ALTERNATOR recurring failure (22RE). Any help appreciated.
Our truck is a 94 manual 4WD xtra cab 22RE.
We're facing recurring alternator failures. Have been searching and reading numerous related threads on this, but we are somewhat lost. This is the status:
- Two failures in the last month, 3rd failure yesterday.
- First 2 failures have been the voltage regulator.
- First failure happened at a slow traffic jam at a highway, slow idle speed, stereo was on, low headlights on. Replaced the internal regulator (non OEM) and brushes (OEM Toyota). Replacement regulator failed 2 days later, after forgetting the ACC switch on for 20 minutes.
- Replaced with a better non-OEM brand regulator, and a new battery. Worked without flaw during our + 1000 km trip from central to northeastern Mexico last week, carrying heavy load (+650 kg).
- Yesterday, while driving around town we made frequent parking stops, keeping the truck on, idling for 10-15 minutes at a time before retaking our driving. Stereo off, headlights off (was daytime). Suddenly, the brake and battery dash indicator lights turned on. Battery charge indicator was at 3/4. Drove immediately to a safe parking spot before having to face a drained battery. Haven't turned the truck on again.
So I'm suspecting the regulator might have failed again. We do have a new replacement regulator, as we anticipated we might face a new failure, but I don't want to use it until I'm sure what the reason these regulators are failing is, as it might be something else than simply these replacement regulators being crappy as non-OEM parts. If it fails us again, we will be in a difficult problem as now we are in a rural town deep in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains in Mexico, and up here the scarce spare parts stores only carry old Ford and GM parts, but practically no Nissan or Toyota.
Last time we replaced the regulator, we checked beforehand fuses and wiring. No accessible wiring we could observe in the engine bay was exposed or torn. We changed the 80 AMP alternator fuse (was ok, but we changed it anyway), wiring was ok. We also very recently changed all three belts, and right upper and lower coolant hoses. Regarding fuses (both underhood and in the driver's side panel), no blown fuses, but THIS we found in the fuse box: (please check attached photos)
The melted fuse is NOT BLOWN, still works (checked with a current tester). It is the EFI fuse.
TWO OTHER SUSPICIOUS SYMPTOMS which make us think there might be a short somewhere which might be causing the recurring failures:
- High headlights work ONLY when pulling the left lever (temporary mode), but shut off when pushing the lever (permanent mode).
- YESTERDAY, at a certain point during a 2 hour drive offroad (way before the idling parking during the town drive), we noticed white smoke seeming to come out from the alternator. Now, I must indicate that this alternator, when we bought the truck roughly one year ago, was abundantly drenched on some kind of oil (motor oil I think) from a leak somewhere which currently has disappeared. Don't know if this might be the problem, but I must point out that even in this condition, the alternator worked for almost a year without issue.
Finally: we have no starting issues. Sometimes it takes a bit longer and I must press the gas pedal to get it going, but that happens rarely.
Thanks for reading this far and WE'LL APPRECIATE ANY HELP OR FEEDBACK GIVEN as to where to look from here on to solve this issue!