It's one of those things that just seem to happen at the most inconvenient time- you're headed down the road late one night & everything appears to be just fine at the moment. Then you notice your headlights & dash lights are getting dim. You look at the volts gauge on the dash and notice the voltage has dropped below its normal reading & is now under 12 volts.

You pull into a truck stop that has a repair shop, but unfortunately they don't have the alternator that you need in stock. What to do now? The nearest city with a dealer is over 200 miles away & not open on the weekend to sell you that part, or to ship it by bus to that shop you're at. Life is NOT GOOD at the moment, is it?

Situations like this often teach us to carry spare parts with us, especially an alternator.

It's obvious that you can buy a NEW alternator locally (no core charge) than you can buy a remanufactured one on the road at some shop out in the middle of nowhere (IF they even have the part you need). Getting one that you already have installed is easy- some of us can do the job ourselves (especially if there's a pulley installed on the new one, as it usually requires an air impact gun to remove the nut from the shaft to get the pulley off, and to tighten the nut on the new alternator once the pulley is slipped on to the shaft), or just take your spare alternator into a shop & let them replace it for you.

Many trucks nowadays have unique alternators on them, like some Volvos, and many of the Freightliner chassis used in the expediting segment of the industry. Most Class 8 trucks still use the common Delco & Leece-Neville alternators, but some of the newer trucks have been using many different alternators, so don't expect that one & only shop that's out there in Timbuk 3 to always have that part you need- carry a spare alternator & it will likely save you from the frustration of a late delivery, a need for a motel room while waiting on parts to arrive, and paying through the nose for it once it DOES show up at the shop a few costly days later.

Jeff Barker
Co-Adminstrator and Editor

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