update on emergency brake warning light

Page 1 of 2  
Wento to go to mechanics this morning, car wouldn't start, like the way a dead battery sounds. I kept trying, it finally started Plus that brake warning light was no longer on!!!
Took it to mechanic anyway---so far he's thinking alternator. So I left the car there, and we'll see what happens tomorrow. I'll let you all know loner
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

BTW, in general, are alternators really expensive? I mean the part itself--labor is always expensive! loner

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
the loner wrote:

-----------------------------------------
Alternators are expensive, but nobody replaces the whole alternator, just the 'brushes'. I expect your mechanic will suggest a little Vaseline (for your battery terminals too).
'Curly'
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thanks Curly, that's good to know loner
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
about an 89 Civic DX sedan

You can get a price on the alternator (possibly rebuilt) at places like www.slhonda.com and www.hondaautomotiveparts.com . Like Curly said, if if the source of the problem is the alternator, most likely it's just the brushes being too old and worn.
Here's some info on the subject: http://home.earthlink.net/~honda.lioness/id13.html
How old are your alternator and battery, anyway?
If the brushes have never been replaced, the probability is good it is they.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote

Hi again Elle. thenks for the links. The battery is about 1 1/2 yrs old, the alternator has brobably never been replaced. I looked through my old invoices & couldn't find anyting, but as I said, there's only 62,000 miles on it, so probably the brushes haven't been replaced I'll call them tomorrow am and ask about all this. If they do say I need a new Alternator, do you think that's a rip off? Should I ask for the brushes to be replaced first, and see how it goes, then get an alternator if the new brushes don't fix the problem? Thanks again everybody--probably a new update tomorrow loner

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Done any jumpstarts on it? My site talks about how this will significantly reduce a battery's life.
But it's more likely the alternator's brushes can no longer keep the battery charged.

No, not necessarily. ISTM the labor it takes to do just the brushes can approach the total cost of replacing the whole alternator.
Other parts go bad on alternators, just not as often.
ISTM a car kept 20 years should need at least one alternator replacement in the course of those 20 years.
If one is a do-it-yourselfer and has the time, then doing just the brushes makes sense. This is not so for someone who doesn't work much on cars and wants a repair that will (1) last; (2) not lead to throwing good money after bad.
This is my rough impression, based on only one personal alternator experience, a little exploration on brushes, and a lot of reading. I am really not sure how often independent shops are willing to do 'just the brushes.' Look for others' thoughts on this. Tegger, Socalmike, Michael Pardee, JT, Curly (among other regulars)?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Elle wrote:

Personally, I've generally opted for a rebuilt alternator (with a decent warranty) as bearings, diodes etc. become a factor after a significant period of time. Besides, I tend to be lazy at times...
JT
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I tried brushes once on my POV; lasted 6 months, Just replace the alt (If needed)
--
Stephen W. Hansen
ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I replaced my brushes too. I even did it by unsoldering the old ones from the holder and soldering in new ones from a local rebuilders ($5). At the time I didn't know you could just buy a whole new brush holder from the dealer.
My soldering skills aren't great, but the new brushes lasted three years, and would surely have gone a lot longer, except the stator finally rusted to the commutator and locked the alternator up. 14 years of Canadian winters will do that...
Ain't nothin' wrong with replacing the brushes on an ND alternator. Their bearings last nearly forever if the belt is properly tightened, and the electrics last similarly if the alt has not been abused.
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
TeGGeR wrote:

Bah... takes me about 10 minutes to swap the raw brushes into an existing holder. :P

Bring it out to Vancouver... I think we had maybe 10 days that actually got below freezing this past winter :)

Yeah, like mine was with the hood-prop rod flopping over against the positive battery post... that was nasty. Burnt one of the brushes to a little carbonized crisp!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Elle wrote:

How do you figure? Labor to re&re the alternator either is the same either way... new brushes are about $5 and should take about 15 minutes to swap in... and on some cars, a nimble mechanic could change the brushes without needing to fully remove the alternator (like my '87 Accord where actually removing the thing from the car requires a degree in acrobatics).

Going again from my '87, the voltage regulator module has to come out to replace the brushes, and removing the diode pack takes three nuts, four bolts, and 30 seconds more. Total time to actually replace everything but the windings shouldn't exceed 30 minutes. What's the cost of new regulator, brushes and diodes, vs. a complete new alternator? It's GOTTA be more than the value half an hour's labor.
And again, with the '87 Accord, all this CAN be done without actually removing the alt from the car.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I was thinking (1) the dealership for one will charge the book rate, which may assume the alternator has to be pulled off to replace the brushes; and (2) from reading here, not all brushes can be replaced with the alternator in place.
I agree this will vary from model to model and maybe one year to another year.
Hence I wrote "can approach... " Also, it's only an impression based on not a whole lot of data. We don't see too many reports here of folks who just replace the brushes and then six months later see, say, an alternator bearing failure.
Then also if it's /not/ the brushes that are bad, the technician faces a comeback, and the customer faces an inconvenience and possibly more money spent than just slapping a remanufactured alternator in place.
The brush assemblies go for about $19 (not counting shipping) at places like slhonda.com .
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Elle wrote:

Even so - the labor to take out one alternator and put in a new one is exactly the same as the labor to remove the alt and then put it back in with new brushes... so the only difference there is the cost of the brushes themselves and the labor to install them.
If you get JUST the bare brushes and solder them into the holder yourself (easy enough for me), it's $5 plus about 15-20 minutes' labor (in addition to the re&re); if you get the complete brushes with holder, it's $20 plus 5-10 minutes to swap them into the alt.
Either way, you're talking re&re labor plus maybe $40, vs. re&re labor plus the cost of a new alt (I've been quoted from $180 for a reman to $350 for a factory new ND alt for my '87 Accord).
Slight difference there :)

If brushes are all that are bad, replacing them SHOULD be FAR cheaper than replacing the whole alt, regardless of year and model. (I wouldn't be surprised if there were exceptions with some British or Italian cars, who knows what kinds of strange things those bastards put in their vehicles).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If it is the brushes that are the problem, and assuming the consumer has told the technician to perform no diagnosis but instead just replace the brushes.

We're not talking about someone do-it-yourselfing here. The consumer has to go find a technician who will do exactly as you describe.

Sure. It seems not a bad gamble for a consumer to just order the shop to replace the brushes, even if the consumer is not 100% sure it is the brushes.
I am still not sure this is the most reliable route to go with an old alternator, though. The bearings could go soon. The consumer gets to make another trip. S/he does not necessarily know what's wrong. S/he asks the shop to diagnose it. The shop techs start rolling their eyes: Coulda saved you money and time if we'd just slapped a new alternator in the first time.
IOW, I still can't find reason to fault a shop for slapping a whole new alternator in place in an older car with the original alternator.
I hope you're not overlooking the difference in economic outlooks on this matter for the do-it-yourselfer vs. the guy/gal that just wants a reliable ride at a reasonable cost.
At the next sign of trouble with my 91 Civic's (second) alternator, I am going to do a little of my own diagnosis and most likely end up just replacing the brushes and the bearings. But in hindsight, I don't think I was messed over when several years ago the dealer installed a whole new alternator. Back then, I did not have the time to be messing with my car.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Right on the money, Elle. A shop that replaces only the brushes is risking having to hassle over who pays for a whole alternator when the inevitable callback happens (not on every one, but enough to hurt). Shops don't like to replace subassemblies when they can have a vendor assume the risks on full assemblies.
Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Hi Mike, Elle and all Yup I opted for the new alternator-=-even with low mileage, the age of the car would have necessitated a new alt. sooner or later--and a new complete alt kinda gave me piece of mind . Thanks for everybody's input! loner

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Elle wrote:

YOU'RE the one talking about JUST replacing the brushes:
"ISTM the labor it takes to do just the brushes can approach the total cost of replacing the whole alternator." (see five quote levels north of here)

So if you figure $80/hr shop rate, swapping the brushes should be an extra $20-$30 worth of labor in addition to re&re'ing the alt.

Right, but YOU'RE the one who compared the cost of JUST replacing the brushes to the cost of replacing the entire alternator.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You're right. I misspoke.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Why? What did he do to arrive at this diagnosis?
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.