Article on The Internet Mini Encyclopædia
Alternator Output Currents
Most Minis used the Lucas 16 ACR and 17 ACR alternators, but there have been others:
|45 & 55
The A127 alternators fitted to the later SPi Minis are a straight swap for older 1x ACR models.
Lucas A127 alternators have also been fitted to a variety of other ARG cars; some casings are different but the internals are apparently the same. Ratings differ and rise - there is one available rated at 120A for an export version of the Range Rover, but expect to pay around UKP2 for each Amp of output!
UPDATED 06 MAY 2003
It appears from correspondents that there is a Lucas A127 alternator for a 1998 Ford Escort Diesel which is rated at 75A. Aside from possible issues with pulley size and alignment, this is likely to be cheaper than the equivalent Rover/Land Rover/Range Rover alternators, particularly second hand.
Alternator, how to check if it is working
You can resort to using proper diagnostic tools like these.
Two simple ways to test if your alternator is charging the battery:
Start the car, let it idle and then switch main beam on. If the revs drop slightly then the alternator is converting mechanical energy to electrical energy to charge the battery
The headlights should get brighter as the engine is
revved up. This shows extra power is generated by the alternator.
Alternator problems, not charging
If the red ignition light on your dash is burnt out or disconnected the regulator won't be able to find it's reference, and this can cause the alternator to not charge, or even worse, not regulate the system voltage, blowing up electronic ignition etc (see also Charge warning lamp).
DO NOT discount the following possibilities before going to the cost and hassle of changing or reconditioning the alternator:
the engine earth strap terminals can be corroded which can lead to undercharging
the fan belt can be loose and/or slipping on a polished pulley
UKP3 for a fan belt, UKP2 for a pulley, UKP45 for a reconditioned alternator unit!
Alternator, reconditioned units
"I used to work for Robert Bosch Ltd in the "Tech Support Department" and I can say that a good rebuilt unit is as good if not better than a new unit, as long as three things are in good order when you strip it:
the casing must be undamaged and straight (to test, see if it will spin freely)
the slip rings are not excessively worn or pitted ( the slip rings are the brass or bronze rings round the "armature" at one end)
the armature is not burnt out or damaged ( damage includes scuffing caused by the edges touching the sides/casing at any time the shaft must be straight
The Lucas or Magneti Marelli alternators that where used on all minis up until about 1989 are very easy to rebuild. Please note where all electrical connections go as it differs car to car:
remove the brush set ( the bit that is shaped like a cheese wedge it has very small screws if I remember correctly about 6mm)
remove the fan and pulley assembly by jamming the fan with a long screw driver whilst you take of the nut inside the pulley, then remove the key
there are 3 long bolts that hold the unit together - remove the nuts from the ends of the bolt they are normally on the end that has the electrical connections on it
once these long bolts are removed the unit can be "persuaded" apart with a hammer into 3 parts:
the front casing
the rear casing and the steel coil
the bearings can now be knocked out with a punch and replacements fitted; the slip rings can be cleaned by gently rubbing with wire wool until it is clean
REFIT is the reverse of REMOVAL
All parts such as bearings, brush sets, fans and pulleys are available in the UK; the only problem is that the cost of the parts may be more expensive than an off the shelf rebuild/recon unit."
The three wires are Fat feed, thin feed, and sense.
The sense wire goes to + via the dash red lamp. You must have this connected to allow the alto to reference itself and give out 13.8V or whatever. I wrecked my electric ignition by having this unconnected. Rev up and + goes to >15V.
Out of the other two only the fat one is needed. They are connected in parallel anyway. I have cut out the thin one and it is fine.
Added by FB 7th May 2003
Anything goes really, but........................................................
There are several things to watch for if you intend fitting an alternator from another vehicle on to your mini
1) The pulley on the alternator is the right diameter - if it is wrong the alto will over or under rotate leading to excess enegy consuption if the pulley is smaller and UNDER charging if too big BUT the alternator may be designed to work at higher/lower revs relative to the Mini one - can't help you there! talk to Denso, Lucas, Fisher-Price etc etc
2) The pulleys do not line up properly: this will lead to fanbelt slippage and fraying/premature failure - use a straight edge along the face of the pulleys to check they are in line.. space the alternator along with washers on the mounting points and/or machine down the back face of the pulley to suit. (Caution the pulley rotates at high speed and may vibrate/break up if incorrectly modified)
3) different pulley V sections: some fanbelts are different in cross section to mini ones- if you are a "guru" fit the mini pulley to the donor alto OR at least get the fanbelt off the donor car and check its profile is the same. fit the wrong fanbelt section and you will get slippage or premature wear. NEVER overtighten to get more grip.......
4) Overtightened fanbelts to accomodate 2 & 3 can lead to burned out alto bearings- fanbelt is usually checked for tightness with a torque wrench ( it slips in the belt at X lb/ft on the pulley bolt) or by being able to twist the longest extent of the belt by sideways by about 90 degress.
5) Wiring - alternators have different connections: what is common is.....
A) a BIG wire to put charge into the battery (this goes to the solenoid on the same side as the fat battery lead)
B) a wire to the charge light - this is normally disconnected from earth by the alternator when it starts charging to disconnect the (+) at the dash board end of the bulb from ground HOWEVER be sure you understand how the alto is wired up on the donor car, there are lots of variations.
Mini alternators may use a voltage sensing wire to tell the alto the state of battery voltage and/or another wire feeding 12v to the alternator to get it working, the "exciting" wire.
Other than having to rotate the plug by 180 degrees I found that a 65A alternator off a Rover 820 saloon had the same wiring configuration as my 1275GT 1978 mini.
If you choose a UK donor you may be able to easily cross reference the wire colour codes
BE VERY CAREFUL........ alternators are not all protected from abuse- NEVER run an alternator up on a car WITHOUT connecting its CHARGE wire to a load (ie. the battery) you may fry the diode pack (£££ +messy). ALSO the alto may be FAULTY already if unchecked at a scrap/breakers yard.
WHY do you need to swap one? unless you are running 420W high beam like me and/or a massive in car entertainment system REMEMBER the alto will use energy (AKA BHP) to generate power regardless of what watts you need.
Join the Minilist share your joys and woes with 500+ mini owners worldwide via Minilist at Yahoogroups