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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As we were driving to a test drive, my 03's alternator suddenly stranded us 20 minutes away from home. It was towed to a nearby garage.
I could put the $600 that the garage wants for new battery & alt. But i noticed that most of the 200,000+ vans are owned by folks that can do it themselves for $300.
Obvious choices for a van with 17 NY winters- our regular mechanic told us about the undercarriage rust to start considering replacing it.
1. Fix it, drive it again while shopping for new vehicle {So pay the garage - or - pay a friend (but I have to get it off the garage's property first)}
2. Fix it, offer for sale here where the owner could drive it or salvage it for their 03 (seems like they are alive & kicking)
3. call a junk yard to come get it
am i missing an option?


Am I being too 'practical'/sentimental to not want it crushed at a junkyard? I think that is what they did to our Accord.
I'll miss its spaciousness and comfortable ride - can't afford late model roomy vehicles as good as this 03.
My prior posts detail the problems (I never did tell the TCS story getting stuck on the road up to a ski mountain, or our adventures with our babies, or show pictures of travels where i made sure my van was in the background, a little shy, i guess)

The positives that seem "worth" it are:
I just had it inspected last week and
It has a brand new muffler & tail pipe (last year's resonator failed, so the whole thing was under warrantee),
A/C works great in these 90+ degree days
My tires have only a few thousand miles,
We've kept the leather seats in good condition, heated driver and passenger, captain's chairs 2nd row
Is there a need for DVD players? Or are they too much work to uninstall/re-use?
It has a CD player, folks! how rare is that nowadays?

I did search and did not see many people offer their cars here as salvage. I guess being in NY is a disadvantage. Craig's list? What have you been doing with your 03s?

Thanks for your thoughts in advance.
 

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I would fix it. It isn't a blown engine or transmission. If the alternator is the original, you should get it rebuilt and not put in a crap aftermarket unit. See if the garage can have it rebuilt.

Or you can go with the aftermarket crap just to get back on the road and see if it lasts longer than the amount of time you keep the van.

Or go aftermarket at the garage, but keep the old alternator (if original) and pay the core charge. Get it rebuilt and replace the replacement at your leisure in the next couple of months.

or tow the van to your house and have your friend do the removal, rebuild and replace. I would have a alternator shop do the rebuild, but some folks do that as well. You could even put a new battery in the van and drive it to your house rather than towing it, as it sounds close enough to do that without risking the battery. Or take it to your regular mechanic if he will rebuild the alternator.
 

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The alternator going out shouldn't leave you suddenly stranded as the vehicle can run off the battery for some time. In any case, alternator replacement is a very simple thing to do. Actually, if you can get your vehicle battery charged back up right away, there is a good chance that it is just fine. I drive an '03 here in MN (whole life) that has 231K miles on it. Runs great and we will drive it in the ground. We do have other vehicles and it is now a kids car, but it runs and drives great and as long as things break that are simple to fix, we will continue to do so.
 

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I think option 1 may be best for you. Since you have an 03, it's less prone to transmission issues, so once you get the alternator replaced (make sure not to get one of those cheap aftermarket alternators, they won't last), it'll probably last a while, at the very least long enough for you to find something else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would fix it. It isn't a blown engine or transmission. If the alternator is the original, you should get it rebuilt and not put in a crap aftermarket unit. See if the garage can have it rebuilt.

Or you can go with the aftermarket crap just to get back on the road and see if it lasts longer than the amount of time you keep the van.

Or go aftermarket at the garage, but keep the old alternator (if original) and pay the core charge. Get it rebuilt and replace the replacement at your leisure in the next couple of months.

or tow the van to your house and have your friend do the removal, rebuild and replace. I would have a alternator shop do the rebuild, but some folks do that as well. You could even put a new battery in the van and drive it to your house rather than towing it, as it sounds close enough to do that without risking the battery. Or take it to your regular mechanic if he will rebuild the alternator.
THANKS! I appreciate you guys!
Great idea about the rebuild - had not thought of it. I had seen a $109 remanufactured Alt. at Autozone w/$40 core charge... But I like the idea of a rebuild kit for less than $50.
On a scale of 1 - 10 if you're* handy (me) how difficult is a DIY rebuild? (I've done a few diy -thank God for YouTube!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The alternator going out shouldn't leave you suddenly stranded as the vehicle can run off the battery for some time. In any case, alternator replacement is a very simple thing to do. Actually, if you can get your vehicle battery charged back up right away, there is a good chance that it is just fine.
I really appreciate you guys!
I think our battery is older - couldn't make out the date on the label. We had made it 13 miles from the house when the dashboard gadgets went berzerk & then blank. The van is now 17 miles away, so can't look at the alternator til i get there (out of cell tower reliabiity range).
My mechanic's garage is 14 miles from current location. Might it be too far to drive there on just battery?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think option 1 may be best for you. Since you have an 03, it's less prone to transmission issues, so once you get the alternator replaced (make sure not to get one of those cheap aftermarket alternators, they won't last), it'll probably last a while, at the very least long enough for you to find something else.
Thanks! I really appreciate you guys!
When I returned to pick up the van, my battery wouldn't hold a charge at all. The service mgr told me he warrantees the parts & labor for a year. He kindly (tho' he let me know it's "not how business is done") lowered the price $50 (which was what my regular mechanic told me over the phone he could do, tho' I trust him more). As it was complicated getting a mechanic out there, circumstances dictated just go with it. Since I don't want to complicate others' lives, it was a pricey, but less complicated fix.
 

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Thanks! I really appreciate you guys!
When I returned to pick up the van, my battery wouldn't hold a charge at all. The service mgr told me he warrantees the parts & labor for a year. He kindly (tho' he let me know it's "not how business is done") lowered the price $50 (which was what my regular mechanic told me over the phone he could do, tho' I trust him more). As it was complicated getting a mechanic out there, circumstances dictated just go with it. Since I don't want to complicate others' lives, it was a pricey, but less complicated fix.
Yeah. Once you make sure the battery is good and the alternator is a good one (the Denso remanufactured ones seem to be the best if not the only option), you should be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
One of the reasons I chose a quicker, but my less-preferred route, was bc we just had a sad death in my extended family after my original post. I learned more about options from you. I really value the insight and experience on this forum. Now, I'm heading out to pick up my van. Thanks again🌼
 
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