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aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

1 edit

know the gauges in your car

Driver: 70+ years old female
Car: late 80's Lincoln, one owner (with her late husband)

What happened: she went to mail something and left the lights on, and the car wouldn't start. Someone helped to jump start it, but instead of going home or going to some car repair place, she went to shop, but then based on the passenger's suggestion, aborted it and tried to go home. While backing out from a parking spot, the car stalled. It ended up getting towed to a nearby shop, where they replaced a bad alternator and a cheap, but only 1 year old battery for a tune of $980 some dollars.

When I asked her that how could she not notice the warning light, she replied that the car has an ammeter, not a light. Fair enough.

I had an alternator failure a little while ago, and my Gen4 high-amperage alternator was only $140, so the parts total for her car couldn't have been more than $300, but they probably changed the battery just to get some extra profit.
--
Wacky Races 2012!


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
I can buy a cheap alternator too, but I don't like being stranded.

--
The talented hawk speaks French.

Beezel

join:2008-12-15
Las Vegas, NV
reply to aurgathor
Ammeters have their uses, but I prefer a volt gauge.


Blogger
Jedi Poster
Premium
join:2012-10-18
Reviews:
·Champion Broadba..
reply to aurgathor
said by aurgathor:

When I asked her that how could she not notice the warning light, she replied that the car has an ammeter, not a light. Fair enough.

And the above boys and girls is as good of an explanation or example of why the "Master Caution Light" was invented for aircraft.

Beezel

join:2008-12-15
Las Vegas, NV
It just reminded me of my mom back in the day. Her 86 Chevy S-10 Blazer 2.8 had a oil pump failure in 1992. She didn't know that the gauge that was on zero was the oil pressure. she drove it home anyway. Needless to say we replaced the engine and computer with one from a wrecked S-10 with 4.3. That made a big difference when dad and I would take it hunting in the woods.


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
reply to Cho Baka
said by Cho Baka:

I can buy a cheap alternator too, but I don't like being stranded.

I remember when the alternator went out on my 1995 Taurus. It was $160 to buy a new/rebuilt one. But I had mine rebuilt for $70. Cheap, and it didn't leave me stranded for the next 5 years I owned it.


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
You are lucky.

My first experience with an aftermarket alternator was on an 85 Tempo.
Put an aftermarket rebuilt alternator on it. It lasted a little more than a year. I replaced the regulator on it. This time it lasted 8 months.

I then sprung for a Motorcraft rebuilt. This one went to the grave together with the car.

Next was working in a shop.
Aftermarket rebuilts would last 1-2 years (average) on vehicles that got 10 years from the original alternator.
The towing bill + rental car charges on the visit for replacement of the aftermarket rebuilt alternator far eclipsed any savings from the original replacement.

The customers only saw it as our fault. In the end we stopped selling the aftermarket rebuilds. It wasn't worth our reputation and the angst it created. Customers don't like standing on the side of the road.
--
The talented hawk speaks French.


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
With anything, you get what you pay for. When I had mine rebuilt, it was at a local electric shop by a well respected craftsman.


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
reply to aurgathor
Craftsmanship isn't usually the problem in my experience.

It is the quality of the parts (or lack thereof) that are used.
--
The talented hawk speaks French.


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
A good craftsman will use quality parts and materials when he can. Unfortunately it has become very hard to find quality in products today.


aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
reply to Cho Baka
said by Cho Baka:

I can buy a cheap alternator too, but I don't like being stranded.

My point has nothing to do with cheap parts or being cheap -- unlike many other items, alternator failure is not a fatal one, at least not immediately.

Had they noticed that something was wrong, they could've fixed it for a lot less. I checked on rockauto, and the alternators for that car (with the exception of Motorcraft) are under $100. Whether the car also has a warning light or not -- I do not know, but given their general state of mind, they could've just ignored it.
--
Wacky Races 2012!


lostinms
Moo

join:2001-11-29
Grenada, MS
reply to aurgathor
yeah I use to have a '87 Lincoln and the alternators are pretty cheap compare to my '86 Mazda. The battery was probably still good just need to be charged back up and could have last 2 or 3 more years. My batter is pretty old and I have ran it down 3 times once cause of the alternator had went out on my Mazda.


Blogger
Jedi Poster
Premium
join:2012-10-18
Reviews:
·Champion Broadba..
reply to aurgathor
I’ve had lot of used cars throughout my life and I tended to hang on to them for a long time while maintaining good repair. One car, (that I bought new), was a Mustang GT that I kept for 21 years and 450,000 miles.

IMO from just by extensive personal experience with used cars and alternators is that if you plan on maintaining a used car for some time or plan on driving it a lot including high mileage or trips far from home you are way better off replacing a bad alternator with a new alternator as opposed to a rebuilt one.

The new ones run better, something you can often see that by watching the battery volt/amp gauge. The gauge seldom moves with a good alternator and while the car is running usually remains steady in the proper “neutral” area. Also you can often see the difference between used v new alternators in the obvious increased brightness of head and taillights produced or influenced by new v rebuilt.

Finally the new lasts a lot longer while performing better. If you shop at the right places the difference in cost between affordable and new is not that burdensome for most or the average car and difference in the retail cost is more than made up by the usually dramatically longer life of new v rebuilt. A new will usually last two to three times longer. (Note: You have to deal with "auto repair" that are reliable and also know for sure how and where to get a genuine new alternator. There are lots of frauds where rebuilt is sold as new. Even the repairs shop can be fooled if they don't know their stuff.

In essence in many probably most cases a rebuilt alternator fails immediately by the poor performance it brings to the table from the moment it is first put in use.


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
The only reason a remanufactured should be inferior to new is if the components of the rebuild are inferior. Like already mentioned, you get what you pay for. You can buy the parts store brand rebuild with a 30 day warranty for half the price of a high quality remanufactured that uses all new innards and comes with a long warranty.


Blogger
Jedi Poster
Premium
join:2012-10-18
Reviews:
·Champion Broadba..

1 edit

1 recommendation

said by Lurch77:

The only reason a remanufactured should be inferior to new is if the components of the rebuild are inferior. Like already mentioned, you get what you pay for. You can buy the parts store brand rebuild with a 30 day warranty for half the price of a high quality remanufactured that uses all new innards and comes with a long warranty.

All I can say it that has not been my experience in terms of the results you state. Maybe I've just been unlucky.

"Rebuilt" auto parts overall have declined in quality dramatically in the past 10-20 years. Parts coming from China in particular have a poor "success rate."

As far as the difference in price between a rebuilt and a new alternator I have found business as usual at Acme Auto way overcharge on new v rebuilt. If you have a personal mechanic and have a solid repair facility that is outstanding in every way and you have an established relationship with them the price difference between rebuilt and new is no where near double--at least for a 21 year old GT Mustang. It was like, guesstimating here--30 percent more.

But I admit having a repair shop/car owner relationship that I describe probably doesn't exist for many or even the majority of car owners.

Like all things one purchases they have to make up their own mind what they want and believe that they will be pleased with.

Beezel

join:2008-12-15
Las Vegas, NV
reply to aurgathor
When I first moved to Vegas I had to replace my alt. it dies three weeks after the move. The triple digit temps and stop and go driving with a/c on made the the cooling fans run continuously. The car was use to colder climates, so I guess the stress killed it plus the battery was at the end of its life. I went and splurged and bought a new Bosch 110 amp alt. and replaced the old 90 amp since the load on the system was higher than normal. I didn't want to risk a cheep unknown rebuilt alt. out here where it is bad to get stranded in the desert.


aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
Does anyone actually have any factual data on the quality of rebuilt vs. new components?

Personally, over 30 years and probably over 500,000 miles, I didn't notice any difference, although I didn't have enough failures to get any kind of meaningful statistics.

The original alternator (95 AMP) in my current vehicle lasted for about 280k miles, but it was sort of weak/undersized even when I first had the car at 120k (when many things were ON at idle, I could see the voltage dropping), and this is no longer an issue with a 130A lternator. The store I went to only had one in stock (rebuilt with a lifetime warranty) so I would either had to wait, or go somewhere else to get a new one, but doing so while riding a bicycle wasn't a viable option.

Before that one, I had 2 alternator failures with another car -- in one case it was fouled by oil (leaky front main seal) in the another one it was a case of an 'operator error'.
--
Wacky Races 2012!


dennismurphy
Put me on hold? I'll put YOU on hold
Premium
join:2002-11-19
Parsippany, NJ
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to aurgathor
The last time I needed an alternator was about 14 years ago. I took it to a local generator shop and had him rebuild it. He told me then that he figured he had another 5 years before he was out of business because he couldn't compete on price with cheap Chinese imports.

He managed to squeeze another year out; Liberty Generator closed 8 years ago. What a shame - he did great work at a great price.


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
Isn't it a shame how our "Walmart" society has raced to the bottom? Screw quality, just give it to them cheap and you'll sell a million items. And it multiplies, because you can sell them the same low quality garbage over and over and over, right after they throw the previous one in the trash.

Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
said by Lurch77:

Isn't it a shame how our "Walmart" society has raced to the bottom? Screw quality, just give it to them cheap and you'll sell a million items. And it multiplies, because you can sell them the same low quality garbage over and over and over, right after they throw the previous one in the trash.

Management is partly to blame for breeding this culture. Profits have become more important than quality and keeping things here at home when making things.

One could build high quality american made stuff and sell it for very reasonable prices without screwing the workers. However it would require investors and execs not in it just for the big fat paycheck and bonuses.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
Partly, yes. But American companies that make things here still have to abide by safety and environmental rules that other companies off shore do not. That adds a lot of cost to the end product. While a company here in America needs to build a multi-million dollar recovery system for production waste, a company in some undeveloped nation just pipes it out to the nearest river.

Now I'm not saying be less safe or less environmentally friendly. I'm saying if anything is to be imported in the USA, it should have to be manufactured to same rules we have. That will level costs, and be better for the world. But that will never happen, and it opens another can of worms, politically and otherwise.

In the meantime, it's really going to come down to the consumer demanding better products and be willing to pay for them. That also won't happen. It's a throw away society.
Expand your moderator at work


J E F F
Whatta Ya Think About Dat?
Premium
join:2004-04-01
Kitchener, ON
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Rogers Portable ..
reply to Lurch77

Re: know the gauges in your car

My first car (88 Corsica) would have the alternator go on it on a regular bases...almost yearly. No other issues with the car, when I got rid of it, it has 360,000 KM, about 220,000 miles.

I could replace that alternator in about 15 minutes, very easy fix. Remove windshield water tank (can't remember if it was combined with coolant), release the spring loaded pully, remove belt, unplug alternator, unmount it, then put reverse for putting new one in.
--
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. - Albert Einstein


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
That's what i love about my Jeep with the 4.0L. Tons of room to do things like that as well. Makes most jobs easy and quick.


neonhomer
KK4BFN
Premium
join:2004-01-27
Edgewater, FL
Reviews:
·Bright House
I have a 96 Grand Cherokee with the 4.0. It's a bitch to change the alternator because you have to pull the battery and battery tray to get it out from the top. The Jeep came with a 90A, I replaced it with a 130A from a Dodge truck. What's funny... that same alternator that came from a Dodge truck equipped with a 360 V8, fit my Jeep 4.0, and would also fit my 94 Caravan w/ the 3.0L V6... just change the pulley and B+ terminal shroud.

I am on my current alternator, which I had rebuilt by a local shop, for over a year now... and that has lived through repeated trips through the mud. I just make sure to flush it out with clear water after playing.

Back in the late 90's I used to deliver pizzas in a 85 Oldsmobile Calais. I was swapping out alternators and starters every three months. (Ever change a starter in a parking lot, laying in a puddle, in the rain?)

Finally, I went to the junkyard, and found a original GM alternator and GM starter. Took them both to the SAME shop as above, and had them both completely rebuilt. Was the last starter and alternator I ever bought for that car.

I had a parts store tell me one time that when a mass rebuilder processes an alternator or starter, that all they do is replace what is bad. Doesn't matter if the brushes are old, or a old diode pack... if it still works, it stays.
--
"F is for Fire that burns down the whole town...
U is for Uranium...... Bombs...
N is for NO SURVIVORS!!!!!" Sheldon Plankton

Keep Calm and Carry On

Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to aurgathor
the truck i owned a 1995 S10 nothing had to be removed to change an alternator except the belt, wires and of course the bolts holding it in place. Even the water pump was fairly easy.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports


aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
For the alternator, that's likely the case for many front engine, RWD vehicles. It's definitely the same for my Bronco, though now with a slightly bigger alternator, removing/installing one of the bolt is now a PITA.
--
Wacky Races 2012!

hurfy
Premium
join:2002-08-06
Spokane, WA
reply to aurgathor
"I had a parts store tell me one time that when a mass rebuilder processes an alternator or starter, that all they do is replace what is bad. Doesn't matter if the brushes are old, or a old diode pack... if it still works, it stays."

I'll buy that...oops, already did a few years ago. My 3 year-old alt is starting to act up. 3 years but only 4000 miles on it Diode pack is losing it already, both headlights and gauge flickering at idle.


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
said by hurfy:

"I had a parts store tell me.....

Should have stopped listening right at that moment.