The best way to avoid problems with your alternator is to perform preventive maintenance, inspections, and taking care and cleaning it. If you follow the following measures you will guarantee a long and reliable life to your alternator.
- Air Inlet Openings
The alternator has its own cooling fan and its objective is to pull and circulate the air from the back of the alternator. To supply the appropriate cooling, the air flows over the alternator's internal components.
The existence of detritus from the road in addition to calcium chlorides and salt combined with fuel, dust, grease, dirt, and oil boosts a thermal degradation. This has a big impact on the alternator's ability to generate its designed amperage and output voltage. A low voltage operation is the most common consequence of this contamination and when truckers detect this problem they usually assume that the alternator is damaged, although the components of the alternator doesn't have any defect.
There are many DC and AC electrical connections on most alternators and it is very important to always keep these connections tight and clean. Otherwise the consequences of loose connections will be over or under charge, voltage drops, and even no charging conditions.
The existence of detritus from the road in addition to calcium chlorides and salt combined with road spray in usual wet weather provokes electrolysis and corrosion on the connection terminals' material, alternator’s case, and output terminals. As consequence of this, corrosive conductive bridges could be formed and the alternator may have premature failure.
- Cleaning Advices
The alternator should never be cleaned while it is still hot; ensure it is cool enough to be touched. If the engine is running, shut it down and wait approximately 15 minutes before cleaning the alternator.
To clean the alternator you should never use high-pressure washers, compressed air, or petroleum-based engine degreasers. The alternator’s air inlet openings should never be directly sprayed by degreaser or some cleaning agent.
We recommend you dilute any type of degreaser to 50 percent by mixing it with water. To apply it, you should use a soft spray, putting a moderate coating of this solution on the alternator’s surface and letting it soak for five minutes. After that you can use a bristled brush, with soft or medium fibers, to clean the dirtiest areas as well as the terminal connection points. It is extremely important to avoid letting the cleaning agent get dry before being rinsed with water. The pressure of the water could be light to medium for rinsing the degreaser away.