Alternator pulley seized advice please

MthoodSprinter

MtHoodSprinter
I'm a been a happy owner of a 2008, 2500 Dodge sprinter, purchased used in 2015, and I've learned a lot from folks on this forum over the years. My rig has 146,000 adventure-seeking miles on it. Now I need to ask advice, please. During an inspection (at time of oil change) it was noted that my alternator pulley was seized and needs replacement. I've been really happy with my regular mechanic, but because this came with a long list of other items that added up to mucho dinero, I decided to shop around. The second shop I went to said replacement was necessary and also recommended I replace the alternator and the serpentine belt at the same time, preventatively and to save $$ in the future since they'd already be removing the serpentine belt and because its the original alternator. He said I was on borrowed time with the existing alternator. Any advice on this? Should I go ahead and replace the alternator along with the pulley? Should I replace the serpentine belt as well? Thanks in advance for your advice!
 

Eric Experience

Well-known member
MTH.
Sounds like the mechanic does not have the tool to replace the pulley, so it is easy for him to replace the alternator at your expense, Find a auto elec who has the tool. If the belt is in good condition it can go back on, the belts are easy to change so can be done at any time. Eric,
 

Dima74

Independent & Self Reliant - From Chattanooga TN
I'm a been a happy owner of a 2008, 2500 Dodge sprinter, purchased used in 2015, and I've learned a lot from folks on this forum over the years. My rig has 146,000 adventure-seeking miles on it. Now I need to ask advice, please. During an inspection (at time of oil change) it was noted that my alternator pulley was seized and needs replacement. I've been really happy with my regular mechanic, but because this came with a long list of other items that added up to mucho dinero, I decided to shop around. The second shop I went to said replacement was necessary and also recommended I replace the alternator and the serpentine belt at the same time, preventatively and to save $$ in the future since they'd already be removing the serpentine belt and because its the original alternator. He said I was on borrowed time with the existing alternator. Any advice on this? Should I go ahead and replace the alternator along with the pulley? Should I replace the serpentine belt as well? Thanks in advance for your advice!
What does the van do? Does it make any noises? Do you have the battery light on the dashboard?
 

MthoodSprinter

MtHoodSprinter
There is a slight chirp when I turn it off. 2 mechanics tell me the pulley is seized; I think that’s true. The alternator seems fine though. One mechanic said to replace it because I’m “on borrowed time” since it’s gone 146,000 miles. I’m going to get the voltage output checked and if that’s ok, I think I’ll not replace the alternator right now.
 

MthoodSprinter

MtHoodSprinter
MTH.
Sounds like the mechanic does not have the tool to replace the pulley, so it is easy for him to replace the alternator at your expense, Find a auto elec who has the tool. If the belt is in good condition it can go back on, the belts are easy to change so can be done at any time. Eric,
Sounds hood. Thanks!
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Unless you have the tools/ability to change out the pulley there is a valid argument for replacing the entire alternator. The bearings and brushes in your OEM alternator are wear parts. They are the same age as the free running clutch which has failed.

For my T1N I upgraded a 90 amp OEM up to 150 amp Bosch for similar cost. Unfortunately upgrade probably isn't an option for your NCV3. My recollection is that the alternator size is programmed in. I would stay with Bosch [or Valeo] OEM branded.

:2cents: vic
 
Last edited:

edfrompa

2008 ROADTREK on F/L 2500
Unless you have the tools/ability to change out the pulley there is a valid argument for replacing the entire alternator. The bearings and brushes in your OEM alternator are wear parts. They are the same age as the free running clutch which has failed.

For my T1N I upgraded a 90 amp OEM up to 150 amp Bosch for similar cost. Unfortunately upgrade probably isn't an option for your NCV3. My recollection is that the alternator size is programmed in. I would stay with Bosch branded.

:2cents: vic
Vic: Re: Alternator replacement as PM-- If it fails, does it die a quiet death or is there a potential for catastrophic damage?? I'm at 135K/mi so I oughta be looking ahead.
 

glasseye

Well-known member
There are a few stories on the forum of alternator pulley seizure resulting in serp belt failure. The broken belt can take out other nearby components with significant collateral damage. Transmission cooler lines come to mind.

Replacement of the belt and associated tensioner hardware is SOP for vehicles in the 100K + mileage range. I did mine with a little help from a local wrencher. Neither the alternator nor the tensioner/belt were difficult. We didn't even move the rad. Most people seem to swing the radiator fwd to allow for easy access.

Europarts San Diego offers good prices on Bosch alternators. Mine was less than $300 if I remember right. Like Vic, I took the maintenance opportunity to upgrade my alternator from 90 to 150W.
 

Rob S

2008 Navion J on 2007 V6
Assuming you like uninterrupted trouble-free driving and considering on the road unanticipated repairs usually cost a lot more, my personal recommendation would be - to replace alternator, all idlers, serp belt etc all in one fell swoop and be done with it.

This of course assuming also that belt and idlers have not been replaced recently, like within last 50k miles. They should easily go 100k but since you have to go in there anyway...

Most particularly because belt failure as mentioned above, can cause a lot of collateral damage
 

Dima74

Independent & Self Reliant - From Chattanooga TN
I agree with Rob S... If you have to replace the alternator, replace everything else...

1 - Alternator (Valeo 180amp OEM)
2 - Idler Pulleys (INA)
1 - Belt Tensioner (INA)
1 - Fan Bracket (Febi)
2 - Belts (ContiTech)

Most of these items can be bought on rockauto.com for a reasonable price.
 

Dima74

Independent & Self Reliant - From Chattanooga TN
Unless you have the tools/ability to change out the pulley there is a valid argument for replacing the entire alternator. The bearings and brushes in your OEM alternator are wear parts. They are the same age as the free running clutch which has failed.

For my T1N I upgraded a 90 amp OEM up to 150 amp Bosch for similar cost. Unfortunately upgrade probably isn't an option for your NCV3. My recollection is that the alternator size is programmed in. I would stay with Bosch branded.

:2cents: vic
Valeo is the OEM part for the NCV3 and not Bosch.
 
Valeo is the OEM part for the NCV3 and not Bosch.
It's possible to purchase a replacement regulator and brush unit for about $40. Alternators typically can run 300000 miles prior to bearing failure but the brushes may fail around 200000. Pelican parts sells oem Valeo parts.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Vic: Re: Alternator replacement as PM-- If it fails, does it die a quiet death or is there a potential for catastrophic damage?? I'm at 135K/mi so I oughta be looking ahead.
For the most part it will be a quiet death.

As to a replacement schedule?

I agree that it is important to keep the belt, tensioner, and idlers in good condition. There is a theory that other serpentine system parts being marginal increases the action [reaction?] on the free running clutch. That could increase wear/decrease service life of the clutch. Proper operation of the tensioner is critical.

My mode is to inspect and replace, not necessarily replace based upon miles alone. That said, I carry the idler pulleys, a removed belt, and a removed tensioner pulley (not a complete tensioner) as spares.

A guess for alternator replacement. 135,000 is too soon in my opinion. If the van sees regular service a 200 - 250,000 mile interval should be ok. That said, some alternators won't make it that long, some can go double that.

:2cents: vic
 
Based on my experience with the notorious BMW tensioner systems, a good PM interval for tensioners, pulleys and belts is 100k miles. The alternator, power steering pump, etc, tend to last at least 200k miles. YMMV.
 

Top Bottom