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Discussion Starter #1
I hope this thread doesn't turn into everybody's opinion on which alternator is the best, but I'd like to know how the new alternators stack up against the old guys. My original alternator is 26 years old and has about 110k miles on it. My new lactrical 95 amp is about 1 1/2 years old and only had around 7k miles on it when it died. Like I said, I don't want to start a brand war, I just want to know what the average life expectancy is these days.


P.S. My original is still going strong!
 

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My Suburban had 213,500ish miles on it when the alternator died while we were on vacation, pulling our Toy Hauler trailer.


I bought it 2 years ago with 211,ish on it, and no records. so, OEM? maybe, or not.


the replacement is a DuraLast guaranteed for the life of the mechanic that wants to keep changing it if it fails again :)


My 2002 1800 had 98,000 on it when I just arbitrarily ordered up a new OEM Honda for that year model. in retrospect, wish I had thought on that more, and got a later year model for the higher ampacity rating.... but as I hear, that might be best that I did not?
 

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An alternator lasts until it goes bad. Seems like there are a lot of reports of early aftermarket failures on 1500s. The original equipment seem to have a good long life, even the later models that have a bad reputation seem to be better than the aftermarket.
 

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Alternators can go bad for any number of reasons, A short in the stator or field coil, an open or shorted diode.Or a regulator that is stuck full on, or not at all. Bearing failure is another .
Most alternators die of old age, when the brushes get so short, they can no longer contact the slip rings. Or the housing gets so full of crud it can no cool the stator or diode heatsink.

When I worked on buses, they had 24volt direct drive, brushless, oil cooled alternators. Most of these were changed from the old engine to the new bullet at around the 500,000 mile range. I never knew how long the alternator was run. No need to track it, as failures were uncommon.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Isn't everything "aftermarket" now Dave? You can buy an alternator that says Honda on it but it's made by Hitachi which since around '97 is manufactured in China. It seems stuff made in China that is meant for export is made from inferior materials and assembled by little kids who didn't have the talent to be acrobats or gymnasts. What year was your Suburban John? I'm looking to see if there are any Chinese made alternators out there that get the kind of mileage your Suburban got. The problem doesn't seem to exist across the board with later model vehicles though. It seems to be as Dave indicated that it is the aftermarket high output units people are putting in their 1500s. Could it be that car and bike manufacturers require their parts to meet certain specs while the low priced off brands have no such standards? I guess what I'm getting at is, is it possible that the budget units from LActrical and DB Electrical are nothing more that cheap knockoffs the Chinese are famous for?
 

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it is a 4x4 K1500 5.3L circa 2001.

vastly underpowered for towing a big Toy Hauler, but, I bought one of those engine tuners and reprogrammed the ECM for Torque using 87 Octane fuel.
it offered the option of 89 and 91 and 93 octane programs, but I just left it at 87 Octane.

the MPG varies from the middle 4s to the middle 9s, depends on headwinds, and the terrain. Always use cruise control set at 61 mph with OverDrive turned OFF.

in hilly terrain, have to use Tow Haul mode, and lock it in 2nd gear to keep the RPMs up in the 4,000 range


Climbed a few really steep grades in Colorado Springs area last summer, was in 1st gear and 4,000 rpm making a flock of Feet/Second :rofl:
 

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Isn't everything "aftermarket" now Dave? You can buy an alternator that says Honda on it but it's made by Hitachi which since around '97 is manufactured in China. It seems stuff made in China that is meant for export is made from inferior materials and assembled by little kids who didn't have the talent to be acrobats or gymnasts. What year was your Suburban John? I'm looking to see if there are any Chinese made alternators out there that get the kind of mileage your Suburban got. The problem doesn't seem to exist across the board with later model vehicles though. It seems to be as Dave indicated that it is the aftermarket high output units people are putting in their 1500s. Could it be that car and bike manufacturers require their parts to meet certain specs while the low priced off brands have no such standards? I guess what I'm getting at is, is it possible that the budget units from LActrical and DB Electrical are nothing more that cheap knockoffs the Chinese are famous for?
Even if it has a different brand on it if it was made for Honda (Honda dosen't make any electrical components) it could be made to their specs for a certain application. The alternator on a GL1500 or 1800 is pretty well enclosed and subject to more heat than on a car that has some air flow in the engine compartment. Aftermarket alternators are just car alternators, probably cheap chinese knock offs, adapted to fit the motorcycle and may not have the heat resistance built in.
Just my theory.
 

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I think you are correct, the space where the alternator lives on a 1800 is a nightmare. I am surprised that one will last as long as they do. The small design of the alternator also works against it's life. Not much room for an effective fan or heatsinks.
Some creative air ducting could do wonders for cooling.


Not sure what Surbuban fuel mileage has to do with it, but thanks for the info.
 

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in hilly terrain, have to use Tow Haul mode, and lock it in 2nd gear to keep the RPMs up in the 4,000 range

Climbed a few really steep grades in Colorado Springs area last summer, was in 1st gear and 4,000 rpm making a flock of Feet/Second :rofl:
Considering Crank pulley and Alternator pulley sizes that's something like 20,000 RPM on the alternator for extended periods...!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The alternator on a GL1500 or 1800 is pretty well enclosed and subject to more heat than on a car that has some air flow in the engine compartment.
Just my theory.

You are a genius Dave! :nerd: I didn't think of the heat issue. When you add it to the equation, it makes a lot of sense. The high out put alternators are notorious for the high heat they put out. When you figure in the low quality of materials that go into the manufacturing, the components just can't take the heat, nor do they produce the heat that stock alternators do. This would have to be the reason that alternators that are built to OEM specs last longer. Now I need you to invent cooling vents for my side covers.
 

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You are a genius Dave! :nerd: I didn't think of the heat issue. When you add it to the equation, it makes a lot of sense. The high out put alternators are notorious for the high heat they put out. When you figure in the low quality of materials that go into the manufacturing, the components just can't take the heat, nor do they produce the heat that stock alternators do. This would have to be the reason that alternators that are built to OEM specs last longer. Now I need you to invent cooling vents for my side covers.
Just throw the left side cover away. :grin3:
 

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Why not just get it rebuilt locally then you won’t be buying Chinese junk, not sure wether they can increase the output but worth asking, probably a lot cheaper than buying new anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Why not just get it rebuilt locally then you won’t be buying Chinese junk, not sure wether they can increase the output but worth asking, probably a lot cheaper than buying new anyway.

I could more than likely rebuild the oem alternator myself but it is running fine right now and I need it for a backup next week. The parts for the lactrical would have taken too long to get here before our trip so I ordered a DB Electrical 90 amp yesterday and put it in today. The parts to rebuild/repair these bad boys come from China. Way back when, I'd see generators get hot enough to sling solder. It doesn't look like mine got that hot but it could have gotten hot enough to melt some electronics.
 

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I could more than likely rebuild the oem alternator myself but it is running fine right now and I need it for a backup next week. The parts for the lactrical would have taken too long to get here before our trip so I ordered a DB Electrical 90 amp yesterday and put it in today. The parts to rebuild/repair these bad boys come from China. Way back when, I'd see generators get hot enough to sling solder. It doesn't look like mine got that hot but it could have gotten hot enough to melt some electronics.

it has been several decades now, but I remember seeing alternators and generators that were a mess like that. Solder everywhere, except where it belonged.
 
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