Replacement Altenator?

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Hey,
I am looking at getting a replacement altenator for my car,
I want something with more watts/amps

I am driving a 99' Saturn SW2 4Cylanders 16 Valve Twin Cam 1.9L Engine

I belive their is a 60 watt Altenator in their now.. but its definitly not enough..
Lets say I am driving at night.. I got the radio on.. my Headlights on.. and I want to roll down the windows.. I press the power window button.. and all the lights dim..

basicly if I use anything electronic the lights will dim..
Just for a second.. then they go back to being brite,

Anyways my main question is.. where can I get a replacement.. and how big of an altenator can I get with out ruining my car?

I want something bigger, because I also run a sound system in their.. and If I do not have my power cap installed... my lights almost turn off when bass hits..

posted by  Psywar

60 watt alternator? You mean 60 amp right? I hope or it would be or else it would be no wonder at all why the lights dim. That would come out to 5 amps which would do for a go-kart maybe :laughing: .



If the lights dim for just an instant, then go bright again, your probably looking at a voltage regulator.

As for a more "powerful" alternator I don't see the point. The alternator you have (assumed) 60 amps you could run your house off of. If you got anywhere near 60 amps pulling through the small gauge wire then your wire would be gone in a second flat, and you'd be left with insulation. (speaking from exsperiance) The MOST power you ever pull from the alternator is probably around 5 amps.

posted by  DodgeRida67

I can almost certainly say that there's nothing wrong with the alternator you have on your car already, Lights go dim for a split second on all or most cars, it's just the way things are. You have to look at this logically, but using the electric windows or any other electrics for that matter (especially all at once!), you are draining a minute amount of power from the battery so the alternator has to work twice as hard to charge it. As long as the battery doesn't keep going flat, and continues to stay charged, I'd stick with the current alternator as chances are, the £120 (or the equivelent in '$') that you spend on a new one will be wasted, as the lights are probably still going to go dim for a split second!

PS, you think you have it bad? the courtesy car I'm currently driving has A/C and every time I switch it on (not that there's any need in the UK atm lol) the engine holds back due to the A/C draining most of the little 1.0litre engine's power lol (c'mon...it is a Daewoo Matiz lol)

posted by  Cliffy

psywar - A little alternator test will be in order since I am not sure a different alternator is in order or not since you did not indicate how much additional electrical load was added besides the equipment which came from the factory.

Key off, Engine off - measure battery voltage with a digital volt meter. should be approx 12.6 V. Turn on headlights for about 1 minute. Turn off lights should still be approx 12.6 V

Key on, Engine running - measure battery voltage. Should be between 13.8 to 15 V. Turn on lights and AC. The voltage will briefly (about 1 sec) drop then should return to the 13.8 to 15 volt range

As long as the system tests out similar to above, the charging system is probably OK as it is

posted by  tbaxleyjr

thank you guys.. i tested the altenator.. and the battery...

I do need a new battery.. it says it should do 668cca's but its only doing like 380 i think it was.. but the altenator is fine..

so we will buy a new battery..

thanks again!

posted by  Psywar

I don't know how you tested the battery but I have always had Autozone do a load test. What is supposed to be done is a load of 1/2 of the battery's CCA is applied for about 15 seconds and voltage checked to make sure is above a certain point A 670 CCA battery should be tested with a 335 amp load for 15 seconds and read about 9.6V (@ 70F) or higher

The 12.6 V (@ about 70F) indicated the battery is charged, The load test makes sure the battery has the ability to store and release enough enegry to the starter to start the car

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Cliffy summed it.............Your car was built with a 60A alternator for a reason. Now, if you have a problem with it then that is a horse of a different color. If you are running stock assesories it will be fine. If you put in a high powered AMP for the sound system in and so forth, then you need to determine your AMP load and then run some calculations to determine what you need in additional amperage, if anything. A slight dimming of lights and assessories is totally commonplace in many vehicles. Running motors is one of the highest amperage draws in a car, IE) the blower motor and window motors. When the engine is running and the alternator is working, all asessories run from the alternator AND at the same time, it is charging the battery until the voltage regulator tells it not to. The dimming is a voltage/current drop across the harness due to load placed on the alternator to run those assesories that you just selected such as the windows. Rplacing the alternator may or may not do anything for that, and as I said, this drop is typical in many cars. Good Luck.

posted by  cmeseadoin

I took the car in to autozone for the CCA Check.. they gave me a print out..

My Car is running a HiFonic Zues 500 Watt Class D mono Amp..

What I am going to do is just keep running my power cap with it.. Maybe I will get 2 caps.. I very rarely get a song that will drain the power cap of its juice in a series of bass hits..

Now I just need to figure out what a good car battery is..
alot of my friends told me to get a Red Top Ultima I think it was...

anyone have any thoughts on that? they told me it would give me more CCAs but I was under the impression I could start a fire if I got too many CCAs...

posted by  Psywar

Gee, this one sounds like a big circle-jerk. First if your car came with a 60amp alternator, pretty sure it was the wrong one, should be 90amp, don't think you have an option of a bigger one, but I could and can be wrong. As far as the battery goes, you can have a cell or two going south. For a good battery, can't beat a INTERSTATE. My opinion. :asshake: Yep just like assholes :laughing:

posted by  lectroid

CCA's are a measure of how many amps the battery is capable of delivering at a cold temperature (I forgot what temperature they are tested at). Battery CCA's have nothing to do with starting fires. Overloaded wiring, short circuits, doing stupid things such as using paperclips for fuses, etc. starts fires.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

CCA
"0" degree, for about 30 second, without the battery dropping below 10 ovlts, or close to it.

posted by  lectroid

60 amps is pretty insuficient if you have an amp. And no, using a cap, or 2 caps will not fix the problem, no matter how many farads they are (it may actually put more stress on the alternator)

Assuming your running the amp at 1 ohm, putting out 500 watts output power, then that means your drawing even more than 500 watts into the amp (amps are not 100% efficient on power input-output) The good news is you have a class D amp, which is significantly more efficient than most, i'll assume its 70% efficient, which means it draws around 700 watts, at max volume. This equates to almost 50 amps! way too much for your 60 amp alt to handle. (the best way to see how much power your amp is drawing is just by looking at the fuse it has, but im assuming the amp has a 50 amp fuse)

Saturn was obviously trying to maximize gas mileage, and minimize price, weight, and room by putting in such a small alternator.

Putting in a new battery will help, especially with dimming, but it will not solve the problem. There are 2 things you can do:

Rewind the alt. Most shops will do this for you, it does not replace the alt, but merely upgrade it. they wrap more coils around it to get more amps out of it. It depends on the shop and the alt on how much more power you can get out of the alt. I think if you upgraded to a 90 amp alt, you should be fine. (im running an 800 watt amp off a 105 amp alternator) If you have this done, ask the shop to hook up an ammeter to the new alt and show you that it puts out the rated current.

Or obviously you can buy a new alternator. there are many brands available in many sizes. I think 90 amps should be sufficient, and should stop dimming.

And if your looking for a good battery optima has some of the best batteries out there, if you can find them at a good price. Ebay might have some cheap ones.

Good Luck!

posted by  GhettoTaurus

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