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Old 01-05-13, 05:10 PM   #1
yuri.ber
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Default Alternator replacement?

Hey guys. Today while changing battery, mechanic checked the alternator and said its half way done. He said it's putting out 65amps when normal output should be over 100amps.
Anyone changed the alternator in their LS 430's? What mileage it was changed at? What replacement alternator was chosen: new OEM unit, rebuilt Denso unit or rebuilt aftermarket unit?
Should I change it right away or wait until the car will "tell me" to do it?
Thanks for input.
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Old 01-05-13, 05:49 PM   #2
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I did mine around 250k. Car just died on a highway one day. Was lucky enough to start it up again and get to an off ramp. Got an aftermarket one because I feel an OEM is a bit too much money for my mileage.
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Old 01-05-13, 08:16 PM   #3
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My Alternator with around 100,000 miles has been putting out 3.3 volts under load for the better part of the last 2 years when I know that 3.8-4.0 would be optimal. I have never had a problem with starting. I purchased a new 7 year battery (A/C Delco Professional) a few months ago after 3+ years on the prior one for peace of mind. I priced alternators, and a good aftermarket will do the job while saving a few bucks. I am not planning on replacement unless I have any starting problems. Is your car having starting problems or is the charge light coming on?

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Old 01-05-13, 08:34 PM   #4
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Thanks for input.
Car starts fine after battery change today. Mechanic also put AC Delco Professional battery in, said it's very good for its price, I paid $105. My previous Interstate battery lasted for a little over 3 years.
No light on dash too. Mechanic said not to worry and change it when "No charge" light comes on.
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Old 01-06-13, 05:59 AM   #5
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I'd fix it... Mine went last year. If your 'no charge' pops up - that means you toasted your battery already and you will be stranded in next 10mins.
I used a reman shop for this - they replaced diode brigde and some bearings and brushes. Cost me 100usd with unbolt/install and took 2hrs.
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Old 01-06-13, 06:05 AM   #6
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Was the mechanic putting the proper load on the system when he checked it? It's pretty rare and very unscientific to say an alternator has 50% of it's life left. I would not replace it until you start seeing a difference in your car. A very good indicator of a faulty alternator is let's say you have your lights on, a/c or heater going, etc. You pull up to a light and sit there. If you notice your lights dim after you have just stopped or brighten up after you take off that's a pretty darn good sign. It's not rocket science, but it happens everytime.
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Old 01-06-13, 06:22 AM   #7
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LS is more intelligent that way. It starts cutting power sequentially to non essential systems. Radio goes first, then hvac, then cruise. When i had mine die, hid headlight stayed on till it completely died.
Also, if you have display in your ls, you can access displays diag menu (search) and there you have voltmeter. If you in doubt - check it. If you're below 12v - definitely almost dead.
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Old 01-06-13, 06:25 AM   #8
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Lynzoid, please explain the last part of your post in more detail?
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Old 01-06-13, 08:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yuri.ber View Post
Hey guys. Today while changing battery, mechanic checked the alternator and said its half way done. He said it's putting out 65amps when normal output should be over 100amps.
Anyone changed the alternator in their LS 430's? What mileage it was changed at? What replacement alternator was chosen: new OEM unit, rebuilt Denso unit or rebuilt aftermarket unit?
Should I change it right away or wait until the car will "tell me" to do it?
Thanks for input.
As far as replacing your alternator, here are my recommendations based on my experience with this issue:
1. If money isn't an issue, definitely a new OEM unit is the way to go. However, it can be nearly impossible to find a new OEM unit if the car is older because new ones don't exist anymore. Toyota/Lexus likes to use Denso alternators and they are very good alternators. My experience is the original OEM alternator lasts way longer than any other alternator you can buy.
2. Next best option to getting a new OEM unit is to rebuild the unit yourself. Most people either don't know how to do this, don't want to do this, or don't know where to find the parts so not many people take this route. However, if you know what you are doing you can rebuild your alternator and make it almost brand new for less than what you would pay for one of those "no name" junky reman units. Typically on Toyota/Lexus alternators the bearings, stators, and rotors last forever. Most of the time when an alternator gives out it is because the brushes are worn, the regulator is fried, or the rectifier is toast. Those parts are fairly easy to replace and don't cost a whole lot of money.
3. If you don't want to rebuild it yourself, then find a reputable shop that rebuilds alternators. A good shop will rebuild your alternator with new bearings, brushes, regulator, and rectifier. Most of the time this route is actually cheaper than buying a junk reman one. I would recommend most people take this route.
4. If you don't want to do any of the above, then buy a Denso reman unit. Denso is one of the best reman alternators out there. Bosch is also good. These are more expensive but have much better quality control.
5. The last option would be a reman unit from another manufacturer. Just remember, most reman units don't replace the regulator and rectifier. Most of the time they just slap on new brushes and sometimes new bearings and if the unit passes final test they call it good. The regualator and recitier could be 10 years old but you wouldn't know it until they fail on you in a few months. Sometimes people get lucky but a lot of times they are finding that their reman unit lasts only a fraction of the time their original did.

Again, this is just from my experience. Your OEM alternator is going to have the best quality components and last the longest.
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Old 01-06-13, 08:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toyo View Post
Was the mechanic putting the proper load on the system when he checked it? It's pretty rare and very unscientific to say an alternator has 50% of it's life left. I would not replace it until you start seeing a difference in your car. A very good indicator of a faulty alternator is let's say you have your lights on, a/c or heater going, etc. You pull up to a light and sit there. If you notice your lights dim after you have just stopped or brighten up after you take off that's a pretty darn good sign. It's not rocket science, but it happens everytime.
+1. It's amazing how mechanics can say something a Dr would say and scare the owner to the point of running out and exchanging the part, no questions asked. As I mentioned earlier, my alternator has not been putting out optimal voltage for years and my car has not had any headlight dimming issues or starting problems. Yes, it's true that once the idiot light comes on, you will have to do the replacement realitvely soon, but you more than likely will still not get stranded unless shutting off the car. Our original alternators as the rest of the car's parts are quite durable.
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Old 01-06-13, 08:47 AM   #11
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A new OEM unit will set you back about $700.00 the last time I checked. As the above post states, I would check to see if there is a place that can rebuild your current unit. Won't cost anymore than maybe $125.00 bucks. They will go thru it and replace all pertinent parts, give it an acid bath and it will look brand new.

Alternators are funny creatures. Some units on the same exact car will last the lifetime of the car, another one will go at 100K. My 01 RX with 385K still has the original unit and works perfect. Puzzling.....
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Old 01-06-13, 09:23 AM   #12
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I'd hold off on replacing it, I think your mechanic is looking for some extra work. If you've had no charging issues and no dash lights have come one, keep running it.

Alternators don't really have a "percentage" of life left to them that can be accurately assessed that way, to say it's "half way done" is complete b.s. It either needs to replaced or it doesn't.
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Old 01-06-13, 09:28 AM   #13
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Thanks a lot for input guys.
I just checked, alternator assembly at sewellparts.com is $326.11 before shipping and with CL discount. Rebuild Denso unit is ~$185 - $220 plus core replacement fee. Aftermarket unit is ~$100 plus core replacement.
I am definitely not a candidate to rebuild an alternator myself so replacement unit is in order. I think I'll wait till I get a sign or two mentioned here.
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Old 01-06-13, 10:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toyo View Post
A new OEM unit will set you back about $700.00 the last time I checked. As the above post states, I would check to see if there is a place that can rebuild your current unit. Won't cost anymore than maybe $125.00 bucks. They will go thru it and replace all pertinent parts, give it an acid bath and it will look brand new.

Alternators are funny creatures. Some units on the same exact car will last the lifetime of the car, another one will go at 100K. My 01 RX with 385K still has the original unit and works perfect. Puzzling.....
I remember the days of removing my carb, sending into one of numerous shops that rebuilt them and got it back working like new.This applied to radiators, starters, speedometers, etc. Good luck trying to find any shop anywhere that will rebuild what you have. It's now the world of discard and replace. Good luck regardless of what you decide, but I personally would wait a bit longer to see if it becomes symptomatic. . These things can sometimes last longer than you car ownership!

Last edited by Bocatrip; 01-07-13 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 01-07-13, 05:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toyo View Post
Lynzoid, please explain the last part of your post in more detail?
How to access this menu? Turn off park lights, hold the INFO button right of the display, then turn parking lights on and off 3 times. You should be in the diag menu. Be careful there, don't touch anything to do with 'loading'. You'll find voltmeter somewhere there.
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