Question about 2001 Chevrolet Metro

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Replaced alternator 4 times and batterty twice in 3.5 yrs.

Put 4th alternator in yesterday and still has a whining noise that started 2 days before alternator went out. battery was checked afterwards and is said to be fine. I would like to know what could be causing this problem.

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Hi there. I'd firstly determine exactly where the whining noise is coming from and so I'd firstly disconnect the alternator belt. If the noise is gone, we can safely assume it's the alternator. When replacing the alternator belt, make sure you're not tightening it too tight - that will cause a noise and ruin the alternator bearings quickly too. Start the car with all electrical equipment switched-off, then switch all electrical equipment on - lights, rear screen demister, heater fan (without A/C) and see if the whinning noise increases. If there is an increase in whining noise, this is due to the electrical load being applied to the alternator. Now if the whinning is there all the time, it might be that there is a load being applied to the alternator all the time. One of the biggest loads is that of the rear window demister, make sure it's definately switching-off and the next thing to check is the earth strap within your vehicles engine bay. You can check for the bad earth by touching the earth strap where you will notice that it is warm or even hot. If that's the case, you need to clean or renew the earth connection or cable respectively. Hope this helps, Scottech.

Posted on Jun 17, 2009

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I suspect your car has the voltage regulator integrated into the alternator but you should probably check to see if it is separate. Cooking two batteries in that period of time isn't normal but a Saturn (Delco, as yours) ate SIX alternators before it died forever at 57,600 miles by dropping a rod cap. People made fun of my Fiats but none of them ever rose to that level of failures and had far rougher lives.
In the Saturn, there was way too little cooling for the alternator considering the possible heat developed in a small unit (but rated at 105 amps) about the same size as one in a Chevy LUV we owned years ago that was rated at only 30 amps. The Saturn alternator had to lose ~1200 watts of power in the form of heat if producing the rated output and that is way too much for a confined area. Stupid engineers . . .

Posted on Jun 17, 2009

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