Many years ago, back in 1980-something, when my Silver 131 Sport (Dudley) was my only car and therefore my daily driver, it started making a strange rumbling noise from the front of the engine. I took the fan belt off and the noise stopped. Turning the water pump or alternator by hand didn't make any noises but deciding that it must be the water pump bearing that rumbled under load and at higher speed, I bought a new water pump and fitted it. Those were the days when GGB engineering who were specialist Italian Car parts suppliers, were just down the road from me so getting parts for my car was easy.
With the water pump replaced, the noise was still there!
It then became obvious that it was the alternator that was noisy. I took it off the car, stripped it, cleaned it, repacked the bearings with grease and put it back together again. I fitted it back on the car and there was no more noise.
That alternator has had a very long life and in fact spent a couple of long spells on my Maserati when its alternator was being rebuilt by specialists and eventually found its way on my current 131 Sport when its alternator died a couple of years ago.
Last March when I went to Ratoath in Ireland for the Italian Car Day (http://www.fiatmotorclubgb.org/Events/Ratoath/index.htm
) I thought I heard a rumbling noise from the front of my car's engine. It was late at night and didn't feel like investigating further and then I remembered which alternator was fitted to my car and I said to Simon "this alternator has always been a bit noisy". I ignored the noise and drove back to the UK.
By the time I got back to the UK, the noise got louder so I took the alternator belt off only to discover the noise was still there
It turned out that the noise was due to a loose crankshaft pulley! Had I known that I wouldn't have taken the risk of driving all the way back to the UK but as I was so quick to blame my apparently faithful alternator....
A couple of weeks ago I used the 131 to drive to work and on the way back in the evening I thought the lights were brighter than usual and seemed to vary their brightness with engine speed a bit more than normal. "Alternator regulator" I thought. Always very quick to blame the alternator which has been so good! I just don't seem to be able to trust that alternator.
So when I saw a new alternator advertised on eBay for a very reasonable price, I jumped at the opportunity and bought it. Which brings me to the subject of this posting: "Getting ready for the 3ma". I've made a list of things I need to do to the car before May and the alternator replacement became number 1 on the list. So yesterday I changed the alternator for the new one although I am keeping the old one safe as I think it may come useful one day soon.
Old alternator on the right. It only takes a couple of minutes to take off. New alternator on the left still in the bag.
New alternator on the left is a Magnetti Marelli while old alternator (right) is BOSCH. They look almost identical though.
And here it is in its rightful place. The rear heatshield fitted to the BOSCH alternator doesn't fit the new Magnetti Marelli so I hope it won't be damaged by the heat from the exhaust.
So that's job number one completed!
Next job I need to do is to replace the timing belt and tensioner bearing. The bearing on my engine seems to have worn into a taper so it's affecting the position of the belt. I'll report back here when that's done.
I've also booked the car into the bodyshop for some minor cosmetic touch-ups. The car needs to look its best for the 3ma!!
Unfortunately I couldn't convince my friendly Irish bodyshop guy to refurbish the wheels on my car so I'll have to attempt that myself (although I was looking at alloys again today....)
Progress reports to follow.....