Green Grit - Jeep Starter and AlternatorPosted in How To: Electrical on November 1, 1998
Some issues back we talked about the heavy-hitting gear reduction starters manufactured by Mean Green Industries (MGI) for Ford and AMC/Jeep applications. At that time only 258ci I-6 and select V-8 applications were available. The good news is that MGI is now offering the same trail-tough starting units for four-cylinder Jeep applications. The company has also developed an equally rugged high-output alternator for all Jeep applications.
Mean Green Four-Cylinder Starter
In the initial discussion of MGI's Jeep starter, we provided a point-by-point rundown of the bulletproof unit's construction and benefits. Since only six-cylinder applications were available at that time, most of you four-cylinder Jeep owners probably didn't pay close attention (shame on you!). However, because starting power is so essential to serious trail riding, it behooves us to revisit the renowned Mean Green (MG) starter-from an I-4 owner's point of view.
For starters (excuse the pun), the MG unit offers significantly more torque than stock Jeep starters-100 percent more, to be exact (and 200 percent in many cases). This is due in large part to heavy, high-grade copper windings, five sealed ball bearings designed to reduce wear and increase mechanical efficiency, and the 4.4 gear reduction. An additional improvement over stock is a stainless steel mainshaft, which delivers direct-line engagements, effectively eliminating the stock shift fork assembly and adding to the starter's mechanical efficiency and subsequent power transfer.
On the electrical side, an integral solenoid stands up to the rigors of the trail by preventing corrosion and water intrusion. The solenoid is also heat-sunk to stifle thermal insulation breakdown and prevent overheating. What's also nice in this department-especially if you are running a winch, auxiliary driving lights, or other electrical add-ons-is that the amperage draw does not increase with the MG starter. In most cases, MGI reports, amperage draw is usually less than that of stock starters, except under a locked-up or tight engine condition.
Finally, MGI's Jeep starters were inspired by the company's line of heavy equipment and service-vehicle starter applications, where reliability and long life are essential under such frequent start situations. Trail riding, as you know, involves a lot of starts during the course of a day-many more than on a typical commuting day. Herein lies one of the primary benefits of the MG starter.
The other, and more important, advantages of the MG starter are its durability and torque. Serious trail duty in manual-transmission Jeeps requires clutchless starting (starting in gear) on steep inclines. Veteran backcountry runners know that clutch starts on steep inclines or loose soil can kill a clutch disc in short order, and create traction-robbing wheel-spin situations. We haven't found a better starter for long-term clutchless starts than the MG units.
Mean Green High-Output Alternator
It seems fitting, somehow, that a high-performance alternator would be a natural extension of MGI's bomb-proof Jeep starter lineup. Featuring 12-volt, 140-amp output, the MG alternator is built in the same spirit of super performance and dependability as MG starters-and, according to MGI, has a 300,000-mile life expectancy.
Like MG starters, the new Jeep alternators boast a lightweight aluminum-cast body. Heavy-duty front and rear bearings and equally stout heat-resistant copper windings testify to the alternator's long-life, severe-duty design parameters. Additional features include a state-of-the-art internal voltage regulator designed to protect your vehicle's wiring and ignition systems, a low-noise random pitch fan, high-speed precision balance for smooth operation, V-belt or serpentine drive configurations, and each unit comes with a wiring harness.
Given that Jeep owners (at least serious trail riders) have a propensity for winches, dual batteries, add-on lighting, and a host of other amp-robbing electrical equipment, an industrial-duty alternator such as the 140-amp MG alternator makes good sense. Face it, a wimpy stock alternator is going to have a hard time juicing up a couple of batteries during a day of hard-core winching.
Whether your Jeep is packing four-, six-, or eight-cylinders under the hood, MGI has your electrical needs covered with its heavy-hitting starters and alternators. And, while it may take a bit of coin to outfit your rig with dual MG units, can you afford to let your electrical/starting system leave you stranded on some dark and lonesome backcountry trail?
|Mean Green||vs.||Stock GM Jeep|
|12 lbs.||19-21 lbs.|
|integral solenoid||external solenoid|
|indexable nose||rigid mount|
|gear reduction||direct drive|
|straightline engagement||offset fork engagement|
|35,000 starts||4,500 starts|
|1/3 smaller than stock||stock GM|
|no hot start||hot start (heat soak)|
|three times more torque (than stock)||stock torque|
|unconditional two-year warranty||pro-rated GM or|