White Smoke from new Alternator on CJ - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-09-2020, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
southtx
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White Smoke from new Alternator on CJ

On Sunday I pretty much finished installing the Painless Harness and Speedhut gauges on my 79’ CJ5 w/ 4.2 liter. I’m no electrician but I took my time and followed the directions so I think I got it right. I installed my old column so that i could plug in the ignition and turn signal switches so that i could get the dash side of the harness terminated correctly. Once it was all on I double checked everything and then hooked up the battery. As soon as I hooked up the battery the brand new alternator began to emit a white smoke. I unhooked the battery immediately and the smoke slowly went away. None of the wires around the alternator or anywhere else on the jeep felt hot. The ignition lock switch on the old column was always funky so I hoped that had something to do with it.

My new Ididit Retrofit column came in today so I installed it. I hooked up
all of the wiring on the jeep to the battery except the ignition wires from the harness to the column. I checked that everything was good- no hot wires under dash or hood. I then hooked up the ignition wires to the column and made sure nothing on the wiring got hot. I then turned the key one click to the ON position and the alternator starting smoking again (white smoke) so I just unplugged the ignition wires from the column. The alternator stopped smoking. As far as I could tell really quickly, my gauges, blinkers, taillights, brakes and headlights were working correctly and none of the wires under the dash got hot. I disconnected the battery..

Did I get a dud new alternator (Oreilly) or have I wired something incorrectly? I used the large 2 gauge cables from Jeep Cables.com under the hood:

1. 2 gauge from battery negative to starter mounting bolt.

2. 2 gauge from batt neg to head just behind alternator.

3. 2 gauge from alternator to ANL fuse and from ANL fuse to batt pos.

4. 2 gauge from batt poss to solenoid

5. 2 gauge from solenoid to starter.

I do have the ground cable on the drivers side going around the motormount and the Painless Harness does have the integrated ground circuit. I do plan on adding more frame and body grounds but i haven’t gotten that far yet. Right now the alternator is only grounded through its mounts which i ensured had bare metal when at the mounting locations on the bracket before installing.

Sorry again for the long post...

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post #2 of 13 Old 07-10-2020, 06:19 AM
jeepdaddy2000
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Is that a 12SI alternator (sorry, I can't blow up the picture)?
Pretty hard to mis-wire it.
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post #3 of 13 Old 07-10-2020, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
southtx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepdaddy2000 View Post
Is that a 12SI alternator (sorry, I can't blow up the picture)?
Pretty hard to mis-wire it.
Thanks for the reply jeepdaddy. My alternator is the 10 SI (based on the pics in the Painless manual). It is definitely wired different from the diagram you posted. As per the Painless instructions I wired the Alternator exciter wire to #1 and the Regulator Battery power to #2. The only cable attached to the Batt bolt (Alternator Output) is the 2 gauge that runs to the ANL fuse and then to the battery positive. There is no jumper from #2 to the batt bolt on alternator...

I double checked the wiring and it looks like I hooked it up correctly as per the Painless instructions.. I did install a diode on the Excite wire as per the instructions to prevent engine run on. I am going to pick up another alternator and will try that on Sunday. Hopefully my faulty ignition switch in the old column fouled up the alternator? If the new one smokes then I will be back here... I’ll update either way.
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-11-2020, 05:33 AM
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Jeepdaddy's first picture is the classic 3 wire hookup, the second is a one wire hookup which is an inferior manner of hookup, it works but not as well.

Sounds like you have your alternator correctly wired except that you coudl have put a ground wire between the block and alternator (better ground path). You should find 12V on all three of those wires. If it is just sitting there it will not even be generating power until you get it moving.

That it is a brand new alternator means you have never seen it working. I suspect it has an internal short. I understand parts places test alternators for free but if it bursts into flames it is not going to be tested.

It is possible this is a positive earth model, where did you buy it and what was it sold as?

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post #5 of 13 Old 07-11-2020, 09:57 AM
StoneTower
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Smoke is bad. Once you let the magic smoke out of electrical items, they never seem to work correctly again...

Unhook the alternator. Make sure the disconnected wire are not touching anything. Attach the battery and check the wires that were connected to alternator and make sure they are wired correctly (check to make sure the grounds are grounds and the hot wires are hot). If the alternator was purchased at O'reilly's, it should have a warranty. Take it back and tell them it was DOA. Have them test it and get a replacement.

Let us know you it works out.
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-11-2020, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BagusJeep View Post
Jeepdaddy's first picture is the classic 3 wire hookup, the second is a one wire hookup which is an inferior manner of hookup, it works but not as well.

Sounds like you have your alternator correctly wired except that you coudl have put a ground wire between the block and alternator (better ground path). You should find 12V on all three of those wires. If it is just sitting there it will not even be generating power until you get it moving.

That it is a brand new alternator means you have never seen it working. I suspect it has an internal short. I understand parts places test alternators for free but if it bursts into flames it is not going to be tested.

It is possible this is a positive earth model, where did you buy it and what was it sold as?
BagusJeep, I picked it up at Oreilly Auto Parts and just asked for a 79’ CJ Alternator.. Thats what they gave me and it matched the old one that was on there...
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-11-2020, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneTower View Post
Smoke is bad. Once you let the magic smoke out of electrical items, they never seem to work correctly again...

Unhook the alternator. Make sure the disconnected wire are not touching anything. Attach the battery and check the wires that were connected to alternator and make sure they are wired correctly (check to make sure the grounds are grounds and the hot wires are hot). If the alternator was purchased at O'reilly's, it should have a warranty. Take it back and tell them it was DOA. Have them test it and get a replacement.

Let us know you it works out.
Thanks for the response StoneTower. I’m going to pick up the new alternator in a few minutes but I can’t check the wiring or install it until tomorrow.. Working eves and heading in shortly. I’m off tomorrow so I plan on hitting it hard then. I’ll update with the results.
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-11-2020, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BagusJeep View Post
Jeepdaddy's first picture is the classic 3 wire hookup, the second is a one wire hookup which is an inferior manner of hookup, it works but not as well.

Sounds like you have your alternator correctly wired except that you coudl have put a ground wire between the block and alternator (better ground path). You should find 12V on all three of those wires. If it is just sitting there it will not even be generating power until you get it moving.

That it is a brand new alternator means you have never seen it working. I suspect it has an internal short. I understand parts places test alternators for free but if it bursts into flames it is not going to be tested.

It is possible this is a positive earth model, where did you buy it and what was it sold as?
BagusJeep, I double checked the alternator online and the specs show it as a 10SI, 12 volt, 63 Amp, clockwise rotation, internal regulator, Negative polarity. Oreilly Part # R111623A. I think this is the right alternator... The main bolt (output) on the alternator is marked as “Bat” with a red plastic washer /grommet. I’m learning a lot on this forum as I didn’t know anything about the positive ground setup. Thanks for that info! I’m going to pick up a new one now and will work on it tomorrow.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-12-2020, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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So I took the alternator back to Oreillys and of course when they tested it they said it was good to go. I ended up getting a refund on that one and picked up another at Napa. I checked the wiring on the jeep and confirmed that the #1 exciter wire only had power when the ignition was on. The # 2 regulator power is always on. I added a 6 gauge grounding wire from the back of the alternator case to the head and cleaned up the mounting bracket to make sure it had good ground. I plugged everything in and it did not smoke this time. I left they key on for a while and made sure none of the wiring was getting hot or smoking and all looks good with the new alternator so far.

I am having possible grounding issues now because my front and rear passenger side markers are acting up and not blinking, etc. I’ll start troubleshooting that tomorrow..

Also, I upgraded the heater with the Blazer Blower motor a while back and finally turned it on today. Holy cow that thing is powerful! I knew it would be better than stock but that thing is awesome! I highly recommend that upgrade!

Thanks everyone for the troubleshooting on the alternator. I’m sure I’ll be back with more electrical questions this evening. All I have left is to figure out the side marker issues, hook the vacuum hoses to the 2150 carb which I’ve researched here and think I can get figure out, finish installing the power steering pump and then, fingers crossed, I can start this thing up for the first time since 2013. I’m ready!
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-13-2020, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneTower View Post
Smoke is bad. Once you let the magic smoke out of electrical items, they never seem to work correctly again...

Unhook the alternator. Make sure the disconnected wire are not touching anything. Attach the battery and check the wires that were connected to alternator and make sure they are wired correctly (check to make sure the grounds are grounds and the hot wires are hot). If the alternator was purchased at O'reilly's, it should have a warranty. Take it back and tell them it was DOA. Have them test it and get a replacement.

Let us know you it works out.
Once the magic smoke gets out, you can never put it back in!

That's how I heard that saying about 30 years ago from a worker here in California (Sacramento Area) who was from Indiana. When I saw the title it reminded me of him and was hoping someone else had here of "magic smoke" before too. Are you from Indiana StoneTower?

Sorry I don't have anything constructive to add - hoping you get the wiring done soon southtx!

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post #11 of 13 Old 07-13-2020, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Lol! Thanks, I picked up a new alternator and added a bunch of grounds. The alternator seems to be good to go now and no more smoke yet! All my lights and blinkers started working too once I got the grounds knocked out.
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post #12 of 13 Old 07-14-2020, 06:31 PM
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Bad grounds will drive you nuts. Sounds like you got it going your way now. Good luck with the rest of the project. I see you are in Kingsville, I grew up in Alice so I know that area well. I need to get back down there more often. When I get my CJ back together, I might make a road trip in it back down that way.
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post #13 of 13 Old 07-15-2020, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PLM View Post
Bad grounds will drive you nuts. Sounds like you got it going your way now. Good luck with the rest of the project. I see you are in Kingsville, I grew up in Alice so I know that area well. I need to get back down there more often. When I get my CJ back together, I might make a road trip in it back down that way.
Thanks PLM, .. PM sent.
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