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Old 05-07-2011, 12:39 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 412
Alternator help 3,000 miles from home in Seattle

Can't get much farther from home.
Parking in the hotel lot today after 400 road miles the alternator was squeaking loudly. Hoped that it was the belt but reasonably certain that it is the alternator. This is the first time I ever heard the squeak.

Can't get the part at O'reiley's or AutoZone.

Did get some liquid Wrench spray oil (not the penetration oil) but an actual spray oil. Gave it several shots towards the bearings and the squeaking diminished some, almost stopped. Gave it several more shots for the night and will see tomorrow.

130,000 miles on probable original alternator. Is this a normail failure?
How will it fail completely?

Ideas on how and where to get a replacement?

What is the probability that it has another 4,000 miles in it for me to get home in 3 weeks?

I have the tools (at home) and could probably do it myself. How much labor should I expect to pay for a removal and replacement around here?


1999 Mercedes E300TD daily driver sold at 238K miles 106K miles were mine, rust worm got it :-(
2006 Mercedes CDI new daily driver! 56,000 miles May 2016 now 85,625 Apr 2018 and Apr 2019 101,000 miles Apr 2020 109,875.
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:00 AM
Diesel911's Avatar
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Long Beach,CA
Posts: 35,065
Sounds like a Bearing/s is/are shot.

Get the Yellow Pages and see if you can locate a local Alternator Electrical Shop that will change out the Bearings or maybe even rebuild that Alternator.

Is there a BOSCH Electrical Shop in the area?

I am suprised they did not have a rebuilt Alternator over the counter that you could buy.

How about National Auto Parts (NAPA)?

Is there one of our members who has a parts Car in the area?

The Bearing on my Alternator went out at about 200K miles. And, when I got it out I found it was a Rebuilt Alternator. So there is no way to say what is a normal life for one.
84 300D, 82 Volvo 244Gl Diesel
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:03 AM
Doktor Bert's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Palm Springs, CA.
Posts: 2,670
I will assume, from your signature you are in the "1999 Mercedes E300 daily driver"

That's not a good place for trouble.

The bearings in the alternator are sealed. Spraying lube should not reach the bearing if the seals are intact. Could it be the belt??? Perhaps you shot some oil and some residual lubricant reached the belt???

You wrote that "What is the probability that it has another 4,000 miles in it for me to get home in 3 weeks???"

I wouldn't risk it. If it is the bearing, and it does fail, you will be on the roadside.

My advice: Make sure you know what is causing the squeak. 3 weeks is enough time to have a replacement alternator shipped to you at your hotel. You can buy some tools if need be.

Or, you can have a shop do it if you feel more comfortable.

Best of luck...Robert
Did you just pass my 740 at 200 kmh in a 300SD?????

1978 300SD 'Phil' - 1,315,853 Miles And Counting - 1, 317,885 as of 12/27/2012 - 1,333,000 as of 05/10/2013, 1,337,850 as of July 15, 2013, 1,339,000 as of August 13, 2013

100,000 miles since June 2005 Overhaul - Sold January 25th, 2014 After 1,344,246 Miles & 20 Years of Ownership
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:47 AM
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Location: central Texas
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:53 AM
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Thanks for your replies.

I will try additional parts stores tomorrow when they are open.
Will also purchase some belt dressing.

Not practical to R&R myself so far from home without space, tools jack stands etc. I believe it comes out the fender well.

How will it finally fail or will it simply get embarassingly loud?
1999 Mercedes E300TD daily driver sold at 238K miles 106K miles were mine, rust worm got it :-(
2006 Mercedes CDI new daily driver! 56,000 miles May 2016 now 85,625 Apr 2018 and Apr 2019 101,000 miles Apr 2020 109,875.
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:57 AM
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Location: central Texas
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It most likely will get hot and seize up... possibly messing up the place it is pressed into to where you can not fix it....and may not be useful as a core exchange either.... I guess at some point if you kept going.... the insides would contact things they are near... a really messed up situation... then perhaps the pulley would let go because the shaft was worn in two... and the belt running it ,,,if also running something else important would no longer be tensioned and come off....
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:59 AM
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Location: Mount Holly, NC
Posts: 26,389
failing alt bearings have two outcomes... neither are good.
one, it'll wear into the shaft, and cause alignment problems with the belt as it fails, shredding or throwing the belt resulting in cooling problems and engine failure.
two, it could result in the bearing welding itself to the shaft of the field coil, and seizing altogether, shredding the belt, and resulting in either motor seizure or overheat problems...
John HAUL AWAY, OR CRUSHED CARS!!! HELP ME keep the cars out of the crusher! A/C Thread
"as I ride with my a/c on... I have fond memories of sweaty oily saturdays and spewing R12 into the air. THANKS for all you do!

My drivers:
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5-5SPEED!!!

1987 300TD
1987 300TD
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Old 05-07-2011, 05:01 AM
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Location: Victoria Australia - down under!!
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There must be a member some place near this guy. It definitely needs to be replaced. I would suggest a re-manufactured alt. Replace & forget for another decade.
The only thing you can be sure of is it wont go 4000 mile without a major failure.
Grumpy Old Diesel Owners Club group

I no longer question authority, I annoy authority. More effect, less effort....

1967 230-6 auto parts car. rust bucket.
1980 300D now parts car 800k miles
1984 300D 500k miles
1987 250td 160k miles English import
2001 jeep turbo diesel 130k miles
1998 jeep tdi ~ followed me home. Needs a turbo.
1968 Ford F750 truck. 6-354 diesel conversion.
Other toys ~J.D.,Cat & GM ~ mainly earth moving
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:01 AM
Stretch's Avatar a shield of steel
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I don't know how fast fastlane can ship but may be just may be...|6%3AED|814%3AMBC|1572%40%40E300&catid=240798%40%40Engine+Electrical&subcatid=240866@@Alternator&mode=PD
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!
1961 Volvo PV544 Bare metal rat rod-ish thing

I'm here to chat about cars and to help others - I'm not here "to always be right" like an internet warrior

Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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Old 05-07-2011, 12:14 PM
1985 190d
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: canadian border vermont
Posts: 509
I had one alternator making a hellish racket that was not the bearing going south but the pulley coming loose from the shaft. I was able to fix it by cutting a new keyway in the pulley with a file and tightening it back down. With the belt off this problem is obvious.
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Old 05-07-2011, 12:23 PM
Posts: n/a
Sometimes the best thing to do is to find a dealer or and independent Benz shop and let them fix it for you. Looking for parts and trying to repair cars in hotel parking lots is sometimes more trouble than it's worth. Unless cost is a major consideration, just get it fixed and continue your trip.
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Old 05-07-2011, 02:01 PM
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Location: Cleveland Heights via Seattle, WA
Posts: 326
Two Seattle shop suggestions Ravelli Motors and Strickly Mercedes-Benz Or, if you go over to Bellevue The Mercedes Garage gets great reviews

And two parts supplier suggestions, MBMW Parts and Aurora Auto Wrecking

Morris Ravelli at Ravelli Motors is my indy and I think he's pretty good, he's a quick worker and always reasonably priced.

Good luck!
1984 300D, 228k, Light Ivory, Java MB-Tex
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:56 PM
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Location: Bellevue, WA
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Where in seattle are you? I'm in Kirkland, and have a spare Reman Bosch stock Alternator.

Give me a call at **********
1981 300TD 4 speed manual
Euro bumpers, zender valance and skirts, H&R springs, billy HD's, leveled sls, real AMG Pentas 16x8 et11, vdo boost/egt gauges intergrated into ash tray, eurolights, led 3rd brake light

Last edited by vstech; 05-10-2011 at 09:08 AM. Reason: personal info protection.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:19 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: central Texas
Posts: 17,277
Superman Mike ( needs a wagon ) rides to the rescue..

This brings up a good point... TomW in MI missing wheel lugs posted HIS phone number in his first post asking for emergency help...

That would be the logical thing to do for really fast help....

But Mike was nice enough to post his.... hope the OP checks back soon...

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