Tsunami Rebuild Fund
My minor adventure over the weekend was having an alternator failure. This is a 2009 Toyota and I've had other Toyota's that ran over 200,000 miles on the originals so this was unexpected. Driving north just out of Fort Worth I saw the charge light flick on and off a couple times. I could have missed it earlier. Choosing to press on and keep an eye on it, it soon was steady on and by the outskirts of Denton other lights were showing up, gauges starting to flicker and finally it was losing power so the battery was used up too.
I'll shortcut the details of towing, police help, finding onward passage for two passengers and their luggage etc. The towing company driver very kindly put it on his cables for fifteen or twenty minutes to charge the battery so I figured I'd have a little bit of go left on Monday to get to some service without additional tow fees. There was a place a block away that could service it first thing and they checked battery (good), alternator (weak) and called around for a re-manufactured alternator. The last Delco I'd bought was maybe $80 a few years ago, so I figured this might be $200 given inflation and the furrin' component. No one but the Toyota dealer had one in stock so that was my only choice for $759 plus installation. And that wasn't even the gold plated model. The Japanese don't even believe in Vaseline?
So what's at play here? Is the Toyota alternator really almost 10 times better than a Delco? Am I making a large contribution to rebuilding Japan or what? For that price I would think it would attract third party aftermarket players like vultures.
"In theory there’s no difference between theory and practice. In practice there’s a lot of difference.” Yogi Berra