OK, Who Do I Trust? - Team Camaro Tech
Electrical & Wiring Troubleshooting electrical.

 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 26th, 11, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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OK, Who Do I Trust?

I was given an alternator. It supposedly worked when it was removed from a junk vehicle a few years ago. It looks good, spins free, but something tells me to test it before freezing my arsz installing this thing in my 4x4 pickup up at the cabin.

I go down to the local Autozone to have unit tested. The alternator passes and the kid says all is good, but they don't have the belt I need to do the installation. Now i'm off to NAPA for the belt.

At NAPA, for s&g's, I have the alternator tested. It FAILS! Won't charge under heavy load. He checks connections and machine settings, repeats the test 3 times, all fail.....hmmm? I buy the belt but leave confused.

On the way home is Advance Auto Parts. This kid tests the alternator and says it fails. DEAD!? Ok, wtf.... A little out of the way is another Autozone. This guy tests the alternator and says it is GOOD!! Passes all tests.

So, Why the different results? Each guy that ran the tests seemed to know what he was doing. I'm going to try O'Riley, Pepboys, and CarQuest tomorrow.

Who Do I Trust?!.........Jb

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Last edited by Johnny B; Jan 26th, 11 at 07:42 PM.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 26th, 11, 07:19 PM
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Re: OK, Who Do I Trust?

what kind of truck do you have?
find someone who knows what the heck they are doing, most are 18 yrold kids who dont have a clue..find the guy working there with some knowledge..
or all the gas your using driving around you could of just bought a new one!! lol

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 26th, 11, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Re: OK, Who Do I Trust?

This is for a (gulp) 02 Toyota Tacoma 3.4L-V6 5VZFE engine, Denso 80amp alternator. The guy at NAPA was agedly defined! The kids just punched in the info and pushed the button. Hard to miss. The computer did it all!

Beer/Liq store was next to 2nd Autozone store, so not a total loss! ...jb

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 26th, 11, 07:57 PM
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Re: OK, Who Do I Trust?

I see it like this, if you set it on the bench and don't hook it up, it's going to test dead... If you hook it up wrong, it's going to test dead... There is only one way for it to test good and that is to hook it up correctly! The fact that 2 of the 4 said it's good would make me lean toward it being good.

I try to avoid chain store's for testing electrical items, I have a dedicated automotive electrical repair shop close that I trust and a starter or alt exchange there isn't any more expensive than the chain stores. Look for a shop like that where you live...

...Dennis

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 27th, 11, 07:06 AM
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Re: OK, Who Do I Trust?

or buy a new one? with a warranty...
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 27th, 11, 09:36 AM
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Re: OK, Who Do I Trust?

I was leery of AutoZone when they tested an alternator for me. Very simple hookup and didn't look like any kind of load test. It was hookup,spin,done,pronounced good. I haven't hooked it up yet to confirm so don't know. I would sure be interested in your experiences at all the rest. If you could find a business that rebuilds starters and alternators they know what to do. Is there even such places anymore?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 27th, 11, 09:47 AM
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Re: OK, Who Do I Trust?

Keep in mind that alternator is producing more than 100Amps peak, although I don't know what load the test bench puts on it. If they have any flaky connections on the test bench, it can affect the result.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 27th, 11, 10:47 AM
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Re: OK, Who Do I Trust?

But don't you guys think that these test machines are designed so that even the village idiot can do it? Hook it up, press the button-red-fail green-pass.

But the best advice here so far was from Dennis, take it to an auto electric specialist, they can test it and tell you what's wrong with it. Could be a bad connection or an iffy diode.

alan
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 27th, 11, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: OK, Who Do I Trust?

Well, the NAPA machine had it right! I popped the end cover last night and found a bad diode and flaky regulator.

Still, I can't figure how 3 apparently high tech machines came up with three completely different diagnosis. I watched each test and am comfortable that the connections were correct and tight. Practically fool proof! The computer did all the testing.

Not to blast Autozone here, but I have read a bunch of posts on other sites saying to stay away from their test machines. A couple weeks ago I was in Autozone buying wax & detail stuff. There was an argument going on at the end of the counter (where the test machine is). Two kids that looked frozen to the bone, with bloody knuckles and grease head to toe, were arguing that the alternator that they were sold was no good. The counter guy insisted it tested good and wanted to sell them a battery. (Their battery was new and the first thing that Autozone told them to change!)

So much for my freebie alternator! The rectifier and regulator costs almost as much as a cheep rebuilt unit. I think i'll go talk to the old guy at NAPA for a new one! At least I can trust his test machine!....Jb

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Last edited by Johnny B; Jan 27th, 11 at 01:27 PM.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 27th, 11, 02:37 PM
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Re: OK, Who Do I Trust?

That is strange. I would of guessed Napa wanted to sell you a new one which is why they said it was bad. I wonder if the alt. would of actually worked if installed?

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