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alternator problems

Discussion in 'Ford Trucks' started by boba, Dec 25, 2003.

  1. boba

    boba Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    :confused: 2003 F350 6.0 psd auto. On my 3rd alternator! First storm in early December truck plowed for 2 hours and plowed started to raise very slow, gauges jumped and abs light started flashing. Off to Fisher dealer open during storms-alternator put out 12.2 volts. Ford dealer replaced it. Next storm same problems. Back to Ford dealer-same thing alternator only putting out 12.2 volts. On third one. No storms can't tell if this one is okay. What's the story? Dealer tells me no options, only standard alternator.

    Couldn't even attempt to use light bar. The 7.3 I replaced never had any problems and my 1999 7.3 has a ton of electrical stuff and no problerms.
     
  2. PARTSMGR

    PARTSMGR Member
    Messages: 32

    Alternator

    It sounds like the OEM Alternators are bad. You might have got a few bad ones- Problem here is that you must have an all electric plow setup and every time you move the plow it is like starting your engine. 2 solutions- 1 add an extra battery so you have more reserve power or 2 have the OEM alternator "hopped up" by an alternator shop (or even better ) add a Leece Neville alternator. Leece's come in amperages from 120A and up. These are not inexpensive but they have external regulators (so they run cooler) and they last a long time. My recommendation would be to add an extra battery and upgrade the alternator (Unless you want Ford to keep replacing the stock alts until warranty is over) Good luck
     
  3. boba

    boba Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    Partsmgr,

    Thanks for your ideas. The truck is a 6.0 diesel, which has two batteries. I'm going to look into the alternator you sugested.
     
  4. PARTSMGR

    PARTSMGR Member
    Messages: 32

    aLTERNATOR

    My error- I should have remembered that diesels have 2 batteries- we have a 1999 F350SD PSD and a 2001 F350SD PSD at work. You should have no problems with 2 batteries- the alternator is suspect. I have a 1979 F150 HD with a 4.9L and 4 Speed transmission with the creeper first gear. This unit has a Pathfinder Snowplow with electric over hydraulic lift system and I was having low power problems until I added another battery and a charging solenoid- Wham no more problems- I only have a 84 amp alternator under the hood. Good luck!!!:waving:
     
  5. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    I think at this point I would be getting a little testy with the service manager, they need to find the problem! You are not pulling that many amps to fry it that quick.
    Leece Neville alternator's are way expensive! Call an automotive electrical shop around where you live they should be able to help you out. They can upgrade your present alternator.
    I got a 100 amp alternator with one battery and it works fairly well ,so your 2 should keep you in power no problem.
     
  6. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    I would say that you have a wiring problem somewhere in your system. It is probably in the plow electrical system. Check everything over for bare-wires or bad grounds. It sounds like you are shorting out your alternator. A few years back I had a freightliner with a 160amp alternator. Every six months or so it would go out. After replacing it 4 times I found a battery cable with the insulation wore off next to the frame. Whenever the engine would torque over the cable would arc on the frame causing a dead short. Over time this short would take out the alternator. After fixing the cable my alternator lasted for several hundred thousand miles. Check over your whole system closely. If you don't find anything wrong put a amp meter with a inductive pickup on the main wire from the alternator. Run your plow through all operating positions while watching the meter and you will probably find a function that is drawing way more amps than the alternator can handle. It will be close to a dead short to take out the alternator so it should be easy to find.
     
  7. boba

    boba Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    Crumm,

    Thanks for your ideas. Fisher plow okay. Discovered truck only has a 115 alternator. Local auto electric shop states my problem is common when plowing without much drive time between jobs.

    Ford dealer says only alternator available and nobody else has this problem.

    I don't use the truck every day. It may sit for 4-5 days without use. Another person suggested a mini charger to keep the batteries up and put the plow hot wire off the secondary battery.

    Well only the next storm will tell.
     
  8. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    Another option could be get the biggest battery that will fit the tray. I use big 950 cold cranking amp ones and they last for 12 hours of plowing as long as you watch the volt level. Watch running the heater blower and all the lights. In a lighted parking lot I will just run with the amber beacon on. We do most of our plowing after business hours so we have no cars to deal with. Your Powerstroke should have two batteries so I really can't understand why it dies so quickly I think there's still a problem some where. Try the charger setup maybe that will fix it.
     
  9. snowfarmer

    snowfarmer Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    The guy I plow snow with has an 03 F350 6.0 with Blizzard 810 plow and he is having the same problem. He put on a new alt. and 2 new batteries and still half way through the night the plow got to where it would not lift. The truck is in the shop as I write this. This plow and his light bar was on a 01 powerstroke last year and never had this problem. It just about has to be in the alt. becaus when I check my 99 psd at the bat. I have 14 volts and he only has a little over 12. any other ideas.
     
  10. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    You should have a little over 12-1/2 volts at the battery with the truck not running. When it's running and the charging system is working it should be 13-1/2 to 14-1/2 volts. Anything under this and the alternator or voltage regulator is dead or soon will be.
    I thought the older PS diesels came with 140 amp alternators and duel batteries. Ford must have cheaped them down and went with weak 100 amp alternators! Just another example why I would like to punch an Automotive engineer! Try an automotive electrical place. One that rebuilds alternators and such. We have one that will upgrade the alternator for about a $1 an amp. You have to take it off and put it back on they upgrade it. This may be an option you might consider. Or an old ambulance alternator made by Leech Neville <--- Spalled rong? with the heavy duty regulator.
     
  11. snowfarmer

    snowfarmer Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    The original alt. is 110 amp. our local eletrical shop says it can'nt be upgraded. Our local Ford dealer says they can put in a 140 amp that will bolt right in for the low price of $440. Wouldn't you think a $40000.00 truck would have an alternator big enough to plow snow with. or is there another problem that the dealer is to lazy to look for.
     
  12. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    Alternator solutions

    Guys, these comments are just more reasons why I prefer reliable, long life low drain BELT driven hydro pumps. No matter what you do, you still have a huge amp drain on an alternator. You are dependent on diodes not designed for the constant drain, components not built for the heat load, and wiring that may not have good enough grounding, or proper wire to connector mating for the amp load.

    Belt driven hydros eliminate all that. They are quiet, simple to repair, and easy to figure out if there is a problem. Give it some thought, ok?
     
  13. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    I still say there is some other problem with your electrical system.
    Two hours plowing would be a walk in the park for a 110 amp system and two batteries. What else are you running while plowing? A big 8 beamer light bar, extra flood lights? Keep amp draw down as much as you can. Just the head lights can pull 14 amps, heater on high can be near the same. Remember at low engine speeds your alternator really does not put out the rating, maybe 1/2 or less of rated output actually is seen. I have watched gas engined systems rated at 60 amps putting out 30 amps at 2k RPM and they say that's normal. When was the last time the big dog diesel was at 2k RPM plowing? I drive PSD Ambulances and the engine never needs much RPM to get the job done. But we have the big L / N alternators. Did they test the batteries? They may of been terminally discharged before you even bought the truck. That tends to kill modern batteries and they just fail one morning without warning. Been there, had it happen X 2. The price for the new upgrade alternator is fair, should of came with it in my opinion! I have not seen anyother postings on your problem here. Got the build sheet on the truck? Maybe they left out spec'ed big alternator when it was built.
     
  14. boba

    boba Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    Snowfarmer,

    The 140 amp alternator- do you have a part number. According to my ford dealer the 115 amp alternator is the only one available for the 2003psd.
     
  15. snowfarmer

    snowfarmer Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    boba


    I don't know if it was a Ford part or one they could get. A local electrical shop is checking to see if they can come up with a bigger alt. I should know more today or tomorrow. I guess you should order the dual alt. for these trucks.
     
  16. boba

    boba Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    Snowfarmer,

    Everyone needs to know the dual alternator is only a factory option. Can not be dealer installed.

    Let me know on the part number when you get it.

    Thanks.
     
  17. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    snowfaller, my 04 SD PSD has no problems with the charging system while plowing. i do a fair amount of driving between jobs though, so i do charge my batteries up good. i thought the alternators put out 130 amps, and 260 with dual alternators. there should be a mount to put a second alternator on your truck , might be on the bottom or the engine. you could by a single wire alternator, and hook it up to one of your batts, and install an isolator system. check how ford does it. i know they dont offer it after you get the truck. you can get a idle control for your truck. so when you get out, you can set the idle higher to charge better. it sucks space is so tight under the hood, if it wasnt, you could get a third batt, and hook it up to the 2nd alternator, have it just power the plow. hope ford figures out whats wrong with the truck. wish they installed a volt meter stock instead of haveing to go aftermarket.:D :D
     
  18. Boast Enterpris

    Boast Enterpris Senior Member
    Messages: 745

    I was just wondering if this problem is only limited to 2003 6.0L PSD. A lot of guys around here had problems with everything on their 2003 6.0L ( motors, injection pumps, & transmissions ) I have never plowed with a diesel, just V10s. I hope you can get it fixed. Also does the truck have the plow pep package?
     
  19. capnkel

    capnkel Junior Member
    from Saco
    Messages: 20

    I have the 6.0l in my truck also,i haven't had any problems with it.I was told the alternator is 130 amps.You should ask your dealer if they use a larger alternator on an ambulance prepped truck,i would think they would have about 200 amps on those,unless they figure 2 130s are as good.I bought mine off the lot,if i had ordered i would have got the dual alts,i hear it can be changed but it will cost $$$:D
     
  20. boba

    boba Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    Boast enterpris,

    Yes, the truck has the plow package and all hd options. Thursday truck plowed for two hours w/o electric problems-Fuel filter next to frame froze in the 0 temp!!!!!! Power Serve cured that.

    Now need an extended plow time to see if the battery tender has solved the charge problem.