The commonly-accepted term is "alternator", but that is technically a Chrysler term since they developed it and copyrighted it. That's nit-picking and when you call it an alternator everyone will know exactly what you mean.
Chrysler had by far the best alternator and charging system design from the early '70s to the late '90s. GM had, in my opinion, the second best design from '72 through 1986 models. They redesigned it for the '87 models and it is now one of the worst designs there is. For the average car owner who can only replace the assembly, that is no different between any car brand, but for those of us who like to repair them by testing and replacing just the defective parts, it is extremely difficult to disassemble, and the main parts can't be tested.
The problem with the design is they produce huge voltage spikes. Those can destroy the internal voltage regulator and the diodes, as well as interfere with computer sensor signals. The battery is the key to controlling those spikes but it loses its ability to dampen them as it ages and lead flakes off the plates. The older the battery gets, the more those spikes will have an affect. Elusive engine running problems can result when those spikes induce voltages into adjacent sensor wires. It is common to hear people have gone through four to six replacement generators in the life of the vehicle. Replacing the battery at the same time reduces that number.
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 AT 10:32 PM