Honda Accord (1990 - 2002) Includes 1997 - 1999 Acura CL

92 Accord EX Alternator Issues

 
Old 04-03-2009, 11:03 AM
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Icon6 92 Accord EX Alternator Issues

In December of 2007, the bearings died in the OEM Denso alternator on my 1992 Accord EX. I bought a new replacement from a local shop. Within 2 days, it fried itself due to an internal short. I then exchanged for another new one. It also cooked itself in the course of a few miles, again to what looked like an internal short in the wiring. The next alternator was a new 90A alternator from a different manufacturer. This third replacement lasted for 1 year and about 3 months. The failure of this one is apparently due to a failed bearing, burned brushes, and a cooked stator. So I have had to buy another new one as replacement 3 was out of warranty. After running some tests, the shop determined that my battery was bad and most likely sulfated. Originally rated at 540CCA, it was only reading between 250 and 300CCA and they informed me that this was not enough to handle spikes in load such as turning the headlights on. Therefore the battery was passing the spike in load to the alternator and thus eventually killing it.

I don't feel that this is normal at all. I bought a new battery (800CCA, 1000CA - overkill, I know) and installed the new alternator. However, the alternator is still getting very hot, especially with the headlights on.

I have compared the current draw from the alternator and the voltage at the battery between my car (1992 Accord EX, ND? 90A) to my dad's car (1991 Accord LX, Stock Denso, 80A?). The readings are rather consistent between the two cars. Here are a few things that I've added to my car from stock, but both of these were added in the last 8 months.

-Aftermarket Sony XPLOD Stereo (208W peak), no subwoofer!
-Silverstar Headlights

The alternator only seems to heat up when the headlights are on, especially high beams.
I've never had a fuse blow.
All the fuses are correct according the the fuse covers, none have been replaced with fuses of higher ratings.

I guess what I'm asking is whether I'm being paranoid over this alternator getting too hot to touch after a short (5 mile) drive? If I'm not paranoid, then what should I be trying in the way of troubleshooting this problem before I cook another alternator.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:50 AM
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Default Re: 92 Accord EX Alternator Issues

Alternators should never get that hot. No self-respecting engineer would make an alternator where the windings break down, short, and blow up.

There are two things in an alternator that generate that much heat; windings, and bearings.

If the belt tension is too tight, it will cause the bearings to grind and eventually go. If the bearings have no lubricant, as in some $3 an hour Mexican missed a step while rebuilding the alternator, then you end up with a cooked alternator. When you turn the pully on a remanned alternator by hand, you should hear absolutely no grinding.

If the alternator is a factory honda casing, the windings may have been changed out at some point for a crappy 3rd party that went cheap instead of using copper. E.G. come companies dope aluminum windings with mercury, lead, and other crap to make them perform the same but they don't work right. Over time the metals in the windings due to heating/cooling cycles, conductivity is reduced over time, and the thing starts overheating.

Similarly, overheating an alternator once can destroy cheap grease. Some places don't use lithium grease or high-temp grease; they use other crap that oxidizes over time.

When your alternator goes, go to the dealership, buy a brand new factory alternator, have a honda tech put it in (unless you're sure you can do it right), and call it a day.
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: 92 Accord EX Alternator Issues

i'd get a NEW or REBUILT DENSO from honda.
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Old 04-16-2009, 08:51 AM
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Icon7 Re: 92 Accord EX Alternator Issues

Being a so called "poor college student" prevented me from going the dealer route...I so much wish I had the cash to go that route.

Since it's been almost two weeks, I'll give an update.

I found a friend with a "smart" battery charger. We fully charged and tested the new battery with that. The battery was manufactured about 4 months ago, so it has been sitting on the shelf a bit. We put the battery back in the car and I took a few long drives (30+ miles) with a decent load on the alternator (Low-beam Headlights, A/C with fans, stereo) and the alternator was touchable when I stopped.

My thought is that the new battery wasn't fully charged and the alternator was still trying to charge it as well as run everything on the car.

Graduation is only a month away...After that, this car will be visiting the Honda garage for parts and such.

Thanks for your help! I greatly appreciate all those who contribute here!
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Old 01-31-2017, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: 92 Accord EX Alternator Issues

Originally Posted by joc1394 View Post
Being a so called "poor college student" prevented me from going the dealer route...I so much wish I had the cash to go that route.

Since it's been almost two weeks, I'll give an update.

I found a friend with a "smart" battery charger. We fully charged and tested the new battery with that. The battery was manufactured about 4 months ago, so it has been sitting on the shelf a bit. We put the battery back in the car and I took a few long drives (30+ miles) with a decent load on the alternator (Low-beam Headlights, A/C with fans, stereo) and the alternator was touchable when I stopped.

My thought is that the new battery wasn't fully charged and the alternator was still trying to charge it as well as run everything on the car.

Graduation is only a month away...After that, this car will be visiting the Honda garage for parts and such.

Thanks for your help! I greatly appreciate all those who contribute here!

So, was it the battery? I'm experiencing some similar issues and wondering if I just need to replace the battery. Autozone said that my battery was good when they tested it under a load, but I'm not sure how much stock I put in that.
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Old 01-31-2017, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: 92 Accord EX Alternator Issues

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Old 02-01-2017, 07:13 AM
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Default Re: 92 Accord EX Alternator Issues

Thanks Tamboo! I think I've ruled out the battery. I disconnected the negative lead on my car before I drove home (about 30 miles) to see if that was causing undue burden on the alernator. When I got home, the temperature measured a ~280 degrees. I'll check out rock auto next.

There are no brushes available on RockAuto and the guide to buying quality aftermarket maintenance parts doesn't discuss brushes. The other website mentioned there is canadian and shipping will be a nightmare.

I messaged the ebay seller I bout mine from, and they said they're not sure if that's a normal temperature or not but that they'll let me return it if I want to.

Last edited by aamccarty; 02-01-2017 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 02-01-2017, 04:33 PM
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Default Re: 92 Accord EX Alternator Issues

You never ever disconnect the negative lead. If you want to you can disconnector going to the alternator to see if there is something electrical malfunctioning in the system outside of the alternator causing an issue but you don't want to run without the negative lead disconnected. There is greater potential for something major to happen when you do that. It's never necessary.
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Old 02-15-2017, 11:23 AM
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Default Re: 92 Accord EX Alternator Issues

Originally Posted by holmesnmanny View Post
You never ever disconnect the negative lead. If you want to you can disconnector going to the alternator to see if there is something electrical malfunctioning in the system outside of the alternator causing an issue but you don't want to run without the negative lead disconnected. There is greater potential for something major to happen when you do that. It's never necessary.
What something major might happen? I legitimately don't know. In any case, I've already done that, so I'll take your warning into consideration in the future, but I still think it's a valid troubleshooting step (even if it's risking something major) to determine whether the battery places unnecessary load on the alternator causing it to heat up.

Which disconnector going to the alternator are you suggesting I disconnect in order to see if there's something electrical malfunctioning in the system outside of the alternator?

Sorry, I'm an amateur, so I might need some more specifics to help.
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: 92 Accord EX Alternator Issues

i'll pm you a link to the helm manual, cant post here or it's a spankin.
haynes manual is a good idea too and cheap. check amazon/ebay/bookfinder.
checkin out some youtube vids couldnt hurt either.
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