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Old May 26th, 2012, 07:08 PM   #1
yimbo
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Default What does a whining alternator mean?

I drove home from work and 1 mile from the house my charging light came on at an idle for just a few seconds. After a few minutes at home I decided to run back to town and when I started the bug I could hear the alternator whining over the sound of my engine, but my light was not on. I've had problems with my charging light off and on for months as some of you might remember but the alt. has been quiet till now. Battery seems up to charge, a garage checked my output and said it was between 14 1/2 to 15 volts. I've gone through 2 alt. in 6 years. thanks in advance.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 08:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: What does a whining alternator mean?

Bearings ?
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Old May 26th, 2012, 10:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: What does a whining alternator mean?

Is the belt too tight? Did the shroud shift?
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Old May 28th, 2012, 03:35 AM   #4
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Default Re: What does a whining alternator mean?

mine alternates between whining and complaining
BTW is it a alternater or a genetrtator
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Old May 28th, 2012, 06:45 AM   #5
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Default Re: What does a whining alternator mean?

Tell it to shut the f*** up before you give it something to whine about!

You need to pinpoint exactly where the noise is coming from. It sounds like it could be the bearing, which could happen on it's own or it could be a result of the belt being too tight or the wrong size (too small). Your belt should have ~1/2" of deflection. This would not cause your light to come on because the alternator is still working...up to the point that the bearing fails. Also, make sure that is where the noise is coming from. I have had fans come loose and one come apart and they start out by rubbing the fan shroud which almost sounds like a whine. When a fan comes apart it takes a lot of other stuff with it. I had to replace the fan, fan shroud, backing plates and oil cooler when mine came apart. Fans usually don't break unless it's on a larger engine that revs quickly and past 5000 rpm.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 06:59 AM   #6
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Default Re: What does a whining alternator mean?

I've heard of the fan blades themselves coming loose and redirecting the air with a wheezy sound to them. They usually get out of balance and grenade themselves all over the place. Mostly on high horsepower engines.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 07:38 AM   #7
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Default Re: What does a whining alternator mean?

The first thing that I check is some junk that got sucked into the fan and is stuck on the blades, piece of paper, leaves, etc. Just reach around the fan housing and feel for something caught in the fan blades. If its clean, its usually alt or generator bearings. Pop
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Old May 28th, 2012, 09:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: What does a whining alternator mean?

A whinining alternator means its female!
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Old May 28th, 2012, 02:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: What does a whining alternator mean?

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A whinining alternator means its female!

Been married 51.8 years. Boy, are you correct.


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Old May 28th, 2012, 04:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: What does a whining alternator mean?

I not only told it to shut up but threatend to trade it in on a smart car to no avail. Seems like I heard before if it's charging hard it will whine also. When I switched it over from gen to alt back in 2005 the alt I put on was a Bosch from M.A.M. It lasted about 2 years and started shooting sparks out from behind the pulley and it whined really loud just before it went. This alt is from O'Rielly's and been on for about 4 years. Mechanic said my wiring eliminating the regulater looked right but these 2 alt have only gone 39,000 miles total. I'll look into some of your suggestions, Thanks.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 08:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: What does a whining alternator mean?

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Originally Posted by Pop View Post
The first thing that I check is some junk that got sucked into the fan and is stuck on the blades, piece of paper, leaves, etc. Just reach around the fan housing and feel for something caught in the fan blades. If its clean, its usually alt or generator bearings. Pop
What Pop said, I just had the same problem

Had a voltage regulator go out so I had an alt that has sat since 1987, it was stiff so I oiled them a bit then put it on my car, it whined a little, then last Thursday after my long drive to north western Ohio it was more of a rattling noise

First thing I did was check the fan to see if something got in there, nothing, but I had that happen once in my rail buggy, a stick got sucked in & caused a funny sound, but after removing the belt it turned out the bearings were shot

Today I dug out a few voltage regulators as well as an extra generator that has less than 5000 miles on it, I hope it works until I can replace the bearings in my alt

Take the belt off if you haven't done so already & see if it has the same whinny sound

Good luck

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Old May 31st, 2012, 01:51 AM   #12
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Default Re: What does a whining alternator mean?

I'll try that. Thanks
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