Nice writeup. I'm looking forward to seeing the pics.After putting it off and not worrying about it since I upgraded my battery to an Odyssey PC2150 battery, I finally installed my 300 amp hand wound alternator from Excessive Amperage. I will say that this is the most difficult mod I have done to my FJ to date and its 1 year birthday was July 31. I will list the parts I used and update tomorrow with pictures and anything I missed.
Alternator: 300 amp large GM case from Excessive Amperage
Parts: 3/8" grade 8 bolts, nuts, washers, and lockwashers
Universal alternator mount from Mr. Gasket (will update w/ part #)
0 gauge wire (I used Stinger HPM, but your brand of choice should ok)
ring terminals, 350 amp ANL fuse and fuse block (Blue Sea makes 'em), battery terminal boot, wire loom, zip ties
smaller than GM size alternator fan
Tools: This is just what I used, you may need less or more. 1/2" drive torque wrench, 14mm deep and shallow sockets, 10mm shallow socket, various allen wrenches, air ratchet (for breaking nut loose on factory alternator unless you have the contraption the Toyota service manual recommends for taking the pulley off) I'm sure there are other things I'm leaving out, I'll go over this tomorrow.
Prerequisites: Big 3 0 gauge wire upgrade
Starting off: I first tried to install this alternator a few months back and learned a hard lesson about spacing the pulleys and alternator correctly. The belt broke in my lower driveway with the windows stuck down and I had to push my big lunking rig up the road and in the other driveway to get it back in the garage. I will give advice to anyone willing to tackle this...but I cannot accept any responsibility for what may happen to your rig. If you do a Google search for "85 toyota 4runner alternator upgrade." There should be a PDF that comes up as the first result. Credit given to Al Dolney for making it. Read it through and through...he points out some very useful things that I wish I had known the first time, which would have prevented my belt from breaking the first time.
Let's get started: By now, this is second nature to me, so I apologize for skipping any parts, please ask questions if you are unsure.
1. Unhook ground first, then positive next, and remove the battery and plastic tray. Tape up wires as deemed fit to protect against scratches, shorts, etc. The main battery power wires still carry current, if you ground yourself right, you'll get a wakeup zap if you're not careful. (10mm socket for factory battery tie down and factory battery wires)
2. Remove plastic engine cover (10mm socket)
3. Remove front-most factory skid plate (or for upgraded guys, take off enough so you're able to access the pulleys). 12mm socket here I think for factory bolts
Now that the easier stuff is done, pick up your beverage of choice and make sure you're at peace with the world before you go on any farther. Disclaimer: Continuing may lead to severe swearing, throwing of tools, scraping of hands, arms, legs, etc.:lol: Just relax and if you're mechanically inclined, you should be fine.
4. Using a torque wrench or breaker bar, move the tension pulley and put an allen wrench in the hole right below the pulley to hold it in place. Please see the repair manual if you are not familiar with this particular hole. I will try to locate the PDFs and update when I get time.
5. Pull the belt off the alternator and the idler pulley directly to the left. Just make sure it's out of the way to clear the old alternator coming out, remove from other pulleys as you need to in order to make clearance.
6. On the side of the alternator, you can see the factory wiring is bolted to a bracket on the side of the alternator. I believe this is a 10mm bolt, but I took the bracket off months ago. There are two and then I just cut the tape holding the wire loom to the bracket and put it to the side.
7. After the wiring is out of the way, there are two bolts holding the alternator in place, I think they're 14mm. I sprayed them with WD-40 before I started working because these are bolts you do NOT want to break or strip. The top-most bolt goes directly into the engine block whereas the bottom-most bolt uses the block for support and the alternator is threaded (will update with pics)
8. After removing the two bolts, stand beside your left fender, facing the left side of the engine bay and gently rock the alternator up and down while pulling towards you to remove it from the bock.
Time to stand back and look at your truck...there's still time to turn back now...but hey you've already gone this far right?
9. If you've chosen to go on, get a 24mm socket and take the stock pulley off the alternator. Here is where we begin to see a problem. Most high output alternators use overdrive pulleys. Being that most high output alternators aren't made for Toyotas, they do not have a 7 groove pulley. At this time, I am currently using the factory pulley. It works, but I know I'll definitely see even more of an improvement if I can find an 8 groove or have a 7 groove pulley made for me.
10. The fan on the GM alternators is a combo of plastic fins and a metal front, colored up much like grade 8 bolts. This will NOT work at all, trust me...if you do use this fan, it will hit the idler pulley causing the belt to slide off and rip it to shreads. I went to my local alternator shop and picked up "the smallest fan [they] got." It's probably about 4 inches wide and all metal. This fan gives literally 5-7mm of clearance from the idler pulley. No grinding is necessary. Put this fan and stock pulley on your high output alternator.
11. Now comes time when you need to see where the pigtail plug is and the charging post relative to the mounting holes on the new alternator. My GM-style (with the changed fan) looks JUST like the following alternator:. The mounting holes are at 6 and 12. In order to make this work, you have to use the thinner mounting hole (commonly used as the top) on the lower alternator mount on the engine block. That leaves the wider mount (commonly used as the bottom) to be used as the top mount.
12. I chose to put my charging post on the top right if you were facing the engine back looking in. This was done for many reasons, the most obvious being it gives the most clearance for wiring to fit. NOTE: Have your pigtail and L wire snapped in place BEFORE mounting the alternator because, unless you're Gumby, you will spend an hour trying to get the plug in the hole.
13. As far as mounting goes...I used a 3" grade 8 3/8" bolt with washers and locknuts on the bottom mount. This is your ticket to lining up the pulleys. I cannot remember right off hand how many washers I used on the backside of the bolt to bring the pulley out, I believe it was 4, I can try to check. You will just have to experiment with the washers and tighten up the bolt just enough so that it will support the alternator so you can check pulley alignment.
14. Once your pulleys are aligned and you've test fitted the belt (do not release the tension pulley, you can pull the belt off the power steering pump to get plenty of slack to wrap around all the other pulleys, then use a square to check for fitment. After you're satisfied with the pulley alignment, move the belt back out of the way.
Here is where things get a bit more complicated. The alternator bracket can be made if you want, but I did not want to take the time to cut out a curved bracket when the Mr. Gasket universal works fine, with some modifications.
15. Take the bracket (it's chrome, I know...ew...paint is your friend, but not when time is of the essence like it is right now for me) and cut it off roughly one-half inch above where the adjustable opening starts. Grind down edges as you see fit to make it smooth. A factory-sized bolt will not fit in the adjustable opening, so this has to be ground out a bit. Just put it in a vise and do test fits until you can put the bolt in to the head and move it the full range of the bracket. If it's hard to find replacement metric bolts in 1.25 pitch like it is in my town, the grade 8.8 (grade 5 equivalent) bolt will work fine here since they're only supposed to be torqued to 32 ft./lbs. (this is an aluminum block we got ). I used a 4" bolt which still gives plenty of thread to reach inside the block and enough room to use grade 8 washers to space it out.
NOTE: I may modify these bolts and washers in the future. I definitely will be on the lookout for grade 8 metric bolts. One can make their own spacers rather than using washers, but they work just fine and are perfectly strong. I was going to use spacers...but they never came in, thank you Fastenal. If you have a Tractor Supply where you live, the grade 8 bulk aisle is your candy aisle. It was only $3.99 a pound so I grabbed 25 washers, about 10 lock washers, and a couple of bolts ranging from 2" to 5". I would rather have to take things back later than to make multiple trips. Plus, they're good bolts and I'm sure we can always find uses for them .
16. I do not recall how many washers I used to space the bracket out to line it up with the "upper" alternator mounting hole (remember, it's backwards from the way things are normally mounted in GM cars). This part is pretty easy. Just take the bracket and use a 3" bolt in the "upper mounting hole with a lock-washer and washer on either side. Hand tighten a nut on there so you can move it if necessary. Take washers and put about 15 on the factory-style bolt that's going to go into the block and just test fit until the bracket is square relative to the engine block. Once you feel comfortable with the spacing and placement of the bracket, tighten up the three bolts. Since only one of the bolts is going into a threaded hole in the block, use 32 ft. pounds for it. I used 35 ft/lbs for the other two bolts that are actually in the alternator's mounting holes since they did not go into a threaded hole in the block. Put the serpentine belt back on (see repair manual for proper routing) and release the tension pulley. You will notice that there is very little room to give on the 83.5" belt. I will probably be upgrading my belt to at least an 84" 7 groove belt to give some of the "factory feel" back to the tension pulley.
Now take a step back and be damn proud of yourself for all the money you're saving and all of the power you're getting. Just a few more steps....and it'll be done!
17. Now comes the wiring. The factory Toyota plug comes with 3 wires, a sense wire that will always have voltage, ignition wire that turns on and off with the key, and a light wire that operates the battery charge idiot light on the dash. The particular GM alternator I have will operate will only two wires, a wire on the B+ charging post and the L wire. The sense wire is usually just jumpered over to the charging post anyway. This particular alternator does not need a sense wire because the light wire turns the field on so the alternator will charge. The wires on the Toyota plug are about a 22 gauge wire I would say and tedious to deal with even if you pull them out of the larger wire loom. I decided that I will be adding my own battery light somewhere on the dash, quite possibly the A/C vent as it's a good visible place for an LED light. The way the light wire works is this: When the key is switched to the on position, the battery charge light comes on, indicating a completed circuit. The light itself is the resistance here. When the car is started, a properly working charging system will send a ground to the circuit, turning the light off. This is a simple setup and can be mimicked with a low-current bulb (120mA-270mA) to act as the resistance. Since this L wire is low current, the lower the current rating of the bulb, the brighter it will be when lit. I have not decided on a light yet as I'm currently running an actual resistor and a fuse tap to limit the current until I decide what to do. I do not know the rating on the resistor as it's what came on the pigtail for my alternator. I may try the factory Toyota L wire or put in my own light. The factory Toyota L wire is the gray wire. This can be verified with a test light. Pull the plug out and you will see the three wires. Two on one part, and one on the bottom. The L wire is the single wire, the other two are the sense wire and ignition wire. The sense wire will be a constant, so it will light up with the ignition off. The ignition wire will, then, light up when the key is in the on position and turn off then it's off :rofl: duh, right? That means that your other wire is the L wire. The only thing preventing me from wanting to use this wire is the gauge size. I know it's low current and does not require much to turn the field on, something tells me that a tiny 22 gauge factory wire won't cut it. Something more along the lines of 18 or even 16 gauge with a fuse tap (key on) circuit and battery light would be better suited I think.
18. After you've decided what method to get the field to turn on...this is rounding third base, so-to-speak. Put your L wire in a loom and then put the factory charging wire along with your 0 gauge (fused with 350amp anl fuse) and then put on the lock-washer and nut.
19. Put the battery back in and connect all your positive wires: factory wires along with the 0 gauge wire. Connect the grounds back up: factory wires along with 0 gauge wire. If you have aftermarket battery terminals like I do, I always put the larger gauge wire on first since they're made for ring terminals. Does it really matter? I can't quite answer that question, but it makes sense to me if you're putting current through a larger gauge wire, you'd want to ground it with a larger gauge wire. In the grand scheme of things, all of the wires will be connected eventually, but in the order..I just go largest to smallest as a habit if nothing else.
20. Now it's time to check all of your wiring and make sure they're all in wire loom and zip-tied out of the way of not only the headers and engine block, but the external fan on the new alternator. Check the pulley alignment for the thousandth time and make sure all nuts, bolts, and battery terminals are tight. Check around your work area for any dropped tools or hardware before starting the engine. I have remote start so I can be right there to see it, but if you do not, have someone else start it up and listen for any abnormal noises...grinding, whistling, hissing, you name it, just listen for it. Look at the pulleys (don't touch, obviously) while the engine is running and make sure the belt is traveling along them smoothly. After a few minutes, shut the engine off and check the belt for any wear: top, bottom, and sides, but be careful as the engine block, especially the headers, will give you one nasty burn if you let your hand slip back there. The best way to test the voltage is with a volt meter directly on the battery. A ScanGuage is great, but it does have some hesitation in readings. First check the battery without any load on it at all..just the FJ running w/o the radio on, no A/C, nothing. If that looks good...start by turning on some electronics and see how it affects your voltage. Turning the A/C on will increase engine RPMs, and contrary to what you may think, the voltage will bump up about 3/10 of a volt even with a heavier than "nothing on but idling" load.
I know this is one heck of a long post, but I'm just sharing my experience with you stereo and electronic gurus. I will be getting some pictures up probably tomorrow as I still have some tidying up to do before my gorgeous new beast of an alternator makes its world debut. The factory pulley is definitely too big to get the full potential out of this alternator. The best I did with lights on bright, A/C on high, aftermarket stereo on 1/2 volume w/ subs turned up was 13.5 volts. The 2900 watt stereo has very power hungry JL Slash V2 amps. Until the pulley is upgraded to a smaller size, you will notice probably about 12.8 volts at idle and once it hits about 1000rpm, you'll be getting 13.8 constant under a normal driving load. What I mean by that is, let's say...lights on, A/C on medium, sound system at a comfortable listening level, driving say 55mph at 2200rpms. I cannot say which diameter overdrive pulley is the best, because I do not have one yet, but I will be searching for a solution, even if it's an 8 groove pulley until I can have the correct one made, it'll work, just look sorta dumb. Who cares when you'll be getting 14+ volts even under heavy loads, right?
To anyone willing to try this please make sure that I cannot accept responsibility for what happens to your rig as a result of you trying this. The above-mentioned instructions are merely suggestions for you to try at your own risk. By attempting this, you accept full responsibility for your actions and possible outcomes not limited to: voiding of Toyota warranties, fire, electrocution, and worst case, irreversible damage to your rig. Please evaluate your capabilities before trying this as you will need a few hours of planning and getting materials together then probably 8 hours of time to complete this task. Reading about it, it may seem easy, and it may be a cinch to others whereas it was the hardest thing I've done to my FJ. I only know what has happened to my FJ, and as of right now, I believe I am one of the first, if not the first consumer to DIY install a high output alternator successfully. I could have paid something $600-$1000 to custom build and fit me an alternator but this experience has made me learn so much about my FJ and how things work, the money saved and time spent working have been a well worth it to me. Some may not think so as it's risky and you could be without a rig if you break a belt or something goes wrong.
I hope you guys find this page informative and if it is sticky-worthy, I would be honored to have it placed at the top of the stereo/electronics page for everyone to use. I will be updating it over the next few days with more info and pictures as I complete my work.
the alternator was definitely the right move if your charging system wasnt adequate.Was never on the Ca.com boards. The stock alternator is awesome for very efficient amps such as your Zapcos and Alpine's PDX amps. I'm running power hungry Slash amps. After adding the Odyssey 31 series batteries and knowing that a capacitor wouldn't help my situation, the alternator was the best bet. Without the alternator, I could turn the volume up to about 17/40 and the amps would start cutting off due to lack of power if I ran the a/c and had lights on. Now the alternator provides me with a constant 13.8 volts throughout the RPM range. I've come up short trying to find an overdrive pulley, I'll have to have one made for it so I can get even better charging at idle. I do have a slight whine coming through the speakers though, do you think I could try to ground my head unit directly to the battery? It's grounded where the amplifiers are under rear left on the frame in front of the wheels.
the RIPS system is kind of a weird creature. your best bet with the slash series is to load them at 4 ohms. they do some rather lame things at 4 ohms. i used to run an array of slash series amplifiers in a few different vehicles.Yea, totally understandable. Their RIPS power supply is great if you're powering say W1s and can feed the amps say 12 volts constantly without much bass. I'm running 2 12" MTX 9500s with 2000 watts on them and they really love their power. I'm pretty sure the grounds are the culprit b/c I only used sandpaper on the frame rather than grinding it down. Now that I have onboard air and a sufficient set of air tools, I'm going to use the small air grinder I got to grind it smooth and shiny..then check them out and spray undercoating over them again. I love my system the way it is and I know there are way more efficient amps out there, but if I went with something even higher end such as Zapxo C2K amps, I wouldn't be using a D3 as the source unit and an audiocontrol processor. Who knows what the future holds for it but I think my system is a heartbreaker now , I love it. I think I have the perfect setup...as far as a winch goes...I don't think I'll ever be in a situation where I need one because I'm always going to be with someone who has one and I have a hand winch as well. Thanks for the comments. I'm off to Home Depot to try and find a solution for mounting the gigantic blue sea ANL fuse block I used.
well the amplifier will sure be more efficient. even when the bass drops, if it only falls to 12.5 or 13 volts, its better than it dropping to 9 volts where you might get some breaking up in the highs or clipping. the less it has to work then the cleaner it will be.The fuse block I have for the alternator is about 1.5 pounds with the ring terminals and fuse I have on there. I'm thinking about just taking some 1/8" steel plate and mounting it through the fender like I did my fuse block on the right fender. Everything is on the amps at 4 ohms. I believe that no matter what any amp company says, an amp will put out power more efficiently when fed with 14 volts, this is just my experience in the roughly 10 amplifier brands I have dealt with.