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Old 06-02-2008
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Location: San Marcos, TX
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Icon9 Alternator Dead!

On Saturday, while driving back from visiting in-laws, I saw my battery charge light come on, and noticed a voltage drop on the voltmeter. So, Sunday morning, I took the truck to Autozone (which was the biggest mistake) to get the battery and charging system check, which they do for free. The guy told me my battery was good but low on charge, but didn't have me turn on the truck to check anything else. They also charged the battery for free, which took a little over 30 minutes. However, while putting the battery back in, and I was inside looking over their deals on air filters and oil change kits, the rep put it in backwards, and I didn't check after him. So I got in, and tried to start the truck, and got this obnoxious whine. Tried twice more, then got out and opened up the hood and told him the battery was backward. He fixed that, the truck started up fine, the manager came out, and they retested, this time telling me my alternator was bad. I was pissed, and was going to check out alternators at the carquest down the road. Got 20 seconds down the road, noticed my radio didn't work, and they replaced the fuse for me and it came right on.

So after all that, my questions are: How likely is it that this guy screwed up my alternator, bearing in mind that I was getting a charge warning light before? Second, if it is likely that they screwed up my alternator, what should be my course of action?

Thanks in advance for any help, I'm planning on talking to a mechanic too, but I wanted some outside opinions.
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Old 06-02-2008
 
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Well, if it is the truck listed in your profile, I would say that the alternator was going out the door causing the battery light to come on. I had to replace my alternator about 2 months ago because the brushes on the voltage regulator were worn down to nothing, not making the required contact. I would say take the alt out, take the regulator out from the back of it, check the brushes and contact point, and see if they are good.

I believe you can get replacement regulators cheap, but if you want a new alternator, check out your Advanced Auto Parts / Parts America shop. I got a new alternator from them for about $165 without having to give them the old one for the core charge, and put it in in about 10 minutes. If you do it that way, you may be able to have a spare to use if anything goes wrong.
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Old 06-02-2008
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yeah, it is the 99 2.5l 4cyl ranger on my profile, sorry for not posting that first. I'll check that, thanks for the advice.

just for clarification, you're saying that you don't think that autozone caused this, based on the fact that I was getting the warning light before?
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  #4  
Old 06-02-2008
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Thanks!

thanks for the advice on the regulator, one of the brushes was so worn down it was popping off the spring, but the other one looked worn normally. Is that something I should be worried about, by the way?
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Old 06-03-2008
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Every one I've ever pulled apart had uneven brush wear like that.
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Old 06-03-2008
 
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I wouldn't be worried, it is considered a wear out part.
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  #7  
Old 06-04-2008
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got a new regulator for 20 bucks, put the alternator back in, had it charged at autozone (while I watched the guy like a hawk, and only because they're the only ones in my area that will do it for free). Everything looks like it should now, runs as well as ever now. thanks for the advice!
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