WARNING: Mud Kills Alternators

Discussion in 'Offroad' started by ChaoticUdders, Jul 23, 2019.

  1. ChaoticUdders

    ChaoticUdders Well-Known Member

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    Now I know the title of this post is kind of a no-brainer. of course! Mud kills in open engine electronic. My issue is how low my alternator is in an FX4 off-road vehicle. There is probably a reason for didn't relocate the alternator but that doesn't mean I can't complain about it. Below I'm going to tell you what happened to my alternator, a brief summary on how to replace it, and then the video of where I think it might have died. if you guys are having any problems or have any questions please don't hesitate to ask I will answer as much as I can, but I have to preface that I am not a mechanic nor do I know a whole lot about vehicles. Most of what I've learned about vehicles have been in the past 2 years of my life working on my 2014 Honda Accord and my buddies 2017 Toyota Tacoma.

    Last weekend I took my truck to Richloam Wildlife Management Area with a off-roading group that I roll with. The mud there was crazy deep, I even went through deeper mud than what shown in this video. I find myself being very impulsive and I probably shouldn't have gone on this off-roading trip. How the rangers designed makes it a very good off-roading truck. One design flaw I found is sinking in mud. I know mud is bad for typically any vehicle if it's too much, but I find how low the rangers limit is a little headache inducing. I'm taking this truck up super steep inclines and other stuff that didn't think would even be possible to go through but if the mud is over the bottom of your door or mid tire that's too high and I find that annoying. Especially living in Florida or most of your off-roading is through mud. I don't plan on getting rid of this truck anytime soon, even though this minor hiccup happened I still find myself in love with this truck, it can still do mind-boggling things that I wouldn't think possible out of a stock truck. The problem I'm referring to is how low your alternator is, I know most small engines have the alternator lower than a V8 would. but I find myself scratching my head when I buy an off-road vehicle and the alternator is almost the lowest thing in your vehicle. So in the clip below I go to some crazy mud, and honestly it's pretty awesome I got through that. But it did at the end of the day cost me my alternator.

    When driving home from my alternator my battery light came on. I got scared but I had to get home and I still had another hour until I was home. I didn't know to turn off my AC on my radio or any other electronics in my vehicle so it all stayed on during the entire trip home. the first thing to go was my power steering. Below 5 miles per hour it was an extreme hassle to turn the truck. next thing to go was my phone charger and my GPS that are plugged into the 12 volts in the center console. the final thing to dip on me when I was at a red light almost home was my entire truck. Though my truck was on and in gear it refused to move an inch. All It did was rev but it would stay in place. I push it into the nearest gas station and took a voltage meter to my battery, it only had 10V so I disconnected my battery took it to an AutoZone and they told me that my cold cranking amps we're in enough to start my vehicle and that the battery was done for. I don't know if the battery and alternator died separately or together or because of each other by the way both died. the battery end up costing 200 bucks but I needed it now so I can get my vehicle home. Once I put it back in I was able to drive all the way home I turned off the AC my radio and unplugged everything and I was able to get home no problem. I still did not have power steering. Once I got home we determined through the evidence in the video, where the alternators located and the issues I was having that the problem was most likely my alternator.

    Going to get the alternator was a trip on its own, my friend had to take me to Jacksonville which is 3 hours away from where I live to get the nearest alternator for my truck, the only other alternator anywhere near was all the way in Texas. I can't fault Ford for that obviously because it's a brand new truck nobody expects you to kill the alternator 10,000 miles into owning your truck.

    When we got back home we started working on the truck immediately. First we unpluged the battery, when working on electronics in your vehicle always disconnect your battery. Since alternator is at the bottom you have to take off your Bash plates if you have them. you have two different serpentine belts running around the front of your truck, when looking from the front of your truck you want to loosen the right serpentine belt. There's a cover on top of the right serpentine belt that you have to take off, under that cover there is a bolt right beside the serpentine belt that you will have to put a nut on and pool to detention the serpentine belt. We left the serpentine belt tensioner tool in place pressing against the battery but you can do whatever works for you. once you have the belt off of the alternator you can start taking off bolts and taking out the alternator. There are four bolts total on your alternator and a plug with a safety pin in it,h you have to take off three of the bolts because you cannot reach the fourth one or unplug the safety pin where the cable is plugged into the alternator. once you get the three out have someone fish it out enough so you can see it from the top of your engine reach your arm down undo the bolt and stick a screwdriver on the red bit of the safety pin and pull out and it should be able to come out super easy. Once you finally get your new alternator, whenever that may be, have someone hold it from the bottom so you can put the last waltz you took off back on and plug in the cable with the safety pin. Once you have those on you can slowly push it into three different placeholders where the bolts were, there are two on the bottom and one on the top. once you get it in place you can put the nuts back on oh, we do not know the torque values I don't know if that's available online but we just twerked it super hand tight. detention your snake again and make sure everything is lined up the way you found it and then retention the snake. Once the belt is the way you found it and everything is bolted and plugged in correctly you can start your vehicle. When revving your serpentine belt might make a loud noise, it's pretty normal since they alternator would be brand new and never have a belt run on it before. If everything's working then put back on your Bash plates and you're done.

    Video of me going through deep mud (NOT RECOMMENDED):

    I hope this little walk through was helpful, I've never done anything like this before so sorry if it isn't worded or written the best. I assume that this problem will become more common place for the hard-core off-roaders. And if anyone finds a fix for it at all please let me know. Whether that would be an alternator relocator or an off-road alternator.

    Again please do not hesitate to ask me questions.
     
  2. sbacpo

    sbacpo Well-Known Member

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    1. That looks like a load of fun.
    2. That looks like a load of fun.
    3. I'm surprised you didn't get stuck. It's more capable than I thought.

    I'm not sure what the answer is to keep water out of the alternator or to acquire a sealed alternator. I just traded in a '12 Wrangler and this obviously wasn't an issue but the Jeep is designed to go through 30" of water (stock) and I think the Ranger owners manual says not to go into water deeper than the hubs.

    A lift/bigger tires should help some.

    I am a little bit concerned about this. One of the reasons I traded the Wrangler in on a Ranger was that my off-roading is now on the beaches of Texas versus the mountains of NC. If I can't run this truck in the surf without fear of shorting out the alternator it's going to be very disappointing.

    Following.
     
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  3. Wschnitz

    Wschnitz Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if it could be prevented in the future by just loading all the connections on it with dielectric grease to keep the mud out of the plugs.

    I just find it hard to believe they expect you not to ford water greater then the like 8in to the hub.

    Could just be the mud was rough on it.
     
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  4. Lunchbox88

    Lunchbox88 Well-Known Member

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    Damn, that was even deeper than I was expecting. Your doing some work out there!
     
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  5. OP
    OP
    ChaoticUdders

    ChaoticUdders Well-Known Member

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    Lol, I was originally just going to share the video but decided I'd be nice and share my misfortune
     
  6. DBaz

    DBaz Well-Known Member

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    During T6 Ranger torture testing they talk about the importance of having the alternator up high...see at 1:10
     
  7. Stangman570

    Stangman570 Well-Known Member

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    IDK man, seems like you just experienced a freek occurrence with the alternator. I did a lot of research on the new Rangers before I bought one. I'm a Ford man through and through, but I've had a Tacoma for a long time just for a small capable off road beast. Looking at your vid, it was awesome and something we get into here in the Florida panhandle. Lot's of bogs and swamp area's up here at Eglin AFB. I noticed the bow wave your Ranger generated when you went through. Something the Ford Engineers spent some time on. They even did a full soak test on the newer Ranger platform in Australia. Although it's a 2015, essentially it's the same. But your right Mud can and will kill a lot of things. I once blew and engine when I was younger because the radiator packed with mud and couldn't move air flow through at hi-way speeds. Found out the hard way to always check for excess build up before hitting the road.

    I have to say your vid Rocks and shows the capability of the stock Ranger. I've put on a 3 in lift and this week picking up 285/70/17 MT's 17x9's with -12 offset and can't wait to go dunk it in these ole mud holes up here, lol. Now if I can find a winch mount I would be all set.

    Check out the link below for the "Dunk" test.

     
  8. OP
    OP
    ChaoticUdders

    ChaoticUdders Well-Known Member

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    Well in the T6 the alternator is mounted at the top of the engine like most V6 and V8 engines do, since we've got a 4 cylinder that goes into a Focus and Mustang means our alternator is literally right above the crash bar which is almost the lowest point in the vehicle. I see what you mean when it comes to similarity but almost every part between the rangers is different to the point that they have different engines and different frames.
     
  9. Johnpenn

    Johnpenn Well-Known Member

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    Does this mean I can hose down the engine when I clean under the hood? LOL
     
  10. doug910

    doug910 Well-Known Member

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    Yep, all engine's are designed to be weather proof so you will have no issues hosing down the engine bay. I have already cleaned my engine bay like that. I just stuff a rag into the intake so water doesn't spill in, spray some simple green onto the dirty spots, let it soak for 5 mins, and hose down with water. I let the engine bay air dry with the hood open for a few hours for my peace of mind, but I don't think you actually have to do that.
     
  11. OP
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    ChaoticUdders

    ChaoticUdders Well-Known Member

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    Hmm o_O
     
  12. Rick - Saber

    Rick - Saber Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if that lady's dog got sick in her car. That is her soon to be ex's vehicle which she caught cheating on her. Or she has the JEEP option package that is fine with being sprayed out with a pressure washer.
     
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  13. NOVA_Ranger

    NOVA_Ranger Well-Known Member

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    Beating on any vehicle in harsh conditions kills a lot of stuff. Gotta pay to play. :wink:
     
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  14. BDoc

    BDoc Well-Known Member

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    My first thought was she buried the body and now she's getting rid of the blood evidence :shock:
     
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  15. t4thfavor

    t4thfavor Well-Known Member

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    My guess is it was the grinding effect that mud has. If it had been icky water, or something like lake water with a little mud on the bottom that the alternator would have been fine. Did the alternator seize? If not, it might have just been wet in one of the connectors and came back to life after drying out for a bit.
     

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