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  1. #1
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    Default Vintage Air Frontrunner 3-wire alternator questions

    I'll be purchasing and installing a Vintage Air Frontrunner system soon for a SBC and would prefer using a 3-wire alternator instead of the 1-wire. This will be an ISIS electrical system with the battery in the trunk. One ISIS Powercell will be mounted on the core support, one inside a custom console near the dash, and one in the trunk. The Powercells act as distribution blocks with built in switching that acts like relays with less resistance.



    I'm looking for advice / answers to the following:

    • Does VA offer a 3-wire alternator option?
    • If not, are there aftermarket 3-wire alternators I can easily use in place of the VA one?
    • Can I run the voltage sense wire all the way back to the battery in the trunk without issues? I want to do this because with ISIS I won't likely be using a power distribution block in the engine compartment, and therefore my battery, or a distribution block next to it, will serve to distribute power.

    Why use a 3-wire alternator? It seems to me the advice on Mad Electrical's website is sound, where the 3-wire alternator will help maintain a higher voltage in the entire system, justifying the extra labor required to install it.
    Last edited by Turbo67camaro; 09-10-2010 at 02:44 PM. Reason: Add info on location of Powercells
    Mike


  2. #2
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    You are going to want to run a power dist. block somewhere underhood or else your voltage drop will be very high. I am not sure why VA wouldn't offer a 3-wire alternator. imo the biggest reason they offer the 1-wires in their kits is for the street rod crowd that rarely sees any real world driving....therefore 60 amps @ idle is all they need.
    "...if at first you don't succeed, try again.
    If you still don't succeed, then quit-no sense being a damn fool about it..."
    -W.C. Fields

    HARNESSWORX

  3. #3
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    In my original post I should have mentioned that I'll have one ISIS Powercell on the core support, one inside a custom console near the dash, and one inside the trunk. The Powercells act as distribution blocks with built in switching that acts like relays but with less resistance than a relay.

    That said, I don't know what my voltage will be coming out of the Powercell on the core support. I could test that easily now with a battery, but a better test would be with an alternator attached (one that I don't have yet) that is sensing voltage back in the trunk at the battery. In that case, I assume that voltage in the whole system would increase with the output from the alternator added. Granted, some voltage loss then occurs for the power to get from the trunk back to the core support Powercell.

    Would the voltage loss (delta) from the trunk to front Powercell be the same with or without the alternator in place? For example, with only a battery, if I get 12V at the battery, and 11.5V at the front Powercell, there is a .5V loss. With an alternator in place, assume it raises the voltage in the trunk to 13.7V, should I then expect 13.2V at the front Powercell (i.e. same voltage loss)?

    If I can expect the same voltage loss either way, I should be able to test it without the alternator and get a pretty close estimate as to what my voltage will be at the front Powercell.
    Mike

  4. #4
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    Default

    I had different terminations on power sources on my car from the battery. I also had a #8 wire from the alternator to the battery. I also have the 3 wire alternator and it would not work correctly. My battery voltage would go down as the day got longer. I went to Mad Electric and did some reading on alternators and voltage sensing. I ended up rewiring my car like the factory recommended and it cured my problem. Here is the write up from Mad Electric.

    http://www.madelectrical.com/electri...esensing.shtml
    Mike
    69 camaro, 502 w/8-71 blower, street car
    http://s268.photobucket.com/home/pro...69camaro/index

  5. #5
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    Default VA alternator

    I have a Vintige air Front Runner LS on my LSX 454. They use Tuff Stuff alternators. I have about 5k miles on the car and the altinator on the car now is #4.
    Vintage air has been great about sending me new a new one every time I call there very nice.

    I have twin spal fans pulling about 36 amps, fuel pump, ignition etc' totalling about negitive 4 amps out of the altinator at idle with the head lights on I cruising at about 2300 RPM kills the battery in about 30 minutes. The altinator just dosent put out enough amperage and even if it did I cant get more than about 1000 miles out of one. they just dont live.
    I logged on today to post the same question at this point I need a better altinator or some kind of a solution or I will have to scrap the Front runner and buy something else.
    Please comment if you have any ideas.
    Oh ya and I hoped to use my 400 amp audio system some day at this point know way that kills the battery even faster.
    Thanks
    Keith

  6. #6
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    Hey! No thread hi-jackers allowed!!

    "...if at first you don't succeed, try again.
    If you still don't succeed, then quit-no sense being a damn fool about it..."
    -W.C. Fields

    HARNESSWORX

  7. #7
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    Your remote voltage sensing lead needs to terminate on a dist block from which all of your other accessories derive voltage from...that way, the alt. can instantly adjust system voltage accordingly. You do not need the sensing lead going all the way to the batt in the trunk...it just stores voltage-it's not designed to supply it at least not continuously anyway so no, run your remote sensing somewhere underhood. As for what size charge lead to run to the trunk, I would suggest 0-gauge wire to your batt. I have a schematic of a car I did recently which utilized a resetable 150-amp circuit breaker, a power dit. block and a trunk mounted battery as well. I had to integrate a battery cut-off switch and auto-shut down/anti-theft features but that's mainly a drag race scenario. I can send you a copy of my wiring diagram if you want an idea on building a harness like that one. Oh yeah, to keep things tidy I used a 4th gen. Camaro fuse/relay dist. block also. It's easier to look at a wiring diagram and make sense of it rather than trying to explain it all.
    "...if at first you don't succeed, try again.
    If you still don't succeed, then quit-no sense being a damn fool about it..."
    -W.C. Fields

    HARNESSWORX

  8. #8
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    Yes there are replacment alternators that fit the VA Front Runner and yes you can get a 3 wire through us, we will just swap it out.

  9. #9
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    Default upgrade

    Sorry I wasn't trying to hi-jack your thread. I thought my reply was pertinent to your original question. Since all already have one. I wish I would have thought about needing more amperage in a fuel injected, PCM, large cooling system etc etc application versus an old school build.

    Prodigycustoms if you donít mind me asking. What would you suggest I and H2oGbodys swap out our 140 amp tuff stuff alternator that came with my Front runner LS with I would love to purchase one ASAP. Like I said I would also like run a high power audio system as well.
    H20Gbodys I hope my questions help your build as well. If not Iím sorry if I was a Jack wagon. LOL
    Thanks for the help
    Keith

  10. #10
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    Keith, we have had really good luck with Power Master standing up to the task. They only make 140amps but seem to really make 140amps.

  11. #11
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    I don't have the Vintage Air setup, but I've been running a 3 wire Powermaster 140 amp alternator for 5-ish years. Thing is a beast, I get a solid 16-17 volts at idle, and still 14-15 with lights and stereo on.
    Matt

    69 Nova - 357, TKO600, Tru Turn, some other stuff, awaiting LS1 swap
    71 Duster - all stock, slant 6, automatic. awaiting HEMI/T56 swap

  12. #12
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    If I can get a powermast 3 wire that is clocked properly and has a side post and case size is ok I think I'm going to try that how meny miles have you put on the beast in the last 5 years?

    Thanks again

  13. #13
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    I put it in when I still had an automatic transmission. Somewhere along the line I converted the car to a 5 speed and I have about 16,000 miles since then. So at least around 20,000 miles on it with no problems. I'm also running a Taurus electric fan, and I've never had a problem with the alternator handling the power demand.
    Matt

    69 Nova - 357, TKO600, Tru Turn, some other stuff, awaiting LS1 swap
    71 Duster - all stock, slant 6, automatic. awaiting HEMI/T56 swap

  14. #14
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    lol...no, I was just trying to help too. I am not a fan of VA accessory stuff only because I would rather retro-fit OEM accessories for a factory appearance-it just seems like a more sanitary install but that's just my opinion. For me to get into Tuff Stuff alts I would want to compare regulator voltage window times, etc. GM stuff is time tested and durable...aftermarket I am suspicious of long term.
    "...if at first you don't succeed, try again.
    If you still don't succeed, then quit-no sense being a damn fool about it..."
    -W.C. Fields

    HARNESSWORX

  15. #15
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    I agree 100% OEM all the way. I'm new to the after market deal. I'm learning the hard way.

  16. #16
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    You can get a 140 amp side post CS130 alternator that is a 3 wire setup that fits the Front Runner.

    Power Master 47461

    I will be ordering one on Monday.
    Larry Callahan
    Founder/Administrator of Pro-Touring.com & G-Machines.com
    To advertise on Pro-Touring.com click here



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