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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Dear all:
I will go to court tomorrow to sue a mechanic and need technical support from you!
I couldn't start my 95 Ford Probe GT in May 20th. When I turned the key, there was whirring sound. But after several hours and several tries, it started again. The battery was good and jump-cable didn't help. To make sure everything is ok, I brought to a new mechanic to check the car in May23rd, since my own mechanic was very busy that week.
I was told that the alternator was bad. After I paid $413, I picked my car. But after several weeks, the problem appeared again. The car couldn't start but after several hours, it started again.
My own mechanic told me that if the battery is fully charged, if I throw out the alternator, I can still start the car every time.
Obviously, the starting problem has nothing to do with the alternator.
Since that mechanic refused to refund me money, I sued him.
$413 is a lot of money to a student like me.
If possible, could you give me more technical support regardint to this?
zhipeng Yan

TSF Team Emeritus
5,580 Posts
it is true that as long as the battery is fully charged, that the alternator can do nothing to cause those symptoms.

i would suggest you get the book for your car, and highlight the troubleshooting section where it discusses your car not starting.

in there, it should mention that whirring sound you mention, and without looking at it, i can tell you that it'll say it's a bad starter.

the book may also tell you to make sure your battery is fully charged, before deciding it's the starter.

it's obvious that the gear on the starter, is not sliding all the way into place like it's supposed to be, and it's missing the teeth on the flywheel. causing the starter motor to spin at full speed, but not engage to the engine to turn it over.

the reason it's working after a few tries, tells me that it's only 90% dead.

make sure and bring along with you to court, a photocopy of the page in the book that explains what the alternator does, and what the starter does.

you will need to make the judge understand that the alternator only charges the battery and that if the battery is full, then starting problems cannot be related to the alternator.

as far as the alternator, it is possible that the mechanic that changed it had detected a poor output coming off of it, and decided it needed replaced.

however, this mechanic isn't worth a pile of dog poo if he thought the alternator was why your car wasn't starting.

it's a common misconception that the alternator does a bunch of important stuff. it doesn't. all it does is charge the battery. like your new mechanic has told you, you could cut the alternator belt, and still start the car if the battery is full.

tom martino has a radio show, and a web page at what he does is to sort of "bully" someone into owning up to what they've done. he does this because everyone knows who he is, and what he does, and he won't relent, and he knows what he's doing, and it sorta scares people into doing right.

if you have time, you might try to talk to mr. martino.

it may help tons if you've already had your "good" mechanic replace the starter, as that will help prove that it wasn't the alternator.

by chance, did you happen to get the old alternator back when the other mechanic replaced it?

if you could possibly take the old alternator to a reputable store, like schucks/checker/knechts they can test it for you.

since court is tomorrow, you are cutting it very very close.

you should find a way to take one or two mechanics with you as witnesses to the fact that all the alternator does is charge the battery.

this statement right here will sum it up, but you need to make the judge see it clearly. all the alternator does is charge the battery. the car, while connected to a battery charger, and with a full battery besides, still would not start. therefore, taking the alternator completely out of the equation, the problem still persists. so, it cannot be the alternator causing the problem.

if you've changed the starter, and now it works, it will help prove this all.
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