Alternator Rebuild – Restoration TIP!! This is a MUST DO!

By: Bob Goodson
September 4, 2022

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I can remember my math teachers telling me “you’re not going to have a calculator in your pocket everywhere you go!” If they only knew that by 2006 that would happen.  Thanks Steve Jobs!

That being said the little device that we all have connected at the hip is a powerful tool. It is said that the average person barely uses 10% of what a smart phone can do for them. This is something to take advantage of and I’m definitely not the first to say this. I’m giving an example of what happened when I had the alternator rebuilt on 1989 Saleen Mustang #50.

Before I sent the alternator off to be rebuilt, I was taking video and pictures of it before it left.  One reason was because I was communicating with the owners of this car and needed before pictures.  The alternator had an under-drive pulley on it and we swapped out a stock pulley for it because the owners aren’t interested in every ounce of horsepower these days.  That and the alternator really doesn’t charge well when it has a larger pulley on it.  Below are a few of the before pics. 

After the alternator was rebuilt I was taking pics of it to show the owners what was done to it before we coated it. When looking at the picture and comparing it to the others I noticed there was something different.

For those that don’t know the alternator comes apart in two halves and has three screws that hold those two halves together with the windings in the middle.  This gives you two positions, possibly three if the connectors don’t hit a mounting casting, where the halves can be put together. You see where I’m going with this?

It may be hard to tell but the back of the alternator has been clocked 30* and that puts the wiring connectors both in the 11 and 2 positions when the alternator is installed.

Notice on the engine picture above that the connectors are in the 9 and 12 positions. This was before any of the accessories were removed. You may also ask how I know that this alternator is original? It had the production green paint mark on it and it still has the small fan shroud which gets tossed when they get rebuilt.  

I did a quick Google and noticed that many of the alternators I saw were also this way. But I also found some that weren’t that way. And having worked on so many of these in stock form I didn’t remember the stator connector being so close to the alternator bracket.  Maybe that was something that was done when they are rebuilt?

It’s something that makes you scratch your head and wonder if maybe the rebuilders figured out that if they clocked them that way then maybe they cover more models other than the Mustang and that’s a happy medium?

My point is this, ALWAYS take pictures OR video along the way when taking things apart.  It’s something that does take more time BUT it can save you so much trouble on the back end during reassembly.  Something else that should be done is “bag and tag” all the bolts and brackets.  You may remember what you took apart the next day but when it is weeks or months later you won’t remember what nut/screw/bolt goes where. And if you do, then I want your memory bank.  My kids have robbed me of all brainpower. Ha!!

Because we were taking pics along the way from beginning to end on this, we were able to figure out that the rebuilder clocked the back of the alternator different than what was OE.  Would it affect functionality?  Not really, but would it put pressure on the factory wiring?  It is possible.  And with the power wire connectors being known to go up in flames on these cars, we don’t need any added stress to that connector. 

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