[Vwdiesel] 89 Jetta na charging system (fwd)

Val Christian val at mongo.mongobird.com
Tue Jul 26 08:22:35 PDT 2011

You might consider hitting the commutator with some 1800 wet/dry to clean
up the rings.

I have had the symptoms that you mention dozens of times since 1976, and 
on the IDIs, especially the late 80's early 90's IDIs, there are two 
common modalities: brushes and belt slippage.  

After I rebuilt the voltage regulator / brush holder several times, and
the bearings started going on the alternator, I simply got a "lifetime"
alternator from AZ.  Now when the brushes start to go, I just swap out
the brush holder on a refurb alternator.  I used to solder brushes in, 
etc., but it gets harder to find brushes when you need them.  Around here
AZ and other parts places pop out of pavement like crabgrass.


  OK!   I probably should mention that replaced the voltage regulator a 
month ago, so.....the brushes are new and may have developed a seating 
problem as they "ran in" and took the curve of the commutator. And then 
when I started the car this morning they jiggled into a better contacting 
orientation (?) In a way, that satisfies Loren's idea of it being a 
connection problem. The brushes connect to the commutator.

Regardless, your multiple answers compel me to adopt a 
drive-it-till-it-fails attitude. That's what Tad did, and he found out what 
the problem was and fixed it. And I'll carry a jump-start battery to cover 
the failure event.

Or, more optimistically, the red light was only a passing phase of the 
brush-seating process and now I can drive it until something else 
fails......which may be the driver, passing out in this mid-summer heat and 
humidity. No, the AC doesn't work. But the windows still roll down. After I 
sort out this charging system problem, I'll tackle the AC system next. I 
marvel at how well this little jewel from the 80's runs otherwise. Messing 
about in these little diesel engine cars certainly is enjoyable. I am 
seriously considering making this my main ride, when all the sorting is 
accomplished. 40 miles to the gallon is becoming the new target for 2012 
contenders, and it only costs about 15 or 20 thousand to get behind one of 
those wheels.  That would pay for ten cars like mine, if you could find 
them. Keep dieseling, and thanks for the replies.


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