Budget alternator (new) from China

Any time you buy a “ budget “ anything, it usually means you need to “ budget “ for a replacement.

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No, I don’t think so. I have 145K on an original with no replacement. If you replace your battery when it needs to be replaced and keep your engines in good condition you put less strain on alternators and starters.

So many times things don’t wear out so much as we kill them.

I have suffered a cheap rebuild alternator from Pep Boys (yes, I was ignorant!) And took it back and picked up an AC Delco rebuild. Problem gone.

I’ve seen that penny pinching fail in a bad way

What if you’re late to that important job interview because the alternator which you knew to be failing finally gave up the ghost for good on the drive to that interview . . .

Now you’ll show up late AND dirty

Something tells me you’re NOT getting the job :wink:

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I’ve got 160,000 on my Pontiac OEM alternator. I’ve been thinking of a new one just as a preventive repair. Not as easy as the old days though so not sure I want to do it myself.

Concur, that’s not something I’d do or recommend anyone else do, except perhaps in an unusual situation. If my alternator starts to go on the blink I secure a replacement & install it immediately. Definitely not gonna put the spare in the trunk & purposely wait for the alternator to fail on the road and replace it roadside. But to each his own.

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Alternators fail in various ways. If a voltage regulator (which may be integral to the alternator) fails in a high voltage mode, it can fry other electronics and, if you don’t catch it soon enough, your battery. This happened to me with an '82 Dodge van (separate voltage regulator, though solid state) and fried the clock, but not the main computer which must have been better protected.

Suggest seeing if you can find a local alternator rebuilder that will test your old OEM cores for leaky insulation (if leaky, abandon), select the better of them and replace common wear out parts like brushes, diodes, bearings, and maybe the regulator. I’d feel more secure with a properly rebuilt and tested OEM unit than a cheap aftermarket from some unknown supplier.



Thanks to you I decided to look how old my Pep Boys pro stop (?) starter is. It’s got 62,000 on it but has about 24,000 to equal the oem. The oem standard lead acid battery (johnson controls per my notes) went 10 1/2 yrs 60,000 mls. I’ve tended to buy my starters and alternators from pep boys because of good price and location. I’ve NEVER had one of these reman replacements fail, ever, and most cars I kept a long time. My starter has a limited lifetime warranty which I hope I don’t need (but may well) because the receipt has disappearing ink, and pep boys is famous for idiot management of their computer systems. Currently, their website says they do not have an alternator or a starter for my car, which is likely wrong. When I wanted to replace my battery and switch to AGM, Pep Boys champion was the price winner but I followed their circular links, I could never get to a battery for my car. After months, I finally called and ordered one. I had been buying batteries at auto zone as they never made it to their guaranteed life (despite what that oem battery did) so I always went back and got the next one with a little credit - until the switch to AGM on the good auto zone battery that was finally well past its expiry date because I had started using a battery tender. I had tended to buy my brake parts (incudling rotors) at Kragen/Oreillys but I always made special order because I knew better than to buy house-brand brake parts. Of course, more recently, brake pads can be had at fabulous prices online and I’ve gotten the wagners. However, the last rotors I got were pro stop (?) at Pep Boys, not their lowest version but ironically their lowest price. Excellent deal and good rotors although that car I recently sold. I hardly ever go to to Napa anymore for anything because it’s too far and there are no independent parts stores around anymore. Oh - walmart is good for oil and some supplies.

I’m not disputing your experience with a pep boys alternator, all info is good info as far as I’m concerned. I’m taking it all in and weighing it. Luck (and quality) can change on anything. My luck on getting burnt on extremely low mileage fatal but out of warranty manufacturer defect head gasket failures (bye bye engine) is legendary, credit Cadillac and Subaru (who never acknowledged the mistakes with their crap engines - rather customer is at fault). The internal head gasket leaks had nothing to do with the care those cars had received.

I use AC Delco parts enough on non GM because they’re usually quality, but not always. They sell some mediocre stuff too.

I’m taking everybody’s advice and I’m going to look into getting my alternator oem core rebuilt. I’d never heard about “leaky insulaton” so I will ask the rebuilder about that and everything else. The two rebuilders aren’t particularly close and I don’t want to call them much before I’m ready to go down that way, and I want to put a few miles on the china alternator before I swap it out and keep it as an emergency spare - but not in my trunk :slight_smile: Actually, changing the alternator on my car could be done in 5 minutes on the side of the road :slight_smile: What I don’t like about changing it is that it takes me 2 or 3 times to get the belt tension exactly where I want it :face_with_monocle:

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Nah, I guess not. All 3 of my vehicles have over 150k (2 are closer to 180k) on the original alternators. One of them, I bought used, so I’m just assuming it’s the original as it doesn’t look any newer than the rest of the stuff under the hood. The water pump I replaced surely stands out!

Alternator failures are often voltage regulator failures since the brushes are incorporated into the regulator and I would replace such regulators as preventive maintenance if scoping the output under load indicated that the rectifiers were all clean and the bearings were good.

I believe that’s a reference to the small diameter wires used in alternator windings. While its more complicated than this, basically the more wire loops inside the alternator, the more power is generated by the alternator for a given rpm. Therefore the alternator’s designers try to fit as many loops as possible, using small diameter wires. The windings’ wires however need to still be insulated from each other, so the insulation has to be very thin. Usually it is a sort of shellac or paint. If the winding’s insulation gets too hot it can melt, and become less effective at insulating, and that could create a power robbing effect that might be termed “current leakage”.

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