> I've found that if you buy a good quality alternator from the dealer,
> it lasts much longer, like 80,000 miles. No. 1 went from 0-82,000.
> No, 2 went from 82,000-present (133,000). I've heard this from
> other people as well. On the flip side, alternators aren't that hard
> to install, so if you can do it yourself, then maybe you should stick
> with the cheaper ones.
I prefer original equipment whenever I can get it, but still:
1) When I bought the car at 58K from Sullivan Pontiac in Arlington Heights, IL, I took it back a few days later to complain about a squeaking belt and what looked like a belt tensioner pulley that was threatening to seize up. They diagnosed a bad alternator instead (same belt)...
2) and swapped in a rebuilt AC-Delco unit for nothing. That fixed the problem for several years, until it died at about 87K.
3) Bought a rebuilt AC-Delco alternator from Trak Auto with a 7-year/70K warranty which lasted about two years, or 6 months longer than Trak Auto.
(I know, they're still open in the northeast, where I am not.) Fortunately I found a local Lee Auto store which stocks AC-Delco rebuilt alternators and
4) honored the Trak Auto warranty for me with a free replacement.
So I'm a little disappointed that gen-you-whine AC-Delco alternators aren't holding up real well (two weeks after I installed alternator #4 in the SSEi, I had to rescue a woman whose Grand Am alternator died in the middle of the street), although the replacement procedure is easy enough that it'* not going to affect my life too much. (Yes, all alternators were rebuilt by AC-Delco and came in AC-Delco boxes.)
On the other hand, I can't jump-start the SSEi (or anyone else'* car _from_ the SSEi) since the factory managed to run one of the A/C lines right over the top of the positive battery terminal, but that'* another complaint...