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Old 10-29-2007, 02:19 PM   #1
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I recently had an experience with my alternator that I thought was worth passing on to forum members.
On a recent trip to a four-day rally I had a nagging suspicion that there was something not right about my alternator. That thought was triggered by several things. One, the voltmeter on the dash didn't seem to be indicating what I thought that it should. It appeared to be showing that volts were moving, but how many, I didn't know. Second, when I arrived at the park for the weekend I checked the chassis batteries at the One Place panel and it showed less than 13 volts. Strange after a four-hour trip. As I have a Trik-L-Start shore power charged the chassis batteries during the weekend. On the trip home the voltmeter indication was the same. Upon arriving home, with the engine off, I attempted to put out the rear slide. No response. In the past I have found that starting the coach will wake up the electrons. After starting the engine, no response. I also noted that after the four hour return to home the chassis batteries indicated 12.5 volts. Through all of this no indications from the idiot lights on the instrument panel. Next morning down to my trusty mechanic. He found that the alternator was alternating but evidently just enough to satisfy the idiot lights. Putting a load on the 160 amp alternator drove the output to 25 amps. As a final note the shop had to make quite a number of calls to find a replacement. They did not want to try the Freightliner or Winnebago dealers unless necessary due to the cost differential. I am just glad this did not happen on a long road trip halfway between nowhere and somewhere.
For the old hands out there, this is just another day on the road. For those new to RVing, you just need to pay attention all of the time. This isn't just a big automobile.
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:19 PM   #2
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I recently had an experience with my alternator that I thought was worth passing on to forum members.
On a recent trip to a four-day rally I had a nagging suspicion that there was something not right about my alternator. That thought was triggered by several things. One, the voltmeter on the dash didn't seem to be indicating what I thought that it should. It appeared to be showing that volts were moving, but how many, I didn't know. Second, when I arrived at the park for the weekend I checked the chassis batteries at the One Place panel and it showed less than 13 volts. Strange after a four-hour trip. As I have a Trik-L-Start shore power charged the chassis batteries during the weekend. On the trip home the voltmeter indication was the same. Upon arriving home, with the engine off, I attempted to put out the rear slide. No response. In the past I have found that starting the coach will wake up the electrons. After starting the engine, no response. I also noted that after the four hour return to home the chassis batteries indicated 12.5 volts. Through all of this no indications from the idiot lights on the instrument panel. Next morning down to my trusty mechanic. He found that the alternator was alternating but evidently just enough to satisfy the idiot lights. Putting a load on the 160 amp alternator drove the output to 25 amps. As a final note the shop had to make quite a number of calls to find a replacement. They did not want to try the Freightliner or Winnebago dealers unless necessary due to the cost differential. I am just glad this did not happen on a long road trip halfway between nowhere and somewhere.
For the old hands out there, this is just another day on the road. For those new to RVing, you just need to pay attention all of the time. This isn't just a big automobile.
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Old 10-29-2007, 03:24 PM   #3
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Did the alternator have an integral voltage regulator? If so did they test it or try replacing the regulator first?
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Old 11-01-2007, 02:21 PM   #4
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No it does not have an integral voltage regulator. They tested that puppy every way you can.
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Old 11-02-2007, 07:25 AM   #5
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I had an alternator go out mid-trip on my 2004 Allegro Bus once.

If this ever happens to you, there is a workaround I used to allow me to finish the trip.

Whenever the ignition key is in the ON position, a charge solenoid engages that ties both the chassis and house battery banks together so that the alternator can charge them. If your alternator fails, this solenoid is still enaged and ties the two systems together. If you start up your generator set, it will power the converter or inverter/charge that normally charges the house batteries. But, when driving this power will backfeed through the charge solenoid and get to the chassis batteries. By doing this I was able to run all night with lights and wipers on and park the coach with a fully charged chassis battery.
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Old 11-02-2007, 09:21 AM   #6
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Cruzer -- excellent suggestion! I had one go out on a weekend trip on the way 'to'. Decided not to spoil my weekend (it was a holiday weekend) and went to Wally World and purchased a battery charger. While hooked up for the weekend I was able to charge the engine batteries (my old coach didn't have the Trik-L-charge).

On the trip home, I just watched my electrical consumption (no dash a/c, lights, etc.). Was an easy 2 hour drive home. One nice thing about diesels; they don't need electricity to run the engine. Just need 'them volts' for all the accessory electrical stuff.
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Old 11-02-2007, 11:21 AM   #7
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The mechanic that works on our diesel told me that when my alternator quit that he doesn't know why Cummins put this alternator on these engines. He said he has replaced so many on Cummins engines. He even had a replacement in stock. This is a small town of under 6,000. He usually just works on semi's.

That was about 4-5 years ago. I could have had Cummins pay for it under warranty, but they would have had to get the one Cummins recommended, and I would have had to wait. If it wasn't any better than the orginal, I would have had to replace it by now. This one is even a larger and heavier duty type.
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Old 11-03-2007, 03:14 AM   #8
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CRUZER: Your post on "By-pass procedure", is priceless. It goes in my "Save this for future problems file". Thanks
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