Rant - Lucas Prince of Darkness (long) - Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2002, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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Rant - Lucas Prince of Darkness (long)

Or How to Turn a Good Running Rover Into a Garage Ornament

Have a Series 2A, '64. Generator started squealing like Ned Beatty in Deliverance. Bad analogy I know. So, thinks I, instead of shelling out big $ for an impossible to find if it goes out on the road part I'll do the nifty alternator conversion that I've read about on the net. I'll save some $ and have a part that I can find in any auto parts house anywhere if I should need one. Can't lose on this deal right? In fact I already have a 3 wire Delco alt in my garage just waiting for something to do.

So armed with instructions off the net, my alternator, some tools, and my mechanical skills (this should scare you really) I set out to do the deed. Those of you who posess superior Rover knowledge are already anticipating my first SNAFU. But, I was smart enough to do the positive to negative conversion before pulling the generator, dynamo if we're going to be bloody proper. So with relative ease, relative mind you, I get the dynamo out, modify the mounting brackets, and get the alt solidly mounted in just a couple of hours. Record time for me and I'm thinking that this isn't going to be too bad. So on to the wiring, what could be simpler? Using the instructions posted by Christopher D. I build a harness and install it.

To be absolutely clear on something very important here. The partial names I use here may or may not be factual. Irregardless this is in NO WAY a criticism of the people who put this info up on the net. I am sure that this info has helped many Rover owners accomplish this modification. Many modestly skilled shade tree mechanics would knock this out and drink a barleypop to celebrate in the time it takes me to disconnect the battery. Being the highly unskilled and immensely untalented mechanic that I am, I can probably butcher the best of instructions. Case in point.

So with the harness installed to the best of my ability I am ready to fire the Queen Mother up. That's my euphenism for my Rover. So I turn the ignition, push the starter, and...
nothing. Well not nothing really, the QM turns over but does not fire up and run. Must have missed something, go back and step through it all to see where I messed up. All looks good to me, step for step looks spot on. Well it didn't take too long to do the first time, I'm missing something somewhere, I'll make another harness and repeat the process and correct my oversight.

So the 2nd harness goes on, with scrupulous attention to detail and I turn the ignition, hit the starter and...
same result, cranks but doesn't fire. OK, step away from the Rover. Think, it has to be something simple. Air, fuel, spark is all an internal combustion engine needs to run right? Check the basics. Well the air cleaner isn't immaculate but it looks OK, and I can just pull it off to ensure that air flow is not an issue. Pull the gas line off the carb and stick the end in a coke bottle, turn the motor over and have plenty of gas flowing. So I think air and fuel are adequate let's check spark. Disconnect the coil wire from the distributor and crank the motor and...
no spark. Aha! Suspect a bad coil, the one on the Queen looks like original equipment. So on goes a new coil, jump behind the wheel, cue the ignition, hit the starter, and...
2.25 liters of boat anchor. I'm still missing something in the wiring of things and that must be why there is no spark. Go back to square one, do not pass go, do not collect $200, and redo the wiring.

3rd harness goes on with extra scrupulous attention to detailed instructions. Hop in the QM, ignition, starter, and...
still don't run. Situation has upgraded from SNAFU to TARFU. Truly puzzled, need to re-evaluate my plan here.

I should mention that this all unfolds over several weeks, working on the QM a few hours at a time as my schedule and frustration level allow. So in between actual wrench time I'm surfing the net for more information, communicating with my untalented less than I friends, who can trouble shoot and suggest alternatives such as "sell it to me I'll give you $700 for it," or try sacrificing a live chicken maybe. Appreciative of all this support I come across another, looks to me more involved, set of instructions for an alternator conversion by Alan R. Maybe that's made up, maybe it isn't. The name not the other set of instructions. Being more complicated has to be better right? Example: the US space program is way better than what was the Soviet space program. We spent big $ developing the "space pen" that had a pressurized ink cartridge so that our astronauts could write in zero gravity while in space. Superior technology. What was the Soviet solution to this problem? They gave the cosmonauts pencils. You bet no cheapo #2 lead for me I'm a space pen kind of guy. (ha space pen kind of guy with a "64 Rover, that's an oxymoron) Complicated = superior. Forget that a pencil works in zero G. I'm armed with a better mouse trap and I'm going to use it.

So out comes harness #3 and in goes the 4th set up. Jump in the Queen Mutha turn the ignition, hit the starter, and...
crank, crank, crank, no purr of an engine running smoothly. This is getting personal now, off come the gloves, I'm not fooling around anymore, I'm going to have to borrow some tools more advanced than wrenches and wire cutters, superior technology, and really try to figure this out. So I borrow a volt meter. Test the coil 2 ways, for resistance and continuity if I remember what I read as I was learning to do this. Coil checks out OK. So does the older than dirt coil I took off. Coil wire to the distributor becomes suspect at this point. Nope it checks out. Pull the dist cap and things look so-so. Having a new condensor, rotor and points I switch this all out, gap the points to .015. Rig a 12v power lead to bypass the lead to the coil in case it's the culprit. Dread climbing in to the driver's seat to turn the ignition but do it anyway, hit the starter, and...
as far as I'm concerned the situation has now reached FUBAR status. I've skimmed over a bunch of stuff in telling this, I've checked motor ground, pulled the dist, tried to understand Rover wiring using the factory manuals, just about exhausted my limited repetoire of alternatives.

So, if you read thru all of this and found some amusement in it good. It's been therapeutic for me. The Mutha sits unmoved in the garage awaiting the next round. If you have an idea as to how to solve my problem please post, and no the chicken thing didn't work.

Jeff
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2002, 11:50 AM
 
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Re: Rant - Lucas Prince of Darkness (long)

umm - if you've skipped a few its, maybe this has already been covered, btu did you smell gas at teh tailpipe, too? just cause gas is gettign 'to' the carb doesnt necessarilly mean its getting INTO the carb, or through the jets. I had an 80" do pretty much what you're describing - turned out a bunch of C**P had come down from the tank, and that, plus old gas had sealed, and varnished the jets, and float up quite thoroughly.

also - have you actually pulled a plug, and with the plug grounded to the block checked for spark? Ignition timing?

chris
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2002, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Rant - Lucas Prince of Darkness (long)

w4x4, thanks for the reply. Never even thought about gas getting to the carb and not thru it. I'll check your suggestion. Didn't pull a plug wire to check for spark, pulled the high tension wire between the coil and distributor to check for spark. Didn't have any. A couple of other folks I talked to suggest a ground problem in the dist, bad points and/or condenser. I'll be checking that too.

Jeff
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2002, 04:44 PM
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Re: Rant - Lucas Prince of Darkness (long)

First of all, you had me in stitches [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] Secondly, explain those abbreviations to me (the capitalized ones) so I can die of laughter... I am sure they have got a funny meaning... QM?? Bwahahahahaha....

Hmmm, this is weird, but then again I am not familiar with this conversion. Jeff, have you checked this site? <a target="_blank" href=http://www.fourfold.org/LR_FAQ/Series/FAQ.S.alt_alternators.html>http://www.fourfold.org/LR_FAQ/Series/FAQ.S.alt_alternators.html</a>

I'll have a word with my mate tomorrow. I am sure this is quite a common conversion over here in the U.K.

Laters...
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2002, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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You asked for it

R-
SNAFU - Situation Normal All F**ked Up, the way I typically exist in life
TARFU - Things Are Really F**ked Up, an upgrade from SNAFU
FUBAR - F**ked Up Beyond All Recognition, upgrade from TARFU, commonly used to describe the state of my drinking buddies

Jeff

Oh yeah, I'll check out the link too.
Checked out the link, hmmm Alan R., sounds familiar. (nod nod, wink wink)
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2002, 08:09 AM
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Re: You asked for it

Ok, sorry I missed the Alan R. bit [img]images/icons/crazy.gif[/img]

Anyway, I spoke to my mate and he says it is a simple conversion and very common. There should be no reason why it doesn't work. Change to negative earth, bypass the old control box and wire up the new alternator. Now here he mentioned something that you might have overlooked: Did you switch the pos and neg leads to the coil?? Since you are now neg earth instead of pos, the coil wires should be switched too.... Just a stab in the dark, but sometimes you've been working on the same thing for such a long time that you overlook the plain obvious [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2002, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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Re: You asked for it

Rene-
Done, done and done. Yeah, switched them. Tried them both ways. I'm under the impression that even if you have them switched improperly the vehicle will probably still run. Maybe not well. The wrong way reduces the output of the coil but it still puts out. Talking to a guy from a Spitfire bbs, and Heile who is the guy that will be looking at it tomorrow, they both seem to think it's a problem with a bad ground in the distributor. Points, condensor or some such. I put in a new rotor, points and condensor in my travails working on it but it didn't seem to make any difference. I feel like it is something really simple, like you say overlooking the plainly obvious.

Jeff
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2002, 08:28 AM
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Re: You asked for it

I asked my mate to drop by on this post and have a look to see if he can spot a mistake.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-11-2002, 04:02 AM
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Re: You asked for it

Jeff,

Here a reply from my mate. I don't know if it helps any, but here goes:

Hey, even if I can't spot the problem, it made me laugh!

The most obvious question to ask is, did the Queen Mutha actually run before
the conversion was carried out - could he be looking for a fault that exists
somewhere else.

Really silly idea - How long since the vehicle was last run? has the petrol
gone off or been contaminated maybe?

These seem unlikely as the suggestion is that there is no spark! By taking
off the dynamo has the earth strap been disconnected? If I remember
correctly there should be two earth straps - one from the starter motor bolt
and one from the gear box. Both go to a chassis bolt. If these are missing,
then no spark at the plugs - try a jump lead directly from battery ground
to a suitable bolt on the engine.

I would assume that this is not the case as the starter motor works, but
hey, its worth a try.

Simply hot wire the vehicle by putting a suitable wire from battery supply to
corrdect side of coil - should have spark on crank.

If condenser and points have been replaced, have they been put together with
the insulation in the correct places (i.e the little plastic washer thing).

Its nearly midnight and I have had a bottle of white wine, so these are my
first rambling thoughts. Your mate may well have fixed it by now, but his
vivid tale deserved a reply.

Regards,

Gary. (he too of Land Rover Country - and loving it, loving it, loving
it!!!!)
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2006, 02:15 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Rant - Lucas Prince of Darkness (long)

Update to this long , sad tale...

Well it's hard to believe/admit that it's taken me this long to fix this little mess but the Queen Mother is finally running again. Turns out it was a problem with the distributor ground internally. The key to solving this enigma came from a website I stumbled upon, bayourovers.com. Under the "Bulletproof Points" page on this site was the description of , solution to and general how to instructions to solve the problem my truck had. Thanks to Jim for posting a great site with real world experience and information. If you haven't already you should check out this site. The Queen Mutha should be on the road again by the end of the month, I need to bleed the brakes and do some general maintenance since HRH has been sitting in the garage for over 3 years now. Thanks to those who felt my pain and tried to help solve the problem, I'll hoist a stout to you in gratitude.

Jeff
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