You are currently viewing our forum as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our community, at no cost, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is free, fast and simple, so please join our community today!
The motor in my '03 MCS stalled while I was idling at a stop light. Prior to this all electrical items (radio, power steering, etc...) were working fine. When I turned the ignition key to the START position all dash lights went out. When I released the key so that it returned to the ON position, all of the dash lights came back on. I tried starting it again after pushing the car off to the side of the road and was able to get it going once for about 1 minute before it stalled again. While it was running, there was a grinding noise coming from the front-right under the bonnet. Suspecting that the alternator had gone bad, I had it towed to my local Mini dealer. They confirmed my diagnosis and provided the following estimate for repairs:
Compact Alternator (BM12-31-7-515-030) $ 810.13
Ribbed V-Belt (BM11-28-7-520-199) $ 58.36
Labor $ 418.00
Total (with state sales tax) $1,364.69
After picking myself up off the floor, I thought I'd ask my fellow Mini owners if this sounds at all reasonable for replacing an alternator. A few years ago I had the alternator in my Land Cruiser replaced at Pep Boys for around $200 (parts & labor). What gives...?
Yeah, they're over $100 pricier for their alternator than at least the 2 dealers I have quotes from. ($710 was the highest)
You can get a reman for what, maybe $300, but I bet the dealer wouldn't install it.
You can also google an alternator repair shop locally that will rebuild for a LOT cheaper than the other 2 routes, if it can be repaired. Do not let the dealer tell you it cannot be reman'd, because it can.
The S uses a Denso alternator, and you need to make sure you do not get the Valeo, which is cheaper. I don't know the difference between the two, but there must be one.
You can DIY it, but make sure you have some skills.
I had my alternator die on me last winter. It absolutely SUCKS. I was still in college so money was tight. I researched for the best remanufactured alternator I can get. They sent me the first one where the housing was installed wrong. They sent me a second one that died in a day. They sent a third one that failed in a week. I got sick of it so I just took it to the dealership. I had them diagnose it first to make sure everything was OK and it is just the alternator and nothing else. To do so, they took out the old alternator and popped a new on in there. They called me and told me it's the alternator and they wanted $1400. I picked up my jaw from the ground and said "$%&#" then I told them I was in school, I'm broke and I can't afford it. Just throw the remanufactured one back in and I'll deal with the remanufactured alternator vendor. As my friend is driving me to the dealership to pick it up, they called back and said, listen the new alternator is already in the car, we are going to charge a $200+ fee for diagnosing anyways, why don't we just do this for $1000, I thought about it, and forked over my lunch money. They were able to get a new alternator in there for $1000 (parts and labor) and it's now warrantied. That is just for alternator and part, no belt. Call a couple different dealers and see if they can get it in for cheaper. But the car worked fine every since then, and I have peace and mind. A broken alternator sucks, because sometimes you won't know it until it too late. The car will keep running off the battery and you won't notice anything different. Then all of a sudden it seems like your car is haunted; headlights stay on, gauges start to flicker, wipers turn on themselves. $1000 for an exorcism, parts and labor, and peace of mind is totally worth it.