A Day in the Life…

Up at 4:30 AM, make the coffee, get the wife off to work, 30 min drive. Have the youngest sons girlfriend in, she needs a ride back to college, an hour further. I stop on the way back home to see if an alternator/starter guy can rebuild the alternator out of our Ford Fusion, sign on the window says he went out of business 3 months ago. Just my luck.

I get home and start piddling around the house, wondering what the hell to do with this alternator situation, newly remanufactured alternators for this car are going in the neighborhood of $300, which is why I was looking at having a local do the rebuild. I’ve had the alternator out of the car for several days looking for a solution I can live with. I decided to do a Google search on “alternator rebuilder west Tn.” A guy pops up in Jackson, an hour away, I make the call. He’s like I can get you right out if you get here. So my ass hops in the little Toyota Corolla we picked up a little while back, and I’m heading to Jackson.

It’s windy, the drive kept me on my toes just trying to keep the little car between the lines. Get to the exit I need to get off at, and freaking road construction has the exit completely blocked, have to drive another 5 minutes to the next exit and fight traffic for a bit trying to get back to the road I needed to take. I finally get to the alternator guy, with no further hassles.

Well there was a line of one when I got there, had to wait for an alternator fix before he could look at mine, so I pass the time with the customer. He gets taken care of and Im next. My new alternator guy quickly diagnosed an issue I never expected. The alternator needs a new pully he informed me. Now Im no stranger to auto parts, or boat motor parts, or big truck diesel engine parts, as my life has had me neck deep in all of them. But I have never in my life heard of needing a new alternator pulley unless the old one had been run over by a bulldozer, so I’m like wtf? Really, a new pulley?Β  He informs me that alternator pulleys are now equipped with an internal clutch, and they can go bad. I turned the pully and quickly saw that yes indeed the stator (internal alternator windings on a shaft) was not turning with the pulley at 100%, more like 15% and I’m all of a sudden happy I learned something today. Well my alternator guy wasn’t sure if he had a pulley that would fit, after a bit of shuffling about in a back room he emerges with a pulley, and it fit!

Step one complete, he does a quick bench test and decided my alternator would charge just fine now but he put a new set of brushes in it just because. They can be put in without even having to crack open the casing, easy peasey. He put my alternator in another bench test rig and I saw it throwing out over 170 amps and its a 150 amp alternator. How much did it cost you ask?

$70. Seventy freaking dollars. Did I mention I could not find anything less than in the $300 range before? And thats for a reman, a new one will run upwards of $600-700 bucks. Well I peeled off four 20’s and told him to keep the change. This guy just saved me a minimum of $230. Ten bucks wasn’t enough of a tip.

And this is my tip to all of you. Alternators and starters can still be rebuilt. And it can save you a bunch of $$$. Also there are alternator guys out there that truly deserve your business, look one up when your starter or alternator catches you by surprise.

I got home and managed to install the alternator just in the nick of time, of being able to pick up the wife from work with the Ford Fusion. The bad news is Im wiped out today from yesterdays travels. I hope y’all are riding things out the best you can, wherever you may be.

I’d go a bit further and tell ya maybe this post will get me back in the regular blog business, but I don’t want to lie to you πŸ˜‰



14 thoughts on “A Day in the Life…

  1. And who knew?? (I’ll have to read this to my husband – it will mean something to him; start talking about car repairs to me and my eyes go buggy. Now, if you want to discuss quilting patterns. . ). πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  2. No, don’t lie to us. We can’t live with that lie.
    Glad to hear you are ok, just busy

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Welcome home sir. I usually will wind up spending $50 to save $40. You came out ok.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hah! Shell, you did a crap load more researching and work on one auto-part than 90% of car owners out there! Well done Sir! Though it took essentially a full day (and then some?), $230 savings TOTALLY justifies the headache and traveling. Outstanding. πŸ˜‰

    West TN and Jackson, huh? I’m assuming you mean Jackson, MS? Yes? So you’re not too far from Memphis, TN then?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Jim have you read Catch 24? There is this fellow who is in business with the army. He buys eggs at 7c (?) and sells them for 5c at a profit. You must be friends with him I think.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hello Shelldigger. Great job. Too many people think refurbished means damaged or bad, and only new parts work correctly. These days people have to do anything they can to lower their costs. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Scottie πŸ™‚

      Yeah many don’t realize a lot of parts you get from the big auto part chains are remans. I rather like supporting local small business as in this case.

      We also prefer not shopping at places like Wal Mart…

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Finding people to do that work is becoming harder and harder. When I was young, when your shoes broke you took them to a local cobbler who fixed the. They would replace heels or soles and make them look like new.

    Try to find a cobbler now. Same is true with mechanics who know what the heck they are doing. Modern cars are built along the same lines: don’t repair, replace … it is faster and you can charge more.

    My car was recently service and they wanted just short of $40 to replace the cabin air filter. I got one online for $8 (including S&H) and the install took about three minutes, no tools being needed. (Youtube is full of helpful video instructions.) I assume the Internet retailer made money on my purchase.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Indeed cobblers are a rare remnant of days past.

      You are dead on the money too about replace vs. repair. We live in a disposable society these days. Tv repairmen are long gone, it’s cheaper to buy a new one, even if you can find a repairman to fix it. Hey, if you need tires on your bicycle, by the time you buy a set of tires, you have paid about 50% of the cost of a basic, new bicycle.

      Your example with the cabin filter, it’s insane to pay $40 for that. I still change my oil in all of our vehicles too. No way in hell Im going to pay someone $50 for something I can do myself in 20 minutes, I use full synthetic oil in all of them and can get it done myself for half that.

      I’ve got a Mig welder in the shop, a chop saw, grinders, a good workbench, There’s a lot of things I refuse to buy, knowing damn well I can build a better one myself, even if it costs me a few days to build it. I have made mounts for big binoculars/telescopes, tripods, counterweights, aquarium stands, as well as repair boat trailers, truck hitches, fixed a neighbors 4 wheeler a few times, fixed a bucket on a neighbors tractor, as well as welded up broken stuff on the riding mower more times than I can count, hell I even welded a handle on to a stainless spatula because I wasn’t going to town to buy another one. Still use it!

      Testimony from a hard headed fool, who is also a cheap s.o.b. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

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