Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
2003 Forester 5MT
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wonder if anyone else has had lousy luck with alternators. My wife has a 2003 Forester.
In March 2010, with about 86K miles, we decided to replace the head gasket on the driver's side, and rolled in a bunch of other jobs, like the timing belt and a reconditioned alternator (I think the shaft bearing was getting bad, but I don't remember exactly).

August 2012, with 105K miles, the alternator died and needed replacement. The warranty had expired, so we shelled out for a rebuilt one again.

On Saturday, (October 2013), the alternator quit on the road. Luckily we were able to limp into an Autozone and swap out the unit in the parking lot, so we're running again. (I think she only has about 115K on the car now.)

My question is: are we just really unlucky with alternators, or is there a problem with these rebuilds? I'm thinking of just replacing it every August for $115.

When the first one died, our mechanic was surprised, and said that the rebuilt ones had a good track record, but I'm wondering about that now. Notably, the unit that failed on Saturday had a loose case-assembly bolt that backed out and tore up the edge of the AC drive belt, so that needs replacement as well now.

Thanks in advance,

Tom
 

·
Premium Member
2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
Joined
·
8,064 Posts
Rebuilt alternators, generators, starters are all always a gamble, especially mass assembly line rebuilt units. They all get disassembled as they come in and separated into piles of housings, rotors....refreshed and picked from as needed to build a whole unit, often resulting in mismatched parts. There is a good article online somewhere that goes into good detail on why this is a gamble but my google-fu is not strong enough right now to find it.

It also depends on what is failing. If it is always a bearing, it is likely that the belt is being overtightened putting excessive load on the bearings that support the armature/rotor. This is one reason many manufactures are going to stretch to fit accessory belts or serpentine belts with spring loaded tensioners.

Generally speaking Subaru alternators are fairly reliable unless something else takes them out early like a overly tightened belt or a related electrical fault.

For the best results on a rebuilt unit, it is usually best to find a local rebuild shop that specializes in electric motor, Generator, alternator repair and take your failed OEM/factory unit there.
 

·
Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
Joined
·
14,934 Posts
It also depends on what is failing. If it is always a bearing, it is likely that the belt is being overtightened putting excessive load on the bearings that support the armature/rotor. .
This..I make the belts as loose as I can get away with.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester 5MT
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
good suggestions

Thanks for the ideas, guys. I particularly like the local rebuild idea. Maybe I'll have my rebuilt one rebuilt again next summer, just to be on the safe side. Or, maybe I'll rebuild it myself.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top