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Alternator Brush Pre-Failure Replacement

Last winter my blower motor ('87 5KQ-175,000 miles) behaved
intermittantly.  It was subsequently replaced by my dealer at relatively
significant cost (appx. $400 as I recall). When it was removed, the
motor was in fine condition, except the carbon brushes were worn to the
point where contact with the armature became intermittent.  No
replacement brushes were available, only complete motor replacement.

This winter I considered other possibilities for similar brush wear
within the car.  As a preventive measure I ordered new alternator
brushes from Blaufernugen (no affiliation) for $40.  When I crawled
underneath to replace them, I discovered the originals worn to near
failure.  The replacment installation was very simple (ignition off,
unbolt air shroud from rear of alternator, two #2 flat-blade screws hold
the brush/regulator assembly). 

This simple fix in my garage saved potential failure on the road,
discharged battery and potential replacement of the alternator by an
ignorant roadside mechanic (BIG bucks!) when brushes alone would have
inexpensively cured the problem.

Due to the durable nature of galvanized-body  Audis, more of us are
keeping them for higher mileages (compared to domestic vehicles).  So,
if your car is getting up in miles, this is a place to look that may not
normally be considered as a "maintenance" item.   


Dale McCormack
'87 5KQ