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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, so my alternator died and it has since been replaced. Again, my dealer did a great job. I love my dealer. However, I am left with some questions after having this happen. Stay with me here.

First, Sunday night I was washing the engine bay to clean it up after winter. Now, I normally don't believe in an aggressive engine washing. People claim you can use a power washer, but I don't think it is safe. So, I use a wet rag and some light hose water for rinsing. Really, very little water is used. This is the first time I have used rinse water on the engine and the alternator went dead the next day. Do you think the water could have caused the alternator to die? At first, I though the alternator showed no signs of dying (more on this in a moment).

Next, my dealer had considered not covering the alternator under warranty due to my aftermarket stereo system. He decided to cover it, but later asked me about the stereo. I said it is a lower power system and I don't use even 10% of the capacity, which is true. I have a headunit with 25 watts/channel which is not used. I have a 50x4 amp and a basslink with 200 watts. Overall, I keep it pretty quiet. However, I listen to the stereo daily for about 20 minutes with the engine off. Do you think any of this could have killed the alternator?

Finally, after the alternator was replaced, I noticed that a long standing problem had gone away. I had the idle stumble like so many others. From day one, the idle would sit at 650 RPMs, but would vary slightly. This caused a lope in the idle that always bothered me. With the new alternator, this has completely gone away. There is no sign of a unstable idle. It is as smooth as can be. Do you think my alternator was not functioning right from day one? Do you think a low charge could have affected the idle?

Let me know what your thoughts are. The alternator did die really, really, really early at 35,600 miles. Thankfully, it died right before the bumper-to-bumper warranty wore out.
 

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I doubt a little water will hurt an alternator or make it short out or anything silly like that. That is nonsense, Now it might not work properly if it is soaked but once dry, no problem (if any problem when wet). That is BS.

Running a stereo with the engine off also will have no effect on an alternator as you are using the battery power directly when the engine is turned off. Scratch that one also.

IMHO, you just had a bum alternator and you did nothing to cause it's early demise.
 

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Running the battery shouldn't adversely affect the alternator.

I guess if water pooled in the housing, it cd short something...

sometimes it's just a bad bearing or reluctor...if 1 in 1,000 goes bad, the manuf. still considers it a good run.

As long as your dealer's covering it, it's no big, eh?...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Originally posted by LeMansEAKZ+Apr 13 2005, 01:59 PM-->

That is what I thought. Cars never had a lot of engine shielding/weather protection in the past and alternators would get wet all the time. Plus, I only started the car with the engine wet to move it ten feet. After that, it sat dormant over night to dry.
Originally posted by Jetpilot718@
Just curious, but why do you listen to the radio for 20 mins daily with the car turned off?

After I return to work from lunch each day, I like to sit in the car and listen to the radio. I usually listen to the afternoon news on a really low volume. It just helps me decompress a little and get ready for the afternoon's work.
<!--QuoteBegin-lionkiller

Running the battery shouldn't adversely affect the alternator.

I guess if water pooled in the housing, it cd short something...

sometimes it's just a bad bearing or reluctor...if 1 in 1,000 goes bad, the manuf. still considers it a good run.

As long as your dealer's covering it, it's no big, eh?...[/quote]
True, the dealer did cover it. However, if I am doing something to cause it, it will come up again in 35,000 miles when it will not be covered. I just think a alternator should last about 100,000 miles. They normally do.

As for running off the battery, I agree and it has little to do with the alternator. However, the next time I start it, won't the alternator be under strong load to recharge the battery and run the engine?
 

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The alternator has no effect on starting the car whatsoever. This purely uses battery power. Once the car is started the alternator generates power off of the drive belt which operates the vehicle's electrical needs as well as recharges the battery. Once the car is started the battery could be thrown out the window and it would have no effect on the alternator, you just could not re-start the engine.

In reality the alternator does not see a load per se, it only produces a charge based upon the engine speed. What it can produce is what it can produce. Anything that requires the charge down stream cannot effect it any more than the need for a farmer to have water for his field effects how much will flow thru the river where he gets it from. He simply can only get what is available at any given time regardles of how much he wants or needs, just like your battery. Does this make sense? Sorry to ramble.

I really think that you just had a bum alternator. No big deal, no need to worry. And listeniong to your radio every day really will not hurt anything except "possibly" shortening your battery's life and this is a big maybe so long as you do not do so for long periods of time. 20 minutes, no problem unless your battery is already almost gone.
 

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Hi H! :wavey:

I think it was a bad alternator to begin with also. I have literally had a fully open hose in my engine bay while running...nothing bad happened...I don't use high pressure, usually with nozzle off...but have done this more than a dozen times and I have had no probs. Glad to hear your dealership fixed you up, and that the idle prob went away :clap:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yea, I am most happy about the idle issue going away.

I have another question. With my new alternator, the engine whines just a little at idle. It didn't whine to this extent before. Would the whine be a symptom of a belt that is too tight?
 

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[/quote]
Dang, Terri. If you can do that to your engine, then I guess I'll feel safe doing that to mine. :cheers:
 
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