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My 1996 XH Ford GLI LONREACH UTE with a 4.0 Tickford motor 5 sp man, had a oil leak (oil leak fixed! and I was quite proud of myself) from the rocker cover gasket, resulting in enough oil that would coat my alternator to the point of where she was getting to unpredictable to drive and lights/power would die at 80 klms in traffic. Anyway my mate checked the battery and it was fine after a charge. He also sprayed something onto the alternator (I didn't see what he used) and whatever it was, it cleaned the alternator up enough to drive around again. I'm hesitant to take it on a long drive somewhere, get stuck, and find out it's no better.

After much net research I decided to buy from Bursons auto, a circuit board cleaner that has no chlorides in it to further degrade the thing. I sprayed a fair amount into and on the alternator and could instantly see black oily crap drip from the bottom of it, apparently the best part is that any of this cleaner left on or in places, simply evaporates away.

Question: Did I do the right thing, or did I just completely stuff my alternator????

Thanks to anyone that responds and sorry it's so long, but I wanted all to have as much info as I could provide.

Cheers, Ryne

  • The cleaner probably didn't do much harm, but you should have the alternator tested. Doesn't sound like it can be considered reliable anymore if the battery used to discharge completely in the middle of a drive. – I have no idea what I'm doing Mar 1 '16 at 8:52
  • @Ryne The only components you really need to ensure are clean are the brushes and slip rings. It would be an easy job to take the alternator off and dismantle it enough to clean the essential parts with contact cleaner. Alternatively, take it to an auto electrician and get it overhauled. – HandyHowie Mar 1 '16 at 12:39
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The cleaner should not have caused an issue for your alternator whatsoever. The insides are clear coated for a long life. I would not have had any issue cleaning the outside of the alternator as was seemed to be done. As @HandyHowie said, you'd only need to worry about the brushes and slip rings, but I think that might not have been your real issue.

If you have as much oil on the alternator as you are suggesting, I'd bet your serpentine belt is coated to some degree, which is not allowing the alternator to charge at capacity. If there is any signs of oil on the belt, change it out. While you're at it, clean all of the pulleys on the engine (whether it contacts to the ribs or the back of the belt) with carb or brake cleaner (something which will cut the oil/grease/grime). This will ensure your alternator is functioning up to par and ensure you have enough grip on the belt for the rest of your accessories.

  • Thanks heaps guys! I took it for about a hours drive yesterday and all seems to be well so far. The spray cleaned out a heap of oil and fine gritty stuff (very small amount), and now looks brand new. – Ryne Mar 3 '16 at 7:19
  • Thanks heaps guys! I took it for about a hours drive yesterday and all seems to be well so far. The spray cleaned out a heap of oil and fine gritty stuff (very small amount), and now looks brand new. THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENTS GUYS! I am very aware that my grammar/spelling is crap, im sorry for this, but im sure people can make sense of it? I hope. Ryne (very new to this forum stuff so bare with me) – Ryne Mar 3 '16 at 7:26
  • @Ryne - Hey, don't worry too much about grammar and such ... we can work around it. Just remember, this isn't exactly a forum as most people would see it. We're here to answer questions. If you've got them, bring it on! – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Mar 3 '16 at 21:48
  • Thank you kindly PAULSTER! Puts me at ease a bit for sure. – Ryne Mar 5 '16 at 5:43

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