Power windows, power door locks, heated seats and mirrors, stereos, TVs, microwaves — these and a host of other power-consuming accessories found in today's trucks are putting a heavy load on the alternator. Not to worry, though. Alternator makers are well in tune with current fleet needs and offer a range of high-output products from which to choose.
The trend for higher power consumption in trucks — especially among over-the-road fleets — is one that all alternator manufacturers agree will continue for the foreseeable future. Increased power demands are being put on trucks both by the engine manufacturers and fleets that load on the accessories themselves.
In addition to more powerful alternators, fleet customers are looking for products that offer them longer life and less maintenance. Of course, all this tends to drive prices up, so most manufacturers offer a variety of products at different price points and with different warranty coverage to meet varying fleet budgets.
According to Leece-Neville, brushless units are becoming more and more popular with its fleet customers. By eliminating brushes — a major wear part on an alternator — the company says it's able to extend the component's life substantially. These high-amperage units come with a 3-yr./350,000-mi. warranty.
A step down from Leece-Neville's brushless units is the newer long-brush alternator — which is essentially the same product as its standard 110-555 alternator with longer brushes added for longer life. This model is offered with a two-year warranty.
Robert Bosch also offers long-life alternators, available in 14- and 28-V models, with a 42-V version in the works. LI-L alternators have output ranges from 140 to 200 amps. Lower horsepower requirements improve fuel economy and lower emissions levels, says Bosch.
Delco Remy has responded to fleet demands for longer-life products by offering its 33SI and 34Si brushless alternators, as well as the 34SI QuaDRAmount model that's designed to withstand increased levels of vibration found in higher-horsepower diesels.
Leece-Neville also offers alternators with the new pad mounts (also knows as quadramounts) that replace the traditional swivel mount design to enable the alternator to be mounted tighter to the engine for reduced vibration and extended component life.
For improved durability and component longevity, Denso Sales of California offers a brushless alternator model for Class 3-8 trucks. The 12-V/130-amp alternator is available with a variety of terminal options and also features the new pad mount design. Denso says it is continuing to work on developing alternators with greater output efficiency to meet fleet needs.
Fleets can also purchase a variety of remanufactured alternators for light- and medium-duty trucks from AC Delco. The company says its alternators are remanufactured from original equipment cores; obsolete and damaged parts are replaced with OEM components or high-quality, new aftermarket parts.
All ACDelco alternators receive new bearings, bushings and brushes. They are offered with 12-mo./12,000-mi. warranties for light-duty applications and a 12-mo./unlimited-mile warranty for heavy-duty applications.
Addressing fleets demands for increased longevity of alternators, Leece-Neville reports it has spent over $50,000 on a vibration tester for its manufacturing plant. Alternators are tested under very high G-loads, the company explains, to ensure durability.
Leece-Neville says it places a high premium on quality of its products and over the past few years notes that it has put a lot of additional testing capabilities into its plant so it can test products on the shop floor as well as in the field.
In-house testing has enabled the company to target any weak areas of design before a product goes into production. Fleet trials allow the manufacturer to check performance in the field before units go into volume distribution.
With '07 and '10 emissions standards looming ahead, alternator makers are looking for ways to continue increasing power output in products for the future, while designing products to withstand even greater engine temperatures.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CIRCLE NUMBER ON REPLY CARD:
AC Delco 311
Robert Bosch 312
Delco Remy America 313
Denso Sales Of California 314