Important alternator Info - YOU NEED TO KNOW



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Thread: Important alternator Info - YOU NEED TO KNOW

  1. #1
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    Important alternator Info - YOU NEED TO KNOW

    Greetings to all,


    I feel the need to clear things up for everyone who owns a 4th generation minivan. If you have the 3.3L or the 3.8L V6 then please read on. On your alternator there is something called an alternator decoupler. It is a clutch and spring mechanism inside the alternator pulley. This device is used to absorb vibration within the belt drive system. When the alternator decoupler fails, you may hear a buzz noise on shut down, or the alternator will fail to charge(due to the clutch being broken inside) or your belt tensioner may exibit excessive movement.

    What you need to know.... is that many big box stores are selling alternators with an inferior "simple clutch pulley" or a solid pulley on the alternator. There are two distintly different kinds of these "Clutch pulleys". One has the internal spring (Litens) and all the others do not. Make sure that if you ever decide to change the entire alternator for whatever reason, MAKE SURE IT HAS THE RIGHT PULLEY ON IT. The right one being a Litens Isolating Decoupler pulley and not just a "simple one way clutch". Simple one way clutches have only 50% of the function of the Litens IDP. These two pulleys are not internchangeable. Your belt drive has been designed with a Litens IDP for a reason. Don't buy an alternator with an inferior (lower cost) pulley.
    I have read in these forums (an others) where people have changed their alternator pulley from a Litens IDP (OE) to a simple one way clutch. They did this either to save a bit of money or lack of knowledge about what pulley the vehicle required. Once this happens, people can't seem to understand why the vehicle's belt sometimes falls off, or why the belt tensioner keeps wearing out, or why the bearings in the waterpump keep failing. It is because the belt drive was designed with the Litens IDP and not the lower cost and lower function of the simple one way clutch. The Litens IDP is not hard to change and is currently available in the aftermarket. You can purchase the aftermarket version from www.iat-usa.com or if you want to pay more for the same part (OE) you can buy it seperately from the $tealership. Both the aftermarket version and the dealership version are made by Litens and are of the exact same OE quality.

    Bottom line is ... know what you are buying and don't settle for the wrong parts just because they are a couple of bucks cheaper. Spending a couple more bucks now to put the right part on your vehicle will save you money and headaches down the road. Installing the correct pulley on your alternator will make you belt, tensioner, idler pulleys, waterpump and alternator bearings last a lot longer. But don't take my word for it, research it for yourself!

    More information about Decoupler pulleys can be found at www.tendeco.com or www.litens.com.

    Hope this helps everyone become an informed customer,

    AL

    Maybe this should be a sticky?

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    That was great information. Thanks. Yes, the clutch pulley started with the Generation 4, has been used by lots of European manufacturers for years, Mitsubishi since 1999(I think) and supposedly saves wear and tear on the serpentine belt and items driven by the belt.

    Prices can be all over the place for alternators depending on warranty, clutch pulley or not AND per your Post a "quality" clutch pulley or not.
    When I had my alternator replaced over a year ago (October 2007), the prices for the alternator were:
    Sangsters Automotive Supplies (local): $260; two year warranty; no clutch pulley.
    Dealership (trade price): $220; one year warranty; no clutch pulley.
    Carquest: $320; one year warranty; clutch pulley included.

    Sangster's was just up the road from the repair shop (much more convenient) so I used that one and had them use my old clutch pulley.
    Funny thing, the Mechanic said "I'm a bit worried, I want to show you what I have done (took me to the vehicle), your alternator has a clutch pulley and it may have been the source of the noise, I'm worried I didn't fix the problem although it sounds like it's fixed. If not, the part will likely have to be purchased from the Dealership. Keep an eye on it and let me know."
    The job was a success and all is well to this point in time.

    I have been trying to find out, in numerous Posts on here, as to what tool is used to remove / install the clutch pulley. From research on the web, there appears to be a special tool required. Can you enlighten me on that? It would be much appreciated and close out a "cold case" file.
    Last edited by Jeepman; 01-27-2009 at 01:01 PM.
    2007 GC SXT - Magnesium - S&G - 3.8L - 112,920 kms
    2002 GC Sport - Stone White - 3.3L - 311,200 kms
    2003 Jeep TJ Sport - 4.0L - 251,430 kms

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    The special tool...

    The special tool to remove and replace the alternator decoupler can be viewed and purchased from this link.

    Hope this helps.

    http://www.millerspecialtools.spx.co...il.aspx?id=498

    Having this tool is the only true way to torque the decoupler to the proper torque spec. Most dealerships have this tool or something very close.

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    Is there any point or benefit to using a decoupler pulley in an application that didn't originally use it? My '97 Dakota for example. It appears that they NOW use it (AN series), per your link to the tool above, but mine doesn't have one. Maybe it did originally?? Doubt it -- it is a Denso alternator...original I think.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Steadman View Post
    The special tool to remove and replace the alternator decoupler can be viewed and purchased from this link.

    Hope this helps.

    http://www.millerspecialtools.spx.co...il.aspx?id=498

    Having this tool is the only true way to torque the decoupler to the proper torque spec. Most dealerships have this tool or something very close.
    Thanks so much. I can now put the "cold case" box back up on its shelf.
    That's a pretty expensive ($59.04 US) and single purpose tool. It looks like I have one of those clutch pulleys on my Jeep as well (they mention TJ in their listing). Oh my! Labour for the Van was only $58.00 ..............
    2007 GC SXT - Magnesium - S&G - 3.8L - 112,920 kms
    2002 GC Sport - Stone White - 3.3L - 311,200 kms
    2003 Jeep TJ Sport - 4.0L - 251,430 kms

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason View Post
    Is there any point or benefit to using a decoupler pulley in an application that didn't originally use it? My '97 Dakota for example. It appears that they NOW use it (AN series), per your link to the tool above, but mine doesn't have one. Maybe it did originally?? Doubt it -- it is a Denso alternator...original I think.
    Jason,

    The short answer is no. Belt drives are designed as a system. Your 97 Dakota was not originally designed with an alternator decoupler and therefore do not need one. Also they are application specific and therefore there is not one that is available for your Dakota so you could not put one on even if you wanted to. Most belt drive systems that have an alternator decoupler have a super low tension tensioner. Adding the alternator decoupler allows engineers to use lower tension on the belt. This lower tension, allows the all of the bearings (waterpump, alt, a/c comp, etc) to last longer while still having just enough tension to not allow belt slip at each pulley. The decoupler also helps eliminate belt chirp caused by the heavy inertia of the alternator rotor.

    AL

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    Too bad the waterpumps and pullies on these vans still wear out way too early.

    Someone failed when the designed that system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by averkam View Post
    Too bad the waterpumps and pullies on these vans still wear out way too early.

    Someone failed when the designed that system.
    Replaced an alternator on mine so far. That's it, other than the serpentine belt.
    2007 GC SXT - Magnesium - S&G - 3.8L - 112,920 kms
    2002 GC Sport - Stone White - 3.3L - 311,200 kms
    2003 Jeep TJ Sport - 4.0L - 251,430 kms

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeepman View Post
    Replaced an alternator on mine so far. That's it, other than the serpentine belt.
    Water pump failures prior to 100k miles are pretty common on these...or more common than they should be anyway.
    '11 Toyota Camry | 2.5/6AT | Sandy Beach
    '07 Chrysler T&C | 3.8/4AT | Cognac Crystal
    '05 Acura MDX | 3.5/5AT | Billet Silver
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason View Post
    Water pump failures prior to 100k miles are pretty common on these...or more common than they should be anyway.
    Atleast they don't take the motor with them.
    On my Son's Honda CRV it appears to be common practice to replace the water pump (regardless of condition) when they replace the belt for some reason.
    2007 GC SXT - Magnesium - S&G - 3.8L - 112,920 kms
    2002 GC Sport - Stone White - 3.3L - 311,200 kms
    2003 Jeep TJ Sport - 4.0L - 251,430 kms

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