alternator upgrade advise cs144 or something else - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 23 Old 02-22-2020, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
PrincessJ
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alternator upgrade advise cs144 or something else

The other night I took a 75 mile roadtrip to austin and back and I have noticed a signifigant voltage drop while sitting in traffic (below 12 volts) and just below 13 at cruising speed with the full charge capability excited. This was all done with the blower on hi (it was 38 out) , wipers on, lights on, radio on, charging my phone. Considering the addition of a winch and auxiliary lighting in the future, I think an upgrade to my charging system is in the foreseeable future. I found an old thread using a GM cs144 but open to other options as well aside from the $300+ mean green. Is there a specific brand I should look out for?

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post #2 of 23 Old 02-22-2020, 08:22 PM
oldschool74cj5
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hello


i have a stock 105 amp cs130 alternator on my cj. i have a vbelt one from a late 80's caprice with a 307 engine. here is a link for one i was looking at before i put the stock cs130. its alot cheaper then the mean green one that are still a 12si. lazy at low rpms.



https://alternatorparts.com/hybrid-c...ies-alternator


oldschool
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post #3 of 23 Old 02-22-2020, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by oldschool74cj5 View Post
hello


i have a stock 105 amp cs130 alternator on my cj. i have a vbelt one from a late 80's caprice with a 307 engine. here is a link for one i was looking at before i put the stock cs130. its alot cheaper then the mean green one that are still a 12si. lazy at low rpms.



https://alternatorparts.com/hybrid-c...ies-alternator


oldschool
Now its between a self exciting or standard voltage regulator. I would reall appreciate great low rpm use since I am building this into a hybrid trail/dd rig.
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post #4 of 23 Old 02-23-2020, 07:40 AM
bob4703
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Don't forget about constant higher RPM highway usage. Constant higher amperage output might do damage to your wiring harness. When I rewired our 74 in the instructions there was a warning about using a 81 or higher amp alternator and how to wire for a higher amp alternator. No worry as my alternator was only a 61 amp. Then I started having alternator and E fan relay problems. Upgraded the alternator to one with a better regulator. When I took a look at the data sheet I saw that it could put out over 81 amps at higher amp RPMs. Looked at the data sheet for the old alternator and it was the same. Looked at the wiring instructions and also called tech support for the folks I bought the harness from who recommended I do the work around recommended in the instructions.

The work around is simple. Instead of routing the charge from the alternator through the wiring harness disconnect the alternate from the harness, terminate the harness connection, and rewire the alternator directly to the battery side of the solenoid with 12 gauge wire with a fusible link. You may want to go with 10 gauge wire.

Dual batteries may be in your future when you upgrade lighting and add a wench.

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post #5 of 23 Old 02-23-2020, 08:01 AM Thread Starter
PrincessJ
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The only electrical upgrade i did was the headlight relay and added an underhood 12v fused junction block.

Military service: March 2007-(I will fill this out with im done.)
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post #6 of 23 Old 02-23-2020, 09:25 AM
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Your current alternator is possibly needing some maintenance. Might consider having it tested and make sure the wiring to/from the alt and battery is good, battery connections good, battery good, grounds good, ect. You'll be better off converting all lighting over to LED rather than putting a larger rated alternator. The stock lighting draws a lot of juice. Heater fan motor draws alot of juice, but kinda stuck with that if wanna be warm. Wipers draws a fair amount of juice, but kinda stuck with that. The stock alt should be able to keep up though. Check those items I mentioned above.

The stock harness throughout the CJ can tolerate a higher output alternator. The portion of the harness that needs to be up-sized is only the alt output wire to batt and batt cables.

What kills the stock harness is when people add additional loads onto the existing stock harness. Putting additional loads onto stock circuits already in use, will produce issues.

Each additional non factory load/circuit added should have it's own dedicated power supply from a fused aux power distribution box you've added under the hood somewhere. All new power consumers should be fed from that type device, not existing factory harness.

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post #7 of 23 Old 02-23-2020, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TIPPEDITOVER View Post

What kills the stock harness is when people add additional loads onto the existing stock harness. Putting additional loads onto stock circuits already in use, will produce issues.
This is the exact reason for the relay upgrade and additional fuseblock mounted in the engine compartment to keep any additional loads to the electrical system on a seperate wiring. I did this after reading a jeephammer what felt like a book. The battery is only a year old. I replaced that after my 6 year old battery bit the dust. Looking back, my alternator is probably 6-7 years old as well. I am just now getting back into the DD side of things. Thank you for the additional advise. All these little things I am noticing when I take a 150 mile round trip up the highway. Trying to get it ready for a summer road trip to Florida for my sisters wedding.
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post #8 of 23 Old 02-23-2020, 01:02 PM
oldschool74cj5
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hello
the only wire upgrade you will really need to do for changing the alternator is a larger wire from the alternator to the solenoid for the battery connection. for the 105 amp i believed i used a 8ga wire with a 3mm(12ga) fusible link. now for battery cables i run 4ga welding cable. welding cable mainly because its more finer strands so it bends easier. if you go higher amps then you need to adjust the wire size accordingly. i always run one size heavier cable then required. its a peace of mind knowing that i have a safety factor and not having much of a voltage drop. example factory headlights. large length of wire that is barley capable of the amps. so you only get about 10v-11v at the light instead of the 13.8. using a relay you are taking 13.8v off the battery and short run of heavier wire and getting close to 13v at the light.
since mine is a stock cs-130 it has a regular voltage regulator. i personally dont like the self exciting or "one wire" alternators. i like being able to sense the voltage at the battery or the buss. not at the alternators output. but thats a personal thing.
there is still a limit of how many amps it will make at a specific rpm. mine i believe is about 50-60 amps at idle. the 105 is at alot higher rpm. that is where you will need a chart to see the amps versus rpm needed.

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post #9 of 23 Old 02-23-2020, 06:08 PM
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The old Delco 10SI and 12SI alternators have some good points. They are relatively inexpensive, and super easy to rebuild. Putting in a new set of brushes, diode trio, rectifier block and regulator can be done by an 8 year old (with supervision). The diode trio and rectifier block are simple to test with a multimeter that has a diode setting. Brushes and field coils really just need a visual inspection. The rotor and brush rings can be checked with a ohms meter, really just looking for continuity where it should be and none where it shouldn't be. The regulator is the only part that needs specialized tooling to check, and they are cheap enough to just replace if you are digging into one to rebuild anyway.

Upgrading to a later CS series can get you more amps, and more amps at a lower rpm, but are harder to repair. Not an issue if your idea of a repair is "remove and replace" rather than test, troubleshoot, and repair.

One wire (self exciting) alternators are a solution to a non existent problem, and many times not a good solution. They are geared towards hot rod builders who want to eliminate or hide wires, and backyard mechanics who don't understand wiring.

The 10Si and 12Si "one wire alternators" often require the engine to be "revved up" to cause the self exciting to happen, and the alternator to start charging. It's actually possible to start the vehicle and let it warm up in cold weather for 30 minutes, and the alternator ISN'T CHARGING, because you haven't revved the engine high enough to "turn on" the alternator.

If staying with the old Delco, leave it wired as factory for best performance. If you get a higher amp unit, upgrading the charge wire (as others have pointed out) is a required.

As for dual batteries, I've ran them on several rigs, and currently have them in my 2001 Silverado. But unless you need the reserve capacity, meaning you plan to run electrical items with the engine off, I have found they are a waste. You are better off upgrading your alternator output to keep up with the demand.

Going through and checking your ground connections, and even adding an additional ground wire to high draw items like the heater fan and wipers, is also a good idea. Checking your battery cables for voltage drop is also a good idea, they can be corroded on the inside and look fine on the outside. Running the headlights off relays (as others have said) is a required CJ mod in my opinion. Why? Our CJs still have the dimmer switch on the floor, where it is subject to all kinds of dirt, moisture, and abuse. Just a little bit of corrosion, and when you click it to high beams, suddenly you have NO lights! Then you are frantically hitting it again hoping the low beams come back on, sometimes they do, other times they don't. Adding relays means that dimmer switch has a lot less amps running through it, but you still need to make sure those connections are good.
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post #10 of 23 Old 02-23-2020, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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Granted it was 70 degrees out and the only thing on was the radio. Tomorrow morning will be a different story. The alternator tested good at autozone, so maybe just upgrade the existing first. First is idle at 650 the second is like 1500.




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post #11 of 23 Old 02-23-2020, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by PrincessJ View Post
Granted it was 70 degrees out and the only thing on was the radio. Tomorrow morning will be a different story. The alternator tested good at autozone, so maybe just upgrade the existing first. First is idle at 650 the second is like 1500.
It's been a long time since my CJ was anywhere near stock, but I seem to recall that the CJ volts gauge wasn't always the most accurate. You might take voltage readings with a decent multimeter directly at the battery, and compare the results with the gauge. This will let you know how "truthful" the gauge is being.

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post #12 of 23 Old 02-23-2020, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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It's been a long time since my CJ was anywhere near stock
Im in the process of going back through and cleaning up my slop from when I just started this journey. The upgraded tape player with pioneer speakers was probably my first non stock up grade. I use my Sirrus/Pandora setup on long trips and that aux port helped instead of the FM tuner I had with the oem radio which I have in a box somewhere. More upgrades to come this spring for sure now that its all starting to really click in my mind.
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post #13 of 23 Old 02-23-2020, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by PrincessJ View Post
Im in the process of going back through and cleaning up my slop from when I just started this journey.
Me, last year, cleaning up 10 years of slop.

I did get seat heaters as a bonus!
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post #14 of 23 Old 02-23-2020, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by schardein View Post
Me, last year, cleaning up 10 years of slop.

I did get seat heaters as a bonus!
Have yet to pull my dash. Probably something living establishing a home behind it. When I install my ax15 (going to attempt this with my ipad open to JF), I will go through the under carriage. I just got my AA adapter for my belhousing and transmission mounting bracket. Going to use cardboard to mark up a stencil for a new tunnel cover.

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post #15 of 23 Old 02-23-2020, 08:11 PM
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Lots of good advice above. I have a CS130 because I found one that fits at the junkyard and it was only $10. I have no additional stuff so I left the wiring alone.
The dash voltmeter is down stream of the ignition switch and a lot of other wiring. Don't use it to gauge actual battery voltage. Every accessory will drop the voltage across all of the wiring, that's why the gauge drops. Next time you go on a long ride using a lot of juice, check the voltage with a DMM right at the battery before and after the trip. If it's close to or over 13.5V or so, everything is working.

The alternator won't "put out" more amps all by itself. It's the additional accessories that require the larger wiring, but that's from the battery to the accessory. The big wire from the alternator to the battery should be rated for the alternator output, even so, 10 AWG can carry 30 amps which will only be for a few minutes while your battery charges after starting. The alternator is there to charge your battery, not run your stuff.
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