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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently I've had a "noise" when starting my 2003 ZX3 Zetec up from cold after sitting for a few days. Sounds like a bearing that is running dry or whatever. Could be the brushes also.

Noise is coming from the alternator...since by listening I can locate the source of the noise. Using my Scanguage I can see that the voltage is near 14V...battery is good and starts the car OK.

1st happened maybe 2 weeks ago and I was hoping (of course) that it was a one-off kind of thing...first time after warming up some the noise went away and I drove it around 150 miles. This time...same thing...idled for a while and the noise subsided.

Solution is pretty obvious..replace the alt...any suggestions for a reliable source or brand???
 

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2006 ZX5 2.0, 2004 ZX3 SVT EE. 2004 ZX3 SVT
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Recently I've had a "noise" when starting my 2003 ZX3 Zetec up from cold after sitting for a few days. Sounds like a bearing that is running dry or whatever. Could be the brushes also.

Noise is coming from the alternator...since by listening I can locate the source of the noise. Using my Scanguage I can see that the voltage is near 14V...battery is good and starts the car OK.

1st happened maybe 2 weeks ago and I was hoping (of course) that it was a one-off kind of thing...first time after warming up some the noise went away and I drove it around 150 miles. This time...same thing...idled for a while and the noise subsided.

Solution is pretty obvious..replace the alt...any suggestions for a reliable source or brand???
Best to have a local alternator starter rebuild shop rebuild it. I quit buying new or store rebuilt alternators years ago.
 

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X2. The alt rebuild quality issue is beyond belief now and you may go through a couple before one stays working. That alt is VERY b-tchy about wanting a nothing less than top quality voltage regulator to live and the rebuilds commonly don't use one to get more profit. The diode plates are very bad about breaking the diode leads too and the best rebuild will have an aftermarket diode plate to replace the OEM Ford one which is pretty much garbage.

Even a brand new alt may not have the better reg on it. Any lifetime warranty means they will give you a lifetime of crap parts, NOT that the parts are good ones.
 

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I'd get set up to remove serp belt quick and then start engine up to make the noise, then shut it off and pull belt quick to check pulleys for where the noise is. The tensioner roller is right close to alt too and the bearing may be bad in that. An idler is close too. Roll pulleys and alt by hand and you'll feel which one is bad.
 

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Where do you find one. Big chains have destroyed many independent businesses. It's an irreversible trend.
True. There are 2 left here in Houston that still have a good reputation. Not cheap either, 175 for an alternator and 150 for a starter. Google is your friend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I get a burnt electronics smell when this happens also...so I'm thinking diode or related...brushes? Since the car has over 150K and has an issue in the instrument cluster where the gauges "flicker" and I get another burnt smell (usually only happens on a rough road)....getting some road noise from the front leading to a suspicion of bearing issues...I'm thinking it's time to bail and buy something else.

Just in time for used car prices being up by 20-30% and expected to last for several years....:(
 

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We had a couple rebuilders here I knew in Fort Worth, both now gone. Probably one at least in Dallas. I build my own there so zero problems.

I remember the last used car spike coming off the debacle of '08, looking for used in '10 for son and ended up buying new at only maybe $1500 more to do it. Ford dealer here wanted $17K for Focus with 80K miles on it! Another wanted $10K for one with broken windshield, dents all over it and really ragged out inside and under hood and bent wheels that needed all 4 tires. Salesman freaked when I asked him if he smoked crack. The brand new Nissan was only $16,700, and paid cash for it.
 
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