1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    92

    Default Detroit Series 60 Has Quite an Appetite for Alternators and Batteries

    We have a 2005 ~455 hp Detroit Series 60 in our rescue pumper for which we are replacing one of the alternators for the second time in three years and the 6 batteries on the truck. It has dual Leece Neville ~270 amp alternators on it. The truck is multiplexed. Not sure if that makes a difference. We only run about 32 calls a month. It also have a shore power charger on it. Should we be looking to another manufacturer for replacement alternators? Some of my limited research talks about heat issues. Have these issues been addressed in newer model alternators. Our Macks probably needed a new alternator twice in 20 years.

    Mark

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,233

    Default

    I doubt the engine has anything to do with the Alt. and battery problems. It's more likely somethingt to do with a short somewhere or the multiplex system. Leece-Neville is probably the top name in Alternators for fire apparatus. As for heat, make sure the radiator is clear of dirt and debris.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    KENTUCKY
    Posts
    410

    Default

    We seem to eat batteries and alternators on everything we have. Just too much electrical stuff on modern apparatus. Don't you wish you just had to pull handle out of the dash to shut down the diesel powerplant? Hind sight being 20-20, wonder what the modern fire apparatus would be like if the fire service as a whole had been able to successfully lobby against the regulation that began in the 80's and 90's and our diesel engines fell under off road standards?

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,429

    Default

    The DD60 has nothing to do with your electrical system's appetite for alternators. I concur with johnsb- there is a fault somewhere within your electrical system. You need to have the whole truck gone over by a professional automotive electrical shop, someone who specializes in, and does nothing but automotive/heavy truck electrical systems- someone like this- www.vinelandautoelectric.com Find someone like these guys, or of course go to them if you are located in south jersey. Have them go over the rig with a fine-tooth comb.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Default

    Step ONE. Check your shore line charger,we've had a few issues over the years here. Yes,they can cause battery issues which affect alternator life. Also check all your grounds,they are critical to the electrical system function. L/N's are good alternators which generally give many years of dependable service.

  6. #6
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    27

    Default

    I called an unnamed alternator manufacturer and stated I was only getting 2 years out of an alternator, and was met with "How long do you think they should last?".

    It's not been unusual for me to have one gone through at about the 3-5 year mark. One thing that would help immensely is if the trucks were put on high idle if on scene and not in pump gear.

    It's incredibly punishing to idle a truck with all the lights, a/c, and any other accessories going. The internal fan inside isn't turned as fast, not to mention alternator output is worst at idle, so it is sitting full-field and still not keeping up, hence the melt down.

    That is my 2 cents..
    If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,429

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cutlass84 View Post
    It's incredibly punishing to idle a truck with all the lights, a/c, and any other accessories going. The internal fan inside isn't turned as fast, not to mention alternator output is worst at idle, so it is sitting full-field and still not keeping up, hence the melt down.
    We have always inserted wordage into our specs that say something along the lines of "alternator shall produce full load at engine manufacturer's set idle speed, at 250 degrees F" or something like that.

    We have never had an alternator fail prematurely or otherwise that I know of, with the exception of one or two on various ambulances we have run over the years, and even then they were high milage or hours of use.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    27

    Default

    If that's the case, consider yourself extremely lucky.

    Not to say it's impossible, but I have never seen an alternator that can produce full amperage at idle. You can increase performance at idle by going to a smaller pulley, but there is still a range it must operate in. If you turn it faster at idle, you will run out of room at higher RPM, now wearing bearings, among other things out.
    If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,429

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cutlass84 View Post
    If that's the case, consider yourself extremely lucky.

    Not to say it's impossible, but I have never seen an alternator that can produce full amperage at idle. You can increase performance at idle by going to a smaller pulley, but there is still a range it must operate in. If you turn it faster at idle, you will run out of room at higher RPM, now wearing bearings, among other things out.
    We have a 1989 Duplex/Quality (6V92TA DD) with a 300A LN, the spec for this was as I indicated previously. Has all "old-school" lighting all the way around and two 500W quartz lights.

    We also have a 2007 Spartan/Toyne (C13 Cat) same set up, same spec. Granted this piece has all LED lights (except for two crossfires on the front) but has three of those high-intensity scene lights.

    Apparatus electrical engineers as well as LN's staff were consulted for both rigs and never said "it cant happen" and in fact never advised otherwise. Both rigs run all lighting at Mfr's engine idle speed, had an acceptance test specifically for electrical components by a third-party automotive electrical specialist. As stated, no problems to this day. Both rigs (including the '89) are still on the original alternator.

    Yes, we tend to over-engineer things- comes from many years in the trucking industry working for a 1500+ tractor fleet that had one of the lowest dollar-loss downtime averages in the entire industry.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  10. #10
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bryn Athyn, Pa.
    Posts
    1,625

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cutlass84 View Post
    If that's the case, consider yourself extremely lucky.

    Not to say it's impossible, but I have never seen an alternator that can produce full amperage at idle. You can increase performance at idle by going to a smaller pulley, but there is still a range it must operate in. If you turn it faster at idle, you will run out of room at higher RPM, now wearing bearings, among other things out.
    What the spec actually says is:

    "ALTERNATOR

    An amp draw report for the proposed vehicle is to be provided with the bid. Vehicle manufacturer shall calculate current required to operate all electrical devices of the completed vehicle, except the starter and siren.

    The alternator shall be capable of supplying at least that amount of current at 200 degrees F (93 degrees C) at the engine manufacturer’s stated idle speed without drawing on the vehicle batteries. The alternator shall not exceed its manufacturer’s stated maximum rotor speed at the engine manufacturer’s stated maximum engine speed.

    Installation of the alternator shall conform to TMC RP 101B. The entire electrical system of the completed vehicle, including the generator set and its installation (described below) will be surveyed by Vineland Auto Electric Co. of Vineland, N.J. as part of the purchaser’s acceptance tests."

    This is not an impossible spec, even though some manufacturers will say that it is. What it forces them to do is to pick the right alternator (yeah, they're expensive), then install it, cool it and wire it correctly. Some manufacturers just don't want to be bothered, or they want to gain a price advantage by using lower cost parts. We were willing to pay the price because we believe in the philosophy of "lowest cost of ownership over the life of the vehicle."

  11. #11
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    27

    Default

    I understand where you are both coming from, and agree.

    But lets just say a 300 amp alternator is capable of producing 150 amps at idle, and you have a 145 amp load applied to it. Yes it's keeping up, but is doing all it can to do so. If you look at alternator performance curve, any small increase in RPM is met with an exponential increase in performance (and cooling)

    http://www.delcoremy.com/Alternator-...lternator.aspx

    All I'm saying is, switching on the high idle definitely can't hurt.
    If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,429

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cutlass84 View Post
    All I'm saying is, switching on the high idle definitely can't hurt.
    You are absolutely correct; I just re-read the posts (by the way I can neither confirm nor deny that ChiefEngineer11 is my father) and we failed to mention that yes, we do engage the high idle whenever possible.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  13. #13
    Forum Member
    Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Default

    There IS some question about the mailman or Ups guy,can't remember which.

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,429

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    There IS some question about the mailman or Ups guy,can't remember which.
    My mom told me once that I might be the product of a one-night stand she had in Maine.......
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  15. #15
    Forum Member
    Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Default

    Well here's your good news for the week. Wasn't Me!

  16. #16
    Forum Member
    FIREMECH1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    HUSKER LAND
    Posts
    2,425

    Default

    You two, crack me up.

    To the OP: I have 3 reserves, and 2 first out rigs that are very similar. With your call volume being so low, I have to ask, do you actually drive the rigs, on the street, or better, a highway for 30 minutes or so every week, to 2 weeks?? If not, that could cause a problem or issue. Alternators are made to work. If you don't work them, the brushes will rust up on the commutator, and fail to charge your batteries.

    Personally, replacing an alternator every 2-3 years here is the norm for any rig.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Detroit Series 60 vs Cummins ISX
    By FireBrian72 in forum Apparatus Innovation
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 08-23-2009, 06:18 PM
  2. F-series vs. E-series Ford ambulances
    By captfiremedic5 in forum Apparatus Innovation
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 08-14-2009, 06:56 PM
  3. Replacement for the Detroit Series 60
    By Command6 in forum Apparatus Innovation
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-23-2007, 10:19 PM
  4. Detroit Series 60 vs Cummins ISM
    By victoriaFD730 in forum Apparatus Innovation
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-12-2004, 03:30 PM
  5. C85 or C95 series macks the ones before the CF series
    By medic5guy in forum Fire Buffs' Firehouse
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-22-2001, 04:39 AM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register