Inexpensive High Capacity Alternators - SailNet Community

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Old 05-29-2007
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Inexpensive High Capacity Alternators

I did something stupid this weekend and burned up my alternator. I started the engine while the house bank was shut off, burning up my heavy duty alternator that charges that bank. Thatís the bad news. The good news is that I learned a few things about alternators as a result of looking for repair parts for my particular alternator.

I learned that several of the high output marine alternators are based on the Delco 10dn alternator from the 1960ís and 70ís. Ample Power, Balmar, Lestek and Powerline alternators are just a few that start out with a cheap GM alternator that you can buy for under $100 new, or buy one at a junk yard for around $25. They beef it up with a stator winding capable of some extra amps, put a nice paint job on it and sell it under their name. My particular alternator was a Lestek. It was probably a $300 alternator when the previous owner bought it. Thatís about three times what itís worth.

Here are some price comparisons that I found on the internet:

Balmar 912 series Alternator $397
Ample Power 4023 Alternator $499
Delco 10DN 105 amp Alternator around $100

Balmar offshore repair kit $186
Ample power offshore repair kit $269
Delco repair kit $24.

For under $60, you can buy a used Delco 10dn externally regulated alternator from the junk yard and buy a 105 amp kit off the internet and have your own high capacity alternator.

As soon as I get my current Lestek fixed, Iím going to get a Delco rebuild kit that will fit the 1-wire alternator that runs my starting battery and my 3-wire Lestek (Delco) alternator that runs my house bank so I can repair either of them in the future should I have a memory lapse again.
S.V. Nikko
1983 Fraser 41
La Conner, WA

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Boating for over 25 years, some of them successfully.
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Old 05-30-2007
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Good info! I had a related experience when I started having trouble with the starter on my Universal diesel a few years ago. Was quoted about $500 for a new unit from Westerbeke. A local starter/alternator shop said to bring it in as he could probably indentify the "real" make and model. Sure enough, he got me a Nippondenso for $115 which fit perfectly and has been performing with no problems.
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Old 05-30-2007
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A good starter/generator/alternator shop is a real asset. You should always try to get these things repaired before resorting to the OEM parts counter.
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Old 05-31-2007
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sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice
Yes indeedy. Ten minutes spent with the guys at an alt/starter rebuild shop will open one's eyes. erps point is vividly brought home when they don't have time to repair yours right now but hand you one off their shelf, probably out of a Case backhoe, and inform you it's the same-same! And, "do you want that super-sized?" We're not talking mega-bucks here, either.
ďScientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.Ē
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.
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