Kind of like greased pigs and eels, it is hard to chase down electrical problems. We all tend to try and think our way through it. This is why I am so good at electrical. I don’t over think anything. I just tend to deal with whatever I have in front of me as it comes.
If you are having starting problems or voltage gauge problems or dim light problems, the alternator is often looked at first. Figuring out if your alternator is in good shape can make a guy go crazy. (No, I’m not alternator-crazy, I was born this way. Well, maybe the shock box in school didn’t help). The thing about alternators in Jeeps is that most of the time they do their job right up until they don’t do any job anymore. I don’t worry too much about changes in what the voltage gauge shows or if it cranks harder one day than that before it.
So, when the alternator in Jp magazine’s ’98 Cherokee project started making noises, I told them not to worry about it. When it flat-out died one day, I told ’em it was time for an upgrade. Like any true Jeep guys, they agreed it was time to upgrade and left it in my hands.
I’ve used Mean Green starters and alternators in the past and have never been let down, so I got a hold of a 200-amp unit for the ’98 Cherokee and installed it, shooting pictures of some alternator-diagnosing tech and a few side-by-side comparisons so you could see why the Mean Green was worth the extra coin.