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General Chat Thread, Alternator in Ford Fiesta..are we being ripped off? in General; I've got a 98 Fiesta diesel which recently has had the battery light staying on while driving. The car has ...
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    Alternator in Ford Fiesta..are we being ripped off?

    I've got a 98 Fiesta diesel which recently has had the battery light staying on while driving. The car has continued to start at least 4,5 times, and when I took it to the garage this morning it still started, so does that rule out a bad battery?

    The garage has phoned me and said it is the alternator - which will be 240 inc VAT and fitting. This doesnt sound like a terrible price to me?

    But my concern is that I don't know for sure it is the alternator - only they do. Is there something cheaper they're actually replacing and are just trying it on? Although we live very close and they seem like nice people, I don't trust garages one bit.

    Is it most likely to be the alternator? I know I should have probably got a second opinion, but that means finding somewhere else (this place is a few doors down from our flat) and then at least another day after which the result could be the same. Also we need the car on Saturday!

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    that light only comes if there is a difference in voltage between the battery and the alternator, it lights up when the voltage provided by the alternator is less than that of the battery also if the alternator is over charging the light glows really brightly and gets brighter when you rev the engine, either way the alternator needs changing out.

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    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    On a 98 1.8 diesel Fiesta, that's absolutely outrageous. They're less than 100 retail, and very straightforward to fit (usually two bolts, the adjuster and maybe a new belt). The battery can be checked with a drop test, many places will do a free 'Winter battery check' for you (often as part of another promotion).

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    hardtailstar's Avatar
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    I normally have a look online/phone places to find a cheaper one. Ive got a good relationship with my garage and they let me do this as I still get them to fit parts and do all services etc.

    Most of that 240 is probably labour.

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    Yeah rather stupidly, I didn't check the price of an alternator...ffs

    They told me it would cost 180 for the alternator...are they just bumping up the price for extra profit?

    Don't mind paying labour particularly, I have no chance of doing it myself as I have no garage, just an extremely tight parking space in a shared car park for our flats. I'd give it a go if I did have somewhere to do any work
    Last edited by sidewinder; 22nd November 2012 at 10:21 AM.

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    I've just done an alternator on my brother in laws 2ltr Mondeo which cost 76 after a 60 rebate for returning the old one for refurb... That was from GSF

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    I ha ve a '96 Petrol Fiesta. New Alternator was 8 from a local breakers yard. Plus one slightly oily Sunday afternoon fitting it myself. Previous fixes included new dipped headlight bulbs for 10 a go each and a new rubber rocker box breather hose for 20 (I had to buy a genuine ford part as no one else makes them :/). If you are willing source the parts and to do the work yourself you can save yourself a lot of money.
    Last edited by Geoff; 22nd November 2012 at 10:31 AM.

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    I ha ve a '96 Petrol Fiesta. New Alternator was 8 from a local breakers yard. Plus one slightly oily Sunday afternoon fitting it myself. Previous fixes included new dipped headlight bulbs for 10 a go each and a new rubber rocker box breather hose for 20 (I had to buy a genuine ford part as no one else makes them :/). If you are willing source the parts and to do the work yourself you can save yourself a lot of money.
    Thats not new though is it... its just a replacement.

    I'm happy to stick second hand parts on my car, and just fix it when it goes wrong, my brother in law doesn't know one end of a spanner from the other and does nearly 200 miles a day. I need to know I've got the ability to take the unit back and get another one for the next 12 months...

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oaktech View Post
    Thats not new though is it... its just a replacement.

    I'm happy to stick second hand parts on my car, and just fix it when it goes wrong, my brother in law doesn't know one end of a spanner from the other and does nearly 200 miles a day. I need to know I've got the ability to take the unit back and get another one for the next 12 months...
    That's fair enough, but then he'll pay for that privilege. If the running costs are regularly becoming an issue how about making it someone else's problem and go for Lease or HP/PCH/PCP? There's a bigger safety net there too incase of breakdowns.

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    That's fair enough, but then he'll pay for that privilege. If the running costs are regularly becoming an issue how about making it someone else's problem and go for Lease or HP/PCH/PCP? There's a bigger safety net there too incase of breakdowns.
    That is exactly what's going to happen... I need to nurse the car along until June when his current boss is retiring. He has already been told the job is his and he has been offered a company car or cash for car. He's chosen cash for car, as he can't drive any of the company cars (fiesta or focus) he physically doesn't fit as he he is 6'9 has size 15 feet and 38" legs! We will go car shopping when the time comes.

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    On the subject of running costs...

    This car is only use by my girlfriend to get to work, I get the train. It's costing a grand a year to insure, 200 tax, and then unexpected repairs like this.

    Should she go for a company car if possible? I have no idea what the costs are like, her company do it but her boss said it would be expensive for her. But then other people say it's really cost effective. And her boss has a Range Rover, which is obviously not going to be something she would get
    Last edited by sidewinder; 22nd November 2012 at 11:05 AM.

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    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    Old cars = unexpected repairs. To be honest, they are expected repairs - that's the payoff when running an old banger, and you need to budget for them yearly. A much newer car will have problems too, but they'll cost more to fix... the plus side is that parts and repairs for old Fords are cheap (or should be!) and the 1.8 diesel is a tough unit when maintained properly. Main killer on those cars is rust.

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    twin--turbo's Avatar
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    You can get recon/new units on ebay for under 70 , and it should be an hours labout at most.


    Rob

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    Check it's really the alternator at fault.

    Measure the voltage across the battery terminals with the engine off. It should be 12 point something volts. Maybe less if the battery's not great. Now switch the engine on and do the same. The charging voltage should be around 13.7 volts. If you see this, the alternator is OK.

    I don't know much about Ford stuff, but my old VW van had replaceable alternator brushes. 5 for the part, 20 mins to change. I'm not a tremendous mechanic, but I found it an easy job. They were easy vans to work on though. The same couldn't be said for my Saxo diesel. The starter motor failed and I tried to change it myself. It was such a horrible, fiddly, complicated job I gave up. My arm would have needed 8 elbow joints to do it. I was actually shouting at the Haynes manual.

    In any case, the job sounds expensive. I had a timing belt change done on my diesel van for less than that. Find a good independent garage and stick with them. I use a local garage which never needs to advertise as all their trade is word of mouth and recommendations. These are the ones you should seek out.
    Last edited by jinnantonnixx; 22nd November 2012 at 11:34 AM.

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    The alternator on my diesel Corsa was about 220 and in the last years on it's life, it needed a new one every year. The reason they cost so much was due to an oil pump being part of the alternator. Without this pump the alternator would have been much cheaper. Perhaps yours is the same. I found a place where I could get the old alternator rewound and rebrushed and saved a fortune. On the downside, I was without the car for a week or so.

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