Alternators, Meh who needs em (1 Viewer)

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So today my 60 got a thorough workout. First I went to Uhaul and picked up 6x12 tandem axle utility trailer which weighs in at 1750 lbs. Then I towed said trailer from Lebanon NH to Burlington Vermont which is about 95 miles one way. Burlington is to the North which means its all up hill and a stock 60 with 31's on it is able to pull that galvanized uhaul nightmare at about 60 mph when its flat and drop to about 45mph when the hills come which is often. Once in Burlington I picked up an FJ80 chassis for $100 and myself and 3 other guys from the shop picked it up and placed it in the back of the trailer...I figure that chassis weighs 400 lbs or so. So tow home proved that 55 was a good max speed...anything over that the weight bias on the trailer made things squirrely.

So I was tempted to take the slower road home but decided that the continuity of no intersections on the interstate was advantageous and being passed by everything under the sun was a worthwhile trade off. I did notice a lot of cars would come up behind me and then just sit there...going 45 mph up a hill....then I guess they snapped out of their trance and would pass and disappear.

So maybe 20 miles into the 90 or so drive home i notice that the volt meter is sitting steady at 12v. Normally the needle bounces a bit and sits somewhere around the 13v position. And on the way up the needle had been in the 13-14 range. So I go through my problem check list...it takes very little time...its a short checklist. So I'm not lacking any power...at least not due to a new engine problem. If I turn the headlights on the voltage gage dops down around 10v. Its 4pm no need for lights. Unplugged the cell phone too just to save that micro amperage. So part of my brain says that the truck must be charging but its just the crappy gage...and the other part says its not charging. So I figure ok if I shut the truck off and back on with the engine off and the charge light comes on then its an alternator problem. If I do this and the alternator light is off then maybe the bulb burned out and the alternator field isnt starting. So at the next big hill I drop to neutral and shut the truck off until the engine full off and then key back on. No charge light. I pull put it in 4th and jump start the engine again (all while towing at 55 mph). I pull the fuse cover and note the charge fuse position. Too hard to pull the fuse but i give it a wiggle just to make sure its not loose. and that does nothing.

So I just kept driving. Figured all i need power for is the coil at this point and I might as well go until the battery cant keep the truck running. As luck has it I drove all the way home.....probably the full 90 miles without any charging. I shut the truck off at home and it cranked back to life no issue. With the truck off I measured the battery voltage with my hand held meter and did it again with the truck running....12.2 volts. I unloaded my FJ80 chassis but wanted to run the 25 miles back to return the trailer tonight (headlights needed).

I grabbed my alternator adjuster toolset and used it smack the alternator a couple of times. Immediately heard the engine rpm drop and charging went up to 13.6 volts. Jumped in the truck and headed to Uhaul....had to pull over every 2-4 miles to give the alternator a wack and get it to charge again...made it to Uhaul and dropped the trailer off. Had an idea.....with the engine off I wacked the alternator a couple times and got in the truck. I turned the key on and Voila! the charge light worked (so not burned out). Started the truck and it was charging and it stayed charging for about the next 18 miles which was handy because I needed the headlights. I was just starting to think that towing the trailer had some strange effect on the charging system when the needle again dropped to 12v and I new my alternator was not magically healed. Got her home and grabbed my other car.

So I know from experience that my 1999 Saab 9-5 DD can drive about 60 miles on the battery alone....learned this one winter when the alternator failed. But that car has direct ignition, computers, electric fuel pump etc. The cruiser basically just has the coil for electrical components that draw any real power needed to run. I'd wager a fresh battery could take a stock FJ60 200-300 miles without issue as long as wipers or lights were not needed. Eventually the starter would be problem....but a jump start might be enough to get quite a few more miles.


So I'll start reading up on FJ60 alternator options.
 

Cincodemustache

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Props for slugging up and back on 89. I used to cover VT as a Toyota field traveler for about 5 years and remember that drive very well.

As for the alt...I found a cheap stock one on eBay and had Moseley Motors rebuild it to perfection.
 
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I tell you what though....The drive home after dropping the trailer off was like driving a sports car. Really felt like a rocket after literally unhooking a wrecking ball from the back.

My experience has been with Bosch alternators and a lot of those had an internal regulator that screwed to the back....The brushes on that reg would wear down and the car would stop charging. Used to carry a spare regulator and had the knack for swapping them in car....not that I had to do it often but you learn once and don't forget. I might see if I have a bosch hanging around and see how it fits. Would be a good amperage size and internally regulated. Or I'll see If I can get my stocker rebuilt.
 
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So today my 60 got a thorough workout. First I went to Uhaul and picked up 6x12 tandem axle utility trailer which weighs in at 1750 lbs. Then I towed said trailer from Lebanon NH to Burlington Vermont which is about 95 miles one way. Burlington is to the North which means its all up hill and a stock 60 with 31's on it is able to pull that galvanized uhaul nightmare at about 60 mph when its flat and drop to about 45mph when the hills come which is often. Once in Burlington I picked up an FJ80 chassis for $100 and myself and 3 other guys from the shop picked it up and placed it in the back of the trailer...I figure that chassis weighs 400 lbs or so. So tow home proved that 55 was a good max speed...anything over that the weight bias on the trailer made things squirrely.

So I was tempted to take the slower road home but decided that the continuity of no intersections on the interstate was advantageous and being passed by everything under the sun was a worthwhile trade off. I did notice a lot of cars would come up behind me and then just sit there...going 45 mph up a hill....then I guess they snapped out of their trance and would pass and disappear.

So maybe 20 miles into the 90 or so drive home i notice that the volt meter is sitting steady at 12v. Normally the needle bounces a bit and sits somewhere around the 13v position. And on the way up the needle had been in the 13-14 range. So I go through my problem check list...it takes very little time...its a short checklist. So I'm not lacking any power...at least not due to a new engine problem. If I turn the headlights on the voltage gage dops down around 10v. Its 4pm no need for lights. Unplugged the cell phone too just to save that micro amperage. So part of my brain says that the truck must be charging but its just the crappy gage...and the other part says its not charging. So I figure ok if I shut the truck off and back on with the engine off and the charge light comes on then its an alternator problem. If I do this and the alternator light is off then maybe the bulb burned out and the alternator field isnt starting. So at the next big hill I drop to neutral and shut the truck off until the engine full off and then key back on. No charge light. I pull put it in 4th and jump start the engine again (all while towing at 55 mph). I pull the fuse cover and note the charge fuse position. Too hard to pull the fuse but i give it a wiggle just to make sure its not loose. and that does nothing.

So I just kept driving. Figured all i need power for is the coil at this point and I might as well go until the battery cant keep the truck running. As luck has it I drove all the way home.....probably the full 90 miles without any charging. I shut the truck off at home and it cranked back to life no issue. With the truck off I measured the battery voltage with my hand held meter and did it again with the truck running....12.2 volts. I unloaded my FJ80 chassis but wanted to run the 25 miles back to return the trailer tonight (headlights needed).

I grabbed my alternator adjuster toolset and used it smack the alternator a couple of times. Immediately heard the engine rpm drop and charging went up to 13.6 volts. Jumped in the truck and headed to Uhaul....had to pull over every 2-4 miles to give the alternator a wack and get it to charge again...made it to Uhaul and dropped the trailer off. Had an idea.....with the engine off I wacked the alternator a couple times and got in the truck. I turned the key on and Voila! the charge light worked (so not burned out). Started the truck and it was charging and it stayed charging for about the next 18 miles which was handy because I needed the headlights. I was just starting to think that towing the trailer had some strange effect on the charging system when the needle again dropped to 12v and I new my alternator was not magically healed. Got her home and grabbed my other car.

So I know from experience that my 1999 Saab 9-5 DD can drive about 60 miles on the battery alone....learned this one winter when the alternator failed. But that car has direct ignition, computers, electric fuel pump etc. The cruiser basically just has the coil for electrical components that draw any real power needed to run. I'd wager a fresh battery could take a stock FJ60 200-300 miles without issue as long as wipers or lights were not needed. Eventually the starter would be problem....but a jump start might be enough to get quite a few more miles.


So I'll start reading up on FJ60 alternator options.

Epic! Glad you made it home...!
 
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1584412257970.png
 
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I tell you what though....The drive home after dropping the trailer off was like driving a sports car. Really felt like a rocket after literally unhooking a wrecking ball from the back.

My experience has been with Bosch alternators and a lot of those had an internal regulator that screwed to the back....The brushes on that reg would wear down and the car would stop charging. Used to carry a spare regulator and had the knack for swapping them in car....not that I had to do it often but you learn once and don't forget. I might see if I have a bosch hanging around and see how it fits. Would be a good amperage size and internally regulated. Or I'll see If I can get my stocker rebuilt.

Had a similar experience with a uhaul box trailer I pulled two summers ago.
I felt like Jeremy Clarkson in this clip when hitting the freeway with no trailer
 
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g-man

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Check the 10g white wire going from the fusible links to the alternator and make sure it's tight esp at the back of the alt.
 
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Check the 10g white wire going from the fusible links to the alternator and make sure it's tight esp at the back of the alt.

I do have that white wire and its tight. I pulled apart both fusible links and they looked good too. I actually added a second heavy wire from the back of the alternator directly to the positive terminal on the battery a while ago. So if the alternator is outputting amperage its definitely getting to the battery.
 
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My recollection of some of the Bosch alternators is they have one wire running to the battery which supplies the charging current and there is a second much smaller wire that attaches to either a tab or small post and thats the exciter wire. The exciter wire runs through the charge light to Bat + and is there to help induce the field for low rpm charging at startup and as soon as the alternator starts outputting that exciter circuit loses its ground through the starter and the charge light goes off.

I'm guessing that the FJ60 alternator charge light grounds through the some other circuit in the alternator because when mine stopped charging the charge light never turned on....and I think its supposed to if charging is not happening.
 

OSS

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I'm not sure why this number sticks in my head, but I "think" the ignition draws about 4 Amps. I could be wrong about that though.
Long ago my alternator died when I was 1000 miles from home and services (MX) and I drove back the whole way with no alternator... But I did have a 4.2 A solar panel that I strapped to my roof rack that could get sun while I drove - and I stopped in the afternoon to let it charge up some more before sunset for the next day's drive.
 
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I had this crazy idea just now about just eliminating the alternator all together and adding a battery or two...charge the batteries at night or during the day with solar and drive without the alternator. But then i did some googling because I surely cannot be the only moron to think of this. Sounds like the average alternator robs about 1hp per 25 amps of load. In a stock 60 25 amps of load is about 300 watts of power usage. So with the blower on full blast, headlights on, radio blasting, and horn blaring? I'm probably less than 25 amps. I suspect the increase in fuel mileage from gaining 1 hp back would not justify the investment in batteries, chargers, and solar panels.

But its nice to know that if I'm in the middle of nowhere I can drive a long distance on a battery alone.
 

g-man

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Looks like the charge light gets it's power from the voltage regulator (that gets voltage from the battery and alt). Maybe some of the switches inside the VR that determine when this circuit gets energized. I assume when it gets below 12v. Also the ignition switch when in the ACC position would feed voltage to the check engine light. Try this and see if the light comes on. Maybe you have loose screws in the VR. Take off the cover and check the screws for tightness, check for corrosion on the terminals.

1584464919880.png
 
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The voltage regulator is the rectangular box on the top of the alt. They are avail new from toyota.


thanks for the heads up. The V-Reg is the first thing I was going to check....I was thinking it was a possible culprit since the physical unit was actually charging when it got tapped. So its either the V-Reg internals going to hell and vibration helps temporarily or there are worn brushes inside that are worn such that a tap or two brings them in contact.
 
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Great story and good roadside fix. I love it. My '78 FJ40's alternator wire melted off near my house at dusk, and the headlights got very dim just a few miles from home. I drove home using the parking lights and drove as fast as I could, but barely made it home. Not sure why I didn't have a greater effective range.

So, I wouldn't always count on a long drive with a dead alternator, but I know folks who have driven with a bad alternator and then just stopped and bought a new battery to get them another 80 miles, until that battery dies. Batteries are easier to find that 35 year old Toyota parts!
 
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Great story and good roadside fix. I love it. My '78 FJ40's alternator wire melted off near my house at dusk, and the headlights got very dim just a few miles from home. I drove home using the parking lights and drove as fast as I could, but barely made it home. Not sure why I didn't have a greater effective range.

So, I wouldn't always count on a long drive with a dead alternator, but I know folks who have driven with a bad alternator and then just stopped and bought a new battery to get them another 80 miles, until that battery dies. Batteries are easier to find that 35 year old Toyota parts!


I've heard stories like that from friends on long drives where the alt died....ones where they bought a spare battery and would charge up each at night and then swap as needed. I suspect this story is like the one about the guy who had an uncle with a 70's Cadillac who used to get 70 mpg but then he took it to the dealer one day for maintenance and they removed the secret parts from it and after that in never did better than 10 mpg. (meaning everyone knows someone who had to do the battery trick)...
 

4Cruisers

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Back in the summer of '77 a friend and I (Marshall, from the Greenville, South Carolina area, no relation to @Trollhole) set out for a 10-day backpack trip through the mountains above town. I drove my '64 Chevy to the other side of the range, with Marshall following in his pickup. We then drove back to town and up to the end of the road at our trailhead, where we left his truck. On the 7th day of our trip, a Sunday, the weather started to deteriorate, so we decided to hike back to my car that afternoon. All was good until I tried to start the car - nothing. So I opened the hood and discovered that someone had stolen the battery during the week. We had no choice but to head down into the next canyon and set up camp again. There's a State fish hatchery about 7 miles downstream, where we could call for help in getting home. When we got to the canyon bottom we ran into a family out camping in their pickup. Luckily it was Sunday - they would have been gone after that. I knew my Chevy had a generator instead of an alternator, and the campers had a set of jumper cables, so we got a ride back up to the car to see if we could get it running. Sure enough, it started right up. We were able to drive the Chevy back to my Mom's house about 50 miles away with no battery, even with headlights on for the last 20 miles or so. So no, you don't need an alternator :).
 
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Back in the summer of '77 a friend and I (Marshall, from the Greenville, South Carolina area, probably no relation to @Trollhole) set out for a 10-day backpack trip through the mountains above town. I drove my '64 Chevy to the other side of the range, with Marshall following in his pickup. We then drove back to town and up to the end of the road at our trailhead, where we left his truck. On the 7th day of our trip, a Sunday, the weather started to deteriorate, so we decided to hike back to my car that afternoon. All was good until I tried to start the car - nothing. So I opened the hood and discovered that someone had stolen the battery during the week. We had no choice but to head down into the next canyon and set up camp again. There's a State fish hatchery about 7 miles downstream, where we could call for help in getting home. When we got to the canyon bottom we ran into a family out camping in their pickup. Luckily it was Sunday - they would have been gone after that. I knew my Chevy had a generator instead of an alternator, and the campers had a set of jumper cables, so we got a ride back up to the car to see if we could get it running. Sure enough, it started right up. We were able to drive the Chevy back to my Mom's house about 50 miles away with no battery, even with headlights on for the last 20 miles or so. So no, you don't need an alternator :).
Was that one of those cars where the generator was also the starter?
 

4Cruisers

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I honestly don't remember, back in those (pre-Land Cruiser) days, to me, a vehicle was just a means of transportation.

Well, there was one exception - my '66 Mercury Cyclone GTA with a 335 hp, 390 cubic inch V-8 (stock Holley 650 cfm 4-bbl. carburetor) and Merc-O-Matic automatic transmission with console shift. That sucker was a blast to drive, especially on the steep, winding mountain roads above town. It didn't corner really well, but after letting up on the accelerator just before a curve (to slow down a bit for cornering), a quick stomp on the pedal coming out of the curve would launch you right on up to the next curve - rinse and repeat.
 
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Just pjr my new reman unit in from Rockauto. Everything was good from the mounting to the electrical connector etc. only slight problem is that it came with a smaller diameter two row pulley. I was able to get the original pulley off the old alternator but I need a 23 or 24 mm thin wall socket to get on the retainer but if the new alternator. I was able to fit the belt and run the truck without issue so far. The alignment is about right but the new pulley wheel is designed for a smaller width belt. So I’ll get the right socket and see what I can do about fitting the old pulley.
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