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Old 01-29-2007, 04:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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LS1 eating alternators

My buggy loves to eat alternators for some reason, I've tried just about everything I know to keep it from happening. I thought maybe they were getting wet and dying, but its eaten one since sitting in my shop just being moved in and out. I've had a 470omh resister in the feild wire , now have switched it to an idiot light and installed it on my dash, it still freaking eats the things. It has a feild wire and a battery lead coming off the back off the alternator so I can't for the life of me figure out WTF is going on. It's so unpredictable I actually carry a fresh alt. in my tow rig. I may go for a few months and have no problems, then out of the blue it'll eat one (won't charge). This is the only problem I have left with this thing and I just can't figure it out, my next step is to run a ground wire directly to the alternator housing from the negative terminal of the battery, maybe that'll help. Anyone else had this problem?
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Old 01-29-2007, 04:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Maybe you already said this, but I went through 5 alternators myself. First I was told it was bad ground so I ran a ground from the cab to chasis and from chassis to motor. Finally I fixed it by running the power to the voltage regulator through my instrument cluster. Any more than 11 volts to the regulator would fry it and the alternator would fry itself almost right away. Pardon the laymens terinology, but I am no electrical expert.
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Old 01-29-2007, 05:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I thought maybe they were getting wet and dying, but its eaten one since sitting in my shop just being moved in and out. Anyone else had this problem?


bigwoody, i've had, what sounds like, the same problem. tbi350 and i went through 4-5 alternators also. one field, one hot. no grounding issue and nobody new what to do.

i don't know anything about a resistor being required for your field but my problem was the field wire and it's sequencing of power at start up. my field was wired to my motor run switch. basically, i turn on the motor run switch which turns on my fuel pump and injection electronics and it would send 12v to my field for the alt. i then push a seperate momentary starter button to energize the starter solenoid. the problem was the alternator was enabled to charge while the starter was trying to start/crank over. i think the alternator saw the decrease in voltage from the starter operating and the alternator tried to charge at full capacity at those low rpms and it couldn't handle it. resulting in a alternator. i wired the field wire to a dedicated toggle and only turn that switch on to charge after the motor has started. i watch my volt meter jump to 14.5 volts and then turn the field toggle off. once the field is energized, the only way to de-energize it is to turn the motor off (it self energizes when running). this means i don't have to worry about remembering to turn the field toggle off when i turn the motor off. cause if you do, then start your motor again and the field toggle was forgotten on, again. i know first hand.

i suppose, the correct way would be to wire your field to a relay that breaks when the starter solenoid is energized. this should prevent the alt failures. the toggle was a quick way to pinpoint my problem.

that's my take at least. hasn't failed me yet and it's been a while. anyone else?
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Old 02-21-2007, 05:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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sooooo, what # alternator are you on now?
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Old 02-21-2007, 05:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Is a LS1 a Chevy motor? If so, get a one wire Chevy alternator (10si of 12si) and only connect the one (heavy) wire to the positive side of the battery and see if that corrects the problem. If so, it's probably that you had the field connection miswired.

Good luck.

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Old 02-21-2007, 07:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quick question about LS1's

How is the oiling system? Can they take a pounding or are they sensitive to upside down driving?
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
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bigwoody, i've had, what sounds like, the same problem. tbi350 and i went through 4-5 alternators also. one field, one hot. no grounding issue and nobody new what to do.

i don't know anything about a resistor being required for your field but my problem was the field wire and it's sequencing of power at start up. my field was wired to my motor run switch. basically, i turn on the motor run switch which turns on my fuel pump and injection electronics and it would send 12v to my field for the alt. i then push a seperate momentary starter button to energize the starter solenoid. the problem was the alternator was enabled to charge while the starter was trying to start/crank over. i think the alternator saw the decrease in voltage from the starter operating and the alternator tried to charge at full capacity at those low rpms and it couldn't handle it. resulting in a alternator. i wired the field wire to a dedicated toggle and only turn that switch on to charge after the motor has started. i watch my volt meter jump to 14.5 volts and then turn the field toggle off. once the field is energized, the only way to de-energize it is to turn the motor off (it self energizes when running). this means i don't have to worry about remembering to turn the field toggle off when i turn the motor off. cause if you do, then start your motor again and the field toggle was forgotten on, again. i know first hand.

i suppose, the correct way would be to wire your field to a relay that breaks when the starter solenoid is energized. this should prevent the alt failures. the toggle was a quick way to pinpoint my problem.

that's my take at least. hasn't failed me yet and it's been a while. anyone else?
Makes allot of sense to me. I'd go with this.
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Old 02-22-2007, 12:44 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rustynuts View Post
bigwoody, i've had, what sounds like, the same problem. tbi350 and i went through 4-5 alternators also. one field, one hot. no grounding issue and nobody new what to do.

i don't know anything about a resistor being required for your field but my problem was the field wire and it's sequencing of power at start up. my field was wired to my motor run switch. basically, i turn on the motor run switch which turns on my fuel pump and injection electronics and it would send 12v to my field for the alt. i then push a seperate momentary starter button to energize the starter solenoid. the problem was the alternator was enabled to charge while the starter was trying to start/crank over. i think the alternator saw the decrease in voltage from the starter operating and the alternator tried to charge at full capacity at those low rpms and it couldn't handle it. resulting in a alternator. i wired the field wire to a dedicated toggle and only turn that switch on to charge after the motor has started. i watch my volt meter jump to 14.5 volts and then turn the field toggle off. once the field is energized, the only way to de-energize it is to turn the motor off (it self energizes when running). this means i don't have to worry about remembering to turn the field toggle off when i turn the motor off. cause if you do, then start your motor again and the field toggle was forgotten on, again. i know first hand.

i suppose, the correct way would be to wire your field to a relay that breaks when the starter solenoid is energized. this should prevent the alt failures. the toggle was a quick way to pinpoint my problem.

that's my take at least. hasn't failed me yet and it's been a while. anyone else?

Hmmm I wonder if this is the cause of my dead red top I found yesterday morning......New wiring, new battery and new alternator...something aint right!
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Old 02-22-2007, 04:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
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one wire alternators draw a small amount of current all the time so that might explain the dead battery but not the alternators letting go. I seem to have this same problem at work but with heavy equipment and stupid operators but the draw on the electrical system is only maybe 35amps max running, so the problem has been pinned down to dirt,oil and vibration resulting in very restricted airflow in the casing equaling burnt out alternators and pissed off mechanics (me). what seems to help is every service(250hrs) is blowing out the alt with compressed air and a good contact cleaner
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Old 02-22-2007, 06:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'd just run a relay that will interrupt the power when the starter is energized.. Let's see... standard automotive relay...

85 - 12v+ from the starter button
86 - ground
30 - switched 12v+ already going to the field wire
87a - to the alt (other end of the field wire)

Thing is, IIRC, he's using a a factory LS1 harness that was reworked. In that case, I'm *sure* GM would have the field wire setup to not get power during crank.. But it's an easy check to perform..

Bigwoody - wanna do that check real fast next time you're walking around with the PowerProbe in your hand? (See if the field wire still has power during crank)
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Old 02-22-2007, 07:24 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thing is, IIRC, he's using a a factory LS1 harness that was reworked. In that case, I'm *sure* GM would have the field wire setup to not get power during crank..
GM would, but if he didn't wire it up to his ignition switch the same (or if he's using a push button starter), that could cause it.

As for the 1-wire alternators, I've always heard they weren't the best choice for a 4x4 since they don't charge well at low rpm (or at least they need to be reved once to start charging).

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Old 02-22-2007, 07:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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As for the 1-wire alternators, I've always heard they weren't the best choice for a 4x4 since they don't charge well at low rpm (or at least they need to be reved once to start charging).

Pete
I am running a "1 wire" alt and this seems to be true. I also read somewhere that the alt. needs to see 1,000 rpm before it will energize the field.
I have my field for the alt. on its' own switch, no actually, it is wired so that when I turn on the fan, the alt starts charging.(also)
works pretty good- I can see the voltmeter or water temp not right, and think turn on the fan dumbass!
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Old 02-22-2007, 07:59 AM   #13 (permalink)
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As for the 1-wire alternators, I've always heard they weren't the best choice for a 4x4 since they don't charge well at low rpm (or at least they need to be reved once to start charging).

Pete

Likely for the stock alternators. If you shop for the rebuilt high output ones, that have the built in voltage regulators for later model LS1 engines and their likes.... "they" say that it will put out 120amps at idle.

I've known of some guys just getting with an alternator place and getting them to rebuild their alternators as HO ones so that they are higher amp at idle.

Worth checking in to. I have a 190amp "1-wire" HO alternator on a 6.0L
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Old 02-22-2007, 08:00 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Old 02-22-2007, 08:33 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Hmmm I wonder if this is the cause of my dead red top I found yesterday morning......New wiring, new battery and new alternator...something aint right!

i went thru a yellow top during figuring this out. one of my alts put out 18-19 volts when it failed. some of the alts would fail by not charging. some would fail by over charging. not that that's you problem. just a little more info for the arsenal.

i don't buy the one wire alt draws a small amout of current all the time story. it shouldn't drain a battery overnite, period.
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Old 02-22-2007, 08:48 AM   #16 (permalink)
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i went thru a yellow top during figuring this out. one of my alts put out 18-19 volts when it failed. some of the alts would fail by not charging. some would fail by over charging. not that that's you problem. just a little more info for the arsenal.
I think you are right, some apparently do fail do to overcharging and when I was looking for HO alternators, there was stuff about guys using cheap crap for the built in voltage regulator and the regulator is basically what failed or wasn't working.

So, if it's putting out more than something like 14.4V when it's charging at higher RPM's.... the voltage regulator must be bad and it's going to eat the alternator eventually.
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Old 02-22-2007, 12:41 PM   #17 (permalink)
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GM would, but if he didn't wire it up to his ignition switch the same (or if he's using a push button starter), that could cause it.


Ohhhhhhh yeah, good point. Reason #4 why I should try and keep my OEM column.
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Old 02-22-2007, 01:40 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I haven't had problems since running a seperate ground wire, but damn it charges a lot of volts (like damn near 15 volts until the fan turns on). I dunno my guy who builds alternators says he'll put in a sellf exciting regulator that doesn't require a field wire if I have anymore problems, I'll keep yall posted.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:01 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I haven't had problems since running a seperate ground wire, but damn it charges a lot of volts (like damn near 15 volts until the fan turns on). I dunno my guy who builds alternators says he'll put in a sellf exciting regulator that doesn't require a field wire if I have anymore problems, I'll keep yall posted.

have you had any problems with this lately??
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:44 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Bumping this up..... rustynuts? You have any problems with the ls1 still?

I don't have factory harness and am wiring the alt in today... thinking i might put in a switch like you mentioned?

Anyone else have any advise.. Does the alt have a delay charge built in?

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