Serious 12 Volt Power for Your Chevy C/K Series Truck
Low Buck - High Power
I bought my dads '93 Chevy K1500 from him about 4 years ago and started to add, one by one all the neat 4x4 accessories you can get. I had created a binder full of everything that I was planning to put on while I was in high school.
My ignorance of alternators got me into trouble again with this one. You see, although the alternator was rated at 210 amps they neglected to tell me at
So during my next winching situation my friend Tim calls me and he has got his truck down a muddy embankment while trying to turn around at the end of a trail. So I got down there and boy was he in a pickle. This ravine was really steep and he was nose first at the bottom of the hill. The only way I was going to get him out was if I used my winch in the back of the truck to strap it to a tree at the top of the hill. Otherwise I was going to end up down the hill with him. We eventually managed to get him out but the whole ordeal took about 3 hours and it got dark so I began to use my light bar on the top.
Between the 7 lights on top and the two winches, I managed to yet again burn up another alternator. I called up Summit Racing to inquire about my warranty but it just so happened that I was 2 weeks past the 1 year allowance. 350 dollars down the drain.
So I was back on the phone once again trying to figure out what else there was I could do to support the load I was putting on my 12 volt power system. No one had any ideas around my local area so I got online and looked up alternator setups. I eventually stumbled onto the whole dual alternator setup that a lot of car stereo enthusiasts were using. I also learned that it was not too uncommon to find this setup in some off road rigs.
So, my main questions were; where do I get the bracket to support two alternators and where do I get the alterna tors from? I didn't want to spend 700 dollars on two Powermaster alternators so I went up to my local Advance Auto Parts and they were able to get me two AC Delco Alternators that put out 140 amps at idle and 195 amps at Highway RPMs. Two of these would be perfect and they would only cost me 80 bucks a piece. That would give me about 280 amps at idle, that would cost under 200 hundred dollars! Getting the two alternators for cheap turned out to be the easy part.
So I made my own out of some 1/4" X 1 1/2" steel bars using my 110 volt
They walked me through the whole process without me even making a purchase from them. They were a great help. I finally had my 12v system complete and it WORKED!! I could power just about anything from my truck without any problems.
I am currently running two winches, 11- 100 watt Baja off-road lights(four in the front, seven on top), a 3500 watt power inverter which I ran 120v receptacles to the front, cab, and back of my truck; which is like the best thing I have ever put on my truck, a 12v air compressor (Fills a 2 gallon tank in the engine compartment), and 6- 55watt work lights that are mounted around the top of the cab of the truck.(These things work great at night). The batteries I am using are 2 Diehard Rangehandlers (875 cold cranking amps) and have been using since just after I burned up my stock alternator.
So here are my recommendations. Yes, you will definitely need to upgrade your stock alternator. I believe those are designed to power only the factory setup in a vehicle and adding in accessories of any kind will begin to stress it. The battery or batteries you choose don't neces sarily have to be expensive. From what I've seen, just about any battery will work just as long as they have an ample amount of cold cranking amps. If you have room in your engine compartment to run another alternator you may want to look into that for future use. If you're not going to be pulling too much through your electrical system, then a high output alternator would most likely be a good choice. Just remember though, I spent less on a two alternator setup than I did on one high output alternator alone. Check out all your possibilities and you can use my situation as a reference for what you may or may not need.