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Let’s talk about charging systems on first generation W-Body’s


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I recall our very first alternator when the car was brand new lasting 8 years on my 2.8 V-6. After that they would be remanufacture ones but still lasted us a good 4-5 years. Now alternators have been lasting us only 1-2 years. We always used AC Delco because it’s the oem part that was require to use from the factory. Ever since we have been getting crappy remanufacture alternators. Can someone tell me why a new alternator lasted 8 years when the car was new, but remanufacture ones these days don’t last long? I need to buy another one again and it only lasted 2 years. Is it possible to buy new ones anymore or are they just all reman ones?

Edited by 89-W-Body-Regal
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"New" parts are typically made by the Communist Chinese.  NOBODY goes to China to improve quality. They source product from China to improve profit margins.

The Communists can screw-up ANYTHING.  They excel at cutting corners while no-one is looking.  It's up to the crooks in the US who contracted with the Communist Chinese, to do proper quality assurance; and the whole point of sourcing from China is to cut costs--so spending time, money, effort, and enthusiasm on QA is not a high priority.

I look for "rebuilt" parts in preference to "new, made in China" junk.  At least the rebuilts had some pieces made in a first-world country.



That said, there's a really good chance that the problem you're having with repeat alternator failure is not due the alternator--or at least, not entirely due to the alternator.  Nobody ever tests the wire harness connecting the alternator to the battery, starter, or the rest of the vehicle.

A failed battery will over-work the alternator.  A failed starter can over-work the battery.  A parasitic drain will leave the battery discharged overnight, making life harder on the alternator.  Corroded connections or missing ground wires cause unexpected problems.  The whole charging/starting/storage power team has to be tested as a system.  Instead, you're encouraged to bring individual parts to the parts store for "testing" on their "machine", by a kid that was poorly trained and hardly motivated.


You need  the electrical system of the vehicle properly tested, all at once.  Expect to pay at least half-an-hour's labor charge, and probably more like one hour.  And--sorry to say--"good luck" finding someone who knows what they're doing.  I was trained in this forty years ago; it was absolutely routine for us to do this testing five times a day; twenty-five times a day after blizzards.  I don't know anyone who does this any more; but maybe that's because I'm retired and lost touch with reality.



For the record, "AC-Delco" doesn't make anything.  They're just a sales organization, buying from other suppliers and stuffing those parts into custom-printed boxes.  AC-Delco has AT LEAST three different "lines"; the good stuff, the cheap stuff, and the crappy stuff.  The best stuff is supposedly what came on the car when it was new.  Even that is not entirely true.  The less-expensive parts are the same crap sold by the other discounters--Chinese dreck.

Edited by Schurkey
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I was just going to say the same thing, the AC delco parts on your car are not the same ones you get in the AC delco box from the dealer or anywhere else. Everything has been offshored, If you like your orginal parts start figureing out of the Reman them yourself, and they will last if you can find good wear parts like regulators and brush holders . 

Still easy to get good quality bearings. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

All 100% Correct, I have given up on A/C Delco batteries too, even though they are correct for shows, they don't last. From here on in I'm switching to Interstate and I'll just let them take the points off on the judging sheets. The heck with it. 

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