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Thread: Charging System Problems???

  1. #31
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    My alternators on the Ford E450 buses last not too much longer than a year. We get them rebuilt at 225 amps. I believe the stock ones are about 130. When you're running extra power it's just what happens. We put in really expensive how wattage sound systems so there's really no way around it. Not only should you stock extra alternators like Jim said but have extra belts too. When they alternator locks up there's a good chance your belt will get destroyed. As far as batteries go when you replace them replace both at a time and not just 1 of them if you have dual batteries.

  2. #32
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    All,

    Thank you for the great write ups. As a new owner/operator myself, I've turned to this website to gain the knowledge of industry experts and veterans, such as those who've posted in this thread. We all have to learn somewhere (some the hard way, me included). But this has been a great way for me to gain knowledge, tips and tricks, and the quirks of a limousine I have limited experience with. I certainly haven't grown to the point where I'm running my fleet on multiple trips per day. When I do (hopefully), I'll be sure to buy extra alternators!!!
    Ryan Lord
    Signature Limousine Company
    New Bedford, MA
    SignatureLimo@comcast.net
    www.signaturelimocompany.com

  3. #33
    Senior Member LIMOJESS's Avatar
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    I agree with Jim. Tony thanks for coming back and giving us your two cents. I agree two alternators are a must nowadays.
    Even other parts like brakes and tires do not last as long in a limo versus a sedans.
    The newer e450s now come with 200amp factory alternator.
    Brandon you are right about the extra belts and alternators for the buses. Many of them are special order belts.
    I even have a 2005 LTC in the yard since last year that i bought from another company that was wrecked and I have taking parts out of it anytime i need something,

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limo Scene View Post
    Tony, here in Bakersfield, when the temperature soars to 110 and cars are idling in front of a church while the bride is shuffling to the car, the extreme heat and the electrical system of the coach a/c and sound system eats alternators like candy. I have to replace them about every 24 months as well and we use beefy AmpTech alternators made for ambulances. As far as sparring with others here, don't waste your time. Some are not even in the biz and don't have nearly the experience we have of running multiple trips every day so your observations are correct on heat and the effect of long periods of idling in high heat. We have tried installing high idle switches with little success or improvement. So, we buy five alternators at a time and have them on hand when we need them.

    Thanks for sharing your similar experience Jim. I was certain my fleet history data was not unusual.
    Tony Franzetti
    Marriton Limousine, Austin, TX
    Austin Limousine service, Austin airport service, austin bus charters
    http://www.marritonlimo.com

  5. #35
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    Same here. In business for 11 years, and always had to change them about every 2 years. Dual alts and batteries on all stretches
    Jerry Thomas

  6. #36
    Super Moderator Limo Scene's Avatar
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    Brandon, thanks for bringing that up. When they seize, they usually destroy the belt and a replacement alternator without a replacement serpentine belt means you are still sitting in front of the church broke down. LOL
    Jim A. Luff
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    Contributing Editor & Consultant - LCT Magazine

    Limousine Scene - An Award Winning Company Since 1990
    Bakersfield, CA
    Limousines, Sedans, Vans, Charter Buses, Limo-Buses, Wheelchair Vans www.limousinescene.com

  7. #37
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    I've learned that the hard way. Not only are you broken down but you have to pay to get the vehicle towed if auto part stores are closed. If an alternator goes bad you can hook jumper cables up to the vehicle for a half an hour or so and give it enough juice to drive it back. Or if you have extra batteries you can swap them with batteries that have a full charge. We have a rack of batteries with tenders on all of them that was provided from Napa auto parts and we don't pay for the battery until we use it.

  8. #38
    Super Moderator Limo Scene's Avatar
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    We have that same set up with a different brand and yes, we have limped many a car home over 25 years with a fresh battery OR by driving while holding the aux battery button down back in the day.
    Jim A. Luff
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    Contributing Editor & Consultant - LCT Magazine

    Limousine Scene - An Award Winning Company Since 1990
    Bakersfield, CA
    Limousines, Sedans, Vans, Charter Buses, Limo-Buses, Wheelchair Vans www.limousinescene.com

  9. #39
    Senior Member LIMOJESS's Avatar
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    Typically when testing the alternator voltage with the car running one can easily see if the voltage is above 13.5 with all lights and A/c on full blast your alternator is good. We just replaced an alternator a 2009 300c limo last week as it was only giving us a 12.2 volts reading meaning that the alternator is getting weaker. So since it was the oem alternator we simply just decided to replace both alternators.

  10. #40
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    Being new to this business, and not overly mechanically inclined, I believe I'm at the point where I need a new battery. I was on vacation for about a week and a half and came back to a dead battery. This happened back in January as well. I don't want to put excess strain on the alternator. Any advice on replacement batteries? I know I read in a previous post the biggest battery that I can fit in there, and another poster has a few in storage at NAPA.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Ryan
    Ryan Lord
    Signature Limousine Company
    New Bedford, MA
    SignatureLimo@comcast.net
    www.signaturelimocompany.com

  11. #41

  12. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Signaturelimo View Post
    Being new to this business, and not overly mechanically inclined, I believe I'm at the point where I need a new battery. I was on vacation for about a week and a half and came back to a dead battery. This happened back in January as well. I don't want to put excess strain on the alternator. Any advice on replacement batteries? I know I read in a previous post the biggest battery that I can fit in there, and another poster has a few in storage at NAPA.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Ryan
    Hi Ryan:

    Search the internet and you are bound to see both praise and horror stories for any brand of battery you can buy.

    I think as long as you buy a quality name brand battery (not the cheapest one on the shelf) you will be fine and should expect about 3 years life from it in a stretch limo that gets regular use, maybe more if you are not in severe cold or heat.

    I have tried numerous brands in our vehicles and speaking from personal experience on a fleet of vehicles we have been very satisfied with Everstart Maxx brand from Sams/Walmart. They have a 3 year free replacement warranty, which I have never had to use.

    There are lots of other good options out there like Interstate, Napa, Optima and Die Hard and my guess is they are all going to perform well unless you get a lemon so don't over think it.

    I have only ever had to take one battery back for a replacement in less than 12 months and it was one we bought at NTB (NTB brand) for our Hummer limo. It failed after 6 months - but the replacement they gave me for free has been fine.
    Tony Franzetti
    Marriton Limousine, Austin, TX
    Austin Limousine service, Austin airport service, austin bus charters
    http://www.marritonlimo.com

  13. #43
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    Tony,

    Very much appreaciate that advice.

    VR,
    Ryan
    Ryan Lord
    Signature Limousine Company
    New Bedford, MA
    SignatureLimo@comcast.net
    www.signaturelimocompany.com

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