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Go Back   TDIClub Forums > TDI Model Specific Discussions Areas > VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD)

VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD) This is a general discussion about A4/MkIV Jetta (99.5-~2005), Golf(99.5-2006), and New Beetle(98-2006). Both VE and PD engines are covered here.

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Old July 27th, 2009, 13:36   #1
danielalves
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Default Alternator Pulley bad, now Alternator?

My serpentine belt broke and upon inspection, I found the pulley on the alternator about to come off. I spun it around and the shaft of the alternator seemed to spin very smoothly. So, I took it to Smitty's here in Gainesville, FL to replace the pulley and they came back with this:

Your alternator is bad and your idler pulley is on it's way out. We need to put in a rebuilt bosch for $375, an alternator pulley for $73, idler pulley for $60.

This is my first time using a mechanic and this shop came recommended from folks on this site.

I asked why they need to buy an alt. pulley if the alternator comes with one. They replied that the alternator doesn't always come with the right pulley and they have to order the right one.

I also asked about the alternator being bad and that it turned smoothly in my crude test. He said that he used a stethoscope to listen to the alternator and heard clicking and that the bearings inside were bad.

Back up to what happened, driving down the interstate and ps and ac cut out and battery light came on all at once. The only noise I heard was the serpentine belt breaking.

Can someone tell me if this all sounds right:
1. that the alternator would have broke at the same time the pulley caused the belt to pop?
2. That they need to buy a separate pulley.
3. Would it be assholish to ask for the pulley that they don't use?


2003 Jetta TDI wagon w/ ~90k miles

thank you so much,
Daniel
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Old July 27th, 2009, 14:06   #2
oilhammer
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Every Bosch reman alternator I get for an ALH comes with the correct pulley. Not so on some other engines, but the ALH it has always been correct.

You can purchase a voltage regulator seperately, but by the time you buy a pulley by itself and the regulator you may as well replace the whole thing...but at 90k miles I bet all you need is the pulley.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 14:21   #3
PDJetta
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Yea, slap a pulley on it and see if it fixes it.

--Nate
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Old July 27th, 2009, 18:38   #4
danielalves
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thanks guys. What I'm trying to get at is whether I can trust this mechanic. I'm looking at this as the beginning of a potentially long relationship.

I find it hard to believe that my alternator is bad after having absolutely no issues with it in the past. My battery was fully charged after the serpentine belt blew out.

Is it possible for the pulley coming off alignment to affect the bearnings inside the alternator?

Would it be presumptuous to ask to see the alternator so they can show me what's wrong with it? Also, would it be weird if I ask them to keep the pulley they didn't use. I paid for it, didn't I?


thanks again guys. this forum is awesome!
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Old July 27th, 2009, 19:02   #5
mk3
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Detecting failing bearings by listening for clicking is a valid method and you don't at all have to feel bad if you want to see this for yourself. You might get lucky and go for 1000's of more miles with 'ticking' bearings but on something important like an alternator it doesn't seem like a good risk. It's possible that heat coming from a failing clutch pulley caused the bearings inside the alternator to fail or vice versa.

I think it's kind of lame that a professional mechanic does not know if the alternator will come with a clutch pulley or not... but I can relate to their desire to cover their bases. You have every right to keep the pulley that they pull off the alternator if that's the way it goes - you've paid for it.

Does the $375 include labor? I'd guess there's a lot of labor for this job and also $375 sure seems expensive for an alternator but I haven't had to price one myself.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 19:56   #6
danielalves
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mk3, thanks for your reply. really good info.

the $375 was just for the alternator. Total labor is something like 2.5hours @ $80/hr to replace alternator and idler pulley.

Yeah, the way they worded it was that they were covering their bases. I'm going in tomorrow hoping that they haven't sent the core out already. I hope they don't mind spending the time to reassure me. Afterall, if they can put up with me now, they'll get my business in the future.

thanks again
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Old July 28th, 2009, 04:32   #7
oilhammer
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I can understand them wanting to fix it correctly the first time. I know exactly what that means: he slaps a new pulley on and sends you on your way he is a hero. But if the alternator dies 6 months from now, he is a no-good SOB. Covering his hind-side and insuring your satisfaction is probably the most important thing on his mind.

If we had a customer in here in the same situation, I would probably give them the choice BUT I would probably steer them towards a Bosch reman unit as a whole with a warranty. But like I said, they should come with the correct pulley anyways.

If it were MY car, I would try a new pulley and run with it, and if it died 6 months from now I would only have myself to blame.
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