Friday, December 28, 2007

Faulty Alternator

Lately, the ER34 felt really funny. It requires more cranks to start her up and also the headunit would suddenly shut down as if power was cut. On top of that the volt reading was highly irregular. It fluctuates upon usage of the power window and drops to an unhealthy 10 volts whenever I used the flash.

Yes..... Skylines notoriously hate low power. The battery must be weak. The NS40ZL AC Delco Maintenance Free Battery was changed on the 4th January 2007. It couldn't have died less than a year! There must be something wrong with the battery.

I sent in the car for checks and the volt meter suggests that the alternator is not charging the battery fully. It registers only 12 volts where it should be reading 14 volts with the engine started. Looks like a replacement alternator is the only way to solve this problem.

New alternator are costly items, probably in the range of RM2,000 to RM3,000 a unit. That route is definitely out of the question. I need to source for a used alternator. The alternator on the R33 and R34 are supposedly the same thus it is so much easier to find a unit off the R33 than the R34. My appreciation and thanks to bro Emeraude3388 for sourcing an alternator off the BCNR33 (R33 GT-R) halfcut for me. :)

Pic 1: The ER34 Mitsubishi made alternator (Part No. 23100-0V016)

Pic 2: The BCNR33 Hitachi made alternator (Part No. 23100-0V010)

With the alternator on the ER34 removed, I noticed that it is made by Mitsubishi whereas the BCNR33 unit was made by Hitachi. Oh darn, two different manufacturers....... there must be some minute differences.

Sure enough, upon closer inspection, the pulley design is different BUT luckily the alternator belt is the same and fits snugly. The ER34 still requires a couple of extra cranks than usual to start and checks on the battery indicator suggest that it's weak. I'm left with 2 options, either to change to a new battery or to recharge the current one.

Pic 3: Note the diffrent pulleys. The pulley on the left belongs to the BCNR33 while the right pulley belongs to the ER34

Nowadays battery prices are sky high and changing to a new one is going to cost me. There has been at least 3 price hike in 2007. This is due to the rising price of lead. The lead price on the London Metal Exchange (LME) had shot up from US$1,600 (RM5,325.82) a metric tonne early this year to US$3,600 (RM11,983) in November 2007.

Fortunately my current battery is just weak and a recharge on the current battery would fix the problem. I took the battery out to be recharged at a regular workshop and it was working allright after a 4 hours charge. Yea it took that long, luckily bro sakakida kept me company via some parts ogling at speedshops and chop shops. :P

In case you are wondering, nope I did not procure anything at all. :D


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