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Electrical Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach's electrical system.

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  #11  
Old 07-05-2013
cire cire is offline
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Default Follow up #2

Today I installed a re-manufactured 50DN alternator (I learned that it is truly a generator....but that title causes some confusion with another device on board.) I had a local shop try to repair my failed unit. They took it apart and found that there was a problem with the stator. The technician couldn't identify a reason for the failure. The local shop was not equipped to rewind the stator so I used the information mentioned above to go on a search.

I ordered a 12 volt 50DN from Kirks Automotive. WOW what a resource for 50DN alternators/generators. While it took Kirks two weeks to locate, rewind a 12 volt stator and prepare the 50DN they are an amazing shop, relating to 50DNs' I would guess that 3/4 of their shop work is dedicated to 50DNs'. Mostly 24 volt units. I arrived at noon and they had completed 10 50DNs by that time. They had 4 people on the floor dedicated to 50DN rebuilding. Kirks Automotive is truly a 50DN specialty shop. Thanks Wayne for the recommendation.

The cost of the re-manufactured 50DN was $720, with exchange plus tax or out of state shipping. The unit looks excellent with all new hardware. Time will tell how it will do. In considering the failures my rig has had (this will be the fourth failure in the 105k miles life of this coach) I have taken Shane Fedeli's recommendation. I have added a large ground cable from the frame of the mounting to the "jumper cable" terminal on my rig.

As you know there is no ground wire on the alternator/generator. The current flows from the frame of the 50DN to the mount, then the current is transferred to the the engine frame through the alternator/generator mounting bolts. While this may be fully satisfactory usually, perhaps there is a little too much paint on the interfaces of the mount/engine on my rig. Time will tell. If I do have an additional failure I will aggressively consider converting to a 160 amp Leese Neville. I rarely need 300 amps of battery charging capability.

With luck you will not hear of any additional failures of my alternator/generator. I have my fingers crossed.


Eric, currently in Ft. Wayne, IN. Headed for Peoria, IL Monday.
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  #12  
Old 07-06-2013
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iamflagman iamflagman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cire View Post
I ordered a 12 volt 50DN from Kirks Automotive. WOW what a resource for 50DN alternators/generators. While it took Kirks two weeks to locate, rewind a 12 volt stator and prepare the 50DN they are an amazing shop, relating to 50DNs' I would guess that 3/4 of their shop work is dedicated to 50DNs'. Mostly 24 volt units. I arrived at noon and they had completed 10 50DNs by that time. They had 4 people on the floor dedicated to 50DN rebuilding. Kirks Automotive is truly a 50DN specialty shop. Thanks Wayne for the recommendation.

Eric, currently in Ft. Wayne, IN. Headed for Peoria, IL Monday.
Eric,

How about adding the contact information for Kirks Automotive to WOG either in Wanderlodge Owners Group > Good, Bad, and Ugly > Vendors if they are just a rebuilder or Wanderlodge Owners Group > Good, Bad, and Ugly > Service Centers if they do complete service and repairs.
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  #13  
Old 09-03-2013
cire cire is offline
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Default Yet another failure of my 50DN

In early July I replaced my 50DN generator/alternator with a re-manufactured unit from Kirks' Automotive in Detroit. Shortly after installing the re-man 50DN I took a 300 mile trip. The 50DN was weeping oil from the front seal. I returned to Fort Wayne, IN in August and took the 50DN back to Kirks' Automotive. Compressing a long story: the leaking oil seal was just a symptom to a larger problem. Bottom line is Kirks Automotive replaced everything except the 12 volt stator. I need to replace my glowing endorsement of Kirks' Automotive with a passing endorsement and a statement that they stand behind their warranty and their work.

On another related note, I installed a large ground strap connecting one of the base bolts on the 50DN to the battery jumper cable terminal a few wire inches from my 50DN. It appeared to make a significant difference on the charging abilities of the 50DN before I returned it to re-builder. I intentionally ran my batteries down before my 300 mile trip, mentioned above. The 50DN would charge my batteries at 300 amps, according to the gauge on the dash then slowly drop back in amperage. Previously, the highest I ever seen my alternator charge was 220 amps. From this experience I speculate that the grounding of the 50DN in my coach was not fully satisfactory. There are a several locations where the grounding of the alternator depends on current running through painted bolts on painted parts. This provides good but not great current path to the battery.

I'll pass on any subsequent failures in this my fifth 50DN if they occur. I am mentally exhausted from the exercise. On the positive side; I've become pretty good at removing installing my alternator.

Eric
still outside of Ft. Wayne at my "repair facility"
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  #14  
Old 09-04-2013
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warbucks13477 warbucks13477 is offline
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Eric the 50DN alternator has been around a long time and if you or anyone else is having multiple failures then there has to be a reason and it does not sound like you have found the reason yet. Replacing more units will not solve the problem. I agree with Randy that rebuilt units sometimes are about as good as throwing $100 bills out the window. This might help some WOG members since since 1958 there have been a lot of improvements in both the new units and the method of rebuilding and upgrading old ones. Just because the rebuilder has a lot of employees and a lot of Delco 50DNs does not mean that he is producing them to Delco specifications using the correct parts.
Check this out and it may help you. http://tinyurl.com/qc9ujh7


tom
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  #15  
Old 09-04-2013
markusfmeyer markusfmeyer is offline
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When I recently replaced my Leece Neville alternator I had the shop test the old one first, because it too wasn't original and not that old. It failed the load test and he then took it apart to show me what was going on. Charred/burnt windings, obviously parts not replaced on the prior rebuild, etc. Long story short, not every rebuild is the same, depends on parts used, what is or isn't replaced, and how good a job the place does. Hope your luck changes, fifth time is the charm?!
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  #16  
Old 09-04-2013
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Eric- I don't know what size cabling the BB used, but I've never seen anything less than 4/0 recommended for 300A of DC power. My little 160A Leece Neville only had 6 ga. cables on it when I purchased our coach in 2004. I upgraded to 2/0 cable and that made a huge difference. When I pulled the original ground strap off, it was the color of burned toast under the wire loom. Thanks for keeping us posted on your adventures!
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  #17  
Old 09-04-2013
CEE CEE is offline
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Hi Guys

There must be a problem causing this.

Yes wire size could cause it but also a battery problem. Battery load test is quick and easy. Cells low on water can stress the alternator. My bet is something very small has caused this.

I agree with you guys about bad replacement parts. A lot of OEM parts are made in Mexico too..... and often a problem

There are really simple testers that plus into a lighter socket Try running one for a few weeks plugged in all the time. See if you get a yellow or red light off and on.

Good luck
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  #18  
Old 09-04-2013
Friday1 Friday1 is offline
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the 50DN taken apart and evaluated. I'll let you know what they find. Shane Fedeli suggested a ground strap. It would be easy enough to add a grounding strap to the alternator although the direct bolt up to the engine suggests that grounding is probably not the problem. The rest of the electrical connections look to be secure.

Trust me, a mounting interface is not a good ground. A dedicated ground wire to the engine or frame or the - post on the battery is what works best.

Rick in Ohio
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  #19  
Old 09-04-2013
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NOT to the engine for it sits on motor mounts which can act as an insulator. shane is right run the grounding strap loosely to the negative stud of the batteries on the frame or to the frame.
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  #20  
Old 09-04-2013
Friday1 Friday1 is offline
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Don't know the engine configuration for this coach but it should have a separate ground of its own somewhere to make sure the block and heads are grounded. All major components-starter, main engine, should have a ground of their own.

Rick in Ohio
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