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Old 17-08-2015, 11:53   #1
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Alternator -- New or Rebuild?

Some of you may know from another thread on the subject that I fried my school bus alternator.

I have just arrived back in the UK after 3000 miles of sailing to Finland and back, and can now think about dealing with it.

I found a guy who will rebuild it, including rewinding it, for 120 pounds (plus VAT), about $230. Three day turnaround.

OR, he will sell me a brand new one for 290 pounds plus VAT, about $580.

Is there any good reason to spring for the new one, other than wanting to have the old one as a spare? The old one has 2300 hours on it and was working fine until I burned it up. Will it be as good as new after rebuilding, or should I spring for the new one? Grateful as always for your advice.
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Old 17-08-2015, 12:24   #2
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Re: Alternator -- New or Rebuild?

I recently faced the same issue and opted for the rebuild. I have only 50 hours running time since the rebuild, but it is performing like a new unit so far. I suppose that much depends on the re-builder getting all of the points of failure back to factory specs, but there are lots of them being resolved by overhaul vs. a new unit.
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Old 17-08-2015, 12:29   #3
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Re: Alternator -- New or Rebuild?

You should find out what he is going to replace. What burned up? Is he going to put in new windings, field, stator etc. Or is he just putting in new diodes, brushes and bearings. If he is replacing everything, that is a pretty good deal.
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Old 17-08-2015, 13:00   #4
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Re: Alternator -- New or Rebuild?

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Originally Posted by Guy View Post
You should find out what he is going to replace. What burned up? Is he going to put in new windings, field, stator etc. Or is he just putting in new diodes, brushes and bearings. If he is replacing everything, that is a pretty good deal.
He says new windings. I'll ask about field and stator.

Are bearings a standard part of a rebuild of this type?
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Old 17-08-2015, 13:05   #5
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Re: Alternator -- New or Rebuild?

DH, there's nothing "standard" about a rebuild. Think about it: it depends on what is damaged and needs to be replaced, otherwise it would be an incomplete job. Yes, I know, then how can he possibly quote it, right? Ask him.

I have two alternators, both purchased "new" but were rebuilds inside with old Delco cases, have had them both rebuilt over the years. $140 each rebuild within the past two years.
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Old 17-08-2015, 13:06   #6
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Re: Alternator -- New or Rebuild?

You bet. If he is doing even just one winding he will probably do bearings and brushes too. Maybe even a diode assembly. It would not be time to scrimp on a $20 bearing.
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Old 17-08-2015, 13:22   #7
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Re: Alternator -- New or Rebuild?

In the US, in the alternator industry:
Rebuild means "fix what was broke, so it works again".
What you might prefer is "Remanufactured", where a larger facility literally breaks it down to the frame, and then re-assembles EVERY COMPONENT so it is not just "working" but it is tested and proven to be within the specs for NEW. Bearings and brushes and coils and all.


For $580 I would bet that you are getting a remanufactured alternator, not a new one. Even when you buy a "new" alternator from a dealer service shop, that's what it usually is. If it is done properly, with a solid warranty, great. If not...a rebuild and a junkyard spare can actually be more reliable and cheaper. (I know, you've got other sources of AC on board.)


If you'd feel uncomfortable eating lunch off the guy's work counter? Don't let him rebuild it. A good alternator shop is a CLEAN and orderly shop. That's just the way it goes.


And if they spray the entire thing with shiny silver paint when they rebuild it? One layer of paint on the diodes is enough to cause them to fail and overheat, according to the folks at the Delco companies. One layer, guaranteed.
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Old 17-08-2015, 13:29   #8
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Re: Alternator -- New or Rebuild?

Prestolite / Leece-Neville Alternators and Starter Motors

This will give you an idea of USA prices for new alternators. Noodle around the site. I understand pricing is usually double in the UK, but still...

Folks here in the USA still and regularly buy horribly overpriced alternators.
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Old 17-08-2015, 15:19   #9
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Re: Alternator -- New or Rebuild?

My general rule is if a repair is more than 50% the cost of a new one, get the new one. Often the shop will buy the old for parts. But on an alternator... I would want to know what's being done. A good rebuild is as good as new, but if he is leaving in parts with 2,000 hours I would prefer a new one. Nothing worse than fixing something just to have a different part fail in a few weeks.
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Old 17-08-2015, 19:33   #10
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Re: Alternator -- New or Rebuild?

[QUOTE=Stu Jackson;1892921]DH, there's nothing "standard" about a rebuild. Think about it: it depends on what is damaged and needs to be replaced, otherwise it would be an incomplete job. Yes, I know, then how can he possibly quote it, right? Ask him.

There is something "standard" about a rebuild. Any number of things are rebuilt. They don't replace everything, they rebuild them to specs that are as good as new. If Joe's Overhaul says he is going to rebuild your alternator your fuel pump, your racing car engine or your airplane engine he is probably going to do it. If you just tell him to just fix any of those things , he will do that too.
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Old 18-08-2015, 05:44   #11
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Re: Alternator -- New or Rebuild?

Depends on what he is renewing, "everything" would include, stator, rotor, bearings, voltage regulator/brushes, Diode pack, Basically just use the case's & fan/pulley again, It could be a good idea to get him to marinise it a little when it is apart, A few coats of shellac on the stator & rotor wires, Paint/coat the castings & a good coat of high temp grease on the internal connections & it should be better than new,, 120 sounds a good price,
Alternatively if he is not replacing stator & rotor ( obviously I have not seen it, but by the descriptions you have given, It has had a hard life:-)) I would have a look at service exchange as mentioned above, They are batch built, you will not get your old one back, These do both, service exchange & rebuild, Lucas Electrical | Automotive Aftermarket Components
Option 3, rebuild it yourself ? A socket set, couple of screwdrivers, 2/3 prong puller & a soldering iron oh,,, and of course a hammer or 3, The above will also supply the parts,

Have a good one
Tim
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Old 18-08-2015, 06:34   #12
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Re: Alternator -- New or Rebuild?

Looked it up just for grins, if you have a L/N 110-555 8HLP2170V or similar, the parts to return it to like new cost, at the first and only place I looked, 145.00 USD.

That includes bearings and brush holder and brushes, rear housing and rectifier, stator (windings) and regulator.

I'd look around for a better source of parts, build it myself, and buy the necessary spare to do it again if I had to.

Parts prices come from here:

FinditParts

Part numbers from here:

Prestolite - Leece Neville

Click on 'get product brochure' at the appropriate alternator.
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Old 18-08-2015, 07:37   #13
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Re: Alternator -- New or Rebuild?

To give sort of an answer, if done correctly, with the parts hand fitted, brushes seated properly etc., a properly overhauled alternator is BETTER than a "new" one.
Just like a properly overhauled, "blue printed" engine is better than a new one.

But if it's a take it apart and replace what is broken, it may only last ten hours till something else breaks.
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Old 18-08-2015, 07:52   #14
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Re: Alternator -- New or Rebuild?

HelloSailor just about covers it in post # 7.
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Old 18-08-2015, 10:15   #15
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Re: Alternator -- New or Rebuild?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Some of you may know from another thread on the subject that I fried my school bus alternator.

I have just arrived back in the UK after 3000 miles of sailing to Finland and back, and can now think about dealing with it.

I found a guy who will rebuild it, including rewinding it, for 120 pounds (plus VAT), about $230. Three day turnaround.

OR, he will sell me a brand new one for 290 pounds plus VAT, about $580.

Is there any good reason to spring for the new one, other than wanting to have the old one as a spare? The old one has 2300 hours on it and was working fine until I burned it up. Will it be as good as new after rebuilding, or should I spring for the new one? Grateful as always for your advice.
We are having our Heath alternator rebuilt, part of the decision was that it is new enough to support three stage charging. In considering re-build would want to know the technology still supported what charging systems were contemplated.
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