[flickr id=”6796206814″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”large” group=”” align=”left”] Recently I had the misfortunate to wear out my alternator. It started under-charging, and my battery would slowly discharge over the course of a week. It was time for a replacement. This would normally be a routine task, if it weren’t for a massive potentially £200 gotcha that seems to befall a few of us.
The Series 3 originally comes with a 28Amp Lucas 16ACR alternator, and this is mostly superceded by the 17ACR – a drop-in 35A replacement that everybody seems to use. Well, it’s mostly drop in…
[flickr id=”6796205110″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”]I found out the hard way, when the new alternator chewed through a fan belt in under 20 miles. Further inspection showed that the alternator pulley was about 6mm further forward than on the previous alternator. Much searching on Google revealed that in the cases of those with engine numbers starting 901, 904, 361 or 364, with suffix A or B, a bracket is required. Specifically part ETC4357 or 574855. Everywhere you search for this part will offer it for the best part of £200. If you’re unsure what your engine number is, look on the left hand side of the block, just behind the face that the water pump mounts on, and just below the first exhaust port. Scrub it clean, wedge your head into the engine bay, and get the number. A list of prefix and types can be found at http://www.glencoyne.co.uk/engno.htm if you’re also interested.
[flickr id=”6942321385″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”large” group=”” align=”left”] Unsure about where to go from here, at 9.30pm I got in touch with Dom at LR Series, who replied within 15 minutes. Talk about customer service! He advised that a second hand part is available at a much lower cost if you order it on their website and let them quote for the part. Suffice to say, not only was the part much *much* cheaper, it was also express couriered up and will be at home in less than 24 hours. This, your honour, is the solution to the bracket-for-slightly-less-common-engines problem, and how you make loyal customers 🙂