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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought that subject name might catch some attention. I previously owned a 1983 Datsun 280Zx NA that I had spent many months restoring from ground up. The most wonderful car I had ever had(it was quite more than a car) and also the most reliable......... until the alternator failed. The first replacement I purchased was defective, along with the second. The second alternator caused the voltage needle to go off the scale. The third alternator seemed to work fine for a few months. Then one night the fuel pump began screaming, everything went berzerk, the lady started talking to me and the horn started beeping and wouldn't quite. I immediately pulled over and smoke began pouring through the heater vents. She burst into flame as I ran to the nearest house and was gone by the time the fire department got there. I have talked to another Z owner who had similar symptoms with a replacement alternator but replaced it before any damage was done. If anyone else has a similar story I would like to know about it, and where the alternator was purchased from. All of my alternators came from Auto Zone, with whom I no longer deal with because of recieving defective products regularly. If anyone else has a similar story, please let me know. Thanks!!!
 

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Sorry to hear about your loss.

That is exactly what the Fusible Links and Fuses are supposed to prevent. If they are not kept in good condition you are asking for a Z-B-Que.

Also, there is a terminal labeled "E" on our alternators. It is supposed to have a wire connected to it going directly to ground. I have seen many vehicles where this wire is missing or not connected. Yes, the alternator should have a ground through the mounting brackets to the block but enough grease, oil and dirt will result in a bad ground.

If the fire started inside the alternator then I would blame the alternator.

If the fire was in the wiring I would blame the installation.

Wayne Monteath
 

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Hi trilofon--------------You're not the first person to have trouble with aftermarket alternators, particularly on the ZX models. Even properly installed and grounded, they often fail after just a short time in service. And getting the "lifetime" guarantee doesn't help much if your ride is on fire. FWIW

Roadman
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wayne - Re: Burning Z's

I was as careful with alternator installation as I was with all the other parts of the car. The alternator was properly grounded, and the fusible links were all new, and to factory specs. All of the alternators I recieved were defective, and in the long run, they were defective regardless of installation. The origin of the fire couldn't be pinpointed, although it was a hot one. The valve cover melted and the alternator was just a nasty metal case. Whether or not other people's cars have burned up is not so important to me(and it's a really depressing matter), but whether defective alternators are a common problem and from which suppliers. More like a little consumer reports is what I'd like to do, Z owners need to know these things.
 
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