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Hi, I've had an occasional burning smell from the engine compartment that makes it's way into the car when I run the heater with the fresh air setting on. This isn't always, but it's not infrequent enough to not notice. I have a 91 GT for 4 months now, and it's always done this. It's also always hade a kind of whining, howling noise from the engine compartment that escelates as I rev the eninge. Recently, I've debated the possibilites of this being a bad alternator bearing or a bad water pump. Tonight I noticed the battery light being on during my drive home. I suppose it could come from me charing my cell phone in the car all day and not removing it from the charger for 12 hrs, but that seems so small of a draw. The immediate thing I think of is a dying alternator, which makes me wonder if the noise is the bearing and the smell was the bearing as well. Any thoughts? Also, can I easily replace the bearings myself and keep the alternator, or is it similar in price ($80) for the replacement alternator?
 

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I had a similiar problem than yours just before my alternator broke. I was getting weird plastic-like burning smell... 1 week later my alternator was dead.

Good luck
 

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That sounds like it could be the problem. Check the battery first though, and do a charging system check. If your battery is around the four or five year mark, it could be predicting its own death. If the battery is fine and the charging system is still not up to par I'd change the alternator. Do youself a favor, just put a new (or remanufactured) alternator in. Save yourself a lot of time and aggravation. You could always rebuild the old one after and keep it as a spare, or sell it. You also need some, not alot, but some specialized tools to rebuild them. Quick check to see if it's the alt bearing, loosen the serpentine belt and wiggle the pulley on the alt. If you feel excessive play on it, it's toast. You can also check anything else driven by the serpentine belt in this manner as well.

Hope that helps :D

Matt 8)
 

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Unless it's the serpentine belt I don't see how burning plastic smell could be a bad alternator. I can easily diagnose an alternator problem with a voltmeter. If you run the car and the volts are lower than when not running = bad alternator. Volts higher when running and reved high enough = good alternator. Now as for an alternator about to go bad I have never had that phenemonen. However an automotive stethescope might help in your case.

Having said all of this, in my 1984GT I once had a problem where I had this burning plastic smell for a while and my dash light for electrical stuff light up while driving then go off and not come back on like that. When I got to my destination I popped open the hood an noticed nothing wrong, which is odd because cars usually don't fix themselves like that. A few months later I was staring at the wiring to the alternator and noticed that parts of it were burnt up. Appareantly it had shorted to the alternator casing and melted the insulation in such a way as to form a (now hard and brittle) insulating layer around my wiring, and thus worked perfectly fine for months until I noticed it and soldered in a new piece of wire for a perminent fix.

:scratch:
 

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AHHHH! You're car's learning to fix itself! That's weird, I've neverheard of anything like that before.

Anyway, I agree with fixitmattman, do what he said (don't feel like typing too much today, so I'll just briefly agree with those that I do, whatever).
 
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