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Alternator problems

4323 Views 22 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  robtechno
Hi all, been having some bad luck with cars lately. My DD car decided to puke up its water pump, so I uncovered the trust Alfa. Well, I guess she was mad for being covered up to much and not getting run. So, today I was hearing this strange "tinging" noise. I didn't know what it was so kind of dismissed it. Later on when idling it was getting a bit worse and then it got real bad. It was almost turning into a grinding noise. I also got the generator light to come on and lower my happiness to be driving. I got out with the car at idle and I can hear and almost see the alternator pulley/cooling fins hitting against the alternator case. I figure the bearings or brushes are going out of it and causing it to get enough play to make contact. My question is, can you go to a local place that rebuilds starters, alternators, distributors like this, or do I need to find a person on the board that has a good used one? I have not looked real hard to find a new one, but figure it may be kind of expensive. I got 2 pictures of what it is and the part that is making contact. Since this is my only other car should I chance driving it more, or will I end up with parts flying all over and be out even more.


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Most Alfas uses a Bosch alternator, whose design and components are common to many European cars. Your local "Automotive Electrical Specialist" should be able to rebuild a Bosch alternator without much trouble. However, from your photos, I am a bit confused - all of my Bosch alternators have their pulleys made out of sheetmetal, while yours looks like a casting.

What year Alfa do you have? I'm guessing it is a '71, as it has an alternator (earlier Alfas used generators), but in your second picture I don't see the nylon jack that attaches the wires from the regulator to the back of the alternator. Or maybe you have some sort of a Marelli alternator (was there such a thing?). Sometimes it helps people on the BB to help you if you provide information like the car's year or alternator brand.

While you have things apart, you may want to spend another few bucks and get a new regulator. Solid state regulators are cheaper than the old "points-n-coils" ones, and will be more reliable.
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Try a CKS autoparts store, Kragen/checkers/Schucks they have rebuilt listings for most of the four cylinder Alfa's, I've purchased them here in CA. You need to reuse you fan/pulley/spacers etc, don't loose the litttle woodruff key that goes on the shaft. The bearing in your have wornout, hence the fan hits the case and the internal properties are out of alignment. You could also have a local shop do it, make sure they replace the didodes. PS my friend Barbara, originally from San Angelo has a good Alfetta long block in storage there, any interest?
If I may amend my suggestion to agree with Jay, have a local shop rebuild yours, it is a bosch and internally there all pretty much the same. I'd rebuild your 'cause if you get one thaat's rebuilt the body flange where it mounts to the engine can be of different thicknesses and that can create problems getting the fan belt to line up (be in the same plane) with the waterpump and crankshaft pulley. I'll put my money on a late 70's ALFA, some of them had alternators with internal regulators (bosch)
Thanks for the response guys. It is a '72 model GT Junior that had a 1750 heart transplant before I got it. It is a Euro model I brought back with me from Italy when I was stationed there. I saw in the phone book for the local area a few places that rebuild alternators/starters and such. I need to get on vehicle drivable before I can rip into the Alfa. I will most likely go with a rebuild on this one as long as the local guys can do it. If your friend had a spare alternator, I would be all over it:) I hope to call around and see tomorrow if anyone can do work on it. I will let you guys all know how it goes. I guess it is time to finally change out the belt that I have had laying around for a few months now.
Take a good look at the pulley before you make your next move. It is made up of several pieces. The one on my Milano sort of fell apart. I think that the center nut came loose and enabled the two halves of the pulley to flap around and wear the key ways.

I have a surplus working alternator but it is the type that needs an external regulator. Your's looks like it has a biult-in regulator.

Ed Prytherch
79 Spider
88 Verde
Yea, I need to get it off the car as soon as I get my other ride running. I don't want it to fly apart and destroy more stuff. I will take some pictures when I get to it.
Alternators Unlimited

I went through this a few weeks ago.

My local Kragen was able to look up a rebuilt alternator for my '74 GTV (external regulator), but it was almost $200, and a special order item that would take a few weeks.

Then I went to Alternators Unlimited in Berkeley, CA. They have a bunch of them on the shelf, rebuilt and ready to go, with the pulley and everything already installed. It cost $90, with my old one as an exchange. With a 1 year warranty.

Even though you're out of state, it may be worth the trouble to have one shipped.

Their number is: 510-527-7773

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$200 for a voltage regulator is a rip off. try this and see if they can help you. They will also have a list with dealers.
Your alternator is just old. When the scraping noisen is the only problem and the rest is working it's not a problem. On the rotorshaft at the rear ball bearing there is a spring ring which is gone bad. Open it up and put new ball bearings in. Both front and rear. Nothing special. you can use the ones open at one side or clased at both sides. As long as the closed side is at the outside of the front and rear shield. mark the front and rear end shield with the stator so you put it back together at the same position. Use a low voltage solder gun and don't over heat the diodes when soldering. In the above website you can also use the OE Bosch number on the alternator as your reference for spare parts.
You can also google the Bosch alternator # and you come up with a lot of websites. just because it's an old car don't let them rip you off. They still produce these type of regulator.

Good luck
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Alternator removed, waiting to get rebuilt

Well, I got the alt. off tonight. That thing is a little bugger to get fished out of there. I removed the battery (lots of extra space with it out) and got to unbolting. The alternator itself is not difficult to do, just that removing the large lower bolt required me to take the cooling fan shroud off and drop it down so I could pull the bolt out. I realized this car is pretty low after working on it for a little while, my back was starting to get sore. I had to semi-lay across the fenders and extend my legs out to get comfortable. I could have looked like a retard, but it helped a good bit. I noticed when removing that there is no real adjustment for the belt. the alternator hits the block and pretty much prevents any slack from being taken back. Is the correct way to re-install to throw the belt on and push the bolt in the lower hole, hoping you have enough belt slack? I will let you all know when the alternator is back from being rebuilt at a local specialty shop. I wiggled it and spun it, but everything seemed real tight. I could see where the cooling fins on the pulley were making contact with the housing, but it seems real tight. I guess when it is done I will see what he had to replace.
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Alternator pictures

I forgot I took a few pictures of it just because. The one shows where the pulley was rubbing the case. I saw some numbers and stuff on there also, so it got it's picture taken.


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That is an early 70's alternator with screw terminals. They are relatively low output. You can probably buy a good used one with a higher output and a built in regulator for about $50. Google used car parts and you will find junkyard data bases. You should be able to find one for a good price - probably half of what they go for on ebay.
I unsuccessfully tried to sell one like yours on the ABB for $10. I sold it to IAP for core for $25. I can give you a voltage regulator if you decide to stick with the antique variety.
Ed Prytherch
79 Spider
88 Verde
"se Motopo" ?????


I am still puzzled about just what kind of an alternator you have. Does the manufacturer's stamp really read "SE MOTOPO" as shown in your photo? Does it say "Bosch" on it anywhere? To my eye, it doesn't look like a Bosch.

It is possible that a previous owner installed an Asian, or ??? alternator on your Alfa when the original one died. What sort of a regulator (if any) are you running? A 1972 model Alfa should have an external regulator mounted in front of the battery.

The difficulties that you are having in tensioning the belt may be related to having an alternator that wasn't intended for your engine. I guess you are already spending $$ on rebuilding your SE MOTOPO thing, but if I were you, I would get the correct Bosch alternator. As Ed Prytherch writes, they don't put out much amperage, but then again, 1972 Alfas don't have a lot of electrical accessories to eat up power.
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That's a MOTOROLA build of a Prestolite design. It may be a Euro market version or a junkyard substitute some PO threw on. These were used often on industrial and marine applications. American Motors used them at times.
If the alternator pivots on the mounting bolt but hits the engine then the fan belt is too long, probably stretched. From the photo it looks like the adustment bolt head on top of the alternator is rubbing against the engine, just grind down the thickness of the bolt head; I had a Motorola conversion on a 67GTjr. Your local guy can rebuild,
Thanks for all the info guys. Alfajay, the only markings on this thing are the ones "SE MOTOPO." Is that little black thing with the wire the voltage regulator? It has some voltage information on it, but I am not sure what it exactly is. I believe the bolt to adjust the tension is not my only problem. The actual alternator body hits the engine before getting close enough to allow the belt to be taken on or off. I am heading to the re-builder today, but would actually like the correct style alternator at some point in the future.
Nacho as it is an old type SEB-Marchal, now owned by VALEO in France try to contact these guys as they are the imoporter for Valeo on the west coast.
They are nice guys. It's a family business and ask for Bob.
You can mention my name it might help.
All the best.
Rob Landman from Holland but now residing in Virginia.
Sorry for the tipo it's SEV-Motorola but the older name SEV-Marchal still sticks in my head.
All the best
So you have a French built: SEV - MOTOROLA, 55A alternator. This is in keeping with a Euro market ALFA. Volvo, Peugeot, Lotus, etc... used them also.
It appears that it's internally regulated. You have the heavy red output wire connected to terminal B+, the blue wire to terminal D+ ... was there another wire connected to the spade terminal?
The little black box is likely a radio interference suppressor.

I'd say you have two options: fix it or replace it with a BOSCH alternator.
GTD, you described the setup perfectly. I actually took it locally to get rebuilt since I need this car running in about a week and a half to do a 1500 mile journey up north. I need to get the upgrade Bosch version when I get a chance. I always did notice a little less headlight when the car was at an idle:D I really am not sure what exact alternator will fit this motor. I said I had some issues with it contacting the block, not allowing for correct belt tension adjustment. I want the right alternator that does not do this in the future.
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