alternator woes


Old 04-02-03, 01:36 PM
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Unhappy alternator woes

Patient: 1991 Mazda Protege, 4-cyl, 1.8L SOHC
Symptom: with car running and accessories on, noticed dashboard lights flickering; turned off accessories to save car from stalling while at a traffic light. This had happened twice.

Actions taken to-date: suspected alternator is toast, given that it is still the original; noticed battery had sulphur at the terminals; car could no longer start (no electrical power upon turning key in ignition); had to leave the car for a couple of weeks while away from town; returned to replace battery; now have to examine alternator

1. Can you confirm whether the symptoms are indeed representative of a failed alternator?
2. How do I inspect an alternator? How do I test it?
3. If the alternator is indeed bad, how long can I run the car on this new battery?
4. I will get an estimate from a mechanic, but will you please tell me what ballpark of costs I can expect for installation of a new alternator? Inclusive of Parts and Labor, please.
5. Is replacing an alternator as trivial as replacing an oil filter? Or do I definitely want a mechanic to do this? After all, I only tinker, and I'm not an instinctively DoItYourself-er with a lot of tools. The most complicated job I've done is change a thermostat.

Thank you, and have a nice day.
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Old 04-02-03, 02:06 PM
darrell McCoy
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See Joe's basics on alt checking or take to auto zone.
I wouldnt try to run just on a battery as you will get left stranded again. Magnify's exsisting problem.
Alt price depends on what you get and how much you are willing to spend, better to get one quality reman. @ 120 bucks and up as to buy 2 or 3 lifetime warranty cheapies. Who wants to do the job more than once?
Labor depends on who does it, dealers get 60 an hour starting price. With proper tools you should be able to change it yourself, usually 1 adj. bolt and one thru bolt. However you may have 2 attach bolts instead of 1 thru bolt.
Old 04-03-03, 03:27 AM
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I agree with Darrell, go to the Mazda dealer and get an OEM rebuilt unit ($$). Worth it, you'll do the job once.
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