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Did you know that a (most likely) failing alternator has these symptoms? I didn’t.

Jolene has developed a whine. It increases and decreases with engine speed. There’s also a slight burning smell.

My grandfather and I did some investigating. It’s not a belt as neither the serpentine or A/C belts are slipping. In fact, I just replaced the A/C belt yesterday. However, after a one mile drive, the alternator was scorching hot. Too hot to touch, even. And, the noise seems to be coming from that area - as well as the smell. The smell didn’t develop until the noise did, either.


So, I’ve ordered a new alternator as this one is pretty old. I am 99% sure that’s the issue based on my own research and watching videos of other failing alternators and the various sounds they produce. What’s odd is that the alternator is still charging okay. All of the admittedly few electrical accessories the car has still work fine. But, what I believe has happened is the bearings inside the alternator itself are going out. The noise is from them and the smell is the alternator literally overheating itself to keep spinning.

I’ve parked the car until I get the new alternator on as I don’t want the current one to seize and take the belt along with it.


I’ve attached a video of the sound. Sorry in advance that the video is not the best. It was 14,000 degrees outside and I was already hot and frustrated.

I found a few videos on YouTube that also match the sound Jolene is making.

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