10,000 Monkeys

The operating theory is that 10,000 monkeys, given infinite amount of time randomly punching buttons on a typewriter, would eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare.

A corollary is that one immortal monkey would actually suffice, if the time given is infinite.

Since I have neither immortality or unlimited time working in my favor when trying to make my alternator work properly I really have to maximize the whole “monkey” thing while relying on my inherent stubbornness and doggedness to solve the problem. Without throwing feces at the engine, preferably.

It is now safe to say, with 100% certainty that the dreaded 24 volt alternator dragon has been slain. This weekend we saw consistent charging in ranges over 45 Amps, there was no squealing and every time the engine was running it automagically produced power.

This was, as the title of this implies, through no real brilliance of my own. As reported earlier I was able to tighten the belts and it made power…briefly, then it sputtered out and would not produce any more. I went through all of the diagnostic tests in the manuals for the alternator and the voltage regulator to no avail. I even figured out that I was applying my multi-meter to the wrong end of the leads on the voltage regulator (hence the “0.0 V” readings) and figured out it was OK.

All was well, except no power.

Then I finally tried LAST what I should have tried FIRST, had I not been so wrapped around the axle about something being broken: replacing the belts. Duh. I KNEW the 12V alternator belts needed replacing (as mentioned in my premature crowing of victory post), I was too lazy to do it. And while doing them, doing the 24V belt was a natural since you have to take it off to get to the 12V belts.

It wasn’t until I went to buy more belts that I noticed the old 24V belt was about 2/3 of the width of the new belts. Somewhere in the reptilian recesses of my brain a very dim bulb flickered briefly.

Needless to say, the floppy-can’t-be-tightened alternator ate the belt at an alarming rate and I didn’t think to check something as obvious as that.

In the repair business a “parts monkey” is a derogatory term used on a repair technician that attempts repairs by replacing parts until something works rather than taking the time (or having the knowledge) to properly diagnose and solve the problem. Perhaps on this one I needed to be a bit more in touch with my inner primate.

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