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Keeping Them On The Road


Jedi Trainee
Once again, an alternator on my '80 Spider ceased functioning. Last August, I purchased an alternator from Victoria British to replace the one whose dead short had melted virtually all the wiring harness. A professionally rebuilt wiring harness was installed and everything was cleaned up. It took 2 returns before I received a working alternator, and even then, alternator #3 had to be taken to a local electrical shop for some minor rewiring before it would work properly.

It continued to work well until January, aided by the purchase of a new battery in October. During the winter, though, the ignition light would occasionally flicker, or fail to go on when the ignition key was turned to "on." In February, heavy snows and too much road salt limited the use of the car to Maine island driving only over short distances. My '66 Land Rover became the vehicle of choice for driving long distances on the mainland.

Spring arrived for a couple of days this past weekend and I had my hopes up to swap island and mainland cars. When I started the TR, I noticed the ignition light failed to go off; it would just get dim. The voltmeter showed only about a 1/4 in the white area; turning on the heater fan quickly showed it discharging back into the red.

So I fully charged up the battery, removed every ground screw and cleaned up the metal underneath, and checked out the alternator connections. They were very clean, so I removed the alternator from the car and took off the back plate. Everything looked quite clean inside there, too. I installed it back on the car and found that nothing had changed. A trip to the island garage confirmed that the alternator was putting out only 11.2 volts.

So here's an alternator with only 7 month's use, dead in the water. I called Victoria British to speak with them about the failed alternator. they listened to my tale of woe and to my delight, they agreed to replace it at no charge.

Might I still get a poorly rebuilt alternator? Yes, but I'm impressed that a Btitish car parts supplier would support keeping our cars on the road with this level of service. Thank you Vicky Brit!



Great Pumpkin
Glad you had good luck with Victoria British.

For those who are willing to modify their car, this GM style, one-wire alternator (under $80) can be fitted quite easily. It pretty much sidesteps a host of exisiting wiring harness problems and is super-reliable.





Jedi Trainee
I love the price and the easy availability, but how did you mount it? The mounting horns look quite different. Where did you get the brackets necesary for the new mounting?




I mounted a GM alternator on my GT6. I had to make brackets for it. I'm sure there must be a better way than what I did.

For what it's worth, and I'm sorry if this might offend, but I don't like one-wire alternators. I really like having an indicator light on the dash to tell me that the alternator is making electricity. You can buy a rebuilt 10SI alternator from places like AutoZone and Advance for about $40 + core.


Great Pumpkin
Where did you get the brackets necesary for the new mounting?

There are no brackets readily availalbe for this conversion. You would have to fabricate them. I do not have one of these on my present car, but I fitted a GM unit to my old Cortina and and an earlier Sprite with little difficulty. I have no specifics on your car, but I imagine 1" angle iron pieces could be used along with a piece of small diameter pipe as a spacer (and a long bolt).
For some good info on this (and some stuff on using a cheaper, regular GM "two wire" alternator and other alternator conversions), go here:

For what it's worth, and I'm sorry if this might offend, but I don't like one-wire alternators.
I understand compeletly. If I ran this unit, I'd add a voltmeter to the dash to keep an eye on things. Actually, the conversion I have in my present car is a two-wire 30 amp Mitsubishi alternator....I prefer it to the GM unit because it's much lighter and smaller for my racer (it's also driven by a slow-turn pully to reduce drag).
By the way, the other race-Sprite I drive (owned by a friend of mine) has a GM one-wire unit driven off the driveshaft (no "juice" until you get to third gear).
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