My alternator died on me (got almost 5 years out of an orielly one), in the middle of nowhere, on Friday night as my daughter and I were on our way to camp for the 100aw rally in Missouri. I haven't driven the car much, especially at night, over the last couple of months and didn't realize the signs leading up to it until after the fact: dash lights getting dimmer and head lights not as bright. My abs light came on, thought that was weird and then my head unit started cycling on and off, and this is where I realized what was going on and shut off power to everything while driving, even headlights, to keep the car running. We were on a remote two lane road with no shoulder. I was able to stay behind a car while I just drove with parking lights, the alt was giving me just enough juice to continue driving, until I found a house with some lights on. Probably drove like this for 15 minutes. Car died as soon as the rpms got too low turning into the driveway.
Not once did the battery light come on, which I find weird. It's not burned out as I first thought since once it comes on with the dash lights and goes out when you start. This was tested when I was able to charge up the battery enough to drive it to oriellys to have them warranty the alt. I think it charged up to 13.2 v and once started, stayed at this voltage. They tested it and the machine stated that the rectifier had failed.
I had the battery replaced just last week due to it not having enough cca to get it started when below 40f, with another interstate battery.
I am reading that "When the engine is started, charging voltage is applied to the "L" terminal of the generator, with the result that the charging warning light is extinguished." Does this mean that it's getting voltage to turn off the light, but not actually produce anything to charge the system?
On a side note, I know you can Saturn alternator these motors which helps due to the fan pulling cooler air, but can you external rectify the stock alternator? I know you can buy an external retifier that piggy backs off the alt's rectifier, but I was wondering if you could just isolated the whole thing to a different area without the heat. BTW, I have a 2g manifold with all the stock heat shields in place.