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Old 09-04-2004, 12:16 PM   #1
DHOOP
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Thumbs Up alternator replacement

Spent a good portion of yesterday afternoon replacing the alternator on my 96 SL2 with 111k miles. Went to the "how-to" section and printed the instructions, including the additional comments, then went to Advance Auto and bought a lifetime warranteed replacement for $79.95. About 3 hrs later, I'd saved myself a couple of hundred dollars. The worst part was fooling with the durn plastic cover, especially getting it back on. The tensioner and getting the serpentine belt back on at the end wasn't a big thrill, either. If I ever have to do it again, I'm sure I could shave about 1/2 hr off the time. Hope I never have to, though. Meanwhile, thanks to everyone who contributed to "how-to". It was a big help.
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Old 09-04-2004, 04:55 PM   #2
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Default Only problem with "Lifetime" warranties

Um,

The only problem with lifetime warranties is that you often end up spending the rest of your lifetime replacing the dam parts!

I've had really bad experience with the lifetime warranties on alternators for Saturns (and other GM cars). The alternators from the Saturn dealer last considerably longer than the aftermarket (Pep Boys - Kragen - AutoZone, etc.) lifetime alternators, but their warranty isn't as good.

I got to the point that I was replacing the alternator about yearly. Sure, the alternator was always free, but the inconvenience of being stuck once per year and having to do the labor myself sucked.

Just something to think about. Don't conclude that because a part has a lifetime warranty that it's particularly good.
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Old 09-05-2004, 10:56 AM   #3
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Default warranty

True. I've dealt with that on other parts/other cars. We'll see what happens and I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. If it goes out again in a relatively short period of time, I may switch to a Saturn part.
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Old 09-07-2004, 02:08 PM   #4
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my experience with Saturn alternators has been that they tend to fail at 60,000-100,000 mile intervals. in my old 92 sc they failed at 60,000 , 120,000 and 180,000 miles give or take a 1000 miles or so. in my now 96 sc2 the first one croaked at 60,000 and i just replaced the second one at 160,000 miles which is a record for me. having a manual transaxle saturn makes life easier becuase you can drive on battery alone longer than you could with the (electronic automatic) version.
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Old 09-07-2004, 02:15 PM   #5
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Mine gave up the ghost at about 60k, too.
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Old 09-08-2004, 09:41 AM   #6
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The alternator is original at 345,000 miles on my '95 SW1. When it finally bags it, I'll stick with factory OE. The aftermarket replacements with the lifetime warranties may or may not last, but for for the little more you pay for the genuine Saturn unit, enhanced reliability makes it worthwhile. When you think about it, there are still a lot of places where you do NOT want to get stuck.
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Old 09-08-2004, 10:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Fm eRic
my experience with Saturn alternators has been that they tend to fail at 60,000-100,000 mile intervals.
Just to add to the "other" side of the issue, my current unit went over 138,000 miles. And it was a dealership replacement.

BTW: my current mileage figure is 389,877 as of 9/8/04 (Wednesday)..
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> 95 SL 2 = 653,369 Miles 40.4 MPG, as of 5/20/11. My manual Radiator Fan Switch, courtesy of Wolfman's patient installation guidance, continues to be.......invaluable < The car was retired
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Old 09-08-2004, 10:52 AM   #8
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techs tell me that mine fail more often than normal because i spin them to 6500 rpm on a regular basis. they make a whistling sound when they are about to break.
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Old 09-08-2004, 12:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Fm eRic
techs tell me that mine fail more often than normal because i spin them to 6500 rpm on a regular basis.
And I very, very rarely take mine above 2,500 RPMs...
...
> 95 SL 2 = 653,369 Miles 40.4 MPG, as of 5/20/11. My manual Radiator Fan Switch, courtesy of Wolfman's patient installation guidance, continues to be.......invaluable < The car was retired
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Old 09-08-2004, 12:56 PM   #10
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When my alternator went, I was short of cash and had to get a used one from a bone yard...I paid $25...and that was 60k miles ago....
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Old 09-08-2004, 02:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
FM OneHarbour
I paid $25...and that was 60k miles ago....
Very Nice
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> 95 SL 2 = 653,369 Miles 40.4 MPG, as of 5/20/11. My manual Radiator Fan Switch, courtesy of Wolfman's patient installation guidance, continues to be.......invaluable < The car was retired
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Old 09-09-2004, 03:46 AM   #12
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That is often very true! A junk yard piece from a 97' and UP car will actually usually outlast a "rebuilt" lifetime warranty part. Surprizing but very true, especially if that junk yard part has less than 75K miles on it.
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Old 09-09-2004, 12:14 PM   #13
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My alternator failed at about 110,000 miles, and i was talking to the guy who i bought the new one from and he said that saturns have an issue with the alternator placement. I tend to belive him because, when i went to replace it that morning the thing is practically in the wheel well, all the way at the bottom of the engine.
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