but considerintg "No Harm" .. why?
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:22 PM   #7
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My concern is that if the alternator continues to not produce electricity... how long will the engine run? It was clear from my gauges that the battery was being drained, but didn't know how long it would last. Does anyone know the reasonable expectation for driving?

Ron
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Old 05-07-2014, 12:13 PM   #8
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Just an update on the alt fail situation. Checked all alt connections and major grounds on engine chassis. All connections were tight. Since it has been a couple days to dry out, no change in alt fail light. It now stays on all the time. Thinking it is the alternator at this point. Click image for larger version

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Old 05-07-2014, 12:52 PM   #9
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Yes, that sounds like you need to get it tested... bummer.

Ron
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:44 AM   #10
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Did a voltage check on the alternator. 11.8 volt output at the alternator.
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:07 AM   #11
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That's too low, should be around 14.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:38 PM   #12
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Scheduled for truck/RV diesel repair service next week to look at replacing the alternator.
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:28 PM   #13
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I've posted this info before, but it might help someone get home if alternator fails. I was 200 miles from home when "alt failure" light came on. The voltage read 12 volts on dash gauge. I checked it with a voltmeter and batteries showed 11.9 volts, it was not charging. I got some jumper cables, ran them from the coach batteries to the chassis batteries, started the generator and finished my trip home. Batteries where fully charged when I got home too! I removed the alternator and had it rebuilt.
Just some info!
John G
This was on a 1999 Monaco Diplomat I had a few years ago, but would do the same on my current coach if it happens again.
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Old 05-09-2014, 05:53 AM   #14
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John,

That's a very interesting idea! I'll have to put that in my bag of tricks!

Ron
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