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Thread: Dreaded seized alternator

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    North Weald, Essex
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    Dreaded seized alternator

    Just got back from a week away & thought I'd get the old jalopy fired up ready for work in the morning. To my surprise it struggled to turn over.
    The battery is about 7 years old. I only do a 6 mile commute, the cold weather, with lights/heater fan/rear screen on most of the time. So I thought give it a jump start & maybe invest in a new battery. I connected up the jump leads & she fired up straight away. Great I thought, WRONG. There was a loud screech & she ground to a halt.

    So with an inch of snow on the ground I jacked her up, removed the rear wheel & cover. I put a 24mm ring spanner on the alternator pulley & it moved freely. Strange I thought. I turned the engine over with the spanner no problem. So I jumped in, turned the key & she started straight up, no noise.

    The only lubricant I could find in the shed was a spray can of 3in1, not the best option but I thought better than nothing. So I gave the alternator a liberal spray & started her up. I left her to idle whilst I put the wheel on etc.
    The only thing I'm a bit worried about is how much damage I've done to the drive belt. I inspected it & couldn't see any damage, but it must of got hot as it slipped on the pulley. Another job to do when the weather warms up!
    I'm guessing the alternator pulley got hot with the belt slip, which in turn expanded the shaft slightly & by the time I got to it with the spanner, had shrunk & unseized itself.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    uk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr T View Post
    I'm guessing the alternator pulley got hot with the belt slip, which in turn expanded the shaft slightly & by the time I got to it with the spanner, had shrunk & unseized itself
    I'm guessing the slight extra heat just increased the friction slightly and overcame the stalled alt.
    You're so money supermarket and you don't even know it!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Lewes
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    Have you though that it might have been you water pump? They are also prone to problems. Might be time to check your antifreeze concentration.

    John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    A belt running at slightly lower tension than recommended will occasionally give a squeal after a cold (very cold) start when the alt is asked to charge the battery. Stalling the engine is strange though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Devon
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    This could also be caused by the coolant in block becoming frozen and stopping the water pump turning, so check anti-freeze concentration is sufficient.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    North Weald, Essex
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    I've had belt squeal on other cars in the past, but this sounded very different to that. The noise got progressively worse in the 20 seconds or so that it ran, like as the belt heated up it was gripping the pulley more until it stalled the engine.

    I thought about the water pump too, but it was only -1 deg yesterday & I checked the water/antifreeze in the expansion tank & that seemed fine.
    The car has been fine today, coming up to temperature as normal, starting with ease & no squealing.

    I'll be keeping an eye on the water level over the next few days just in case though.

    BTW how do you check the antifreeze concentration?

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    uk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr T View Post
    .

    BTW how do you check the antifreeze concentration?
    If It hasnít been changed in your memory , it Might be worthwhile draining and replacing it, it does fatigue with age

    You check it with a hydrometer normally , about £4 on ebay
    Halfords do a checker for 1.99
    http://www.halfords.com/motoring/engine-oils-fluids/antifreeze/halfords-antifreeze-tester-meg?cm_mmc=Google+PLA-_-Engine+Oils+and+Fluids-_-Antifreeze-_-527374&istCompanyId=b8708c57-7a02-4cf6-b2c0-dc36b54a327e&istItemId=litpqx&istBid=tztx&_$ja=tsi d:94971%7Ccid:865695751%7Cagid:43902126215%7Ctid:a ud-297219198449la-425552236234%7Ccrid:202397318361%7Cnw:g%7Crnd:3261 625584533744700%7Cdvc:t%7Cadp:1o3%7Cmt:%7Cloc:9046 522&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI67vywIz52QIV6L_tCh1XXAcjEAQY AyABEgIYm_D_BwE
    You're so money supermarket and you don't even know it!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    North Weald, Essex
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    Thanks for that I'll nip to halfords tomorrow.
    The car had an engine rebuild & new turbo 3
    Ĺ years ago & the coolant was replaced at the same time. So hopefully it is still up to standard, but best to check.

  9. #9
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    Is it not the corrosion inhibitors that lose effectiveness more than the anti-freezing property?

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinger View Post
    Is it not the corrosion inhibitors that lose effectiveness more than the anti-freezing property?
    This is mainly what I was meaning , but maybe the antifreezing element deteriorates to some extent along with it.
    You're so money supermarket and you don't even know it!

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