Do not try to put any sort of heat shield on your alternator. It will
reduce the air flow around it. The heat is produced by the alternator when
it is charging. It needs air flow to cool it down.
An O.E.M or Delco CS alternator should last over 80k miles. Read Mike
Levy's story in this thread. The original CS alternator in my wife's 94'
Grand Am lasted 90K. I replaced it with an AC Delco. This is low for today's
standards. That's why the CS got a bad reputation. Of course some failed
sooner than that, but that statement can be applied to any alternator on the
I was a GM mechanic for 14 years. I'm not trying to push their product.
I could care less about GM, but they make very good re-built products that
last. Visit http://www.acdelco.com . These days I care more about how thick
my wallet is. That's why I purchase some O.E.M parts, when required.
Example: Alternator, starter, brake pads, exhaust...etc. Plugs, wires,
filters, brake rotors, and oil, get from the parts store. Yes O.E.M parts
cost more, and you should not purchase them if your going to keep your car
for only one year.
If you are going through alternators, check your battery, or have it
load tested. A battery that is in a constant state of discharge will make
your alternator work harder and produce more heat. The battery in your car
has one purpose, to start the engine. After that, it's the alternator's job
to replenish the battery, and run all electrical circuits on your vehicle.
And yes, a bad battery can start an engine. The only way to check a battery
correctly is to load test it.
P.S. You could purchase a rebuild kit for the CS, but taking it apart, will
be way over your head, as a do-it-yourselfer. The front and rear bearings
are pressed onto the rotor shaft. You won't get the case halves apart. In
the old days, this was a piece of cake. You could forget it on the CS,
unless you have a couple of days to mess with your car. Odds are that you
want it running the same day.