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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About a week ago the alternator on my 1500 decided to give up charging. I just got it apart about 30 min. ago. While unbolting it was thinking this thing is really in a tight spot. It "just" slipped out although not without some wedging around. From the looks of it I doubt it has ever been off the bike. Now then I begin to find out just what this thing looks like. In the distant past I have rebuilt old generators and gm alternators, basically just brushes and bearings. This alternator is a bit different. Once I got it in three parts could see where those of us that have replaced the brushes did it themselves. But getting it in three places took me a little looking.
Here is what the brushes look like. A bit worn but compared to the new ones! I sure hope that IS the problem. Does this compare with what anyone else here is found when their alternator is not charging. At least it did not break my bank to get the brushes or new rubber isolators.
Thanks everyone.
 

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I assume it was "squeaky clean" when you put it back together?

I agree, that one looks like it has a history of being left alone in a dark place for a very long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
John
I may have to give up on this repair. Or so I was thinking. Just now found where someone posted pics of the brushes being soldered in. My soldering abilities are not really very good. I am considering having the brushes installed at a alternator repair shop and let them test it after the brushes are in. I broke the insulator alternator battery terminal not in a critical area but it will look ugly to me when I see it. Was hoping not to have to do too much inside. I have blown the alt. out with air and it was very dusty.
 

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I'm not sure what year your wing is but the " later" model 1500;s had issues with broken wires between the rotor and commutator. I want to think it was newer than 1996 but I'm not sure. Maybe someone else will chime in on that guess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Its the first year 1500....1988. After seeing the pages of the manual where the alternator is being repaired on a different thread have decided to take it to an alt. repair shop and get an estimate on it. I could most likely do it but its pretty good chance I could make a mess too. Been inundated in repairs this month. Tomorrow rear pads go on my Dodge 3/4. The last time I tried brakes on that truck it took a mechanic, heating torch and a heavy air impact to get the caliper bolts loose. But those were on the front.
 

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The brush that is shown in the first picture doen't look to be worn all the way, I would say about 1/2 way. I have seen them worn down to the keeper Hole that is in them, and still work. I would check all the wiring for breaks, give everything a good cleaning with some green scouring pads and put it back together to see if the cleaning helped it. Then if it didn't, I would take it to a shop and have it looked at.
 

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The only other problem I've seen besides worn or sticking brushes is a rotor coil that's shorted to the core. It's an easy test. You'll be working with the part NOT in the pictures. Turn your multimeter to ohms. Put one probe on the commutator (the copper colored segmented part the brushes ride on, and the other probe on the metal shaft that runs through it. If you can't find any connection between those two parts, it's worth it to replace the brushes. If there is a connection, your rotor coil is shorted and it's time to replace the alternator.
 

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Its the first year 1500....1988. After seeing the pages of the manual where the alternator is being repaired on a different thread have decided to take it to an alt. repair shop and get an estimate on it. I could most likely do it but its pretty good chance I could make a mess too. Been inundated in repairs this month. Tomorrow rear pads go on my Dodge 3/4. The last time I tried brakes on that truck it took a mechanic, heating torch and a heavy air impact to get the caliper bolts loose. But those were on the front.
Your problem may have been caused by dust from the wear of the brushes. It builds up in there and doesn't have a way out. I replaced a set of brushes that were sticking and would start charging with a little tap on the alternator. I changed the brushes after taking it apart and were less than half worn. Soldering is no problem, just don't solder in too tight as you will need slack as the new brushes wear over time. This was on a 91 by the way. Hope this helps, David
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dizzy: I will give that a try. I have not found any breaks. The rectifier is very solid on the wiring. But I will put a meter on it. The brushes after seeing the replacements did not look all that worn. Dusty? yes it is. I blew it out and kept getting dust out of it. The picture of the brushes is kind of dark as it was very cloudy yesterday. Its not black inside that is all shadow and my camera flash would not go off. I thought of brightening the brush contact points on the shaft with 0000 steel wool or just plain old newspaper.
Jobe: Thanks, its my intent to clean it up a bit more.
 

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hemi-roid...I stand corrected. The terminology I used was wrong. The advice is still good. TXRL, you should also check the resistance between the two slip rings. If it is open circuit, the rotor coil has also failed. If it has a low restistance, it's probably OK. The shop manual (which I don't have handy) has exact resistance specs. I think it's in the 1.5 to 4.0 ohm range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dizzy
Indeed there was resistance between the two slip rings. I have blown the alt..out with hi psi air. and put it back together. Just have not installed it back on the bike. Put rear brake pads on my truck yesterday pm. At least I had wheels to get me to work. The brake job turned out to be less hassle than my brain kept telling me it would be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Reinstalled the alternator this evening. No go.....11 volts or so and less. Its not charging so off to the repair shop it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Update to this thread...Sent my old alternator off to Ken Heming. Got it in return mail
yesterday pm. Just enough time to install it. Let the new battery charge overnight as the wing has been sitting nearly two months. Talk about rider withdrawal!!! Came home this afternoon connected battery and fired it up. Alt is charging exactly what he said it would......NOW I can get back to riding!!!! Next on the todo list is front fork rebuild. That is if I can stay off of it long enough to do it. But it will be after xmas, along with a new front tire. Thanks again to Ken, for the fast turnaround.
I know its been posted before but his advertising is limited to word of mouth so here
it is for those that do not know and seems when I had my alternator problems there were similar threads started alternator problems
Ken's website
http://myplace.frontier.com/~hemi-roid/
 

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The early 1500 alternators were the best. Does your alternator say "Made in Japan" on the I.D. sticker? If it does, cleaning out, and new brushes was all it needed. {Check the bearings also.) 15 years ago brushes might have hung up, and a Honda dealer more interested in a buck than checking old alternator, might have put a newer junk alternaator in. I have a great alternator service center nearby, and routinely take it to him for mainteence around 40-45K miles.
Glad to see you got it working again.
Gumbyred
 
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