'02 Jetta TDI with an appetite for alternators

2002silverTDI

Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2017
Location
Florida
TDI
Jetta TDI
Approaching 180K and another alternator took a dump!
This is the fourth one to fail in my car.
Are they being made and/or rebuilt in China and only last a year now?
I've read about a lot of low quality parts being made in China,
then being sold under brand names that we know and trust.
Has anyone else had issues with them failing prematurely?
My son's been driving it so I'm just hearing about the latest failure from him.
He lives in another city.
Thanks!
 

Nero Morg

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
Something something cheap alternators.... People here will talk til they're blue in the face, to only use genuine bosch alternators. The rest are junk. They're also fairly easy to rebuild yourself as well.

What exactly has failed on the current alternator?
 

WildChild80

Veteran Member
Joined
May 30, 2016
Location
Nashville, AR
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI 2000 Jetta TDI 2000 New Beetle TDI ALL 5 speeds
Valeo is also highly recommended or was at one point

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

2002silverTDI

Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2017
Location
Florida
TDI
Jetta TDI
Yes, it's a manual.
I had a local reputable German only service shop replace it the first time.
I see that leaving it in the shop's hands isn't the way to go obviously.
They just buy a cheap one form their local parts supplier, install it and see you on your way.
Won't use them again...
Thanks guys.
 

2002silverTDI

Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2017
Location
Florida
TDI
Jetta TDI
I'm not sure what exactly failed.
The battery keeps dying and my son had to jump it to get it started.
He took it to a local shop and they told him the alternator isn't charging.
He replaced the battery in it last week, then the cold weather got cold.
I'm only getting bits and pieces of information from him since he isn't a car tech guy.
He did not tell me if the charge light came on in the dash.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
Three things:

Genuine Bosch reman alternators only.

Make sure you have the correct H7 battery and that it is in good condition.

All the connections are good, especially the main lead from the alternator to the underhood fuse link box.
 

mk3

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2005
Location
Wisconsin, USA
TDI
03 Jetta GLS 5-speed
I believe (and have seen first and second hand) that remans are often a sham.

I suggest a NEW alternator is in order. My alternator is original (320k miles right now) but I did put a new brush/regulator assembly in it a little while back.

Could there be a problem with the fusible links that sit on top of the battery?
 

macoombi

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2011
Location
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
TDI
'02 Jetta TDI
This is not just a VW issue. I had issues with reman alternators in my old '97 Taurus SHO. The originals would last 80-100k miles and replacements were lucky to get 20k.

On my ALH, the pulley has been the only problem and since I swapped it with a decent one from my id parts, it hasn't failed since.
 

Tdijarhead

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Location
Lawrenceville PA
TDI
2003 TDI Jetta Daughters Car, 2001 TDI Beetle, Daughters car, 2005 Golf TDI Mine, all 5 spds
My brother has a Subaru and had the same problem, cheap remans he swapped it out twice before he lucked on to a good one.

I did the same with a vw starter 3 times.
 

Genesis

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Location
Sevier County TN
TDI
'03 Jetta Wagon
The so-called "remans" from the parts stores are GARBAGE. My OE one is coming up on 300k miles and I've replaced the clutch pulley on it, but it is otherwise ok. Several batteries over the years, obviously.

But... WHEN it fails (and it eventually will; all things that move do) it'll be another one of those or, if the kid can deal with the downtime, I'll pull and rebuild it myself, provided something catastrophic hasn't happened to it.
 

WildChild80

Veteran Member
Joined
May 30, 2016
Location
Nashville, AR
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI 2000 Jetta TDI 2000 New Beetle TDI ALL 5 speeds
This is why I pull Bosch alternator's when I see them, only clutch issues I've had was when it sat for months without being driven.

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jettawreck

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 2, 2004
Location
Northern Minnesota-55744
TDI
2001 Jetta and 2003 Jetta
A good friend of mine rebuilds starters and alternators as his main business. His return/warranty numbers are very low because he's a one man show and it's his income source.
Many "remans" from part stores are simply cleaned up cores with only whatever part(s) failed. Bearing seized up, they just put in a new one. Probably not the other bearing if it still spins. Regulator burned out, put in a new one, blast it clean or paint it, box it and out it goes.
I usually just take him my failed starter or alternator and have that one rebuilt instead of swapping one out. Haven't had one of his rebuilds fail in the non-VW fleet over the years. So far I've only had to have pulley clutches replaced in any of the TDIs. One starter, and that one was toast.
 

wonneber

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 12, 2011
Location
Monroe, NY, USA
TDI
2014 Jetta Sportwagen, 2014 Tiguan,2003 Jetta 261K Sold but not forgotten
I'm only getting bits and pieces of information from him since he isn't a car tech guy.
He did not tell me if the charge light came on in the dash.
You trust the car to someone who "isn't a car tech guy" ?? :eek:

To me the dash light isn't much more then a warning the belt broke.
 

roadhard1960

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2004
Location
Covington, Ga.
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon GLS 5 speed
To the guy that put a new regulator/brush pack in. I did the same thing. A year later I heard some noises but could not figure from where. My alternator started a fire. I happen to drink water when driving so I doused it with 2 liters of water after stopping and called a flatbed tow. I put in a new Bosch (made in China) alternator. It is about due for preventative maintenance alternator work. That will be new bearings, new regulator and probably a new clutch.

My truck was squeaking so I replaced all the idler bearings and water pump. A year later it is squeaking again so I put in the generator repair kit which had bearings and brushes. I had to turn down the slip ring on the rotor as it was grooved. Chrysler calls that thing a generator in the repair manual. Note that the bearing did not seem to be particularly worrisome on the bench but the generator was quiet with new bearings. Hence the agreement with the other guy who said his go to rebuilder does new bearings whenever he repairs an alternator. That said I have a Bosch router that has odd non-standard bearings no longer available. I squeezed some grease in the bearings and the router no longer screams like a banshee.
 

2002silverTDI

Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2017
Location
Florida
TDI
Jetta TDI
Break in the case!
I heard that a power steering line had a slow leak and was dripping fluid on the alternator.
The shop in Atlanta fixed the leak and the new alternator is in.
Hopefully this one will last!
@wonneber: My son loves the car. He's just not a mechanically inclined, technical person.
 

2002silverTDI

Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2017
Location
Florida
TDI
Jetta TDI
@wonneber: No worries.

A 99 cent o-ring caused a lot of mayhem.
An o-ring brought the Space Shuttle crashing down!
 
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