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It’s Showtime! Are You Registered? - by ERE Staff
The ERA Expo in Atlanta is only weeks away, and the lineup of seminars and speakers is one of the best ever assembled. Here is the full list of speakers and topics with a brief description of each in the order in which they will be presented
How to Treat or Not Treat Your Customers—Ronnie Charnes, Mike Dietrich and Lynn Gross will share their experience, over 100 years combined, in customer relations. Those who attend may share their own observations or just listen to others.
What I’ve Learned Since I Retired, About Rebuilding, Business and Life—Joe Davis began rebuilding generators and starters working for an Oldsmobile dealership when 1950’s models were still considered new. He operated his own rebuilding business for many years and later presented countless day-long technical seminars for WAI, APRA and ERA. He is back for this show to share some of his wisdom and knowledge.
Flash Reprogramming—Your New Profit Center—Marshall Townsend is the Bosch technical specialist for the southeastern US. If you would like to learn more about using scanning and reprogramming tools, he will answer your questions and explain how modern automotive electronics operate.
How to Price Yourself Into or Out of a Market—Shawn Bray of Romaine Electric will explain how to go about finding that delicate balance in pricing your products for your market. Your bottom line depends heavily on your understanding of this topic. Nobody ever explained it better.
Understanding Battery Technologies and Their Effects on the Charging System—Dan Bell of Whatcom Electric in Bellingham, WA will explain the evolution of battery technology and its relationship to charging systems. All batteries do not charge the same, and rebuilders need to understand the differences, whether they sell them or not ...
Tech Tip: 21SI and 22SI Brush Holders - by Ken Plourde
Corrosion is a big problem in northern states where salt is used on the roads to melt ice in the winter. Brush leads on 21SI and 22SI alternators seem to be particularly susceptible. The salt causes them to corrode away, resulting in alternator failure. The solution to this problem that has worked for me, is to use dielectric grease on the brush leads with these alternators.
The application is easy to do and takes only a minute. Simply put a small amount of dielectric grease between your index finger and thumb, then pinch along the brush lead from one end to the other. This coats the fine strands of copper wire and seals out air and moisture. It works for marine applications, too. We have been doing this for many years and have not had a single unit returned with corroded brush leads since using this procedure. It is an inexpensive and quick method of preventing a warranty return because of a corroded brush lead. ...
21SI and 22SI Alternators: Similar But Different - by Bob Thomas
Delco-Remy 21SI and 22SI alternators have been around for many years, but they look similar enough on the outside that some rebuilders still get them confused or find it difficult to differentiate between them. This article will explain the differences between the two, why the 22SI replaced the 21SI and some common problems that you might encounter rebuilding them (see Figures 1 and 2).
The 21SI was introduced in 1986 to replace the 27SI type 200 on medium duty diesel truck applications. The 22SI was introduced in 1993 to address the early brush failure and performance issues of the 21SI. The 21SI was made for only J-mount applications, but the 22SI was made for both J-mount and pad-mount configurations. Amperage ratings at 12 volts vary from 100 amps to 160 amps. Both offer a wide variety of terminal options to fit almost any application.
Original Delco-Remy 22SI alternators have the raised one-inch characters “22SI” molded on the SRE housing (see Figure 3), but aftermarket SRE housings and alternators do not. The absence of these characters does not mean that the alternator in question is a 21SI. The through bolts are the easiest way to identify these alternators from the outside. The 21SI has 10-24 through bolts, while the 22SI has noticeably larger 6mm metric through bolts (see Figure 4). The DE and SRE frames are not interchangeable between the two alternator types, and neither are the rotors. The 21SI rotor has a slip-ring diameter of 30 mm, while the 22SI has a slip ring diameter of 26.7 mm. However, both series alternators share the same stator dimensions with the CS144.
The 21SI originally used a short SRE roller bearing. It was later revised to a longer bearing (see Figure 5). The SRE housings and rotors were modified at the same time to accommodate the longer roller bearing, so when you are rebuilding a 21 SI, you must be sure that the rotor, the SRE housing and the roller bearing are all matched. Both alternators use a 6305 bearing in the DE housing. The rectifiers are the same dimensions, although there are many different part numbers available (see Figures 6, 7 and 8). The latest versions with press-fit diodes and welded lead-frame connections, are the most robust and long lasting—especially in the high amperage applications. Both alternators use the same SI series regulators. Individual part numbers are dependent upon the application. Either alternator can be one-wire self exciting or three-wire with charge-lamp excitation, using the standard two-wire 10SI plug (see Figures 9 and 10). You can tell them apart by the terminal bridge on the self-exciting regulators.
The two internal component differences that stand out, are the brush holders and the diode trios (see Figures 11) ...
Tech Tip - Valeo Stators: Getting Them Centered - by Bob Thomas
Some Valeo alternators incorporate a design that we will call a “floating stator” for lack of an actual manufacturer’s term. The stators on these alternators are not held in position by fitting tightly into the end frames, as they are on most other alternators. These Valeo stators are held in place by bolts, or in some cases, by a hard rubber compound. All of these stators require exact alignment during unit assembly, and this is a critical part of rebuilding these alternators.
We cannot be sure of the reasoning behind this engineering, but it is certain that failure to keep an even air-gap between the rotor and the stator all the way around, can lead to overheating problems and reduced alternator performance. Merely preventing the rotor and stator from physically touching is not sufficient. The easiest way to properly center these stators before fixing them into position, is by using shims.
Valeo offers a one-piece plastic shim in their hardware package for these alternators, but this long strip is very difficult to position. We prefer cutting ...
Chrysler Charging Problem: Check The Remote Jump Post - by Larry Hagemeister
We recently had a local repair shop ask us to install an external regulator on a 1999 Chrysler 300 that was overcharging. They confirmed that they had checked all of the connections, and the PCM was determined to be causing the overcharging. I told them that they should let me check it out before going to the extreme of installing an external regulator.
What I found was low voltage being sensed by the PCM because of a bad connection at the remote jump post. The remote jump post is the connection point between the battery, the starter and the power distribution center. The loss of voltage was easily located with a volt meter, but it was not obvious until we took the remote jump-post connection apart. On some Chrysler vehicles, this connection point is part of the power distribution center.
The PCM was actually working properly on the Chrysler 300, and proper charging voltage was restored once we cleaned and re-tightened the jump post connection. We have found voltage drops at this connection on several other Chrysler vehicles, most recently on a 2004 Sebring.
Many times, repair shops throw an alternator at a charging problem on a Chrysler, and when that does not fix it, they assume that it is the PCM. Seldom do they check the actual PCM connections. You must check the ground and the power supply to the PCM before condemning it. ...
History Repeats Itself ... Or Some Things Never Change - by ERE Staff
When the ERA website was created, nearly ten years ago, an important part of the site was the Quality Control Forum. It is a place where members can post quality control issues that they have encountered. The purpose of the QC Forum is to warn other rebuilders in advance, of possible troubles with parts failing, so that they might avoid the resulting rebuilding problems. The QC Forum is also used to notify suppliers about problems with parts that they may be selling—parts that may not perform properly—so that those problems can be corrected. The most important purpose of the QC Forum is to improve the overall quality of what we rebuilders sell.
From time to time, we will be publishing some of the posts that have been made on the QC Forum, not to lay blame or point fingers, but to make a contribution towards improving the quality and the reputation of the rebuilding industry.
This post, we are sorry to say, was a case of history repeating itself. Figure 1 is a photo that was recently posted to the QC Forum. It shows a brush holder in a Lester# 5771 starter which was made in China. After a short period of time on the vehicle, the starter was returned with a melted plastic brush holder. One excuse might be that the operator cranked on the engine too long, which may have caused this failure. But we have all seen original starters of this type with brush leads that have been discolored from intense overheating—without ever melting the brush holder. Note that the brush leads of the starter in this photo show no signs of overheating.
Back in 2008, nearly six years ago, this same problem was pointed out by a different ERA member, as shown in the photos below. In this case, the member tested two brush holders with a hot soldering iron. Figure 2 shows the failed ...
Iskra Inductor Capacitor ... Not! - by Bob Thomas
A strange capacitor-looking component that is being mounted on the back of some Iskra/Letrika alternators is not a capacitor at all, in spite of the fact that it is being called that in printed literature. The alternator on which you will find it is Iskra/Letrika 11.203.302 (see Figure 1). This part (see Figure 2) is actually an inductor. We have spoken to a number of rebuilders who have already seen this inductor fail, and when it does, it prevents the alternator from charging. The part number for this inductor alone is 16.911.387. If you order one, the packaging will probably refer to it as a capacitor, because it looks strikingly similar and obviously assumptions were made. The affected applications we are aware of at this time include a variety of Case, New Holland, Ford and International tractors with Perkins engines.
If you look closely, the rating on the inductor in the photo is 20 mH (millihenries), where as capacitance and capacitors are measured in farads. Note the amperage, too. We will get to the importance of that later.
If the electrical component’s name, inductor, seems a little strange to you, it is because inductors are very seldom used in DC circuits, the big exception being ignition coils. However, they are quite common in electronic circuits. In electronics a choke is a version of a passive two-terminal inductor, which is designed specifically for blocking higher frequency alternating current (AC), while allowing lower frequency direct current (DC) to pass. The inductor on this alternator is doing just that. The reason that this inductor is on this alternator lies in the instrument panels of the above mentioned tractors. The inductor is connected in series between the D+ excitation terminal on the alternator (the post just below the inductor in Figure 2) and the wiring harness leading to the charge-indicator lamp, which happens to be a light emitting diode (LED) mounted in a fully electronic instrument panel. LED indicator lamps cannot pass enough current to excite a trio-powered field circuit by themselves. There has to be a resistor in the instrument cluster in parallel with the LED to provide the current required for excitation—about 250 mA (milliamps), which happens to match the amperage rating on the inductor in the photo.
Once excitation takes place, the D+ ...
The Path Of Least Resistance - by Bob Thomas
Human beings, like electric current, follow the path of least resistance. Science tells us that it is part of our DNA blueprint, an attribute that helps us conserve energy—a survival instinct of sorts. Some people will say that we do it to save time, increase production and generate higher profits. Others may just call it plain old laziness. But no matter which idea you believe, it is a human trait that affects us all.
The best rebuilder is a natural born problem solver. A customer drops off a starter, generator, alternator or DC motor that no longer does was it was made to do. A rebuilder takes it apart, figures out why it does not work and how it got that way. Then he cleans it, tests component parts, replaces or repairs those parts that fail the tests or show signs of wear. He re-assembles it and tests the complete unit. Some rebuilders even take the time to explain to their customers why a unit failed and what they might do to make the final product last beyond their expectations. All of that takes time, tools, knowledge and physical labor. Of course rebuilders accomplish all of this as efficiently as they can, hopefully without sacrificing the quality of the original unit.
On occasion, the alternator, starter or DC motor that gets dropped off is destroyed beyond economical rebuilding, or it is very new or very old and requires parts that are not available. Sometimes a customer just requests a spare unit for a backup. He may want it for a critical piece of construction equipment. If he is a sailor, he may be preparing for a long voyage. If good cores are not available to rebuild or salvage for unavailable parts, your choices to make a sale are limited. What do you do?
New units from the original equipment manufacturers have always been available, at least from most of them. They were never cheap, but that was good for our industry. The price of a new unit set a benchmark that allowed for a considerable profit margin in the rebuilt price. Without mentioning any names, at some point, one original equipment manufacturer decided to compete with rebuilders by selling new units at drastically lower prices—directly to those who were the rebuilders’ customers. That is probably when “the gloves came off.” Other original equipment manufacturers lowered their new unit prices to compete. Profit margins on rebuilt units lost ...
Plain Talk: To Strengthen And Preserve - by Rob Buksar
I was recently sent a message from The Exchange newspaper which really had an effect on me. I don’t think that I’d be out of line sharing it with you, so here it is: “Without the dedication of our contributing authors, The Exchange would not be the exceptional publication that it is. We hope that the articles published in 2014 will be found to strengthen and to preserve our industry.” From my perspective, The Exchange has been and continues to be an exceptional publication. Presently, it’s being run by a couple of special guys who clearly have their hearts in it. Yet, even though I understand the intent of their statement, what fun would it be if I couldn’t just throw my two cents in? I suppose a little history would be appropriate here, so let me give it a shot.
Many of us who remain in this business are old-timers. That’s right, we qualify for the senior-citizen discount at Dunkin Donuts. That being the case, most of you remember the days before the global economic system, when GM, Ford and Chrysler were pretty much the only games in town. Furthermore, we were more of a patriotic country. We had a sense of nationalism, community and togetherness that I haven’t seen much of lately. I think that our parents winning WWII might have had something to do with this, but that’s another story. Nevertheless, when we worked together, we did great things, and we all prospered. Also, the bigger guy, in many cases, found that he could further his own interests by helping a smaller guy either to get started or to get bigger.
Back in the day, in the Calumet Region/Chicagoland, we just didn’t have many different franchise fast-food shops. I remember White Castle, a few McDonald’s and maybe a Steak ‘n Shake. Aside from those, there was a whole bunch of independently-owned restaurants and diners, both small and large. In my area, a whole host of these were owned by first and second-generation Greeks. We even had independent coffee and donut shops.
These folks legally immigrated to this country and usually worked for the person who sponsored them, which is where they learned their craft. Maybe after 5 years or so, with a grasp of the language, our economic system and their craft, they then wanted their own piece of the pie—the American dream, “their own business.”
Yet, what was one to do with a ton of desire, a hard-work ethic and know-how but no money? ...
Power Steering Racks: A New Opportunity - by Richard Vensel
Most of the tools and equipment that you need to rebuild a power steering rack and pinion are already in your electrical rebuilding shop. We have found a program that has everything that an electrical rebuilder needs to expand into rebuilding power rack and pinion assembles—including a few special tools, all of the parts and the training. Stop by our booth #106 at the ERA Expo in Atlanta March 21-22 for more information.
Power steering rack and pinion assemblies are being replaced on many vehicles today long before the alternators or starters fail. Generally, this is because the seals are leaking fluid. New seals and mounting bushings can be bought for less than $50 to rebuild a power steering rack and pinion assembly that might sell for $800 new and $350 remanufactured. This is a relatively new rebuilding opportunity. Few businesses are set up to rebuild these on an R&R basis. Any auto repair shop is a potential customer. If you are already selling to auto repair shops, you already have the customer base.
Today, there are over 1,300 different power steering rack and pinion assemblies, and more than 800 of those are for import applications. In many cases, the seal kits are not available from normal suppliers. Our program has developed relationships with suppliers and rebuilders throughout the world. This program has all of the parts you need to rebuild almost any power steering rack. Anyone with a rebuilding shop can get into power steering rack and pinion assemblies for an investment that fits his or her budget. You don’t have to stock inventory unless you want to. Kits are available for specific part numbers that you can buy and have delivered the next day. Training can be fine tuned to fit your needs. Please stop by our booth #106 at the show in Atlanta to discuss this program if you are interested. ...
Tech Tip: Removing Delco-Remy Generator Bushings - by ERE Staff
The best tool to remove a Delco- Remy generator bushing is a simple 5/8-11 tap. It will remove the bushing faster than you can change grippers in your bushing puller. The tap will start easily into the soft bushing material, quickly cutting threads as it goes in. Once the tap bottoms out in the housing, it will push the bushing right out.
Shop Profile A & S Starter Company Omer, MI - by ERE Staff
Sonny Migut, owner of A & S Starter Company, learned to rebuild alternators the hard way. He figured it out himself.
“I got married in 1962 and worked several odd jobs before an automotive parts rebuilding company opened nearby,” Migut recalled. “That was in 1964. They were rebuilding all kinds of auto parts—water pumps, brake shoes, starters and generators. When I applied, they hired me at $1.25 an hour and assigned me to handling cores, where I checked them in and sorted them. And that’s how I learned how to identify all of the cores they rebuilt. Then one day, they took me to a pile of odd looking cores in the corner and said, ‘These are alternators. Nobody here knows anything about them.’ That’s how I got started in rebuilding.” He was promoted to alternator rebuilder on the spot.
When the starter man quit, Migut found himself moved into rebuilding starters. “A few times I got discouraged and quit,” he said, “but I always came back. They had three tractor trailers delivering rebuilt parts and picking up cores. At the peak, we were rebuilding 300 to 400 generators a day. Then, in 1979, they just suddenly closed!”
Out of work, Migut decided to open his own rebuilding business, specializing in electrical only. He chose Omer, MI for the location, a small town on the Rifle River, a few miles from Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron and about 175 miles north of Detroit. “I thought it would be a good location, because there were no other rebuilders nearby.” After 35 years in the same location, that is still the case. With a population of 308, Omer calls itself “The Smallest City in Michigan.”
A & S Starter Company is a three person rebuilding business today, with Sonny, his wife Mary and Danny Raushi. “Danny has been with me for 33 years,” Migut said. “He was 15 years old when he started to work for us.
“All of our business is walk-in. We do a little bit of everything. If it runs on a battery we will rebuild it.” Mary rebuilds most of the alternators, whether they are heavy duty, industrial or automotive. “Our biggest challenge today is trying to keep up with all of the Chinese stuff coming in.” They do this by explaining the advantages of rebuilding the original equipment unit to the customer. “ ...
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