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Old 05-09-2010
cmillsap
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Default Alternator Wire

When I was at Coachworx, Rick and I were going over some PM items that I should watch for. One thing that stuck in my memory was the wire that runs from the alternator (see pic) has been known to become fatigued over time due to vibration and will break at the alternator stud. This wire is connected directly to the battery bank. It can fall down and short on the alternator housing and start a fire. Rick said it should be replaced with an insulated braided wire that is more flexible to absorb the vibration. I didn't think to ask if he had a readily available part # for such an odd part and I haven't found a suitable replacement yet. If anyone has replaced theirs, I would appreciate a part # and source. I will also call Rick next week to see if he has the part # of a suitable replacement and post it if he does.
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Old 05-09-2010
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Thanks Chuck. I'll take all the anti-fire tips you can send my way. By the way I've had some good luck with my pulsing alternator problem. Will post info over on the correct thread.
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Old 05-09-2010
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If I were looking for extremely flexible cable of that size, I would buy welding cable and ends then build my own cable. Nothing more flex that I'm aware of.
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Old 05-09-2010
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Quote:
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If I were looking for extremely flexible cable of that size, I would buy welding cable and ends then build my own cable. Nothing more flex that I'm aware of.
Rick I'm not an Engineer but would like to offer the following. If vibration is the problem and you have a super flexible wire then it will oscillate even more vigorously than a more rigid wire. To my way of thinking the more flexible wire will fail also and possibly even sooner than the more rigid wire. Now this 'braided' thing may have a mechanical/physical advantage that the structural characteristics of simple strand wire in a linear configuration cannot emulate. What do you experts think?
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Old 05-09-2010
Friday1 Friday1 is offline
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I think Rick is right. The welding cable is very flexxy. Could be made longer and ty-rapped to something else to help support it. Rick in Ohio
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Old 05-09-2010
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Rob, For sure, I'm not an engineer. Heck I would not even make a decent Brakeman. For sure a bracket with an Adel clamp to hold the cable instead of depending on the crimped and soldered cable end would be a better solution
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Old 05-10-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Rob, For sure, I'm not an engineer. Heck I would not even make a decent Brakeman. For sure a bracket with an Adel clamp to hold the cable instead of depending on the crimped and soldered cable end would be a better solution

Correct. You'd be better to minimize the vibration than to try and find a wire to tolerate it. If you'd put a clamp on that small bolt head at the back of the alternator and then hold the wire 2-3 inches from the +12v stud you'd probably sleep better.

From my experience with vibration and fatique I can share this little story. I put an air compressor on an old gas engine years ago and it was the tallest thing on the engine. Due to the engine mounts and drive belt pulses or vibrations the compressor was allowed to move (vibrate) a little with the head.

The mount was 1/2" plate steel bolted to the front of the head with 3 bolts. First the compressor mount failed and I was using grade-5 bolts. I was told grade-8 was stronger and should use them. Not only did it fail faster but was much more difficult to remove the broken bolts.

What I discovered was the grade-8 was harder but more brittle too and would not stand up to the vibration of the pulsing drive belts. I went back to grade-5 bolts and installed a small 1/8" x 1" metal strap from the other head to a compressor head bolt to help stop it from vibrating. It's been that way now for 10 years without any issue.

So the simple fix is to reduce or eliminate the vibration by supporing one or both ends with a clamp. Now, why was I putting a compressor on an Olds 455 gas engine? Why, that's a nother story...
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Old 05-10-2010
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Just my .02 worth- the alternator lead should be fused near the battery bank connection. Mine was not- but sure is now! It's about 6' long and runs over the engine from the charging compartment and shunt that feeds the dash gauge. The alternator lead in the picture goes to a stud and then the lead goes elsewhere. I'd be tempted to remove the stud and short wire and replace them with a longer piece of 2/0 welding cable. I know BB used those junction studs frequently, but at the very least, they should have an insulating boot covering the hot stud.
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Old 05-10-2010
fxdwg fxdwg is offline
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In Chuck's case, a combination of the two repairs might work better. The stud is frame mounted and won't vibrate like the engine mounted alternator will. So having a support bracket to suuport the super flexible cable will take the weight off the connection ends, yet still allow for each end to flex independantly of the other.

I've got the same setup, as I do most of the other S60 powered birds do.
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Old 05-11-2010
cmillsap
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfedeli View Post
I know BB used those junction studs frequently, but at the very least, they should have an insulating boot covering the hot stud.
Shane,

I sure agree with that. These coaches have several exposed "hot" studs from front to rear.
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