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Old 10-13-2020, 06:02 PM   #1
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Alternator Failure on Trip - Limp Options?

Background: We bought our 2000 Holiday Rambler Endeavor (Freightliner XC Chassis, Cat 3126B) in July with 84k on it. Now getting close to 88k, and we're on a longer trip. The RV had sat for a year and a half. The house batteries I ended up needing to replace, the engine batteries have seemed to be ok, but uncertain on age of them (I've looked but not seen a date code).

When I first got the RV and was driving it home I only had the stock gauges (which of course are not very precise) and the voltage a lot of the time, even with the generator running, indicated what I now know is in the <13V range.

I then bought a BlueFire adapter and so now I can see voltage more accurately. For the most part, I've been running with the generator on (needed rooftop AC to keep comfortable while driving) and it's seemed like the alternator has been doing some level of keeping up, voltage in the mid 13s pretty much all the time going down the road.

What I'm now seeing is that the generator appears to be doing little if any charging. Yesterday coming up Wolf Creek Pass (at high throttle for miles on end) even with the generator running I was getting down to (and dipping below a few times) 12V. The generator is charging the house batteries just fine.

I have noticed that if I hold the "aux start" button and connect the house to engine batteries that it will get the voltage up and it may stay there for some time, but still pretty much under 13V, especially if I'm under a heavy load (apparently these injectors take a lot of amps to fire). At a few stages the alternator has acted like maybe it's thinking about charging again. I need to check at the alternator itself but the battery side connections are all clean. I'll clean them again for good measure and will also clean the alternator side connections.

Right now we're in Durango, heading to Winslow tomorrow. I'd looked at the alternator as probably being original and likely needing to be replaced at some point, so this isn't surprising. Although I'm not sure whether a Freightliner dealer will have one (or where else to source one - still new at this). I have tools so replacing it wouldn't be a big deal. However, I also have to get where I'm going.

So, questions:

1) If I simply hook up the house batteries to the engine side and run the generator (I'll be running it anyway) to keep the batteries charged, am I going to hurt anything? I'm assuming not. Alternately, I could just connect the wires on either side of the "aux start" relay to eachother rather than having them on either side of the relay to accomplish this.

2) Any suggestions on locations for getting new alternator on the road? Is this something that I might be able to find at O'Reilly's or am I stuck trying to source it from a Freightliner dealer or the like? Could also try an alternator shop but if I'm going to change it out on the road, I'd rather have it just be an exchange.

Thanks!
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Old 10-13-2020, 06:16 PM   #2
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Yes , you can do either , connect the battery banks at the batteries or the boost relay, and the batteries will all charge from the gen set.

Did you see a tag on the alternator ? If it's still there once you have numbers getting a replacement should be straight forward.
Here's my alternator numbers but I can't say if yours will be the same .

You could try F/L help line with your serial number for a P/N , but they're not supporting older chassis like they used to.
1-800-385-4357
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Old 10-13-2020, 06:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted DuPuis View Post
Background: We bought our 2000 Holiday Rambler Endeavor (Freightliner XC Chassis, Cat 3126B) in July with 84k on it. Now getting close to 88k, and we're on a longer trip. The RV had sat for a year and a half. The house batteries I ended up needing to replace, the engine batteries have seemed to be ok, but uncertain on age of them (I've looked but not seen a date code).

When I first got the RV and was driving it home I only had the stock gauges (which of course are not very precise) and the voltage a lot of the time, even with the generator running, indicated what I now know is in the <13V range.

I then bought a BlueFire adapter and so now I can see voltage more accurately. For the most part, I've been running with the generator on (needed rooftop AC to keep comfortable while driving) and it's seemed like the alternator has been doing some level of keeping up, voltage in the mid 13s pretty much all the time going down the road.

What I'm now seeing is that the generator appears to be doing little if any charging. Yesterday coming up Wolf Creek Pass (at high throttle for miles on end) even with the generator running I was getting down to (and dipping below a few times) 12V. The generator is charging the house batteries just fine.

I have noticed that if I hold the "aux start" button and connect the house to engine batteries that it will get the voltage up and it may stay there for some time, but still pretty much under 13V, especially if I'm under a heavy load (apparently these injectors take a lot of amps to fire). At a few stages the alternator has acted like maybe it's thinking about charging again. I need to check at the alternator itself but the battery side connections are all clean. I'll clean them again for good measure and will also clean the alternator side connections.

Right now we're in Durango, heading to Winslow tomorrow. I'd looked at the alternator as probably being original and likely needing to be replaced at some point, so this isn't surprising. Although I'm not sure whether a Freightliner dealer will have one (or where else to source one - still new at this). I have tools so replacing it wouldn't be a big deal. However, I also have to get where I'm going.

So, questions:

1) If I simply hook up the house batteries to the engine side and run the generator (I'll be running it anyway) to keep the batteries charged, am I going to hurt anything? I'm assuming not. Alternately, I could just connect the wires on either side of the "aux start" relay to eachother rather than having them on either side of the relay to accomplish this.

2) Any suggestions on locations for getting new alternator on the road? Is this something that I might be able to find at O'Reilly's or am I stuck trying to source it from a Freightliner dealer or the like? Could also try an alternator shop but if I'm going to change it out on the road, I'd rather have it just be an exchange.

Thanks!
I had the same problem with my 99. First of all do not change alternators, have that one rebuilt. In an emergency, run your house generator, then run jumper cables from your house batteries to your starting batteries. This will keep you moving.

Terry
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Old 10-13-2020, 06:25 PM   #4
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Connecting the batteries together is what I would do but I would disconnect
them each night . Running down both sets of batteries would not be good .

Just getting an alternator replacement may not be a good idea because
some of our coaches use an alternator that is a little different .
I believe it is call a Duvac system and you may never get an ordinary
alternator to work properly . For that reason most recommendations are to
have your old one rebuilt . If you do replace it I would keep the old one and
have it rebuilt as a spare .
Good luck
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Old 10-13-2020, 06:27 PM   #5
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X2 on having the original rebuilt, or purchase a direct replacement from a reputable truck parts jobber. Stay far far away from O'reillys, Auto Zone etc unless you only need a new air freshener....
Besides, the kid at the parts counter at O'reillys wouldn't have a clue.
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Old 10-13-2020, 07:53 PM   #6
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We replaced our Leese-Neville alternator in Showlow AZ in August. If you take it off and bring it to a Napa Auto Parts, they are usually good at matching it up.
By the way, when mine quit between the time we shut off the engine at a campground and started it up 10 days later, something inside it had shorted. After running the engine for 2 minutes, the alternator was too hot to touch for 20 minutes. If I had tried to run with the generator making 12v, I think it would have set the engine on fire.
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Old 10-13-2020, 08:16 PM   #7
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Delco remy 28si is a modern one wire replacement, lighter, more durable, cheaper and all around better.
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Old 10-13-2020, 09:17 PM   #8
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When this happened to us I purchased an inexpensive set of jumper cables at Walmart and connected the house batteries to the chassis batteries. We were like you, we ran the generator anyway to run the A/C. We traveled across the country like this with no issues.

Monaco purchased Holiday Rambler from Harley-Davison in 1996. Monaco did not use Freightliner chassis in there diesel coaches. Monaco custom built each chassis for the coach at their Roadmaster chassis facility.

Best of luck!
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shootist View Post
Delco remy 28si is a modern one wire replacement, lighter, more durable, cheaper and all around better.
I was thinking about an upgrade option as well. Iíll look into that more.
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Old 10-14-2020, 05:10 AM   #10
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Recently replaced my alternator. I found the best price at Quality Power. I decided to replace my 160 amp Leece Neville (2824LC) with a 200 amp Delco Remy 28SI. The install was fairly simple (I have a side radiator) except on the DR you don't connect the excite wire since it is self exciting. I had my old LN rebuilt and carry it as a spare.

https://www.qualitypowerauto.com/cat...lternators.htm
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Old 10-14-2020, 06:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veraken View Post
Recently replaced my alternator. I found the best price at Quality Power. I decided to replace my 160 amp Leece Neville (2824LC) with a 200 amp Delco Remy 28SI. The install was fairly simple (I have a side radiator) except on the DR you don't connect the excite wire since it is self exciting. I had my old LN rebuilt and carry it as a spare.

https://www.qualitypowerauto.com/cat...lternators.htm
Do the one wire alternators lower the voltage after the battery was charged? I have these in my old cars, and even heavy equipment. They charge at 14.3 volts...all the time. Which eventually will over charge your house battery if I understand the circuit correctly...
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Old 10-14-2020, 06:45 AM   #12
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It may have been mentioned already. If your batteries are combined by a large solenoid when using the emergency start button and you can locate that solenoid.

First, disconnect the negative leads of both banks of batteries after taking pictures of them and take pictures of the solenoid. Then you can remove all the wires from one of the large post on one side and stack them on the other side after taking the nut off that side.

Of course you need enough room on the post. If not enough room on the post a simple nut and bolt will do and then wrapped in several layers of tape and the bunch place in such a way there can be no chafing.

Jumper cables can do the trick but there is always a risk of one coming off. You do not need both jumper cables either because your negative posts are connected somewhere already.

Be sure to undo your temporary fix after replacing the alternator because you MIGHT get some sort of goofy false alternator alarm fault light if you are plugged into shoreline or run the generator at the same time the alternator is putting out.

It is not a damage causing issue. Just an annoyance and could trip you up a bit.
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Old 10-14-2020, 06:58 AM   #13
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Is anyone sure it is the alternator? Could be corroded battery terminals orone weak battery. It needs to go to a shop and have the alternator and batteries load tested before throwing money at the issue.
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Old 10-14-2020, 07:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted DuPuis View Post
I was thinking about an upgrade option as well. Iíll look into that more.
Carefull using the One Wire alternator on your rig. If you have a battery isolator with diodes in it, it won't work.

Get an alternator with a battery sense wire. Quility Power will steer you in the right direction.
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