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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was on my way somewhere today but I stayed home instead - the battery light went on. It has happened to me before on a different car and the alternator voltage regulator's brushes were worn off. Eventually the car exhausted the battery and died, so I decided not to drive this time.

What I noticed is that if you force the engine over 300 rmp the light goes off. Then if I turn the car off and crank again it lights up again and stays.

Any other suggestions? If my diagnosis is correct, I hope that the replacement is as easy as it was on my previous car (not a SAAB). I haven't looked at the alternator because it's dark out. Tomorrow.

thanks!
 

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do you have an a/c? if so the alternator is a bit harder...i think. It's pretty straight forward, but replace bushings while you're at it!
-Alex
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, there is an AC. So do you agree with the diagnoses? And isn' there a way to just replace the voltage regulator without taking out the alternator? I haven't looked yet, just guessing as I am waiting for the daylight tomorrow.
 

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the alternator should be around 150 USD from eeuroparts after core if i remember correctly. the bushings are a negligible price and should be replaced, and...my patent phrase...just gut the a/c, it makes everything easier.
 

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You can replace just the voltage regulator. Or, for that matter, just the brushes. We're talking $10+20 minutes vs $150+a big headache. My light came on and it turned out just replaceing the voltage regulator fixed it. Worth a shot.
Replacing the alternator involves pivoting the mounting plate to remove the pivot bolt. It's kind of a PITA.
 

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There are numerous things that can be wrong here other than just the alt itself, loose belts, worn alt mounts, bad alt ground wire, bad battery, bad wiring going to the battery, etc, etc.

You need to break out the multimeter and do some troubleshooting, check the output from the alt etc and actually find the problem.

There are always local shops that you can take your alt to to be rebuilt. IMO this is easier and better than buying a rebuilt, (and cheaper, locally getting a alt rebuilt will run anywhere from $40-$80).

In my experiance the local guys also do a better job, they know you and you know them and where they live, they have a business and reputation to uphold, whereas some big rebuilding company who might not even be located on the same continent, is in it for the money, they seem to do it the fastest, cheapest, easiest way and just factor in a percentage of returnes and failures. It works, and they usually have a replacement policy for when these things happen, but for the DIY'er, it sure is a pain to have to take the failed unit out and reinstall another one. ;)
 

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But, in any case, you can change the reg with the alternator in place. Just two screws with a No. 1 pozidriv screwdriver...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I pulled out the voltage regulator today and just by looking at it I could tell that that is the problem - the brushes ar completely worn out, one of them is almost missing. So I am going with that for now and hoping that it is everything. I also ripped a wire while doing that but that will be my next question once I finish with the voltage regulator.

Rossen
 

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Um, A wire in the alternator? Or one outside? Outside in the area there are:
  • oil pressure sender
  • alternator excitation
  • alternator ground
  • alternator supressor capacitor (sometimes)
  • starter solenoid
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It must be the oil pressure sender because it plugs in right above the oil filter, what should I do?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
tyb507 said:
You can replace just the voltage regulator. Or, for that matter, just the brushes. We're talking $10+20 minutes vs $150+a big headache. My light came on and it turned out just replaceing the voltage regulator fixed it. Worth a shot.
Replacing the alternator involves pivoting the mounting plate to remove the pivot bolt. It's kind of a PITA.
Alright. I did the same but the new regulator's brushes are so big that they hardly fit in the alternator. It took me an hour to finally fit it so it sits still and kind of tide, however, I couldn't match the screws with the inserts - it is still a bit off. It is working though and I am thinking of driving it with no screws for a while until the brushes wear off a bit so I can adjust it and screw it in. How did you fit it? I hate working there, the space is so tide and inconvenient, I could barely fit 2 fingers! "Jet Inspired" - sometimes I wish it was a little more user friendly rather than "jet inspired."
 

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The brushes should push into the regulator enough that you can fit it. You need at least one screw fitted to ground the regulator. Look for the screw hole with the metal insert. If the brushes are genuinely too long, you could shorten them by rubbing them on a sheet of sandpaper. Don't worry about retaining the curve in the end, that will re-make itself when fitted.

Oh, and compared with modern cars, there is tons of space in there!...
 

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I would just like to share this: I thought I had a bad alt, it turned out to be a bad "harmonic balancer" which is the hub for all the belts where they attach to the crankshaft, if it's loose, it can cause the alternator belts to become loose, as well as all other belts, it can also slip internally, so that it doesn't move the belts much or at all.

It was a huge headache for me, its something to check.
 
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