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?  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 😉

SD