Mean Green Alternator

Mean Green

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4/20/05

Update: 1/16/08

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I went on a trail ride that eventually led to some mud holes.  After watching everyone go through, I decided to ignore my "inner voice" that was screaming "MUD IS THE DEVIL" and drove through the mud.  I got halfway across and the Jeep stalled.  At the end of the day, my alternator was not working.  I drove home with no charging system.   When I got there, I shut off the Jeep and tried to start it.  The battery was nearly dead.

I removed the old alternator and ordered the Mean Green.  It was at my house the next day and I put it into the Jeep.  I spent the downtime detailing the engine compartment.  Do I need to explain why? <wink wink>

Here's the manufacturer details.  Needless to say I am very happy with it.

Update: 1/16/08

Two years, eight months and one mud hole have gone past.  On the way home from a 500 mile trip, the " CHECK GAUGES " light came on.  Upon closer scrutiny of the gauges, I saw that the Volt Meter was full down in the direction of the "9" volt mark.  I cycled power a few times and after indicating the battery charge (around 10 volts with a large array of electrical items on) it returned to the "9".

At this point I decided, believe the gauge or not, it would be a good idea to power down all unnecessary electrical devices.  It was past dark outside, the temperature was about 25 degrees, and I still had about 1/2 hour to go before I reached home.  I knew the Optima battery would probably support headlights and the ignition system for that time, but did not want to push it.  So I turned off the CB, Hands-free phone, iPod, GPSs, heater fan, 110watt driving lights, cell phone power, and flicked the lights to low-beam.

The rest of the drive home consisted of vigilance about the power in the battery and a little wishing that it would be enough to get home.  It turned out to be fine and I landed in the driveway with time to spare.  I left the vehicle running and opened the hood.  Sure enough, the alternator was making gritty sounds. 

This caused me to think back a day to a couple things that had caught my attention but were not investigated.  First I got a whiff of an ozone smell - like the smell of burning truck brakes.  I had dismissed it because there were trucks around and we smell it often near the highway entrance.  I should have paid attention - it is also the smell of a burnt electrical device (like an alternator).  The other symptom I ignored was a dry metal against metal sound, like the sound of a disc brake that is on.  I figured that was just a normal noise that I didn't usually notice in my other cars and figured after not driving the Jeep for a few days I was just being over sensitive...  The outcome was no big disaster, but I am fortunate that the alternator held up for what was approximately 300 miles past these warning signs.  I was lucky.

I shut off the Jeep and put the battery on a slow trickle charge to freshen it up, and the next day, ordered a replacement alternator.  I would have liked for the alternator to last longer than 2 3/4 years, but given some of the extreme duty it's been subjected, and the number of miles (~100K), I probably got my moneys-worth.  No sense splitting hairs.

It took about a week for the new alternator to come since the retailer was out of stock.  It came on a cold, wet and snowy day.  I installed it in three waves.

First I disconnected the battery and wires to the alternator.  I located the proper tools.  That took about 10 minutes. 

Next, I removed the old alternator from the vehicle.  That consisted of removing a nut and two bolts, and fishing the old alternator past air box, A/C and ignition plumbing and out of the compartment.

Lastly, install the new alternator, nuts, bolts, belt and reconnecting wires and battery.

Mean Green 200 amp Alternator for 1999 Jeep Wranger Sport 4.0L 5sp

But wait!  Not so fast...  After I got everything buttoned back up comes the test.  And wouldn't you know it - though the mechanical problems of the failing bearing in the alternator is fixed, there still isn't power coming to the battery.  The gauge was still telling me the battery was not getting any!

I rechecked the connections between the alternator and the Power Distribution Center (PDC).  Everything looked fine.  I removed and re-inserted the plug lead (Field terminals).  Everything looked fine there too.  Still no power...  So I dug into the service manual.  Not a lot of clues, at least no "troubleshooting guide".  But I took a look at the wiring chart and found something interesting.  A fusible link between the alternator and the PDC.  Sounds like a likely culprit.  Remember that electrical burning smell?  Perhaps the alternator shorted and the fusible link did it's job?  I will check the wire and see if that's the problem...

 

I removed and checked the wire.  It has continuity.  So that's not the problem.  I was disappointed because this would be a relatively easy fix.  According to the manual, it could still be the alternator, the voltage regulator in the Powertrain Control Module...

Pressed for free time, I buttoned it all up so that it could be driven, albeit without charging the battery.

I contacted my supplier and got another alternator.  After repeating the exercise, I still had the same result.  No charging.  It seemed unlikely that the alternator was the problem.  Just to be sure I took three alternators to Advance Auto to be bench checked. 

There, the technician looked up my vehicle and using the connectors specified, mounted my alternator on the testing device and in turn tested each of the three units I had brought along.  The first was the alternator I had removed in the beginning of the problems.  As expected, the technician observed that the bearings were bad, but surprisingly indicated that the alternator was still producing power.  That told me everything I needed to know - it was something other than the alternator.

But for further reference I had him test a second alternator - one that Jeff at Adrenaline Offroad had given me.  He told me it was "No Good".  And indeed, the technician diagnosed this one as having good bearings but "dead" (not producing any power).  So that told me the test was valid. 

But here's where it gets interesting.  I had him test the new Mean Green alternator that I had first received from Jeff.  This one indicated it was producing 22 volts!  Soon the drive belt started smoking on the test machine so the technician shut it down.  But I am not sure that means the alternator is bad.  Remember, the factory alternator that I had in my vehicle is a 117-amp unit.  When the test machine was set up, the technician calibrated the test for a 117a alternator.  The way the voltage regulator works is to send current to the field terminals.  This "tells" the alternator to produce power.  I expect the field terminal voltage is designed in test mode to get the alternator to produce maximum power.  So if the test unit is measuring volts coming from the alternator but assuming the amperage is 117 amps, I think it will calculate the voltage incorrectly and read high.  So I was not convinced the alternator is bad.  But that didn't fix my problem.  So what if I had a good alternator?  That was part of my problem solved, but I still didn't have my charging system working.

I ran the wiring chart through my head again and the only thing I had not verified was the Powertrain Control Module (PCM), also know as "the computer".  Great. 

If the integrated voltage regulator is "embedded" in the PCM and is not serviceable as a separate part.  The solution is to replace the PCM, or hack in an external voltage regulator.  Sadly, given my experience with hacking in a voltage regulator in my E-Type Jag and the long-term pain that ended up being, I decided to purchase the PCM and because of schedule constraints, have it done at the dealer.  In any case, the PCM must be configured by the dealer according to the vehicle VIN.  So that was something beyond my ability to accomplish even if I did have time to bolt in the new PCM and plug in the cables.

Let's just say that the whole thing cost me nearly as much as the AEV high-fender and hood kit I had been contemplating.  I have a healthy charging system now, but will have to postpone that low center of gravity/33" tire combo I was considering...

 

 

 

Mean Green

Mean Green High Output Alternator

The Mean Green High Output Alternator is the answer to all of your charging problems. The Mean Green Alternator provides up to 300% more power than stock. The Mean Green Alternator can charge any engine no matter what its' power requirements.

  • Superior Design
  • Easy 5 Minute Installation
  • Up to 300% More Charging Power
  • 300,000 Mile Life Expectancy
  • No More Charging Problems
  • 2 Year Unconditional Guarantee
  • Precision Balanced for Smooth Operation

The Mean Green Alternator's tool steel rotorshaft is supported at both ends by heavy duty double sealed bearings. Even the heavy duty solid copper starter windings are sealed with high temperature insulation. That's one reason we include a 1 year Warranty at no charge on every alternator. Another is the heat resistant, multi-function integrated regulator which continues to operate even at extreme temperatures.

Mean Green manufactures all new high output alternators for AMC, Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, International, Jeep, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and many foreign applications.

Special new castings permit use of stock bracketry and bolt hole locations. Even the stock wiring harness can be used for easy plug in. Designed to out last and out perform any other unit. Great for use in ambulances, tow trucks, motorhomes or vehicles with off road lights, winches, stereo systems or other power accessories.

Mean Green Alternators are available for both gasoline and diesel applications. Mean Green will also build alternators for special applications at an additional charge.

MG Industries, Inc.
1 Imaging Lane
Derry, PA 15627
P: (724) 694-8290 • F: (724) 694-8292
info@mean-green.com

 


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