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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, well, I had the cooling system, flushed this weekend, and didn't drive the car agian until yesterday. It drove fine until I went to go home that night. It was getting dusky, and I was turning on the headlights, and when I did, the radio started crackling really bad, then cutting out completely. The dash lights were dim, etc...turned off the headlights, and all returned to normal.

Then, this morning, it started fine, and was running, but the same thing - and it was dark - I NEEDED the lights. They were dimmer than they should have been, etc.., radio shut down, etc...then, the dash lights started going dim, and the clock in the dash went out completely. I turned off the lights for a second, and it all came on, but VERY slowly, and quite dim.

I stopped at my son's school, and took him in to sign in (it's preschool, so they have to be signed in AND out). When I went back to the car, it wouldn't start. The dash clock would dimly light, and the starter would rapidly click - nothing more...sounds like the battery is dead. However, the battery isn't that old, and all of it LOOKS ok. It is, however, a el-cheapy battery (came with the car), so the water level MAY be low - will need to check - didn't have time this morning.

But even then, if that's the case, the first thing I'm thinking is MAYBE the alternator isn't up to snuff...and isn't charging...

Sound valid to you guys? It's one or the other, and to be honest, from the past posts I've read, I'm really not wanting to get in there to replace the alt...sounds like a nightmare...
 

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Sounds like an alternator to me - might want to check the voltage at the battery when it's running, see if it's battery voltage (12.x volts) or charging voltage (13-14.x volts). Did the CHARGE light in the dash come on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
That's what I was afraid of...the alt was new about 4 months before i bought the car - found the invoice for it, but have no idea what happened to it.

Nope...not once...no charge idiot...

One of those times when a voltmeter would come in handy...

In case it is the alt, anyone had good luck with the el-cheapo $110 Autozone rebuilds? I don't have time to order one thru mailorder, etc..., and that is the cheapest local price...
 

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I work at an Advance Auto Parts store in NY. I have seen plenty of rebuilt alternators come back after a few months. What my rule is about rebuilt stuff is that you should be good with your 2nd or third if it has an AC Delco casing. If it is a Nippodenso style, which it is, you should be good with your first or second. My rebuilt one from my proteje actually spiked to 22 Volts and blew alot of things. Go for the second one. You should be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Well, I can now say for certain it's the alternator. After work last night, a friend and I jumped it, and with the car running, the lights wouldn't come on. Therefore, I've obviously been running off of pure battery for a LEAST a couple of days now.

Haven't found the receipt that was in the car when I bought it, where the previous owner had it replaced for around $350, or so. However, looking back on it, IIRC, I tossed it, as it stated only a 90day waranty on the unit...man, he got ripped a new one on that...

Anyhow, I was looking on PT, and they mention some have used Maxima alternators on our cars. The question I have is, has anyone tried this, and is there any special re-wiring involved?

I ask, because I can get a 90amp maxima alt for only $75, compared to the 70amp unit we have.

Anyone who works at a parts store, could you look, and compare them? The Maxima years I looked up are 85-91...

This would be a great, low-cost upgraded replacement, if it works...
 

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If you're looking for an "upgrade" then look at the 90-92 ATX GT alternators which are 80 amp instead of 70 amp. The 88-89 ATX GT alternators are 70 amp as well as the 90-92 MTX GT alternators.

I have 3 good alternators in my garage but by the time you paid for one and paid for shipping, you could get one in a local yard, or a refurbished one for the same price. It's simply not worth it to ship an alternator because they weigh so much to begin with.

Check Autozone, you can get a refurbish one for $100 or so.

maxwgn said:
and to be honest, from the past posts I've read, I'm really not wanting to get in there to replace the alt...sounds like a nightmare...
Not at all. The LX/DX have thinner diameter halfshafts/axles and the alternator can easily come out from the bottom of the car. You can take it out from the top on either LX/DX or GT, but it will require some manuevering of vacuum lines since it's close to the charcoal canister, EGR (this is how you end up scraping your arms and or hands)

The LX/DX is a whole lot easier to remove from underneath the car than above. Loosen all the bolts from the top, then get underneath and slip it out between the axle and the engine where the downpipe lives. If it were a GT, you'd never slip it through not matter which way you turned the alternator, the axles are just too thick.

All you need is a 14mm socket, 12mm socket, 10mm socket for the wire connection.

It's easy, really it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK, verdict is in - and the Maxi alt will NOT fit. Even though it's slightly bigger, the over-all diameter was the same - the mounting points are different, and will NOT match up. If the engine was out (yeah, right - not yet, at least!), I guess the brackets could be modified to fit, etc...

So, I gotta swallow the cost...ARGH!
 
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