Author Topic: Another dead alternator thread  (Read 649 times)

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Offline BigB

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Another dead alternator thread
« on: August 08, 2017, 11:21:11 pm »
I've been sitting here reading threads about dead alternators hoping for an epiphany but no joy so am starting a new thread.  I have diagnosed no voltage from the alternator on my '95 but I'm at a loss where to go from here.  I consider myself handy, but when completely ignorant on a subject, I don't have the confidence to take it on and figure it out as I go  I did a search for a used alternator but the whole eBay thing is new to me and the ones I saw were oversees so I need advice on how to proceed.  The thoughts in my head are:
Do I remove the alternator and then try to find a shop that will repair it (Charlotte, NC)?
Is there any advantage to just removing what I would call the cover and looking for an obvious problem?
Do I remove the alternator, take it apart myself and attempt to replace the brushes?

You're welcome to add new ones 'cause I'll take all the help I can get.

Online MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2017, 01:37:13 am »
Whoooah.vcr, etc,
Hold on, step back, take a breather.....
High on the list for "failures" is simply a melted down connector, the one coming from the alternator up to the main harness..

Follw the shrouded wires back up from the alt, to the white 2 prong connector, where it attaches to the harness, up behind the j box.... requires some pulling, tugging, parts removal, wire tape and wrapping removal etc., etc., but get to that connector..nblack wire gray wire, iirc..
The connectors melt down an short, and give false clues when trouble shooting. When they short.. you run on battery, and then die... puff of smoke.. and die..

So, before you try to find someone to test it (good lok.. ain't happening) if you have a melted plug, note which wire conects to the other on both sides.
If melted into goo.. now snip them, and solder 2 pieces of 14 awg wire to each of the ends of both wires, on both sides of the removed connector.. slip heatshring tubing over eac run, and crimp on a 1/4" spade male connector on the pair, for each pair. I use insulated connectors on the female side towards the bike system... just out of habit.. now you have a relaible, disconectable connection, rated at 30 amps, unlike the oem connection,nwhich was rated at 15 amps,.on a good day, and heaven forbid you added varkles..

So do some legwork, failure on alts are very very seldom.. the wires are commonly the fault.


Your miles may vary...
Best of luck

30 YEARS OF KAW.....Rich R. (the other one..)  COG 5977  JUSTAMEMBAHNOW

Offline NWMike

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2017, 02:03:42 am »
I see MOB has replied.
Listen to him.
Check the easy stuff first.
Clean, tight connections are a real good idea in an electrical system.

I believe you have to remove the cam chain tensioner, unplug the alternator harness, remove the 3? bolts holding the alternator to the engine case and pull it straight out.
It could be the brushes a bad regulator, shorted windings or a broken/damaged connection somewhere.

If it were me, and you know it's defective, I'd just get a salvage one:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1986-2006-Kawasaki-ZG-1000-Concourse-Alternator-generator-GUARANTEED-GOOD-/272721211038?hash=item3f7f736e9e:g:oUMAAOSwnK9ZRBfI&vxp=mtr
Also, get yourself a shop manual if you plan doing your own maintenance.
A book or digital PDF copy has good information and test procedures to narrow down problems like these.
Thanks, 
Mike. 
2006 Concours   COG Member 7906

Offline Jorge

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2017, 03:24:34 am »
C10 came with an excellent quality alternator, about the best made. Pretty doubtful it's bad.
Check MOB's suggestions.
If you do need one, I have one off my C10 that works, had 75,000 miles at time I went down. Shoot me a PM if interested.

Offline BigB

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2017, 02:57:06 pm »
Connector looks good.  No voltage at it assuming a test at the two posts would register output.  There is gradual battery drain when bike is running.  Started at 12.5 and was down to 12 within a few minutes.  Battery is new.  That's the extent of my troubleshooting. 

I found a place in town that would check it out so I'm going to try to pull it tonight and have them check it out unless I'm checking it wrong.  Please advise if I am.

Offline m in sc

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2017, 03:21:22 pm »
Im curious, who around cht was willing to look at it?

Online MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2017, 03:27:49 pm »
Again, I ask you not to remove it yet....
You can check it in place to determine if its wonkey...
It needs to be spinning and you need the battery fully charged, so remove the battery, and charge it... it should hold 13 v...
You can then procede to inspecting the unit, by removing the cover while its still mounted, and doing some volt checking...
This complete procedure is well explained in the factory service manual, and easily done if the directions are followed. Then if those tests don't show anything, you can continue to remove the unit, and further inspect sections of it as outlined in the FSM.

So basically, you really need the manual. The procedures are a bit too involved to try to explain over the forum, with the manual in hand, you can easily accomplish this...

So, charge up the battery, off the bike, if it doesn't hold 13v, have the battery load tested... this needs to be done before any tests of the alternator can be acomplished.. if the battery won't hold charge, replace it, and then inspection and tests can continue...
Sorry, that's just how you have to procede. And get the FSM, fumbling around and trying to check things without the correct procedures, can be a dangerous thing, resulting in damage to an internal part of that charging unit that may be fine now...

Also note, whoever said they could "check it" would need all the values outlined in the manual to do so,   its not a car alternator they can slap on a fixture, plug in an analyzer, and spin it up to speed to inspect.... just ain't happening...... as I say, it is a bit involved, and requires correct procedure, and resistance values, to begin inspecting the internals...

I'll also add, go baack to that connector you said "looks fine" and unplug it, replug it a couple times, or even abrasively clean the internal tabs with sandpaper...
And re try it....
Those two tabs develop an invisible resistive coating over time... believe me, I've melted them before because its not apparent...I've replaced a dozen connectors on melted down ones also...

When you say you "checked" the volts at that connector, your method is flawed, as the circuit doesn't work that way, both wires are "hot", one wire comes from the rectifier inside, and the other from a coil inside... the grounding is the frame of the unit... hopefully your "testing" didn't blow a diode in the rectifier portion inside.... or ruin the internal regulator....this is why I stress directions, and manuals.....to prevent damaging stuff that may be fine, by probing blindly.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 03:55:44 pm by MAN OF BLUES »

30 YEARS OF KAW.....Rich R. (the other one..)  COG 5977  JUSTAMEMBAHNOW

Offline Jim

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2017, 05:11:10 pm »
The shop manual has an on the bike test, Section 15-15, for battery not charging.  Not sure if the Clymers manual has the same troubleshooting procedure.

Online MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2017, 05:20:49 pm »
I think I said that in the post above yours.   But not sure about the clymer...

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Offline BigB

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2017, 10:12:19 pm »
Im curious, who around cht was willing to look at it?


Carolina Auto Electric  http://www.carolina-autoelectric.com

They seemed awfully sure that they could check it and fix if if there was a problem.

As for following the manual, I have the Kawasaki manual and had it out while troubleshooting but recall only seeing troubleshooting of alternator components.  I'll pull it back out and see if there are any steps that don't require disassembly.  Battery is brand new but only records 12.6v when fully charged (green light on battery tender).   

Online MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2017, 10:32:01 pm »
Im curious, who around cht was willing to look at it?


Carolina Auto Electric  http://www.carolina-autoelectric.com

They seemed awfully sure that they could check it and fix if if there was a problem.

As for following the manual, I have the Kawasaki manual and had it out while troubleshooting but recall only seeing troubleshooting of alternator components.  I'll pull it back out and see if there are any steps that don't require disassembly.  Battery is brand new but only records 12.6v when fully charged (green light on battery tender).


I'm sorry, if I appear a bit brusk, or abrasive, its only due to the time spent on the bike, and general mechanics along with it..
I'm saying the folks telling you they can "test it" have no clue as to the values of resistance, and ohming out the actual coils on the bike.
That, and with no viable way to spin the thing, other than being driven at the correct rpm range the bike runs , or the interface to even get the thing to spin... come on, please, understand this all.

battery tenders vary.. they do not deep cycle charge a discharged battery.. they only maintain a semblence of a charge, on a good battery, when hooked up...
Basically a tender is NOT a charger, and will NEVER charge or restore a battery to it's true capacity.. just a tender thing... green light means good... ummm hummm... ok.
sorry again, this is getting to the point where things are not being absorbed.
you have a manual, now start getting on to reading the procedure in section 15.


end result, hand it to the guys that said they could check it. Stand ther during the procedure. when they say whats wrong, and they "can't fix it" , resign to the fact you will be buying another one off e-bay.

or, use the manual, and figger what went south...
again, i hope you didnt toast the regulator, or rectifier circuit, with your attempts at "checking" stuff.
If its fried, and "truely fried" after doing the connector cleaning i noted above...
look up "the wizard" here, im sure he will sell you a unit. he stockpiles parts....

30 YEARS OF KAW.....Rich R. (the other one..)  COG 5977  JUSTAMEMBAHNOW

Online TimR

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2017, 03:24:26 am »
Sorry I don't think I meant to lock this thread....Found out was me when I went to see who done it.   :'(

Has to be an electron glitch someplace.
Blue 1975 Z1B 900, Red 09 C14     I might not be perfect but at least I don't ride a Suzuki

Online MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2017, 04:30:31 am »
Ok

 :popcorncouple: :1rij: :popcorncouple: :popcorn: :103: :a012:

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Offline Jim

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2017, 10:19:58 am »
Although I haven't done it myself, the pic and text in the manual suggests the cover can be removed from the alternator without removing it from the motorcycle.  As for the 12.6V on the battery with the engine and key off, that's fully charged.  Also, when looking at the voltages (13.5V threshold) on the parts related to the alternator, you may have to increase the rpm (say 1.5K to 2K) to overcome the drain from the headlight, etc. and get the alternator charging.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 10:27:29 am by Jim »

Offline BigB

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2017, 11:14:21 pm »
I removed the alternator cover.  Everything looks fine.  Nothing loose.  No apparent problem.  Just for ha-ha's I jumped the F terminal to the chassis as per the manual.  The voltage registered 12.58 before starting the bike.  The act of starting brought it down to 12.46 and it continued down from there.  High engine revs has no impact on voltage. 

Any troubleshooting beyond that F terminal test is more than I'm willing to take on so the alternator is going to the shop tomorrow.  I'll be back.....

Offline RWulf

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2017, 11:28:18 pm »
Proably a good move. The white smoke generator can
be confusing to lots of us.

Online MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2017, 01:49:42 am »
I removed the alternator cover.  Everything looks fine.  Nothing loose.  No apparent problem.  Just for ha-ha's I jumped the F terminal to the chassis as per the manual.  The voltage registered 12.58 before starting the bike.  The act of starting brought it down to 12.46 and it continued down from there.  High engine revs has no impact on voltage. 

Any troubleshooting beyond that F terminal test is more than I'm willing to take on so the alternator is going to the shop tomorrow.  I'll be back.....

Well, at this point is where I say just buy another alternator, no further testing by someone will be helping you, just costing money...

Look up "the wizzard" in our emporium, he has parts, buy another alternator, and be done at this point.

30 YEARS OF KAW.....Rich R. (the other one..)  COG 5977  JUSTAMEMBAHNOW

Offline BigB

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2017, 07:13:41 pm »
Diagnosed with burnt rotors.  They offered to send it out for re-wiring but I think I'll try to track down a used before going that route (will be searching for "the wizzard" and PMing Jorge). 

The good news is the diagnoses was at no charge.  I don't know about the quality of the work at Carolina Auto Electric but I'm left feeling pretty good about the place from a customer service & honesty perspective.

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Offline m in sc

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2017, 03:50:18 am »
Im curious, who around cht was willing to look at it?


Carolina Auto Electric  http://www.carolina-autoelectric.com

They seemed awfully sure that they could check it and fix if if there was a problem.

thanks for the info. i have some vintage stuff i need looked at.  :great: 

good luck with your issue.

Offline Redbarron

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Offline BigB

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2017, 04:35:40 pm »
Thanks RedBarron.

I'm working with Jorge to get his so hope to have Miss Connie back on the road soon.

Offline oldsmoboat

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Re: Another dead alternator thread
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2017, 06:40:31 pm »
The there's this if you are running or going to run many accessories.   Don't recall what I paid for the alternator or where I got it.
http://delp.net/Concours/Tech/Microfiche/Generator/index.htm#ZZR1200_Microfiche_Anchor