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Old 07-24-2021, 02:27 PM   #1
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Leece Neville alternator repeat failure

some background, my first alternator failed at 162,000 miles, I replaced it with a new one from AJ Electric. *At 1500 miles or so, the new one quit as I was going through the middle of Atlanta traffic. *We were going to a campground in Atlanta, so I contacted AJ Electric in North Carolina about warranty. *We pulled the bad new alternator and drove 160 miles to his shop where he confirmed the failure, and replaced it under warranty, but said maybe I had a problem with my coach? *I said nothing had changed since I have owned the coach, it has new chassis batteries, so I had no idea what it could be if anything. *We went back and replaced the alternator, drove it back to Florida, installed a Blue Sea ML-ARC, and then in the spring left for our normal travel, and today in the middle of Montana it quit again, 6000 miles later. *I am extremely frustrated. *Right now I am between Great Falls and Helena, and plan to be in Missoula for a couple weeks in about 2 weeks. *I can limp along with the generator if need be. *But of course Murphy is active and my 10 kw Onan is surging*occasionally, terrified it might quit. *Going to replace the fuel filter tomorrow. *I called an alternator shop in Great Falls just before they closed and they do not rebuild Leece Neville, and didn't know of anyone that does in this area. *I am sorry now I didn't rebuild my old one. *Any suggestions, opinions, ideas, any would be much appreciated.
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Old 07-24-2021, 02:51 PM   #2
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Have you checked to see if another alternator with similar dimensions could be used instead? Also, have you verified with a voltage meter perhaps that the alternator is truly bad and not a bad connection in the wiring coming off of the alternator? ~CA
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Old 07-24-2021, 02:59 PM   #3
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I don't know about replacing it with a different brand, I seem to remember reading horror stories about various electric problems, but I don't know. When things cool off I might be able to get a meter attached directly to the alternator to verify it is dead, although the last 2 were with the same indications. Good idea. Trying to think of what might kill an alternator that has changed on my coach??
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Old 07-24-2021, 03:10 PM   #4
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Do you have a dc clamp style amp meter? If not one like this could help, if you purchase one, be sure it states it can measure "DC" amps, as many only measure AC amps.

My thought is that you may have something drawing a lot of current and if so with time the heat from generating a lot of power and for a long period of time can ruin an alternator. With a meter like this, you can determine how many amps the alternator is putting out and if they is high (75%= of the alternators capacity and at high idle), then you should try to determine what is using so much current. I have heard of bad coach batteries pull a lot of current and thereby ruining good alternators, but it could be anything, or just a bad alternator of course. ~CA

https://www.amazon.com/Proster-Auto-...7160493&sr=8-4
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Old 07-24-2021, 04:07 PM   #5
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Everything up here comes in from Billings Salt Lake and Spokane. You won't be far from Spokane once you're in Missoula. Maybe 4 hours. That city services a huge area with a lot of farming so they have much more industry than the immediate population would suggest. Most deliveries to truck repair shops are one day out of Spokane.
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Old 07-24-2021, 05:03 PM   #6
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You can buy a new replacement on e-bay for less than you can have yours rebuilt. Then you can rebuild yours @ your leisure if you want and keep it for a spare.
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Old 07-24-2021, 05:08 PM   #7
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And, with a "no voltage drop" batter isolator, you may have other alternator options.


Said another way, the sense terminal/wire is needed because of the voltage drop across a diode-based isolator. Suspect that is what you replaced with the BlueSea ML-ARC.
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Old 07-24-2021, 05:26 PM   #8
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Give
https://www.qualitypowerauto.com/cat...lternators.htm

a call, they can direct you to a reliable Delco alternator.
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Old 07-25-2021, 06:52 AM   #9
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Thank you for the responses. Several ideas. One I am thinking of replacing it with a Delco 28si, looks like a bolt in job with a superior alternator. I do have a clamp ammeter but didn't use it while the alternator was working because I didn't think anything was abnormal. My chassis batteries are new, and my house batteries are in good shape, no problems boon docking and the charger brings them right back up. Maybe something is wrong with the coach, but I just don't know what it might be, nothing has changed. As to the Blue Sea ML-ARC, it replaced my original Big Boy system, much superior in my mind. It gives an indication when the battery banks are connected or not connected, and allows you to manually connect or separate the banks. And my original alternator does not have a sense wire, just a positive and negative.
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Old 07-25-2021, 07:35 AM   #10
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Bill , I put in the blue sea also. You do unlatch it until the chassis batteries are fully charged after starting the coach? That may put a big load on the alternator if it's trying to charge both banks at once when they're drawn down from the starter.
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Old 07-25-2021, 07:40 AM   #11
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Do you use your alternator to charge all of the batteries? And do you run your house batteries down low before charging?

Using the alternator as the primary source for charging is really hard on them. You should always use your onboard charger/generator if they are really depleted.

Any chance some physical change to the rv is allowing water to get into it?

And are your grounds up to snuff?
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Old 07-25-2021, 07:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill767 View Post
*At 1500 miles or so, the new one quit as I was going through the middle of Atlanta traffic. . . . *We pulled the bad new alternator and drove 160 miles to his shop where he confirmed the failure, and replaced it under warranty, but said maybe I had a problem with my coach? *I said nothing had changed since I have owned the coach . . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by craigav View Post
My thought is that you may have something drawing a lot of current and if so with time the heat from generating a lot of power and for a long period of time can ruin an alternator.
Something might have changed but you donít know it, like failed/failing battery or external regulator. As craigav said, the new ones may be outputting too much current for too long, and the original may well have been doing that too. Itís just too much of a coincidence to not be suspicious that three have gone bad in a short time, though with 162k miles, the original was entitled to fail.

Just my opinion, and automotive charging systems are not in my wheel house, but from a purely troubleshooting perspective, Iíd be looking into everything downstream of the alternator and the alternator output over time.
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Old 07-25-2021, 10:21 AM   #13
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Bill , I put in the blue sea also. You do unlatch it until the chassis batteries are fully charged after starting the coach? That may put a big load on the alternator if it's trying to charge both banks at once when they're drawn down from the starter.
Usually not, as most of the time I am plugged into 50 amp wherever I am, so I believe the house batteries are fully charged when I start up and leave, but you bring up a good point. How long do you think they would need to stay separated to replace the charge taken away by starting? I have 3 group 31 starting batteries.
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Old 07-25-2021, 10:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YC1 View Post
Do you use your alternator to charge all of the batteries? And do you run your house batteries down low before charging?

Using the alternator as the primary source for charging is really hard on them. You should always use your onboard charger/generator if they are really depleted.

Any chance some physical change to the rv is allowing water to get into it?

And are your grounds up to snuff?
As I said previously usually I am plugged into 50 amps before I start up, but going down the road with the ML-ARC on auto, or the Big Boy when I had it installed would combine the battery banks, so yes, I am usually charging both banks with the alternator going down the road, but there is little draw on either bank. And I don't really deplete my house batteries even when boon docking, my AGS kicks in at 12.2 volts. And no water that I know of, and where are you thinking of water getting in to affect this? I am going to look over my grounds again after this, I did clean and tighten all when I had the alternator out two times before, but it could be. Thanks.
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