Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fixed it so it could break....

Well...remember how I said I had killed all the electrical gremlins?
Looks like Crawler is having a laugh on my behalf.
One of the things that is a known risk of going south on these rigs are most versions of the Alternator.
Well....the different versions of the Alternators all fail in different ways.
The 14.3771 alternator, commonly known as the RPOC (...figure it out yourself. :) ) is infamous for failing and eating the gear tower...basically grenadeing the engine altogether.
There is also the G424 alternator, which isn't known for doing that, but IS known for a fairly high failure rate. As in about 92% of them fail. This is the alternator I have on Crawler.
And it looks like I didn't beat the curve.

I went for a bit of a ride, and all was going good...ticking right along.
Hell the powerplant even sounded less like a sewing machine failing down a flight of stairs...which should have been my first warning, or payed more attention to the Alternator fault light.
Seems the G424 gave up on I wasn't charging but sucking power from the battery.
I was completely unaware of this...until I got under 10.5 volts of power in the battery...then suckage.
I will admit to spending a bit of time on the side of the road thinking I was having a fuel delivery problem still, the symptoms are very similar.
Hard starting...rough running....backfires.
After eleminating fuel as the issue...I check the plugs spark.
WEAK pale spark...
Hmmm...coil going bad maybe?
I dig a little further (Thankfully traffic is light on side streets and the weather is a sunny 40F) and realize I don't have enough volts to work the flashers...and my horn sounds like a sick baby lamb.
So I unhook everything not required to run...yes, I cut out all the lights...ALL of them.
I got it kinda running...and limped most of the way home before the battery was too flat to even fire the coil.
I hoofed the couple of blocks back to the house and was debating what to do next....go charge the battery?
replace it? steal the battery out of Dingo and walk back with it?
Then I see my neighbor has a really nice trailer hooked to his truck with a bunch of cabinets in it. I pop over and discuss some quid pro quo.
I help him unload, he runs down the block and we drag Crawler home.
First thing I do is recharge the battery....and check my wiring again looking for mistakes, shorts and connection issues. All looks good.
When the battery shows green I try and start him up...catches in about 4 kicks.
Runs great...nice and solid sounding idle...quick throttle response..
Do some checks with the multi-meter, and sure alternator output at any RPM.
System shows 12 volts and falling.

So now I got a choice to make.

Get a deep-cycle battery and go total loss electrical. Cost:~$ 100 but limits range to ~250 miles.
Replace the G424 with one just like it...and try to beat the curve on the failure rate again. Cost: ~$300
Get a Nippon-Denso alternator (Which are reported as awesome and failure free....mostly) Cost:~$600

What to do....

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