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  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Wake Forest, NC
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    21
    Corvette(s)
    1988 Dark Red Metallic + 2006 DSOM Convertables

    Default Alternator on the way out?

    My alternator started making a very slight whining noise this past weekend. It's seems to be still charging OK and it doesn't sound like a bearing noise. It's the original and the car has 38K miles on it. At first I couldn't tell where the noise was comming from. I had my neighbor look at and he pulled the electrical connector off the alternator and the noise stopped. He put it back on and the noise started again. This happened to anyone? I'll probably just order another alternator, but am still

  2. #2
    Ken
    Gone but not forgotten Ken's Avatar
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    Jan 2001
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    Hermosa Beach, CA
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    18,783
    Corvette(s)
    1987 Z51 Silver Coupe

    Default

    Yes, you'll hear it whine when it's ready to die, as we all are apt to do when confronted with death.

  3. #3
    Member
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    Jun 2004
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    Wake Forest, NC
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    21
    Corvette(s)
    1988 Dark Red Metallic + 2006 DSOM Convertables

    Default Thaanks Much

    Thanks for that. Makes it a lot easer to shell out the bucks to order another one.

  4. #4
    Ken
    Gone but not forgotten Ken's Avatar
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    Hermosa Beach, CA
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    Corvette(s)
    1987 Z51 Silver Coupe

    Default

    C4s are notorious for eating alternators. The underhood temperatures are so high, and the bearings are so weak...

    Make sure you purchase your new one from a reputable manufacturer, such as AC-Delco, but there are alternatives such as one called the Iceberg alternator.

    Alternator/Alternatives? Hmmm... sounds like a good name for a business.

  5. #5
    Member Edmond's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    8,169
    Corvette(s)
    2003 Z06

    Default

    I had an alternator poop on me without any warning whatsoever.

    From personal experience, buy a new one. Don't be cheap like I was and buy a junkyard alternator.

    I bought a new Delco unit for $150 and it's been running for 1 1/2 years with no problems whatsoever.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    25
    Corvette(s)
    1989 Red Coupe

    Default

    Don't buy the Pep Boys alternator with the lifetime warranty (yeah I know it 'sounds' attractive), but you will end up replacing them once a year

  7. #7
    Vettelt193's Avatar
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    Jun 2002
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    Tallahassee, FL
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    Corvette(s)
    none right now :(

    Default

    The early C4 alternators are pretty bad... I bought an alternator with a lifetime warrantee from Discount Auto Parts when I had my '87. It is so easy to change out I didn't want to spend more money on a better one. I can change out an alternator on an L98 car in less than 20 minutes.... I had a bad computer at the time too, and it was causing the alternator to fry itself out... needless to say, i swapped about 10 alternators out of the car for free

  8. #8
    AUSSIEVETTEMAN
    Guest

    Default

    Get to it before it really dies!
    When they die, the electrical system doesn't have enough volts to run the engine management system and as a result, the engine miss fires and half the digital dash stuts down.
    The cars system draws more power than what the battery alone can muster up!

    We have had this problem on quite a few Vettes in our club.

    Do it now.


    Tony

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    21
    Corvette(s)
    1988 Dark Red Metallic + 2006 DSOM Convertables

    Default Alternator

    Thanks for all the replys and the advice about getting a new one. I do appreciate it. Better to spend a little extra now to avoid future proplems.

  10. #10
    Itsanemergency
    Guest

    Default

    I was burning up alternators for awhile and a smart person from this forum recomended I upgrade to a new (not rebuilt) 87 high out put alternator. They supposedly are better built and smaller.

    There is a good article posted here: http://www.idavette.net/hib/reman.html


    I've been very happy so far. It's only been about 1 month however.

  11. #11
    Banned
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    Feb 2003
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    Gone Period.
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    1,191

    Default

    Guess I've been lucky, going on three years now...
    My air pump made the sounds you describe before it pooched but as you pulled the wires and the noise stopped (no longer under load) I guess the alternator is the culprit.
    My dash still has these light pulsing motions that I thought were the charging system but with a new battery all is the same so...

  12. #12
    Vettelt193's Avatar
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    Tallahassee, FL
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    Corvette(s)
    none right now :(

    Default

    the dash pulsing a bit is pretty normal for a C4. Mine does it all the time... it takes a split second for the electrical system to 'catch up' to extra load. you will probably notice it the most when you hit the brake pedal, and other stuff is on (like the headlights, wipers, and A/C). you may also see a slight pulse when the fans kick on. Basically, the more stuff you have on, the more it will pulse (so, during a rainstorm it is most noticable because you will probalby have the windows up with A/C on, lights on, wipers on, radio on, etc.)

  13. #13
    Vettefan87's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    Location
    Northern Indiana
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    3,233
    Corvette(s)
    1987 Z52 Black Convertible

    Default

    Yes mine does this also, normally at night when i have the headlights up and the radio on.

  14. #14
    Banned
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    Default

    My 500 watts and 6 speakers likely have something to do with it as well. I use the A/C once in awhile but don't think I've ever driven it at night...

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Honolulu
    Posts
    600
    Corvette(s)
    2005 Coupe, black over black

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken
    C4s are notorious for eating alternators. The underhood temperatures are so high, and the bearings are so weak...

    Make sure you purchase your new one from a reputable manufacturer, such as AC-Delco, but there are alternatives such as one called the Iceberg alternator.
    Gather around and I'll tell you my iceberg story. Two years ago I bought an iceberg alternator, with the implicit reassurance that I would never need another alternator again, and I believed them. The cooling fins and the heavy-duty bearings and brushes were impressive, and I was sure the alternator would outlast the car itself.

    Late last year, or early this year, I hear the tell-tale sound of bearing whine coming from under the hood. Could it be the alternator? I look at the back of the alternator, and the bearing is on its way out. The seal was shot, and there were maybe five little silvery bearings left inside, holding on for dear life. How can this be????????????????

    Shlep down to Carquest and purchase a new alternator with the boring non-finned and heat-absorbing stock casing.

    How long will this new alternator last? I don't know. But from now on I take product claims with a grain of salt. No more icebergs for me, thanks.

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