Likely Alternator Failure 98 Mark VIII


Active LVC Member
Jul 8, 2013
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Abita Springs
After work I made 5 stops on the way home. That is common for me. After the last stop and about two miles away from home I get a beep and 'Check Traction Control'. 15 seconds later I am at a light turning left and get 'Check Charging System' and I notice my dash lights are a bit dim. Two minutes later I am driving through town knowing it is a gamble: drive the last 1.4 miles on a two lane highway at 10pm at night or stop in town and deal with the headache the following day? I rolled the dice and went for home with electronic items in my dash shutting down. The gauges went to 0, the radio shut off. Eventually the dash lights and computer go dark but still able to drive with fading headlights. The last 1/2 mile I had to turn my headlights off to provide enough juice to the ignition system. It was just enough to stop the sputtering and maintain 40 mph. Thankfully it was light enough out and an occasional blink of my headlights allowed me to see. Hitting the brakes while turning in the driveway would affect the engines ability to run without sputtering. Once I got home I parked by my shop and I immediately connected the battery charger to the battery and left it overnight. The next day, nothing funky with the dash occurred, computer was acting fine, etc. which was nice b/c you never know when it comes to these electronics on these cars. Using a tester I find my car's charging system shows a varying voltage output to the battery. Appears to be time for an alternator replacement.

I considered a HO alternator but it just isn't worth the extra money to me at this time. All of my extra dough is going towards the house addition. I settled for a new (not a reman as per the ad) 130 amp alternator for around $135 from PartsGeek if I remember correctly. I ordered it today (right before Christmas) so hopefully will have it by next weekend. I will document and post the progress as I try to do with LVC.
Just make sure you have at least a 12 month warranty on whatever you're buying. New or reman doesn't really matter, aftermarket charging system components have a high rate of failure.
Been through a few alts. Should be getting 14+ volts at the battery. Check the battery clamps, once I had a cracked clamp that killed alts. The rectifier 3 screws on rear of alt, can get corrosion where it screws into the alt.
Soduka: Good idea. I still need to check my factory warranty.
OnlyTony: Checked the clamps but didn't know about the rectifier screws.
Thomas A: Thanks for the info. If this one doesn't work out ...

I was planning on doing the alternator this New Years weekend with 70 degree F weather but we had rain ALL weekend. This picture was taken Saturday and continued through right now, 8:30am Monday morning. I had my welder and two helpers lined up to erect my 35 foot antenna today using my excavator however it looks like that will happen next weekend. i am currently building an addition to my home which includes a 30x30 garage thus all the dirt in the foreground and lack of time for other projects.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of the alternator I purchased.





I wish all alternators were that easy to replace! Even with putting tools away and testing I was under one hour. The old one would make bearing noises when spun after I got it off so it was definitely a goner. As if the video I made a couple of weeks ago of my volt meter having 12 volts not prove the point. Speaking of video, here is a quick video of the alternator putting out 14 volts. I will be taking it to downtown New Orleans tomorrow, then the West bank, to Metairie, back downtown, up to where I live then, into the town of Abita Springs ... I expect to put 125 miles on it tomorrow for the alternator's maiden voyage.
I usually go down to the local machine shop and have them bench test new alternators a couple of times before I go through the effort of putting it on. But yes, the Mark VIII makes it wonderfully simple to replace the alternator, nothing needs to move or is in the way.

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