(Formally "Plan V: A Van Dwelling Blog", when I lived in a 1978 Dodge Xplorer 228 Class B motorhome van)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Review is done

My SSDI review is done and all went well as expected. Now that it's finished, I am looking forward and considering going back on the road this fall.

I want to get back out to Arkansas to visit family and friends, and to also pick up my trailer, scooter and other belongings stored at my mom's house.

I have a rough draft of a route planned out which involves stopping through Yellowstone National Park on my way southeast.

Stay tuned for more details later!

36 comments:

  1. Hi, i have an xplorer like yours. I really enjoy your posts. I could use some advice. Thanks!

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  2. Thanks! Where did you get your windshield privacy cover?

    Is the alternator suppose to charge the rear battery going down the road or engine running or just the battery charger in the back?

    I mneed a replacement graywater tank, mine is crumbled. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

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  3. Yes, the alternator should charge your starting battery as well as your house battery. There is a solenoid on the firewall near the starting battery that looks like this: http://www.etrailer.com/Merchant2/graphics/00000001/pics/T/R/TR118665_1000.jpg

    Yours may be dead. You will hear a loud click from it if you turn the key to "on" (but don't crank the engine) if it's working properly. It will also click when you turn the key off when it disengages. They don't cost much, about $20-30 and are very easy to install. Just disconnect your batteries first (of course!), swap out the wire connections and bolt the new one in place of the old.

    The way it works is when the key is turned, positive power is sent to the small, center post which engages it and makes the solenoid inside connect the two larger poles together. The two larger posts on the sides are the battery/charging circuits (also positives). One side has a large cable leading to your house battery and the other side leads to your starting battery's positive pole. (If I am remembering how mine is correctly). The housing of the unit is ground/negative so bolting it to the firewall provides that. No need to run negative to it if it has a good chassis ground connection.


    For the holding tank, I have two detailed poss about that:
    http://cubey7800.blogspot.com/2013/04/new-holding-tank-ordered.html
    http://cubey7800.blogspot.com/2013/05/new-holding-tank-installed.html

    If you have Skype, feel free to add me: cubey2600

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  4. Ok cool thx. OK solinoid didn't click. It was loose from firewall and lost ground. Cleaned and tight now it clicks. Thanks a bunch! Ordered a new voltage reg. Old one is melted from the back. Volt meter shows only 10.7 volts at each battery. I hope it is the regulator and not the alternator/gen.

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  5. As mentioned on my blog, I replaced the alternator earlier this year. I did so in a parking lot with basic wrenches. It's really not that hard to change yourself if you're mechanically inclined. I had to remove the air cleaner housing to get it out. The alternator itself isn't very expensive.

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    1. Oh and you might need a hammer for the new alternator. The tube piece where the big bolt goes through wasn't installed all the way so it wouldn't go into place on the van. The auto parts store let me borrow a hammer to fix that minor thing.

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  6. Cool thanks for the heads up on the hammer! Going to replace tank with your suggestions. I'll keep in touch!

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  7. And.....sorry to keep bugging, what amp alternator did you buy?

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  8. I bought the smaller one (65A? I don't remember exactly what the rating is). The bigger one has an extra wire or something I think as I recall. There was something odd about it. Plus it costs more. Mainly you need to make sure you get one with the same pulley to match up with your existing belts. The smaller output alternator is plenty for it, in my opinion.

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  9. Ok thanks. Yes big price diff!

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  10. Man, it was difficult trying to figure out how to get the thing out from under the hood! Now to squeez it back in. Did you have to loosen the power steering pump to get belts back on? Thanks!

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  11. Mine came out from the dog house side, not from the hood side.

    No. The alternator is adjusted for it's own belts. The only thing you have to touch is the alternator. Get it as good as you can belt wise (not too loose/floppy) then tighten up the adjusting bolt first to keep it in place.

    Go on auto zone's site and sign up for the free "intermediate" repair manuals if you need help. it's similar to a haynes manual.

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  12. Oh and then tighten up the large bolt on the alt mount, don't forget that one.

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  13. OK thank you for the info. I had to remove the top metal AC connection/hose. It wasn't charged or working luckly. I just couldn't manipulate it out. OK, thanks for the heads up on the belts.

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  14. New alternator new voltage reg. Still no charge. Im about done and ready to sell.

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  15. I guess I should have also said.. take the removed alt to oreilly's and have it tested before you replace it. Installed the testers don't work. The GOOD testers that require then to be removed work properly.

    You might take the replacement alternator you got and have IT tested to be sure you didn't get a bad rebuild. That's why there is warranty after all. It's free at oreilly and such places to get the testing done.

    You're not getting proper volts when the van is running, right? That's what your symptom is? Are you using a real voltage meter or a dummy light thing?

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  16. What year is yours? There is a fusible link between the alternator and battery that may be blown out on yours.

    Also did you put the two wire connectors back right on the alternator? I know on mine in theory you could put the connectors backwards.

    Here are the wiring diagrams for the charging system. Pick which one applies to your year model:

    1971-78: http://repairguide.autozone.com/znetrgs/repair_guide_content/en_us/images/0900c152/80/07/fe/2e/large/0900c1528007fe2e.gif

    1979-84: http://repairguide.autozone.com/znetrgs/repair_guide_content/en_us/images/0900c152/80/07/fe/33/large/0900c1528007fe33.gif

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  17. Ok i will check your links thanks. Yes old one was tested at auto zone to be dead. Yes using a multimeter to check actual volts running@9.5 volts which I'm sure is what's left in the battery. It is a 1978 228. Thanks for the help. PS I bought a lifetime alternator at Auto zone. I'm having a bad feeling that may be I'm burning up alternators from the house side somehow. I might also disconnect the solinoid to the house before Iinstall alternator yet again. I wonder how much trouble shooting Auto zone will allow I'm afraid I may fry another....

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  18. If you are worried something on the house side is burning it up, disconnect the battery isolator/solenoid (beware, it's all HOT wires, even the small one! it becomes hot when the key is turned!) or disconnect the house battery and yank on the fuses from the fuse panel near the battery. It could just be you just got a bad rebuilt alternator. It happens sometimes. The thing about these is the voltage regulator is separate. If anything was getting burned up, I'd say THAT is, not the alternator itself. I had it happen on a car where the regulator was bolted onto the alternator, considered internal. These vans have EXTERNAL ones, but they work the same way. Have you made sure your connector to your new regulator is properly inserted? Also check the grounding of the regulator to the firewall.

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  19. Just checked disable link. Power in and out.

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  20. I'd pull the alternator out and take it back and get it tested. Take the regulator too in case the alternator tests as good. Then do a warranty claim on the regulator and try another one. Maybe THAT is the dud part.

    If the alternator tests bad, get another one and try again.

    That's about all you can do at this point. The charging system on these is very simplistic at least so it's pretty easy to narrow it down to:

    A) alternator
    B) regulator
    C) ground connection (mainly just the regulator, but could also be the battery!)
    D) hot wires to/from regulator, alternator and to the battery
    E) battery

    Have you had your battery checked? Maybe it has a bad cell in it that is screwing up the voltage being put out by the regulator?

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    1. ...put out by the alternator, I meant. The regular may be sensing badly and is telling the alternator not to put out anything so it's pulling from the battery, giving you a low reading. Your battery has voltage that gets pulled from if the charging system isn't working properly. That's what leads to a dead battery. Check and see if the fridge is set to 12v power. It wouldn't be a cause of the problem but it doesn't help having high draw stuff turned on when diagnosing the system. Turn off the in-dash stereo too if you have one. Turn off all interior lights, etc.

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  21. On the subject of autozone alternators... http://autozone.pissedconsumer.com/rebuilt-alternators-are-garbage-20100626187401.html

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  22. Alternator and reg. Test good. Going to re install and disconnect house.

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  23. Did you pull the parts for testing or drive it there and test with the parts installed? My bad alt tested good installed in the van with oreilly's portable tester and showed my regulator bad. It was the opposite in my case. Reg good and alt bad.

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  24. Got it. 14.3 volts. So the new regulator was bad. At least all my wiring got a good look over. After taking alternator off twice...oh well. Its charging and I appreciate your help. I read the post about a bad relay you had. Where is that exactly? I want to replace mine. What does it do? Thanks your awesome!

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    1. Glad to hear it. Now you know not to always trust new parts haha.

      I'd also inspect the battery cables. My negative cable was in godawful shape (huge amounts of insulation missing, major corrosion) and I didn't know it until I decided to replace it due to using a repair terminal on the end of it and wanting something less prone to poor connections. The end by the battery it looked ok. Further down in the engine out sight I couldn't tell. I have a post about that on here someplace.

      The relay you mentioned was the starter relay. It activates the starter motor when you turn the key to "Start". It's mounted on the firewall near the battery and brake master cylinder/booster.

      It's put separate/external in same way the voltage regulator isn't attached to the alternator. Newer cars have such things attached to the parts themselves usually.

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    2. I will be checking the wires first thing I n the morning. Yes, I will never trust new parts again! I've learned a lot. I am going to go ahead and replace my relay as well. What is the purpose of the instrument panel voltage regulator? Thanks!

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    3. You mean the ammeter that's supposed to show you a good or bad battery? Ignore it. It's a completely worthless gauge that doesn't work properly. I think they stuck it in to fill in otherwise empty space.

      I'd keep the old starter relay as a spare in case the new one is junk. I'd try to stick to Oreilly stuff. They are cheaper anyway it seems like in most causes.

      Most of my parts I bought from RockAuto or elsewhere online, especially my front end rebuild which I completely failed to document on the blog due to not taking any photos. I saved hundreds of dollars buying online vs in store. The starter, relay and alt I bought retail price though.

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  25. Not sure. Auto zone shows what looks to be a relay but they call it" isturment cluster voltage regulator" ???

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    1. Got a link? I don't see it when I look for voltage regulator on autozone.com

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    2. Oh now I see it. I wouldn't worry about it right now to be honest. If you start replacing things that aren't bad and don't impact major issues (ie: brake hoses, something people ignore a lot) you're gonna find yourself replacing EVERYTHING. It's a $50 part that lives inside of he van away from the engine so it doesn't get exposed to major harshness. I'd leave it well enough alone.

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  26. I added a question on your starter relay blog. Thanks!

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