Sunday, May 3, 2020

Newell Renewal - Day 16 - Alternator wars

5:33 am - Sunday - May 3rd - Wittmann, AZ - 62° F, 34% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the north......clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 94° F, but we will not see that high as we roll our wheels this morning for the first time in two months!  On this day in  2017 we were in Lompoc, CA at the Elks Lodge.  We went to the beach that afternoon near Vandenberg AFB......

As of 8 am Saturday the 'flange gasket' for the Leece-Neville gear driven alternator had not been delivered by FedEx, so Glenn and I drove into Wikenburg to the local Napa store to buy gasket material to make our own flange gasket.  We were back a little after 9 am, and I began to make the gasket.....

First I traced out the gasket using the old one, then cut it out

The new flange gasket

 Time to mate the new gasket to the alternator

Applying the high temp gasket material

....once the gasket was made and fitted to the alternator the hard work began.....getting the alternator back in the very tight space.  In the picture above we have finally succeeded in getting the alternator back into the space where it is to be mounted....that took almost an hour.  We used a rope strung over the exhaust manifold to help lift it over the wires in front, but it ultimately took a lot of elbow grease to get that 40 lb. beast over those wires......

.....Glenn worked on one side, while I worked on the other trying to get the alternator lined up with the base, and get the gear drive in sync with the gear inside the mounting base.....

TLE and Laureen provided support....moral and otherwise last, around 3:30 pm the alternator was bolted in, and putting out 12 volts of electricity once again.  Within an hour we rolled the 1984 Newell Classic out of Newell House for the first time in 16 days......

.....once she was out of the way the cleanup of Tom's shop floor began in earnest......

.....and alternator wars, and the Newell Renewal was complete.  There was a lot of blood shed on my part, and many bruises on my forearms from that 5.5 hour effort to wrestle the Leece-Neville back into place.  I knew it would be difficult, but my expectations were exceeded by a factor of 10.  There were many points where both Glenn and I were ready to give up, but each time we came to that point one, or the other of us would encourage the other and we continued until we were successful.  This job was even more difficult than the replacement of the dump valve gaskets, if that is possible.  There are not enough words in the English language to describe the feeling of elation when Laureen fired up the big Detroit Diesel 6v92, and the alternator began to purr like a kitten.....all the pain, frustration, and anguish just melted away.

Just to recap what we accomplished in the last 16 days:

1) Removed and replaced all 8 airbags, and ran new air lines between them
2) Removed and replaced the alternator
3) Fixed the brake, turn signal, and running lights
4) Replaced the backup camera monitor (burned out by power surge)
5) Installed the CB
6) Replaced the fuse in the radio, which had blown (power surge)
7) Replaced a water hose, and coolant reservoir on the Kohler genset
8) Polished the ALCOA wheels
9) Installed a complete 680 watt solar system over three days (which began working as soon as we pulled out of the Newell House!)
10) Removed and replaced the dashboard, and checked all the wiring
11) Removed the old satellite dish, and Winegard over the air batwing
12) Installed the XM Radio antenna
13) Replaced both low beam headlights
14) Fixed the blown LED lights in the salon
15) Determined that the charger/converter/inverter was undamaged by the alternator power surge.
16) Replaced the lower air pressure sensor/sender
17) Eliminated a number of air leaks in the air system

There are probably a couple of things I have forgotten, but you get the picture.....we accomplished a lot, and a lot of labor costs were saved....probably in the neighborhood of $6-7,000. Glenn and Laureen know at lot more about their 1984 Newell Classic, and we all gained a lot of confidence in the knowledge we can fix stuff when it breaks.

With the completion of the alternator installation we are done, and it is time to roll our is now 6:35 am on Sunday morning, and we will be doing just that in about 25 minutes.  The next time you hear from me we will be in Flagstaff, AZ enjoying 70 degree temps for as far as the eye can see.

Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. Heck of a story!! Safe travels!

  2. Hip, Hip Hooray! Glad you guys are finally done and on your way to cooler weather. Excited you guys are on the road again and getting to do it with your brother and sister in law. You guys did a lot of work, saved a lot of money. You all have much to be proud of. Looking forward to hear some fun stories.

  3. Extra credit to you guys for making due and creating your own gasket for the alternator! Good job on the entire upgrade project . . . bummer the new lights never showed up. Hopefully your travels go well and the mechanical troubles are left far behind!


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