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Dee_82

Alternator woes?

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Hi guys, soo, been getting a whine from the offside/ alternator side of the engine , been sporadic up to now but yesterday it didn't stop.

No bother starting the car, once the car is on, drives fine but yesterday the crap started to mount.

 

Basically if I turn my lights on I can't do anything else. Voltage drops from 14-12, if I turn he wipers on they go about 2/3 of their usual speed. If I urn the electric heaters on it can drop to 12 and the lights dim/flicker wipers go even slower. If I have the lights on and reverse I lose power assisted steering voltage will sometimes stick at 12 v unless I give it a little juice and it'll go back to 14.

No warning lights (other than power stearing) no issues starting at all. 

Windows wind down fine but up is REally slow with lights on. Turn lights off and give it a little, the wipers work fine

Thoughts?

With the whine I'm learning towards to alternator itself and I've actually ordered one, but is there nothing else that would cause volt drop. Battery is relatively new and as I said she cold starts fine. 14.3 across th terminals, Corrosion? But would that make a whine on the alternator, without any load applied to it other than normal running .

Whine isn't a belt slipping. But beyond that I couldn't say if it was a tensioner or not. Whine directly rises and falls with RPM

With the nights now very early I'm in the crapper if I can't get this sorted, if i get a cold spell I'll be up the creak! 

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

 

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All I'd add is my alternator packed up around the same mileage as yours (120k ish), although it was pretty sudden, one whine whilst driving then wouldn't restart.  Hope you get it sorted mate!

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What you've described really does just sound like the alternator dying to be honest.

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Just pop the belt off and run it briefly...can be easily done from the top, don't even need to remove the engine cover.  Will show if the whine is on the aux belt or not.  Only thing I would suggest is doing it straight after a drive if your battery isn't being charged well, just to make sure there's enough charge in it for 2 starts (one with the belt off then again with the belt on, obviously there won't be any charging without the belt on).  

The alternators have a freewheel pulley in them so they run down more slowly than the engine whereas the tensioner runs down at the same speed which should give you a better idea of which is causing the noise.  Mine's whined for years so a bit of whine is probably normal...but not as badly as this 206 I bought as a fixer-upper, this was diagnosed as the alternator but I never got around to changing it before sale, it worked fine, just made an awful noise.   When I open the door, that's to turn on the AC to rule out the AC pulley, not just for a nice shot of the alcantara... :laugh: 

 

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Annnnnnnnd, its gone, Packed up the alternator from store, had some funky voltage irregularities on my gauges, bother were dancing around, ABS and power steering warnings came on when reversing in to the bay, hit the motorway and it sorted itself out, had to be very selective with the wiper button then it totally packed in on the Kingston Bridge of all places. (that's like the M25 of Scotland!) of course there's no hard shoulder over the bridge.

on the approach to the bridge the ABS and traction control lights lit up, then the handbrake light started to behave like it was a xmas tree light, just as I crested the hump in the middle of the bridge the IC and everything in the car went dead, power steering gone,  thankfully I was able to freewheel it over the rest of the bridge and found a wee spot that was out the way of most of the traffic, I was determined to not be "that guy" blocking half the busiest road in Scotland!   AA guy on the phone was like, you need to get out the car, to which I replied, "Am I F^&%" had traffic zipping around and there was no way in hell I could get away from it. Course the hazard lights were dead for good measure.

So, after all that, AA man would only take me to the nearest garage so its there, waiting to be fixed. maybe pick it up tomorrow, Had a nice work out whilst getting towed to the garage.

AA chap ran some tests and it said the Alternator was drawing 120A out of the battery, not entirely sure how that would happen but he was pretty confidant about it I may have miss heard him though whatever was going on he said the battery was being discharged far quicker then what would typically happen if the alternator just stopped working.

 

 

 

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That was a bit sudden!  I'll add the alternator to my list of potential breakdown causing items lol... :unsure:

I'm not an electronics expert but I can only assume the voltage regulator failed to let the current flow the wrong way maybe?

At least it's getting fixed now!  :smile:

 

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perhaps, I haven't a scoobie, if its still there when I pick the car up ill ask for it back and see, not heard from them yet so I'm thinking itll be tomorrow before I hear back from them.

I thought perhaps if there was some short or something within the alternator it could be acting as a giant resistor. dumping 120A in to heat. which maybe ties in to the regulator, its probably a diode that maintains voltage through drawing current across it, if that diode packed in or was faulty...maybe it draw too much.

If I'm honest, its been making a noise for while now, should have dealt with it before, my own daft fault really

 

Found this video today, this is almost pitch perfect for what it sounded like today. 

 

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My alternator also seems to be making a whining sound, started yesterday,  its quite subtle and one of those noises that I can't decide if its always been there but I haven't noticed it. The car has just done 90k. Then I noticed some funny voltages, 10.9v at one stage with the engine running and the lights and heating on (windscreen, supplementary heater etc.). Normally its around 13.5 - 14v.  The voltage readout is from a USB socket I installed that probably isn't the most reliable way of measuring the voltage but for the most part it has seemed to be accurate. I've just checked out replacing the alternator, seems like a right pig of a job as access is limited, I did it on my escort in 1999 and it was really straight forward. After reading this thread I'm thinking I want it changed though to avoid future problems.

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25 minutes ago, RobTdci said:

My alternator also seems to be making a whining sound, started yesterday,  its quite subtle and one of those noises that I can't decide if its always been there but I haven't noticed it. The car has just done 90k. Then I noticed some funny voltages, 10.9v at one stage with the engine running and the lights and heating on (windscreen, supplementary heater etc.). Normally its around 13.5 - 14v.  The voltage readout is from a USB socket I installed that probably isn't the most reliable way of measuring the voltage but for the most part it has seemed to be accurate. I've just checked out replacing the alternator, seems like a right pig of a job as access is limited, I did it on my escort in 1999 and it was really straight forward. After reading this thread I'm thinking I want it changed though to avoid future problems.

I did loads of work and tinkering on my old escorts, cleaning the carburetor and float valve, fitting and removing parts such as starter motor, alternator and stuff, it just seems different these days, more difficult. Modern cars are designed to be more difficult, I'm sure of it.

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Yeah it was easier, there was just less to them though I wouldn't want to go back to it if I'm honest, my Escort was a very  basic model, not even power steering or air con. I've just been reading the Haynes manual on alternator replacement and while they can be useful, they often seem to have you removing parts that don't really need to be removed.

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possibly, there are some other things that can interfere with it like earth points, damaged wires. But that was more or less what mine did to start with, it progressively got worse and ended up sounding like that video I posted. then, it died.  Now mine was producing 14v until its final hours but if yours isn't dumping 13-14 V then you will run in to problems.

replacing it isn't as easy it should be, pop the belt off, 4 bolts and the compressor is off and moved out the way, front and lower bolts easy enough to get off then comes the "its a 1.6 tdci focus so lets make it is awkward as possible" routine. That final bolt wont come out the way because of the DPF bracket, Haynes doesn't mention that but apparently you have to undo the bracket and move it as well, the DPF didn't need to come out but it did need its bracket moved, only needs an extra inch or so clearance. New one in and reverse.

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incidentally, the alternator was a crisp, the plastic was burnt, not melted but crispy black and brittle, the diodes were equally black and carried a really strong smell of burning. I'm trying to get inside but it seems fused together so I might need to cut it open.  I'm not sure if its designed that way but the outer pulley rotes the inner spindle there is some resistance inside and a slight rubbing, but however the two are connected, it doesn't seem like its doing its job any more, I can freely rotate the pulley and stop it and the spindle will continue to move a few degrees 

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1 hour ago, Dee_82 said:

I'm not sure if its designed that way but the outer pulley rotes the inner spindle there is some resistance inside and a slight rubbing, but however the two are connected, it doesn't seem like its doing its job any more, I can freely rotate the pulley and stop it and the spindle will continue to move a few degrees 

That's how the pulley is meant to work. it's a freewheel/clutch pulley.  Means the alternator can continue to spin for a bit longer as the engine revs drop.  A few extra seconds of charge between gear changes and junctions all adds up. :smile: 

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that explains that then :) something is rubbing inside an I'm guessing it was getting pretty toasty to have blackened it so much.

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Yeah there shouldn't be any rubbing, that's probably what caused the extra drain on the engine to reduce power and efficiency as well.  

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Well I did manage to replace my alternator this morning. Not the easiest of jobs but certainly doable within a few hours. Funnily enough the old one seemed to be fine yesterday though still a little noisy, but from past experience, these things rarely sort themselves out for the long term. It's usually only a matter of time  before the problems come back. I use the Mersey tunnels for work and having my alternator bringing the centre of Liverpool to a standstill when it fails in the tunnel  isn't high on my list of things to do!

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