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Alternator Woes Sideline my Lincoln

My ’89 Town Car’s original factory alternator decided to go on strike after 30 years of service (must mention this to FoMoCo’s customer service department!). You’d think getting a replacement would be as easy as placing an order on Rockauto.com, and you’d be right, except you’d also be wrong. For new and rebuilt alternators for the Lincoln no longer come fitted to accept the factory connector. Instead, they must be spliced into the wiring harness, which I feel is unacceptable.

There are those who claim that it’s better to do this because of issues with the factory connector. Our Technical Editor tells me that this is not in fact the case. Thus, I brought my dead alternator to a local rebuilder of such items who informed me that it would be back, fresh, and good as new (factory connector intact) within ten days’ time. Eleven days come and go and I call the rebuilder to request a progress update-My alternator wasn’t done. A few more days pass and I call again to be informed that “it was not economically viable to rebuild the alternator.” I suspect they lost my original core, but that’s pure conjecture on my part. I was promised a new one instead. When the new unit came in it transpired it was another splice-into-harness job. NO DICE, says I!

There’s another wrinkle here in that my Lincoln was occupying space somewhere it had no right to while I awaited the alternator. The car broke down in Baltimore, and my boyfriend pulled some strings at a local museum where he volunteers to let me store it there- very temporarily. Having the car towed to the museum rather than the much greater distance home saved a good chunk of change. As is the way with these things, the alternator had failed in front of Leon’s (a watering hole of great repute with Baltimore’s LGBTQ community) at around midnight. Thus, our options for repair on-site were limited. Regardless of my plight, the museum staff wanted my barge out of their warehouse tout suite, and the rebuilder’s slothful behavior was compounding the problem.

I was discussing the above with a friend, he says “just pull a junkyard alternator, for now, to get it out of there.” Thus spake a NASA engineer, who was I to argue with that logic? Pick n Pull of Edgewood, MD had a suitable donor car. I yanked the alternator in a trice, and save for some surface corrosion it seemed to be in good condition. I installed it in my stricken Lincoln, which lit up as normal and returned to my garage under its own power.

The moral of the story is, things aren’t always as easy as they appear, even when they actually are.

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