~180ish amp Alternator Options - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
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Old 05-18-2019, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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~180ish amp Alternator Options

Hey all, I tried scouring the site yesterday and today, but I'm trying to find options for slightly upgraded alternators that aren't insanely (if appropriately) expensive.

As much as I WISH I could get the Rugged Rocks or Mean Green alternators I'm not sure I can convince my partner that dropping that much is necessary.

Why do I need a better alternator? AGM batteries. I've considered pulling off the VVC, but in all my research on this forum I've seen highly variable ideas about the impact of this. Some indicate no impact, others have mentioned CELs and other potential issues. Others say it's unnecessary, that the regulator in the alternator is good enough. A number of people here and on the frontier forums have successfully unplugged the VVC and run 1/0 wiring and achieved ~14.1 float which is optimal for the AGMs. Those with the VVC intact and 1/0 wire still only see about 13.6-13.8 which isn't quite enough for full charge.

So, I'm thinking a mildly more powerful alternator ~180 amps would do the trick. I tried looking around last night, but couldn't find an upgraded alternator for us that is less than $400. Do you know of one? Is that just standard for the materials? Other options for increasing output? Did anyone ever ask a Nissan tech about adjusting the set point? (I saw a mention about that on a related thread).

I don't plan on doing any muddy overlanding, so it doesn't need to be dunkable, but decent quality would be nice. If it's better for me to just save for a few months to afford RR or MG, I suppose I'll do that, but I also don't want to damage my batteries with improper charging.

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Old 05-18-2019, 04:48 PM
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More amperage won't change the voltage at charge - unless you disconnect the VVC. ie you can have all the current in the world, but its still behind the smart charging system - it isn't going to charge the way you want. So your going to need to get rid of that either way.

So why don't you just disconnect the smart charging system - I think its only 1 or 2 wires - and see how it works for you rather than relying on what others have written on the interweb. If you don't like it, you can always hook it back up?
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Old 05-18-2019, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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So why don't you just disconnect the smart charging system - I think its only 1 or 2 wires - and see how it works for you rather than relying on what others have written on the interweb. If you don't like it, you can always hook it back up?
Fair enough...I think I'm trying to make sure I don't screw up my electronics. As for disconnecting I'm pretty confident it's just the harness. But thanks for the input.

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Old 05-18-2019, 10:15 PM
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My AGM on stock alternator is ~6 years old and going strong
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Old 05-19-2019, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Taylor Spaulding View Post
Hey all, I tried scouring the site yesterday and today, but I'm trying to find options for slightly upgraded alternators that aren't insanely (if appropriately) expensive.

As much as I WISH I could get the Rugged Rocks or Mean Green alternators I'm not sure I can convince my partner that dropping that much is necessary.

Why do I need a better alternator? AGM batteries. I've considered pulling off the VVC, but in all my research on this forum I've seen highly variable ideas about the impact of this. Some indicate no impact, others have mentioned CELs and other potential issues. Others say it's unnecessary, that the regulator in the alternator is good enough. A number of people here and on the frontier forums have successfully unplugged the VVC and run 1/0 wiring and achieved ~14.1 float which is optimal for the AGMs. Those with the VVC intact and 1/0 wire still only see about 13.6-13.8 which isn't quite enough for full charge.

So, I'm thinking a mildly more powerful alternator ~180 amps would do the trick. I tried looking around last night, but couldn't find an upgraded alternator for us that is less than $400. Do you know of one? Is that just standard for the materials? Other options for increasing output? Did anyone ever ask a Nissan tech about adjusting the set point? (I saw a mention about that on a related thread).

I don't plan on doing any muddy overlanding, so it doesn't need to be dunkable, but decent quality would be nice. If it's better for me to just save for a few months to afford RR or MG, I suppose I'll do that, but I also don't want to damage my batteries with improper charging.
You are right that you need higher voltage to fully recharge the AGM and get the most out of it. I was in the same boat as you.

My AGM was $300, RR is asking $470 for the alternator, so that's $770 total for both. How much is a new OEM alternator ($250 ish) and how old (mileage) is your current one? If the worst happens you will spend $550 to replace your alternator and AGM battery (assuming is dies prematurely due to low voltage). You still have the problem with the charging on the AGM but it might last you a few more years. For the sake of argument, let's say that's 5 years total. So $550 over 5 years isn't that bad.

So $770 - $550 = $220. Is a $220 difference worth it over a 5 year period? Only you can answer this. It might also be less since you may not even need a new AGM, but IMO if you plan on keeping the vehicle and the mileage is getting up there, $220 is worth the peace of mind of reliability and better charging.


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Old 05-19-2019, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 545 View Post
My AGM on stock alternator is ~6 years old and going strong
Did you leave the VVC or remove it? Do you discharge it ever?

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Originally Posted by PhullD View Post
and how old (mileage) is your current one?
Its almost 100k. Honestly I don't have any reason to believe the alternator is going bad or will go bad soon...which is half the problem, I'm having a hard time justifying the new alternator since it is only to maintain the AGMs. I'm interested to see whether 545 removed his VVC or not, and how much he discharges it. If I remember correctly most people are seeing a 3-5yr lifespan on Odyssey AGMs with stock alternator, which makes his a unicorn.

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Old 05-19-2019, 07:40 AM
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I did nothing other than install it

Sears platinum AGM, November of 2011, I just checked.

I do not truly discharge it ever, I just got a winch last month.

My plan is to upgrade alternator to rugged rocks 230 and new battery and all cables sometime this year, just cause I want to
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Old 05-19-2019, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Taylor Spaulding View Post
Did you leave the VVC or remove it? Do you discharge it ever?



Its almost 100k. Honestly I don't have any reason to believe the alternator is going bad or will go bad soon...which is half the problem, I'm having a hard time justifying the new alternator since it is only to maintain the AGMs.
There is your answer then, just see what kind of life you can get out of it as is.


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Old 05-19-2019, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylor Spaulding View Post
Did you leave the VVC or remove it? Do you discharge it ever?



Its almost 100k. Honestly I don't have any reason to believe the alternator is going bad or will go bad soon...which is half the problem, I'm having a hard time justifying the new alternator since it is only to maintain the AGMs. I'm interested to see whether 545 removed his VVC or not, and how much he discharges it. If I remember correctly most people are seeing a 3-5yr lifespan on Odyssey AGMs with stock alternator, which makes his a unicorn.
I believe most running AGM's them top them off with a battery tender type charger. In fact most install them permanently so they can simply plug them in on occasion when its convenient. There are several threads on this board about that if you do some digging.
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Old 05-19-2019, 04:15 PM
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AGM battery (Die Hard when they were made by Oddessey) lasted 7 years in AZ. Normally batteries will call it quits after 2-3 years in this enviroment. Factory was less than 9 months. The 7 year changes was due to a slow crank one winter morning and thinking that it is 7 years old and I got more than my money out of it. Change it at my discression and not when I am forced to. Stock charging system.

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