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How accurate is parts store test equipment

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by 50hdmc, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. 50hdmc

    50hdmc Formula 3

    Oct 10, 2006
    1,204
    Michigan
    Full Name:
    mark s
    Some of you are aware of my accident a few months ago where I hit an animal with my 348. There was some lower front end damage and the car lost power (battery) and had to be towed. Once at the dealer they diagnosed the problem as a defective alternator and battery. As many of you know they wanted $5700 to update my delco alternator to the Nippondenso.

    The paint work was done and I had the car towed back to my home. I pulled the alternator and battery out today and took them both to Auto Zone where they tested both and said they were fine. So, I then went on to Oreilllys and had the tests repeated - they also said both were fine. My question is, how reliable is the test/equipment at these stores? Is the Ferrari dealer doing something more to determine the condition of these parts? Where do I go from here?
     
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  3. FerrariDublin

    FerrariDublin F1 Rookie

    Jun 14, 2009
    3,446
    Dublin, Ireland
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    Greg
    How accurate? Hard to say but good tools in the hands of the untrained? That's an easier one isnt it?

    What are your symptoms?
     
  4. 2NA

    2NA F1 World Champ
    Professional Ferrari Technician Consultant Owner

    Dec 29, 2006
    17,751
    Twin Cities
    Full Name:
    Tim Keseluk
    There is absolutely nothing "exotic" about the alternator in your car. Other than the pulley it is very similar to ones on many GM cars. I've had them rebuilt, new regulator, bearings, etc. $89 my cost.
     
  5. parkerfe

    parkerfe F1 World Champ

    Sep 4, 2001
    12,887
    Cumming, Georgia
    Full Name:
    Franklin E. Parker
    I had both alternators o my BB512i rebuilt at a local auto electric shop for $125 each...
     
  6. 50hdmc

    50hdmc Formula 3

    Oct 10, 2006
    1,204
    Michigan
    Full Name:
    mark s
    I don't mind having it rebuilt at all, if that is what it needs, but it tests ok........I am wondering about the "bullet" type cable connectors now.
     
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  8. Peter

    Peter F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Dec 21, 2000
    6,406
    B.C., Canada
    I wouldn't doubt the store's testing equipment. The only thing an alternator can do is supply a charge. If it's good, it'll supply the proper amount of power (usually at, or a bit over 13.5V and whatever amps it was rated for [see your owner's manual]). If it's not good, it won't do either (or both) of those two things. Same thing with the battery, it'll either hold a charge (and keep it with a load on it), or it won't.

    As for the cost, wasn't that a recall item (alternator) with the 348 and should be covered?...

    I can understand that some Ferrari parts are justifiably expensive, but this deal seems to be a cash-grab to me...
     
  9. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    May 29, 2001
    17,269
    USA
    Full Name:
    Hugh G. Rection
    The equipment should be plenty accurate...but....A friend with a 348 had a charging problem with his ND alternator. It had been rebuilt once previously, but started intermittently blinking the "batt" light. He pulled the alternator and had it tested at a couple places...and both said it was fine...yet when he put it back in the car, he would still get the "batt" light once in a while, and once, it left him stranded, though a jump start got him home.

    He pulled it out again, and this time took it to Romaine Electric, a large shop that rebuilds alternators for many independent shops. They ran it on their test equipment and initially it tested fine too...then they left it running on the bench for 15+ minutes and then, the voltage regulator failed. They shut it off, and let it cool, and started it up again, and it ran perfectly. It just failed intermittently when hot.

    Just goes to show...HOW you test is important as well.
     
  10. 50hdmc

    50hdmc Formula 3

    Oct 10, 2006
    1,204
    Michigan
    Full Name:
    mark s
    ...thanks Hugh, good point! I am a little less than trusting of this dealer. When they picked my car up and towed it in they wanted $175. When they brought it back they wanted $289. Said they had a price change during the interim period.
     
  11. FerrariDublin

    FerrariDublin F1 Rookie

    Jun 14, 2009
    3,446
    Dublin, Ireland
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    Greg
    Huh? WTF? That's not an endorsement :)
     
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  13. 50hdmc

    50hdmc Formula 3

    Oct 10, 2006
    1,204
    Michigan
    Full Name:
    mark s
    ..I didn't intend it to be a endorsement.....just a word of warning for those who live in my area of the country.
     
  14. parkerfe

    parkerfe F1 World Champ

    Sep 4, 2001
    12,887
    Cumming, Georgia
    Full Name:
    Franklin E. Parker
    About 8 years ago my BB512i started running hotter than it had been running...~100c verses the 85-90c it had been running. I went through several repair attempts to no avail. Finally, a friend asked me had I checked the alternators. While I thought that was odd,I stopped by an Autozone and had them do a free check on the charging system and it failed. I had both alternators rebuilt at a local auto electric shop and the temp went back down to 85-90c. It seems that the alternators were not putting out enough current to run the cooling fans at full speed which was causing the higher temperatures. So in my instance, the Autozone test equipment did work.
     
  15. twright

    twright Karting

    May 15, 2005
    225
    Indianapolis USA
    Its easy to check the alternator yourself: With the engine off, measure the voltage at the battery. It will be 12-12.5 volts. Start the engine and rev the engine a little (above 2000 RPM). Measure the voltage at the battery again. The voltage (with the engine running) should be 1.5-2.0 volts higher that the engine off reading. If it's not, you have a problem and its probably the alternator, voltage regulator or some wiring glitch.
     
  16. Fleming

    Fleming Rookie

    Mar 6, 2010
    3
    I would say accurate.
     
  17. tatcat

    tatcat F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Sep 3, 2001
    8,506
    panama city beach FL
    Full Name:
    rick c
    took my battery to auto zone to be checked. the man said dead. took it to advance. the man said good, needs recharge. very definitive.
     
  18. 50hdmc

    50hdmc Formula 3

    Oct 10, 2006
    1,204
    Michigan
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    mark s
    In the end, the alternator and the battery that the dealer said were bad turned out to be fine...both of them!
     
  19. yelcab

    yelcab F1 World Champ
    Consultant

    Nov 29, 2001
    10,667
    San Carlos, CA
    Full Name:
    Mitchell Le
    time to avoid the dealer, then. Which one is it?
     
  20. 50hdmc

    50hdmc Formula 3

    Oct 10, 2006
    1,204
    Michigan
    Full Name:
    mark s
    ..it is the only Ferrari dealer in Michigan.
     

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