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Old 07-17-2003, 10:56 AM   #1
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Scary,dark Moments

We had a terrific trip to Charleston,SC this past week. Stayed at James Isalnd Campground, which is great; has a waterpark, and lots of other activities, as well as being woodsy and clean.
We left for home on I-26 at night, as I like to drive on quieter roads sometimes.....about 50 miles out of Charleston, my lights started to dim a bit- so little I wasn't sure they were dimming...
as we went a bit furhter they kept getting dimmer, until finally in the middle of nowhere they went out!
Man was it dark out....cloudy night and no traffic at all...I freaked a bit realizing it was probably the alternator belt loosening as it got hotter.
We limped along behind a small car..the only one on the road, for 12 -15 very nerve wracking miles, until we hit a Pilot truck stop, where we parked for the night. The car driver must have wondered what in the heck we were doing behind him...
Afterwards I thought I should have had my tow-cars lights on, to help us have some rear visibility.
Anyway--made it home no problem the next day, after leaving at 6 am in some minor fog...and all in all had a great time.
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Old 07-17-2003, 11:10 AM   #2
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Alan
I had a similar experience in my 1985 270 classic MH. Traveling home from Laguna Seca raceway my headlights finally went out. I was close to Camping World, pulled in and spent the night. I switched the battery to my coach batteries and made it home. The battery for my engine was dead, in fact the engine that night was starting to cut out.
I have since learned how to tighten the belt. seems it does loosen up. Pull the engine cover and the alternator is to the right near the top of your engine. There is a 1/2" nut at the top that needs to be lossened, using a large srewdriver, pry the alt. tight, tighten the nut. You can over tighten the belt causing it to heat up and break. You should be able to move the belt back and forth slightly. I carry extra belts and have learned how to replace them. Be sure to carry a small tool kit. Glad you made it home OK.
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Old 07-17-2003, 11:11 AM   #3
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is this story going to be fiction or what ??? what was los mit the lights??? lol
al
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Old 07-17-2003, 05:49 PM   #4
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man when those lights went out all else went with em. I had the generator running so my a/c worked, and we were running ok. The horn would feebly honk, and the wipers barely moved.

I have adjusted belts before, so I think I will be fine with doing this one...I checked the condition before the trip, and it is in good shape although looser than I thought at the time.

This brings up a question-- when you need access to the very front upper engine area, beside getting there from underneath...you have to remove the more permanent shrouding between the doghouse and dash..where does this all attach?
I tried to take off the panel to the right where the heater core is, and could not figure out where it was held on either.
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Old 07-17-2003, 08:15 PM   #5
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Alan,

If yours is like mine you will have to remove the entertainment center. Then the front half of the doghose lifts off with the back half attached.

Once you get this all off there is a steel flat plate that is held down with 8-10 bolts. Pull it and you can get almost to the back of the radiator.
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Old 07-18-2003, 08:00 AM   #6
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well looks like this one is going to be a mysterie novel. cant you pull your dog house cover and almost see the altenator. with a big screwdriver or a 3/4 wrench and a half inch box end wrench to loosen and tighten the nut on the altenator..?? i use the 3/4 wrench or the screw driver to tighten the belts. the mounting bracket has a hole in it that you can insert the screw driver or what ever thru to tighten the belts. the top radiator hose is in the way but you can still get the belt tightened.
i use a piece of carpet throw rug to lay on the back of the engine and get on the belly and almost stand on your head. it can be done. doing it from below i dont think so . i cant see anything from the bottom up. you could remove the right tire and fender weld and get to it . that is a lot of work. lol
al
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Old 07-18-2003, 09:47 AM   #7
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Well If you find it's the alternator Then take the alternator to PB rebuilders on Canton road (down by ply mart). Mine just gave it up Wendsday and they rebuilt mine for $60 and had it done in 2.5 hours. Working like a champ now.
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Old 07-18-2003, 02:37 PM   #8
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the alternator was replaced last summer, but could still be bad, I will check after I finish building my deck, still have about 100 screws to put in.
If I do have to replace it I might try the folks I bought my "racing"starter from SAlterstart in Dallas. They have some HD alternators, and if anything like their starters..they will be a good move.

As for the removal of the entertainment center and the rear of the doghouse, hopefully I won't have to do all that to tighten the belt, but whatever it takes. Thanks guys.
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Old 07-18-2003, 02:37 PM   #9
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the alternator was replaced last summer, but could still be bad, I will check after I finish building my deck, still have about 100 screws to put in.
If I do have to replace it I might try the folks I bought my "racing"starter from --Alterstart in Dallas. They have some HD alternators, and if anything like their starters..they will be a good move.

As for the removal of the entertainment center and the rear of the doghouse, hopefully I won't have to do all that to tighten the belt, but whatever it takes. Thanks guys.
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Old 07-18-2003, 09:09 PM   #10
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I still like my VW van shift stick best for tightening the alternator from below.
Has a perfect curve towards the end. I use the waterpump for leverage. Real easy.
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Old 07-19-2003, 11:33 AM   #11
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Ok here is a laugh for you- I tried to reach the bolt from underneath and couldn't seem to get a hand on it.
Took out the doghouse, (thanks Brett for the 12 bolt insight), and went to put a wrench on the bolt from inside, no sweat, except there was NO BOLT!
I am assuming the guy in VA Beach last summer that put on the new alternator left it off!
The thing was tight enough with the other bolts to charge ok, until this summers heat...the belt was real loose. Now I need to go find a bolt to fit.....
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Old 07-19-2003, 12:37 PM   #12
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Like Fat Freddy from the Furry Freak Brothers used to say:
I'll be dipped in dogsh%@....
I guess that bolt was just too hard for that guy to reach, huh?
You are lucky it didn't jump off and tore your fan and who knows what else apart.
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Old 07-19-2003, 03:36 PM   #13
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ok so I go to NAPA and get a 5/16 course thread bolt. 20 cents and I am on my way home....
Get the bolt in the hole, put the socket on it, son of a !@#$%^
the alternator threads are stripped.

So I use my finger to thread a nut on the back of the bolt and lock it down. Now the belt is tight, charging looks good, but the belts are squeaking and squealing as loud as ever!!
Oh well I will get used to it, or it will go away when it they warm up more.
So much for Saturday....
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Old 07-23-2003, 05:51 PM   #14
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It is uncanny how the same things keep happening to our coaches.

On a trip to Corpus Christi over Thanksgiving, 2001, I had a similar experience.

We left Fort Worth about dark and when we got to Waco I noticed the lights starting to dim. I pulled over to see what was up, and discovered the belt missing.

I didn't want to try to fix it then and there so I got out the jumper cables and jumped between the positive posts of the coach batteries and the auto battery. That held until we got to the coast. When we started back I still had not found the time to get a new belt so I stopped by a Tractor Supply Store and bought a battery cable to put between the two sets of batteries.

We usually run the generator anyway so that we have plenty of cool air, so I didn't get around to fixing the belt for 6 months or so.

When I did finally get a new belt I discovered that the tensioning bolt was missing and when I replaced it I found that the threads in the alternator were stripped. So like you I just put a nut on the back side to tighten it down.
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