ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!


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offcenter
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ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by offcenter »



My '99 1500 has 110,000 miles on it. (it had 70,000 when I got it.)
In the last 40,000 miles, I have had THREE alternators fail!!!
This last one, a Lactrical, only lasted one year and about 4,000 miles!!!
I am REALLY getting tired of this!!!
When the last one failed a year ago, I installed a alternator warning
light in the blank spot on the right side of the panel. It paid for itself
today. At least I knew the damned alternator failed and I didn't ride
the bike until the battery died.
Also, I converted ALL of the tail lights, dash lights, headlights
and parking lights to LEDs to reduce the load on the alternator.
Lotta good that did me.

So, the question is, has anyone else had this problem of
repeated alternator failures?
What did you do to correct it?
Thanks gang.

P.S. When the last one failed last summer, I installed new
rubber cushdrive pads and a new O-ring on the alternator
housing.


George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
77 Honda CT-90 "Trail 90"
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by Rambozo »

Did you ever dissect any of the dead alternators to see what exactly failed? That might give you a clue as to if there is a problem with the bike, or you just got a run of crap alternators. Have you ever measured the current output of the alternator when working?
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by offcenter »

The last one, last summer, was soaked in motor oil which looked like
it leaked in through the seal on the alternator shaft.
Haven't looked at today's failure yet. I was too pissed.
I just parked it and came inside.
Each of these alternators was supposed to be a high output
90 amp unit.
No, I never measured the output.
But like I said, The entire bike is now all LED lights
which should have reduced the load on the alternator by a LOT!!
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
77 Honda CT-90 "Trail 90"
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by Rambozo »

offcenter wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 8:34 pm The last one, last summer, was soaked in motor oil which looked like
it leaked in through the seal on the alternator shaft.
Haven't looked at today's failure yet. I was too pissed.
I just parked it and came inside.
Each of these alternators was supposed to be a high output
90 amp unit.
No, I never measured the output.
But like I said, The entire bike is now all LED lights
which should have reduced the load on the alternator by a LOT!!
That's why I would measure it, right at the alternator. If there is some wiring problem on the bike that is pulling 50 plus amps, it would kill alternators.
Seal failure can usually be traced to a bearing failure or shaft issues (worn or bent). That one is probably electrically ok and a good candidate for rebuild.
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by blupupher »

What all have you been using for a replacement?
I see your last one was a Lactrical, but have not idea on their quality, never heard of them before.
There is a reason that a new OEM is $350+, a Compufire is $450 and a new Amazon one is $180.

I was going to send you to Ken Heming, he has been the go to for Goldwing alternators for well over a decade for a decent price, but found that he passed late late year.

Make sure you are using a quality replacement, and as said above, do a evaluation of wiring to make sure there is not something amiss with that causing issues.
If you can find a real old school shop that does alternator rebuilds, you can get it repaired for ~$200 and will have an alternator that is just as good if not better than new. Problem is finding one now days.
1994 GL1500 Goldwing SE
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by DenverWinger »

These are all automotive-style alternators, the main difference is the nose piece that fits to the bike.

Should be repairable by your local Automotive Starter/Alternator rebuild shop for small $
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by offcenter »

Just pulled the latest failed alternator.
Like the last one, this one is dripping motor oil!
No wonder it failed. That thing was probably leaking from the
day I installed it last year. Remember, I installed a brand new
O ring with this alternator. Around the O ring looks clean, but
the alternator's inards are dripping oil.
The oil HAS to be getting by the bearing seal on the alternator
shaft. I suspect that they are using the cheapest crappiest oil
seals in these things. (or maybe no oil seal at all!!)
Cheap Chinese junk!
Blupher, you mentioned Lactrical. I went with that brand because
I someone on this forum recommended them last year when
the last one failed. It was supposed to be a high output unit,
90 amps if I remember correctly. I'm beginning to think that all of
these are coming from the same damned Chinese factory.

I have a local old fashioned alternator and starter rebuild place
nearby. Rather than buy another one of these, I'll have them
rebuild this one. It will probably come out better than new and
I'll have a guarantee from them.
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
77 Honda CT-90 "Trail 90"
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by Snowmoer »

Take your original factory one in for the rebuild if you still have it. Not the aftermarket ones you picked up. When the factory one on my 88 went bad, I took it to the local alternator shop. The brushes were just full of dust and still had a lot of life left in them. The bike had about 35K on it. They just cleaned it and it was still working like new when I sold it at 80K miles. I tried an LAelectrical one before I took the factory one in for the rebuild. It had a loud ticking noise and was brand new! No more of those for me. The alternator they use is from a Dodge Neon.
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by offcenter »

Snowmoer wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 3:32 pm Take your original factory one in for the rebuild if you still have it. Not the aftermarket ones you picked up.
The original factory one?? Ha!
The bike is 22 years old and the original factory alternator was long gone before I got the bike.
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
77 Honda CT-90 "Trail 90"
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by offcenter »

Well, I just dropped off the alternator at the local alternator repair shop.
We'll see what happens next.
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by offcenter »

I left the alternator at the alternator and starter repair place in Netcong
this morning. He called me back a few minutes ago. Even though it was
dripping motor oil, the oil didn't cause the failure. The windings are
burned out!!! ...with only 5,000 miles on it!!! And this is on a bike where
EVERYTHING has been converted to LEDs!!!
CHEAP CHINESE JUNK!!!
The alternator guy is somewhat familiar with Goldwings and is now trying
locate a Hitachi alternator for the bike. Hitachi made the alternators that
came on the bike originally. He says that the Hitachi units were very
well made.
Stay tuned for news.
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by DenverWinger »

The common cause of burned out stator windings in an Automotive-style alternator usually isn't overload, but most often failed (shorted) Diodes.

I have a Hitachi LR140-708C 90Amp alternator on my bike, it has been totally trouble free.

Google that number, you can find many vendors, even Walmart. and it's less than $150
https://www.walmart.com/ip/NEW-12V-90-A ... /142929332




♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

~Mark
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by offcenter »

DenverWinger, the link you posted for Walmart is not a Hitachi.
It says it's a "direct replacement for a Hitachi".

Brand Rareelectrical
Manufacturer RAREELECTRICAL

In other words, more cheap chinese junk.
My alternator guy is trying to find me a real Hitachi, made in Japan.
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
77 Honda CT-90 "Trail 90"
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by DenverWinger »

Sorry, the "Replacement For" part got by me.

Good luck in the search for a Genuine Hitachi.
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

~Mark
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by Rambozo »

You can always get one right from Honda.
However, I have heard that even new genuine Hitachi is no longer made in Japan and not as good as the older ones. No sure if this is true, and your dealer may have an older one still on the shelf. YMMV
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by WingAdmin »

Here's a link to the original Hitachi: https://www.nationsstarteralternator.co ... 40708c.htm
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by csj1567@gmail.com »

Ok, new member here, Csj. I've recently had two alternators die on a 99 goldwing trike. Both had a winding go open but it was the rotor (field) wi nding on both units . The OP offcentre said he had a winding dead. Well, which winding. The rotor or one of the stator windings. I believe the majority of the alternator failures are rotor winding open-circuit. Very few of the large # of failures are diagnosed. Just replace it and forget about it.

I will eventually start a new thread about my findings, wanna get more info first.
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by offcenter »

The latest one was a failure on the rotor winding.

Just replace it and forget it?? Been there! Done that!
The last one failed hundreds of miles from home, way up in the middle of nowhere in Vermont!!!
If I put in a another piece of chinese junk, it's just going to happen again, maybe even further from home!
No way I'm going to just replace it and forget it.
You may not ride very far on yours, but I do.
I want an alternator that's going to last.
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by DenverWinger »

Rotor windings going open-circuit (not burnt out) was the common fail mode in OEM alternator on the 97-00 'Wings, Honda switched from Hitachi to Chinese-made in '97. Rotor winding connection would fail at the solder terminal. I've heard of that failure actually being successfully repaired.
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by csj1567@gmail.com »

After the second time being quite a distance from home and having my lady hi and dry on her trike, twice. :x I quarantined the GW trike, and took a couple of months to research every article available on Goldwings and Valkyries. (I have '98 valkyrie and '00 goldwing)

I found it startling how many people complained about their alternator failing, but put zero effort into finding the failure mode. Just replace.

Those few that did take the time to investigate reported that the rotor winding is open. As I said above, this is likely the most common failure mode.

I've put in a third alternator, honda p/n 31100-MT2-015. The '99 trike is once again on the road. This time I have a volt meter front and center on the handlebar so she can see if it fails.

I've also rigged up a cable system so that if her alternator dies, I can pull up next to hers on my 00 Goldwing and charge her battery, no need to remove seat or tupperware. There may be a number of recharges to get home, but no more embarrassing tow trucks.

I took the oem failed alternator that I have to two different shops close by. Neither wanted to try repairing the rotor winding. Both of them tried finding a 'replacement' rotor bobbin, which does not exist as far as they're concerned.

It is possible to repair the alternator. There is a fantastic article on this site that gives an ultra-detailed breakdown of how to repair the rotor winding. I followed most of his teardown procedure, and found the rotor winding broken, not at the solder terminal, but just an inch further, where the wire enters and meets the rest of the winding. They're rubbing against each other, and this is where the damage occurs. There ought to be a sleeving on that part of the wire that would give 'strain-relief'.

I have more info to convey, but need to follow up on other leads. Then I'll start another thread. Don't know what is a 'good' alternator. Yet.
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by offcenter »

Any more info you have will be appreciated.

Also keep in mind, that this is TWO alternators that were dripping motor oil from their innards when I pulled them out, which means that a good amount of motor oil was getting past the seal on the shaft of the alternator.
George in Jersey.
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by AZgl1800 »

csj1567@gmail.com wrote: Thu Sep 30, 2021 6:36 pm After the second time being quite a distance from home and having my lady hi and dry on her trike, twice. :x I quarantined the GW trike, and took a couple of months to research every article available on Goldwings and Valkyries. (I have '98 valkyrie and '00 goldwing)

I found it startling how many people complained about their alternator failing, but put zero effort into finding the failure mode. Just replace.

Those few that did take the time to investigate reported that the rotor winding is open. As I said above, this is likely the most common failure mode.

I've put in a third alternator, honda p/n 31100-MT2-015. The '99 trike is once again on the road. This time I have a volt meter front and center on the handlebar so she can see if it fails.

I've also rigged up a cable system so that if her alternator dies, I can pull up next to hers on my 00 Goldwing and charge her battery, no need to remove seat or tupperware. There may be a number of recharges to get home, but no more embarrassing tow trucks.

I took the oem failed alternator that I have to two different shops close by. Neither wanted to try repairing the rotor winding. Both of them tried finding a 'replacement' rotor bobbin, which does not exist as far as they're concerned.

It is possible to repair the alternator. There is a fantastic article on this site that gives an ultra-detailed breakdown of how to repair the rotor winding. I followed most of his teardown procedure, and found the rotor winding broken, not at the solder terminal, but just an inch further, where the wire enters and meets the rest of the winding. They're rubbing against each other, and this is where the damage occurs. There ought to be a sleeving on that part of the wire that would give 'strain-relief'.

I have more info to convey, but need to follow up on other leads. Then I'll start another thread. Don't know what is a 'good' alternator. Yet.
a Detailed Diagnoses would be greatly appreciated by me at a minimum....
been working in electronics since 1958 and it seems that trying to "Explain the how it works" just floats right over 90% or more of the folks who ask for help.

they will NOT follow instructions to a "Tee" to give us Detailed Feedback on what exactly the situation is.

I can't fault those who have never seen a wiring schematic, but for those who are willing to turn a wrench and buy a cheap DVM and a Test Light Probe, it would be helpful to get honest answers back.
~John

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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by bikgra »

I had a customer in with a 99 gl1500
When he bought it the alternator was just replaced
within a year he brought me the bike with a dead alternator again
Not willing to just replace the alternator without knowing why it blew , i started testing and checking
I found that the THICK red cable that goes from the alternator to the battery was corroded with GREEN death
not allowing the full flow of voltage,thus causing a build up of resistance
this overheats and eventually blows the alternator
i replaced the 2 Thick red positive cables to the battery and the Thick negative cable to the battery
Problem solved in this case and it was a very easy fix
You might want to check your cables, Who Knows?????
A multimeter figured this one out
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by offcenter »

Bikgra, thanks for that. I'll look at the cables over the weekend.
After 22 years, I guess corrosion could build up even though the bike has always been garaged.
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
77 Honda CT-90 "Trail 90"
oldwin
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Re: ANOTHER alternator! This sucks!!

Post by oldwin »

Previous bike was a Suzuki C90 Boulevard with the issue of burning out stator. The problem was that the boiling engine oil was melting the sub-standard OEM winding wire insulation (ie varnish). The problem was resolved by installing an aftermarket stator.


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