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Alternator Bearings

01-03-2008, 02:04 PM
Is it possible to change the bearings in the alternator? If so, are the bearings pressed in or is there just a retainer plate? If anyone has any information on this I would greatly appreciate it. (98 windstar 3.8)

01-03-2008, 03:25 PM
Boy I don't know if anyone really re-builds them anymore (except the suppliers who get your "core" when you replace one). It would probably be hard to find the correct part anyway. Are you dealing with a lot of noise? Squealing? I was at one point and took my alternator into an autozone to have it tested. I tested fine yet noisy. The guy who looked at it commented that it looked dirty and oily. He suggested I get a spray can of electrical cleaner and just soak the thing. I did, and have been running that alternator, quietly for at least six months now.

Hope that may help.

01-04-2008, 01:58 AM
I wish I could have found where I had answered this same exact question here before, but I lost patience. Yes it's possible, but where you may have to go to get the parts may change your mind. You won't find an automotive parts store that will have the bearings listed for your van's alternator and I'd even doubt they'd have it or can order it unless you give someone like Napa or like the actual bearing number, but not AZ or AA. They get confused when you talk about something that doesn't easily come off their computer list of parts. There is typically just one ball bearing that is pressed in the front half of the altenator where the pulley shaft comes out. The rear bearing is typically nothing more than a broinze bushing also pressed in. If not too greatly worn, you can avoid the task of trying to find the rear replacement. If you are going to open this thing, you might as well replace the brushes and voltage regulator, which you can buy as a unit, but the brushes alone can be replaced (which I've only been able to get at Napa). Hopefully you can find a number on the front bearing, if not you may have to go to a bearing outfit or an automotive, industrial, commercial starter, altenator, etc. rebuilder for parts. They do still exist. If you are comfortagle with a repair like this, removing the pulley, pulling and pressing bearings and have the time to do the work and track down the parts , then I'd at least try. Or you could buy a new altenator for $150 -200.

01-04-2008, 10:00 AM
We are lucky enough to have a place that rebuilds them here. The funny thing is
unless its an old hard to find part its about the same as a rebuilt one from a parts store. Most of the work the do now is for old classic cars and tractors. But may get a quote from them if my high priced alt goes. Seems to me alts have gone up a lot in price. I use to think 80.00 bucks for one was high. Until i checked out the ones on a Windstar. CRAP!!!

01-04-2008, 11:40 AM
Thanks for the replies. I guess I will just deal with the noise. I don't think its worth the effort to repair or the money for a new alternator. I was just hoping for a simple fix. I will however try the electrical cleaner suggested by busboy4.

01-04-2008, 02:04 PM
I'd monitor the alternator frequently. A seized alternator can stop you in your tracks. Does your town have a alternator/starter repair shop? May
be more economical than purchasing a remanufactured one. Couple of
months ago bought one from Advanced Auto for $187.00, ouch. Wish I
would called some boneyards also as three of the four remanufactured alternators I installed were duds.

01-05-2008, 01:19 AM
I echo all of those sentiments from overpriced to crappy rebuilds from AA, AZ and even one from Napa. Sure didn't expect that. The front bearing on my Taurus alt (which is the same exact one on the windstar) from them is complaining after not much mileage. It wil have to be replaced soon. I have replaced a rebuilt starter from AA twice on my Dodge truck, at least all of these parts are warranteed, but changing them frequently gets old, especially in the freezing cold!?!.

01-05-2008, 07:34 AM
My thinking on the price is higher Amp's. Although I never paid much mind in that when I was getting them on other cars. I do see Windstars have Amp's that differ on the same year. I think on some I replaced before did not have but one Amp type. So makes me think that the Windstar along with a lot of newer cars on the road carry more Amp loads now because of todays needs Cell phones and lap top cpu's and TV & game systems. Was not long ago when I changed the one on my mom car out. Still only paid about 80.00 for a new one. I could have gone with the rebuilt for around 50-60 buck range.. So if we keep getting newer cars get use to the higher price. I guess.. Seems like anything later than a 2000 is higher than the ones in the years 70-90. Unless you have an old import MB,BMW & some VW /Audi are higher no matter what year you have..

01-06-2008, 07:51 PM
My Saturn's alternator at almost 200k miles is getting noisy. I ordered a kit from ebay for $29 which includes bearings, brushes, rectifier, and regulator. Will rebuild it later this week hopefully. This will be my first rebuild vs. replacment, looks like it is fairly straightforward. There are rebuild videos on youtube (but they don't cover the bearing part).

01-07-2008, 05:56 PM
I LOVE to tinker....but......when the bearings on my alternator got noisy......I replaced the alternator.

NOW.....I went in circles over a noise that ended up being the idler pulley......which is located just below the alternator.
My problem was that the noise was only at a speed that was just above idle speed.
The bolt for the idler pulley is a NORMAL bolt......counter clock-wise to remove.
I had to REALLY punish that bolt to get it to move.
I soaked it with PBlaster......and STILL had to use a pipe over the end of the wrench and hit it with a sledge hammer.

01-08-2008, 09:02 AM
I replaced the idler arm and the idler pulley about 14 months ago as I had read alot about those components failing and also their life span of about 60,000 miles. I have 106,000 so I figured they need changed anyway. I'm pretty sure my noise is coming from the alternator. It was cold and wet a couple of weeks ago and the noise was about the worst I had heard it and I sprayed a little WD-40 between the alternator pulley and the housing. The noise went away for a few minutes and then came again. Repeated steps to get same results. I am going to tinker with it some this weekend and see what I can do. I also might call around and see if there are any shops that will fix it as was suggested in earlier posts

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