Proactive maintenance of old cars

  • 1992 ACURA VIGOR
I have a 1992 Acura Vigor with original starter and alternator that work fine.
Should I replace them before I am stranded by an abrupt failure?
Do you
have the same problem?
Sunday, May 29th, 2011 AT 6:23 AM

1 Reply

Nope. Your starter has no history of a high failure rate. The ones that do are the little silver Nippendenso starters that develop worn contacts in the solenoid, but they always are intermittent for months before they fail completely. They are used on Chryslers and Toyotas. They give plenty of warning when they are ready to stop being a solenoid.

Same for your generator. A rebuilt unit is just as likely, (just as unlikely), to develop a shorted diode so there's no advantage in replacing what's been working fine. When one of the six diodes shorts, you will only be able to get one third of the rated output from the generator. That means about 30 - 35 amps which is enough to run head lights, fuel pump, radio, and ignition system. You might have a battery at some point that's too weak to start the engine without a jump start, but you'll also have some warning if you're observant. The heater fan will slow down or the head lights will get dim when you demand more current than it can deliver such as when running power windows, seats, etc. The most common failure is worn brushes. There are two generators listed for your car, a Bosch and a Nippendenso. The brushes are fairly easy to replace on the Nippendenso generator, in fact, that can be done on a lot of Chryslers without even removing the alternator from the engine. Don't know about the history or brush replacement on the Bosch unit.

New or rebuilt parts can fail just as easily as your old tried and true ones, plus, each time you replace something, you put a new variable in the works. You could pinch a wire, snap a bolt, break an electrical terminal, etc. It's nice that you're thinking ahead but I vote to save your money. A '92 model is going to need WAY fewer repairs than the newer models from 2002 on up. It's why I drive an '88 Grand Caravan and let my newer cars sit. 99 percent of my van is original after 226,000 miles.
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Sunday, May 29th, 2011 AT 7:09 AM

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