Alternator upgrade options/benefits - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums

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Alternator upgrade options/benefits

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Old 04-16-2018, 10:26 AM
dragford1
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Alternator upgrade options/benefits

1997 F250HD 5.8 4.10 gear 4x4. Alternator needs replaced - any benefits of changing the alternator to a different kind or type? Running some accessories and also a winch so I dont want to drain the battery too much. What is the factory amp rating?
 
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:47 AM
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More than likely you have a 95amp Generator.
There was also a 130amp Generator but it was used on the 7.5L engine mostly.
You would just have to look at the front holes to see what you have.
The 130amp has two holes and the 95amp has four holes.
The 130amp is on the right side of the image below.


/
 
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:03 AM
dragford1
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Originally Posted by subford View Post
More than likely you have a 95amp Generator.
There was also a 130amp Generator but it was used on the 7.5L engine mostly.
You would just have to look at the front holes to see what you have.
The 130amp has two holes and the 95amp has four holes.
The 130amp is on the right side of the image below.


/
Can you use the 130 amp one with my 95 amp wiring?
 
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:27 AM
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All I can tell you that on the F-seres in 1994 both the 95 and the 130amp generator used 8GA wire between the generator and the starter relay.
The 1994 F53 RV with the 130amp generator use a 6GA wire between the generator and the starter relay as they had a higher load demand.

Some of the posters on this site have use larger cables than 6GA on an up grade. But most going from 95 to 130amp have had belt squeal during engine startup, some fixed the squeal and some have not.
 
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:48 AM
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Why belt squeal with the upgrade?
 
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by dragford1 View Post
Why belt squeal with the upgrade?
Some good reading here: https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...lt-squeal.html

I upgraded the tiny 2G alternator on my old 1992 F350 w/5.8L engine to a 130 amp 3G. Initially I had some squeal at first start up but fixed it with a new Motorcraft tensioner and a shorter belt (I also eliminated the air pump at the same time). I also took the precaution of cleaning all of the pulleys. Issue resolved. My 3G did not have the regulator explained below.

Others are now saying there is a soft start regulator designed to prevent this issue, which is caused by a large current draw and a resulting load on the alternator when first firing up the engine. The soft start regulators will not "turn on" until 10 seconds after it senses a load.
 
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:02 PM
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When a generator charges it acts like a motor trying to run against the direction that belt is running. The more it generates the harder it is for the belt not to slip. When you crank the engine you reduce the charge in the battery and when the engine starts the generator will try to replace the charge. The larger the generator the more amps it will try to put back in the battery.

Some have found that they can replace the voltage regulator with a soft start regulator and that will solve the belt squeal. Others say they fixed it with a new belt tensioner but this has not worked for everyone.
 
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:03 PM
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I bolted a 130A in place of the factory 95A on my 96' 5.8L when I replaced the engine. It came off a 96 E350 5.8L (what I was told anyway, bought the engine on a stand). I used a new motorcraft belt, and haven't had any squealing.
 
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:32 PM
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This is a timely thread for me as I'm replacing my factory 95A with a 130A next weekend. The reason why is because I'm adding a winch to my truck. I already have the alt (it looks EXACTLY like the one SubFord posted) but I have not gotten the upgraded charging cable yet. Can anyone who has done this swap offer up any details on the procedure? It looks pretty straightforward, for what it's worth....
 
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:36 PM
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From what you're saying dragford, the main benefit of an upgrade is for the additional power it can provide when the system is being taxed heavily by your activities. The fact that you have a winch alone is worthy of an upgrade not only in the alternator's output but in the size of the charge wire also maybe.
I do know that some Ford vehicles also used a 4ga charge wire. Probably based on longer runs perhaps? Or maybe more expected load? I'm with the longer runs initially anyway, since the first one I encountered was a fulls-size van that had one of the longest charge wires I'd ever seen!
But if you keep it short enough, the 6ga yours might have may be sufficient even for the larger alternators (ac generators) mentioned. Heck, even 8ga is enough if the wire run is short enough, but in battery and charging cable sizing, I feel that "overkill is just enough" is a good policy to follow with battery/charging cables, and the number of grounds used.

Sounds from what subford is saying that your '97 already has a 3G model. I don't know when the type changed, but the 3g IS the upgrade that most older trucks are looking for. You can find them in the aftermarket with 200amp ratings and even more I would bet.
But remember, your alternator will probably never be able to completely keep up with a winch under load. A more powerful alternator can be a good thing in most cases, but most winches use 250 amps and more even under a moderate load. An older Warn 8274 model under full load can pull as much as 700 amps. So not many (if any?) alternators are going to actually keep your battery charged under those conditions. So as always, it's up to the operator to know the limits and not drain the battery while using the winch.

I can't tell you from one brand to another which ones will be best anymore. But so far the alternators don't seem to be following the current trend of "all imports are crappy and will fail soon" rule, like so many other types of parts do. They seem to be pretty good no matter which brand.
The BBB brand (sold under probably 20 different names) is hecho in Mexico just over the border, and has about as good a reputation as any other brand. The test sheets usually indicate too, that even the rebuilt 3G alts are capable of putting out at least 145 amps. I've looked at probably 100 different test cards over the years and not one was below 142a, and many were above 150a capable.
Do don't under-size the cables, and don't under-size the protection. I prefer fuses and circuit breakers over fusible links myself, but anything that works...

Good luck.

Paul
 
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Roger T. Pipe View Post
This is a timely thread for me as I'm replacing my factory 95A with a 130A next weekend. The reason why is because I'm adding a winch to my truck. I already have the alt (it looks EXACTLY like the one SubFord posted) but I have not gotten the upgraded charging cable yet. Can anyone who has done this swap offer up any details on the procedure? It looks pretty straightforward, for what it's worth....
If you're simply changing a 95a 3G with a 130a 3G, it's usually a simple plug-n-play as far as the controlling wires go. And depending on how Ford equipped your truck from the factory, you might not even need the larger charging cable.
But don't "assume" in the case of the charge cable like I'm doing. Just to be sure you should check it's condition and size (gauge and length) to make sure it's up to the harder potential work load.
We sell kits for higher output alternators, including the 6ga battery cable a Mega-Fuse style protection for the charge wire. But you can make your own pretty easily with store-bought parts if you're handy at that sort of thing. And depending on what you have now, you may not even need it.
Got pics?

And it sounds like subford, and I'm sure many others here, know what yours came with from the factory. So wait for them to chime in since I'm just spitballing based on a more limited experience with your year truck.

Good luck. It's a nice upgrade.

Paul
 
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:30 PM
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My connectors were in great shape so I just slapped on a another 2G with a new layer of dielectric grease on the connectors. I feel the connectors when I jump off another vehicle or power the winch. It has never gotten hot. I might get struck by a meteor or something for this but I thought I would tell you anyway.
 
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:11 PM
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I just did a successful 3G upgrade, I can definitely say it was worth it. I used a '95 Mustang 130A alternator, new Gates belt and tensioner. Transferred the original pulley. I had some squealing before I replaced the tensioner, none after. I used 4 gauge battery cables and a 175A inline fuse for over charge protection.
This write up is what I followed, I got it all done in less than 3 hours.
 
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