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eating alternators


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12 replies to this topic

#1 powderhound

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 01:39 PM

95 Legacy 5mt 161k. Replaced the alternator a year ago...last 6k miles my cars been making a sound like it was throwing a rod...nope...bad bearings in the alternator. So I have a lifetime warranty from napa and went down and exchanged it. As soon as I put it on I could hear the bearings in the new one...not hammering like the old one but its def noisey. SO, did I just get a crappy alt from napa or is there something else going on? Only thing I could think it MIGHT be is a loose crank pulley as the alt belt has more leverage on the crank pulley than the ac belt.(no noise with just ac belt on). Any thoughts?

tia.

#2 grossgary

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 02:29 PM

if it's the alt making the noise then sounds like you got a bad one. i wouldn't expect anything more than that. any other issues with the battery, motor, wiring at all? could be some unusual demand on the alternator or bad connection at the battery?

sometimes the lifetime warranty alternators are known to be low quality. you get a lifetime warranty but the cost is that they basically fix alternators to resell, not completely rebuild them. not sure about the one you got but i've heard of life time warranty stuff like this before. they're not expecting the car it's going on to last long so it's rare they have to replace stuff.

#3 porcupine73

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 02:34 PM

Yes a lot of times the parts store alts are basically 'repaired' and not actually remanufactured. My '96 had a napa alt in it when I got it that was making a squeaking sound so it got replaced with the Subaru alt. You might check into the Subaru alt for that, there was a recall on them around that year for some potential issue with the brushes. Though if you already replaced the alt they probably won't do anything for it now.

#4 987687

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 05:25 PM

Just get a subaru alt from a junk yard. You can probably get one cheap and they don't have many issues. Mostly brushes, cheap and easy to replace or have a shop replace.
Return the napa alt again. I've had to return the same thing to napa a few times before because it kept being dead when I got it. I got an axle replacement that started clicking 3 days later. It still clicks months later .... heh. I'm not very amused though.

#5 bstone

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 05:29 PM

We went through 4 AutoZone alternators one afternoon until we got one that worked. Some come and they are so poorly made and are warped that we can't get all the bolts into them.

#6 987687

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 05:37 PM

I don't get much from auto parts chains besides little things. Fasteners, brake lines, basic tools, paint, etc. I don't usually get things that have very many moving parts because they generally suck. Unless they're a name brand part, in which case buying it at napa is stupid because it'll be 20% or more over what you pay buying it online or whatever.

#7 powderhound

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 10:25 PM

Alright sounds like it's just a pos alt. I had to get to work today when installed it in their parking lot. Think napa will just give me my money back? I think I'd rather have that. I guess the plus side is alternators are easy to swap out on these cars. Alright I'll go hassle them tomorrow. I guess it's probably something they've dealt with before...the insta-return.


Looks to be a whole bunch of em at the yards...anyway to tell if it a subaru alt and not aftermarket??

Edited by powderhound, 08 September 2010 - 10:27 PM.


#8 Fuzpile

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 04:14 AM

Stuff like this ... Been making noise for years then a new one makes a noise. You already suspected the crank pulley, that may set up a tempo. What about the idler pulley/tightening pulley? It may be flying apart inside. So there is already a beat and the new alternater changed the rythm.
It seems like there are 3 things to check before throwing a used unknown alternator into the mix.

#9 987687

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 06:25 AM

Do you still have AC and the AC belt? Because that does have a tensioner/idler, but the alt doesn't. It's the crank, alt, and PS on that belt. Start the car with the alt/PS belt off and see if the noise stops. If it does, it's probably the alt. If it doesn't stop then you have a whole other problem going on.

#10 powderhound

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 08:41 AM

Stuff like this ... Been making noise for years then a new one makes a noise. You already suspected the crank pulley, that may set up a tempo. What about the idler pulley/tightening pulley? It may be flying apart inside.


I thought about this but kinda ruled it out based on sticking a screwdriver on the t-belt covers and hearing nothing, screwdriver on the alt is loud. ?? The new noise is different, it goes away with the alt belt off, it's coming from the alt based on my screwdriver test.

How do I tighten the crank pulley or inspect its tightness? How do I check the electric load on the alt?

#11 987687

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 08:46 AM

If you unplug the connector on the back of the alt you can be sure there's no electrical load.
If you spin the alt by hand (no belt on it), do the bearings make bad noises?

#12 powderhound

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 02:35 PM

20 dollar fhi alt from the junk yard is quiet. FU napa.

#13 Rooster2

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 11:10 AM

Alright sounds like it's just a pos alt. I had to get to work today when installed it in their parking lot. Think napa will just give me my money back? I think I'd rather have that. I guess the plus side is alternators are easy to swap out on these cars. Alright I'll go hassle them tomorrow. I guess it's probably something they've dealt with before...the insta-return.


Looks to be a whole bunch of em at the yards...anyway to tell if it a subaru alt and not aftermarket??


The parts stores are good on their guarantees of a free replacement, but they won't refund any money in my opinion. Read all your posts, still sounds like your current alternator has a bad bearing. Like said, alternators on Subies are rather easy to replace. I just make sure to wedge a rag or paper towel under the long bolt, that way, if I drop the nut on disassembly or reassembly , I can easily retrieve it, and not have it fall through to land on the block somewhere.




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