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Old 03-13-2012, 06:35 PM   #1
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Mud in Alternator....HELP!!

Hey guys, when I was in Alabama, my cousin and I took my '12 off road, and hit a couple muddy spots. Now, I have a horrible whining in my alternator. Sounds like a jet engine getting ready to take off. I went to the dealer, he said the alternator would be covered under warranty if I could get the mud out of it. By the way, its just shy of $700 for a new one if it's not covered. He tested it while I was there, and it's still working properly, no loss of electrical power coming out of it (I'm a mechanic, not an electrician ), so I don't need a new alternator, but I have a brand new Jeep, and it's damn embarrassing to have it whining like that!! Anyone had the same issue, and know how to fix it? Thanks!!

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Old 03-13-2012, 07:11 PM   #2
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When the mud drys, carefully clean it out. I'm thinking the noise would be coming from the pulley area.

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Old 03-13-2012, 07:53 PM   #3
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When the mud drys, carefully clean it out. I'm thinking the noise would be coming from the pulley area.
I thought they are mounted backwards on the 2012 to prevent debris and water from getting in. I would try some electrical contact cleaner and spray it in with a plastic nozel. Might have to take it apart. I think it's going to fail prematurely for sure if you don't address it. If it hasn't dried out in a short time span I doubt it will get better on it's own. Clean it out and if its still noisy you might want to take it to a different dealer.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:58 PM   #4
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I think I'd be careful about taking it apart it might void the warranty. But the contact cleaner might work. If it got in the bearings that would explain the noise and, a fail is in your near future.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:07 PM   #5
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Hey guys, when I was in Alabama, my cousin and I took my '12 off road, and hit a couple muddy spots. Now, I have a horrible whining in my alternator. Sounds like a jet engine getting ready to take off. I went to the dealer, he said the alternator would be covered under warranty if I could get the mud out of it. By the way, its just shy of $700 for a new one if it's not covered. He tested it while I was there, and it's still working properly, no loss of electrical power coming out of it (I'm a mechanic, not an electrician ), so I don't need a new alternator, but I have a brand new Jeep, and it's damn embarrassing to have it whining like that!! Anyone had the same issue, and know how to fix it? Thanks!!
Someone tell me why a powerwasher isn't a good idea here? Clean the living daylights out of it. Let it dry completely, maybe hit it with air compressor to help this process. If something fails, they already told you they would replace it if it wasn't full of mud.........

-Hammer
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:11 PM   #6
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Someone tell me why a powerwasher isn't a good idea here? Clean the living daylights out of it. Let it dry completely, maybe hit it with air compressor to help this process. If something fails, they already told you they would replace it if it wasn't full of mud.........

-Hammer
I was thinking exactly the same thing, but it seemed a little shady to actually type it
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:18 PM   #7
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Someone tell me why a powerwasher isn't a good idea here? Clean the living daylights out of it. Let it dry completely, maybe hit it with air compressor to help this process. If something fails, they already told you they would replace it if it wasn't full of mud.........

-Hammer
Ive been washing my motors for YEARS, alternator and all, without any issues. Alternators get wet all the time, as long as they are not submerged, they are fine. Hose it off. You will never get the mud out otherwise.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:50 PM   #8
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Thanks guys, I'll power wash the hell out of it and take it to a different dealer, let Chrysler but me a new one. Thanks!
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:56 PM   #9
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Thanks guys, I'll power wash the hell out of it and take it to a different dealer, let Chrysler but me a new one. Thanks!
Actually, I wouldn't. A powerwasher may dislodge solder and connections. I would run the hose without a nozzle (maximum water to liquify the mud) then a medium stream to rinse. Repeat until water runs 100% clean. Close hood, and let truck run and get hot under the hood. After you run it hot for a few minutes, let it cool. Then, spray some under hood dressing (CD2 Engine detailer is the best) to "grease" the parts. Let it set, and you should be golden.
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:12 AM   #10
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Alright than, I can try that first, maybe save me a trip to the dealership. Thanks
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:16 AM   #11
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Just as a precaution, unhook the negative battery cable before hosing out. Reconnect once the alternator drys out.
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:32 AM   #12
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Could not help but chime in here...... I have been in the "electrical field" for 35+ years and there is no issue with hosing out your alternator, even when running. It happens perpetually when you are driving in the rain.

I would not reccomend hitting it with a power washer directly, due to possibly dislodging windings or other components.

If it were MY alternator, I would remove it from the vehicle, put it through a couple of cycles in my dishwasher after a good "presoak" in a bucket with some car wash detergent. This will allow the mud to re-liquify. After removing from the dishwasher, you can let it set to dry for a couple of days, or set it in your oven with the oven set on "warm" (190) degrees for a few hours. DO NOT use a microwave (sorry just had to say that).

If you are thinking "this guy is an idiot" yet..... we used to do this ALL THE TIME with computer boards, keyboards, and all the other components from machine tool electronics to get rid of rat and mice excrement.... which sticks ALOT harder than mud.... when dried........the secret is.... washing AND drying......
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:41 AM   #13
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Actually, I wouldn't. A powerwasher may dislodge solder and connections. I would run the hose without a nozzle (maximum water to liquify the mud) then a medium stream to rinse. Repeat until water runs 100% clean. Close hood, and let truck run and get hot under the hood. After you run it hot for a few minutes, let it cool. Then, spray some under hood dressing (CD2 Engine detailer is the best) to "grease" the parts. Let it set, and you should be golden.
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I would not reccomend hitting it with a power washer directly, due to possibly dislodging windings or other components.

the secret is.... washing AND drying......
yep... not to mention a power washer is going to force water where water is not supposed to be like into BEARINGS. it's best to just use a garden hose, power washing can destroy bearings... especially when you blast an area... and you hold the power washer to "really hit it hard"

just my 0.02...
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:28 AM   #14
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Just a quick chime in - you CAN use a powerwasher "delicately" you guys know, right? No need to put the highest pressure tip 2 inches from whatever you are cleaning............just sayin'. I wouldn't put high pressure on the bearing sleeves, etc - that's common sense. Yes, the water can actually displace the grease. I wouldn't worry about it on the windings, but I would be careful around the connections, where it can be broken loose......

-Hammer
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:37 AM   #15
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Power washer is fine...Just Co-signing
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:14 PM   #16
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Just a quick chime in - you CAN use a powerwasher "delicately" you guys know, right?
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Power washer is fine...Just Co-signing
let me rephrase, you're both right. power washing is fine... BUT there are folks out there that never realized holding a power washer over something mechanical 4" away is a bad thing. and you know those folks are out there...

that's the point i was trying to make...

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Old 03-14-2012, 12:51 PM   #17
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Just drive slowly through 4ft of water. Its all good.
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Old 03-14-2012, 03:27 PM   #18
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let me rephrase, you're both right. power washing is fine... BUT there are folks out there that never realized holding a power washer over something mechanical 4" away is a bad thing. and you know those folks are out there...

that's the point i was trying to make...

-bob
Agreed. Most people use their powerwasher as if they are trying to write their name in concrete with a 0 tip. When it come to mud though, the quantity of water will be the factor, and a running hose with no nozzle will deliver maximum water with minimal force. I stand by that, unless he want's to do the dishwasher thing.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:23 PM   #19
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let me rephrase, you're both right. power washing is fine... BUT there are folks out there that never realized holding a power washer over something mechanical 4" away is a bad thing. and you know those folks are out there...

that's the point i was trying to make...

-bob
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Agreed. Most people use their powerwasher as if they are trying to write their name in concrete with a 0 tip. When it come to mud though, the quantity of water will be the factor, and a running hose with no nozzle will deliver maximum water with minimal force. I stand by that, unless he want's to do the dishwasher thing.
I second these motions.
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:08 AM   #20
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Wouldnt a $4 can of Alternator cleaner do the trick?
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:56 PM   #21
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Sorry to dig up an old thread but was there ever any update to this? i have the "whine" noise after my last trip through the mud (see avatar picture). Going to hit it with the hose tomorrow and see if that gets rid of the noise.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:17 PM   #22
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Same story applies. You need to liquefy the mud, have it drained (max water minimum force), rinse it again, run motor, dry it, dress/grease it with engine detailer. If problem persists, something may be damaged.
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:58 PM   #23
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yeah.. hosed it out before and will do it again tomorrow. I want to see if it's possibly an idler pulley making the noise. It got dark before I had enough time to do a full inspection
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:17 AM   #24
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ilikeguns - did you find a resource/link on the web to help you remove the alternator? I am in the same situation almost to a "t".

I may have to remove my tensioner too - when I click on Youtube videos/ google this - this site comes up often on the older JK's/TJ's but no link to "how to do it" on the 3.6.

ps: is it possible to remove bearings from the alternator and replace just those to (hopefully) prevent a grenading of the alt?
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:29 PM   #25
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The missus hits the mud like it's going to be gone soon. Here rig and mine. Nothing happened to the alternator. The idler pulleys are a different story. They last maybe a couple of months and whine like a big baby before replacing them. I have friends with '12s and the 3.6l has the same issue.

Bob K.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:02 PM   #26
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The missus hits the mud like it's going to be gone soon. Here rig and mine. Nothing happened to the alternator. The idler pulleys are a different story. They last maybe a couple of months and whine like a big baby before replacing them. I have friends with '12s and the 3.6l has the same issue.

Bob K.
Hey Bob,

Idler pulleys were replaced, noise still remains. Vehicle is under 10K miles, '12 Rubi.

Stealer says that the because of mud on the vehicle he wont replace under warranty. And by mud, there was a piece of mud the size of your small fingernail on the rim, and dust in the battery compartment, etc. There are scrapes on the fuel tank skid and thats his big proof that the vehicle has been "off-roaded".

I have phoned a bunch of places today (and googled a storm), and no one has replacement alternators for the 12/13 JK's. The stealership does of course, but at $550 odd I am finding that hard to swallow. He also recommends doing the tensioner, but at 380 odd, its a hard pill too.

I am inclined to put in an alternator from a crashed cars junk yard, because they are $30 all in. Are you familiar with which alternator would fit in the '12 JK? Googling is proving pretty fruitless right now.
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Old 07-04-2013, 04:07 PM   #27
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I took one apart on my '07. It's a typical setup. Brass bushing in the back. The 3.6L is a bit gray with me. If the 3.8L unit fits, they are plentiful. Have a parts place check their part numbers for 07 and 12. See if they are different.

Bob K.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:07 AM   #28
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Thanks Bob - I got it all done - pretty simple really, but noticed that the alternator battery was squeaking a bit. Also noticed that the tensioner pulley bearing was also slightly rough.

Very easy to turn - both of them - but not smooth as I know bearings can be.

Tried to remove the tensioner bearing but my torx bit just ate that soft metal up with a bit of effort from me. Not the result I was looking for. I wonder if Mopar sealed the thread somehow. Shouldn't be of course.

Seems that the 07 and 12 alternators are also different.

edit: just to try something, I soaked the parts of the bearings (on alt/tensioner) that I could get to with WD40. It was an experiment to see if the squeaking would stop for a bit. And it did. Of course, it didnt last long, which proved the need for new bearings.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:12 AM   #29
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take it to a alternator shop and have them rebuild it, think it would be less than 550.00, just sayin
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:42 AM   #30
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Tensioner bearing is ok, but bolt to remove it is stripped (my torx bit just ate it up despite being well seated). So, tensioner = replace

Alternator bearing = replace. I also reckon it will be cheaper than $550 - ridiculous!

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