Changing brushes on alternator-2000 and 2005 Camry

            I know how unreliable aftermarket alternators are (my friend got 7 for his Volvo.) Bad batch i suppose ...Tom and Ray talked about that a while back. After 2 (Irish: brand ) alternators; the second lasting less than 1K I want to keep my next 2 Toyota alternators and change the brushes when needed. I looked at my 2000 Camry alternator and it appears to have a cover over the back....does this come off? It seems that it is the only way in to get to the the brushes . The removable brush holders/ assemblys on the youtube are much smaller, say 2" square.  Thanks,  Mike

If you remove that cover on the alternator you’ll find the brush assembly and the voltage regulator. Sometimes these components can be replaced without removing the alternator from the vehicle.


I remember replacing brushes on generators. Alternators came in '60’s and replaced generators and pretty much never need to have “brushes” changed. Bearings in alternators go bad, and perhaps diodes in alternators go bad, but I don’t think replacing brushes in alternators will make much of a difference in longevity.

I’d either find a reliable brand of rebuilds (maybe try NAPA), or find a shop that rebuilds them (look under ‘auto/electric’).

I had the brushes go bad in a Toyota alternator once. But the truck had more than 275,000 miles on it. I replaced the alternator instead of putting in new brushes just to avoid having to deal with a possible bearing going out shortly after all the work to do the brushes.

Remans are only as good as the re-builder. I would find a good referral to an auto supply shop that sells good quality remans. I can’t image a shop can stay in business long replacing crappy remans that many times.

I used to overhaul my GM alternators. The standard was brushes, voltage reg., and diode trio. Then once in a while the bearings. Most of the time the brushes were fine, but cheap to replace. I quit when the started crimping and soldering the regulators so just wasn’t worth the hassle. I only use the Delco reman alternators though now after bad experiences with the parts stores.

Many cars have the alternator wired into the ECU so that at wide open throttle the field is shut off and an additional X.X horsepower is available. That circuit is the cause of a great deal of charging problems. It’s another penny wise and pound foolish high tech answer. If at start up the BAT light remains on until the engine is gunned, and/or when accelerating from a stop the BAT light appears and the climate fan slows and the running lights dim it is likely that the WOT circuit is the problem. The McParts stores alternators all seem to have problems with that circuit. Even OE replacements often have problems.

Been a parts man for over thirty years.
Back in the day you could buy brushes, rectifiers, bearings, regulators, diodes, etc.

These days…even if you wanted to …you cannot buy any internal parts !
and if you can, which ones would you need to fix yours ?

Those manufacturers only sell them by the gross to major rebuilders.

You also might check out, they list brushes and a bearing for your Camry.

Alternator brushes are still available at most auto parts stores I use. I too replace brushes instead of the complete alternator. My '88 Escort still has the original alternator, the brushes have been replace one time in 518,500 miles.

I used to think in thart conservative manner but realistically, if the brushes are worn to replacement stage then so is everything else…most inportanly: the slip rings. If they are not glass smooth, you need to turn or replace them and sourcing those is far more of a pain than a rebuilt alternator is. Try putting those replacement brushes on grooved -p slip rings and the alternator may last a month or two but it won’t go much more…Just my experience

If your concern is more about the reliability of aftermarket alternators rather than price, I suggest you try a local automotive electrical shop. They rebuild and repair right onsite. Their quality is typically very high and with reasonable prices.

I’ve often purchased items from