The truck isnít even finished and weíre already replacing parts. Not because the old alternator was defective, but because the new alternator is well worth the time and effort to make the swap. In this case, itís all about the amps.
Shortly after we got the truck running, we stumbled upon the High Output Alternators web site and found that there was, indeed, an alternator manufacturer that offered a high output alternator capable of producing 230amps of power and one that was internally regulated. One thing let to another and before you know it, the great folks over at American Armature had sent out one of their newest designs in high output alternators.
This alternator is a slick piece of work. Whatís most impressive is the fact that it is completely self contained, including an internal voltage regulator. Itís hard to believe that an alternator which is so compact, can generate so much power. This alternator will generate around 160 amps at idle. With all of the electrical accessories, lights and our Xantrex Prosine power inverter, we need all the power we can get.
The process began by removing the lower tensioning bolt from the previous alternator and then removing the L&L lower alternator bracket from the engine. There is no room other than from below to access the alternator and get it off the truck which made the operation a bit difficult. Next, we carefully removed the main battery cable and wrapped the ring terminal with Mocapís silicone tape for protection. Now we could remove the top bolt and spacer from the alternator. It was a very tight fit, lowering it down around the remote oil filter and transmission fluid lines. Once it was out, we removed the L&L double pulley and set the old alternator aside. American Armature supplied their high output alternator with a double pulley but it did not have the same spacing and diameter as the L&L pulley. So we removed the pulley from the American Armature alternator and installed the L&L double v-groove pulley.
The next step was to get the new alternator on the vehicle. The new unit is smaller and lighter and was much easier to get up into place. After getting the mounting location to line up, the upper alternator bolt and L&L spacer was installed but the bolt was not tightened. Now it was time to connect the battery cables and the sensing wire for the regulator. American Armature provided a very slick harness assembly that made installation of the alternator a breeze. The only modifications necessary were to solder on a lead from the white/black stator wire to run up to the electric choke, and to solder a lead from the green/red wire to connect to the green/red wire in the Ford wiring harness at the fusible links. The battery cables were connected, taking great care not to arc the wrench (we still managed a couple of flashes) and then we plugged in the regulator harness plug. Thatís it for the electrical connections.
Lastly, we reinstalled the lower alternator bracket back on the engine. Using an M8x125 metric bolt, the alternator was secured to the bracket after getting the v-belts back in place. To tension the alternator, we used our OTC porta-power unit with the spreader installed. The spreader was covered with a shop rag and inserted between the engine and the alternator. Slowly we applied pressure until the belt was tight and then the tensioning bolt was secured. Once the air compressor was tightened back up, the installation was complete. It took a few hours as we did have some difficulties working in such a confined space. We werenít used to the cramped conditions since weíve had free, wide open space with which to work before the front clip was installed.
Now weíve got more than enough power to energize our lightbar, strobes, ledís, off-road lights, spotlights, floodlights, sirens, radios, the list goes on and on. Thanks to American Armature, we have the very best high output alternator available. Sleek, compact and powerful, itís almost a work of art.