In June my wife and I took the van to a whitewater kayaking festival in Franklin NH - after some fun, we were on our way home when I realized the battery voltage was at ~9v and the dash lights were starting to dim. Crap.
We turned around and barely made it to this Autozone we had passed a few minutes earlier.
Battery tested bad, so it was replaced - still wasn't charging. Hmm.
They warrantied the alternator which is through them and has a lifetime warranty, and when I took the old out I thinkI found the problem - the charging cable on the back of the alt was barely connected to the ring terminal. I shored it up a bit and put the new alt it, and all was well. New alt and battery now (battery probably would have lasted a bit longer, but I have killed it so many times in the past few years that I was figuring it would go bad soon anyways).
Well, we decided to finish the build and have fun in the van for the summer, so we spent a lot of money on a lot of stuff.
Solar, electrical, a fridge freezer, etc etc. all the goodies.
But before that I had some other stuff to do.
I did a version of the "big three" to make my alternator charge things better and secure that wire in the back of the alt.
This is what was happening with the wire - it was disconnecting from the ring terminal.
I consulted the manual for some help.
And what I ended up doing was extending the original wire on the back of the alternator, and adding a second wire directly to the battery.
I put a 150 amp anl fuse in line.
I also put new or beefier grounds at the alternator bracket, battery, and I think somewhere else (can't quite remember atm, this was like 4 months ago)
I unfortunately did break the alternator bracket when I was taking the alt out, but it seems to be fine still - the broken piece went back in as a spacer for the bolt when I put it back in. I did go to the yard and get a new bracket that I can put on sometime if it becomes and issue or if it is ever convenient.
Doing these things gave the volt gauge on the dash a boost - sits right at 14 now all the time, where it used to always sit under it a bit. I figure this is good because I now have an efan and house electrical system to power.