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High output Alt. or a better battery?

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by jjmcnace, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. jjmcnace

    jjmcnace Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 64

    I just put a blade on my 98 Sierra 1500. Was using it for the first time and the blade is really pulling the charging system down. The battery light flickered on a few times while moving the plow when the plow was loaded.

    Some are going to say both, but really don't want to dump $3-400 into it right now. My current battery is a 4 yr old DieHard Gold that is still good. I have a yellow top Optima in my 2500HD without a high output alt. That yellow top is awesome.
  2. Plowinpro03

    Plowinpro03 Senior Member
    Messages: 151

    I run dual yellow tops, one bigger then the other to stagger the amps....(dont ask, just been doing it since my youngin' days of car audio)....I push with a snoway, and the DP really sucks up the juice, i haven't had MUCH issue's doing it this way...but i would recommend putting in a better alternator..it just so happened to be i had that battery laying around from my drag car that i dont use much in the winter lol...
  3. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    wierd, I thought we all agreed the batteries have to be matched...

    A four year old Diehard Gold should be a good battery, unless it's had a hard life, ie, been drawn down dead a few times. You can get it tested to find out it's actual condition and load capacity. I'm a big Diehard fan, myself, I've tried everything and they outperform the rest in my experience. I've used Optimas and while I've never had a problem with one, I've heard things I don't like. I'd never spend that kind of money for a battery anyway. An alternator upgrade would be a good option, however bear in mind that high output alternators only put out more at higher rpms, they generally put out less at low rpms than a stock one. So for low rpm plowing it won't help your condition, what it will do is do a better job charging the battery back up while driving to the next driveway. Upgrading battery terminals and cables is a good bet too, chances are the terminals are aged and weak.
  4. Lencodude

    Lencodude Senior Member
    Messages: 128

    I have a gmc 88 1500 and had a big draw I added and extra battery and it help but over the years of plowing it was slower to recharge the batteries. I recently changed all the cables to 2 gauge and made sure the battery had a good ground to the engine and body and the battery gauge shows the battery recovers past 14 volts faster. I have a stock alternator.
    Check out all your grounds first, that might be a cause to your problem also. But it is always good to have a second battery when plowing to help out when needed.
    I have a 2002 2500 gmc I have plowed with one battery for a while and I added a second this season and you can tell the difference, the plow is not as laggy at times.
  5. jjmcnace

    jjmcnace Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 64

    I used the SEARCH function last night and read for hours about my question I just asked! Anyway, I did not hear read anything this question. If I put a high amp alternator on my truck, will it overcharge my battery in the summertime when I'm driving on the highway and the blade is not there constantly drawing the battery down? Do you think I would need to swap the high amp one out and replace with the stock alt in the summer?

    Thanks for the help. I'm going to go with the high amp alt first, then next fall will add two batteries.
  6. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    No, it will not overcharge the batteries. it only can give them more when they require it. Once they are full the alternator is just kind of along for the ride, maintaining them but not overcharging. The blade doesn't constantly draw the battery down; working the blade constantly does.
    When you do the batteries I'd recommend that you get a matched pair.
  7. ghlkal

    ghlkal Member
    Messages: 83

    I agree. Sound advice.
  8. skoop0

    skoop0 Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    You'll find faster recovery with that new HO alt. As Lenco did, I replaced all my ground leads and +ive cables. I went to the local welding shop and bought a box of 2 ga. wire and connector ends, soldered them all - this was way cheaper than buying pre-made leads. What a difference.

    One other thing that you might try is to have the pulley changed down one size on your alternator. I found the majority of the time that I'm working the plow the engine is at low rpm. The smaller pulley will crank out more power at lower rpm. I've been running mine this way for three years (granted on two batts) and have had no problems whatsoever. Both batts still test fine after all that time.

    peace n plow safe
  9. Hall's Lawncare

    Hall's Lawncare Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Will this cause the alternator to over work when at a higher RPM and possibly cause the alternator to wear out quicker?
  10. spy0068

    spy0068 Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Did you have the pulley changed on the stock alt ??????
  11. skoop0

    skoop0 Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    The smaller pulley was swapped onto the High Output alternator when I originally did the mods.

    In three years of plowing, I've never noticed any elec. weirdness at all. My batt gauge does dip when I am on the plow controller but it recovers immediately and both batteries were load tested this fall and they were both above 90%.

    I keep the system as is both winter and summer and have never had any problems. I'm sure a stock set-up would not last three years with a old western rig beating the heck out of it all winter.

    I'm sure that the heavy gauge wires I have put in help keep everything running smoothly, this BTW is all from information I found here years ago when I first started plowing and noticed that my charging system was faltering.

    Thanks, hope this helps.