Bad/dead alternator - association with whine?

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Rebecca Wagaman, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. Oddly, when I started my 95 Legacy up this morning I heard a new sound, a
    whine. The whine (not a screech) was audible right away but was a little
    more noticeable when the accelerator was pressed. I drove about 5 miles in
    city traffic, then the car was parked for 90 minutes, then drove 40 miles,
    car parked for 2 hours, then drove another 40 miles. Car was parked for 45
    minutes. Then it wouldn't start.

    Fortunately I was at AAA at the time :)

    Got my battery replaced (previous one was 4 years old anyway) and was told
    that I need to replace my alternator! The guy was very thorough in
    diagnosing the problem with his little printout thingie. So what I'm
    wondering: Is it likely that the whine is directly associated with the bad
    alternator? I want to have an idea of what to say when I take the car into
    the shop tomorrow.

    Any other advice re: alternator (should I request a rebuilt one?)
    appreciated as well. I didn't see anything too recent about Subie
    alternators in the archives.

    I hope car problems come in 3s, not 4s...

    Rebecca Wagaman, Jan 11, 2006
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  2. Rebecca Wagaman

    Jim Stewart Guest

    YES! The whine is from a shorted diode
    in the alternator. I had the same problem
    with a Datsun years ago.

    The shorted diode will both drain your
    battery and greatly reduce the ability
    of the alternator to charge the battery.
    Jim Stewart, Jan 11, 2006
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  3. Thanks so much, Jim. I was able to read that before I took the car in; the
    mechanic confirmed what you said.

    Is $400 for parts/labor about right (not that I had a choice!)?

    Unfortunately for the garage, when they put my car back together they didn't
    put the serpentine belt back on properly. I heard a loud crackly noise and
    turned back - when I stopped and opened the hood there was a tangle of
    rubber and a steel cable; about 1/2 of the belt was chewed up to spaghetti!

    Rebecca Wagaman, Jan 12, 2006
  4. $400 and they screwed up an alternator install???
    Sounds like a really fucked up shop to me. God help you if you needed
    something REALLY complicated to service.
    Mortimer Schnurd, Jan 12, 2006
  5. Rebecca Wagaman

    Jim Stewart Guest

    Glad to help
    I don't know, I do all my own work.
    I hope they didn't charge you for the new belt.
    It would appear the clowns didn't even start
    the engine to check their work. Find another
    mechanic if you can.
    Jim Stewart, Jan 12, 2006
  6. I know it sounds bad. However, it's an AAA-approved garage, and I've been
    going there for 2+ years without incident. I've already changed garages
    since I've lived here (one bad thing about moving! having to find new
    servicepeople). No, they absolutely didn't charge me for the belt. They
    did start the engine and pulled the car out front for me; the belt was okay
    until the car was driven at more than 5 mph.

    Rebecca Wagaman, Jan 12, 2006
  7. Hi,

    I'm with Jim--a new mechanic seems to be in order!

    I don't remember exactly what the dealer's quote was for the alternator
    on my Subie, but an Autolite branded rebuilt from Kragen cost me
    somewhere around $75 a coupla years ago (and I do as much of my own work
    as possible, too!) IIRC, it seems that was about half the dealer price.
    (A rebuilt for my Totota pickup was $100 from AutoZone on New Year's
    Eve, so things HAVE gone up a bit.) It's a coupla hours' work to replace
    my Subie's alternator, including generous coffee breaks, so at local
    rates of around $85/hr, that's $170, which still leaves a reasonably
    nice dinner out of your $400!

    If you, a friend or family member are a bit of a wrench, you might want
    to invest in a Haynes or Chilton's book for your car and learn what you
    can do yourself. It'll probably be one of the best $20 investments you
    can make...

    Richard E Courtright, Jan 13, 2006
  8. Rebecca Wagaman

    Jim Stewart Guest

    Yeah, It's hard to imagine spending $400.

    When the alternater failed in my Datsun,
    I was able to buy a new diode block for
    about $25, total cost, along with a couple
    hours of work. But that was about 20 years
    Jim Stewart, Jan 13, 2006
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