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Old 11-29-2015, 12:43 AM   #1
db97
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Member#: 7140
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: louisville, ky, usa
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2009 WRX
satin white pearl

Default 2009 WRX alternator caught fire tonight...

did a quick search on the forums and didn't see anything about this. has anyone had this happen to their WRX (2009)?

i took the car to the dealer for an oil change 2 weeks ago, and while it was there, the service guy tells me the alternator belt is cracked, and they would like to replace it for $79. i tell them sure, why not. well, tonight...as i was leaving my parents' home, i heard a strange mechanical whooshing sound from my engine. the CEL came on, and then i started to smell something burning under the hood. mind you i hadn't gone but more than a hundred feet or so down the street. i proceeded to shut off the engine, but to my amazement, it sounded like the alternator was still running? i then restarted the engine, and that loud sound went away...but the burning smell became more pronounced. i then drove the car back into the driveway, and parked it. not but a few minutes later, white acrid smoke began pouring out of my hood scoop. i opened the hood, and to my shock, the alternator was glowing red with a small flame emanating from the plastic housing. i ran and got some fire extinguishers to put it out. i emptied a small extinguisher, and then half of another to put out the fire. the car was then towed to my dealer where they will be examining the car monday morning. has anyone ever had such a thing happen to them? my car is bone stock. this situation could've been a lot worse had i gotten onto the highway (i.e. no extinguisher).
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Old 11-29-2015, 12:55 AM   #2
Blktrax
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Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Havelock, NC
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Original Motor and Turbo

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Old 11-29-2015, 11:55 PM   #3
blkstar15
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Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: SF Bay
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2013 WRX Hatch Prem
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^why would you post that? Anyways, they may blame it on a crap alternator and stick you with the bill. I would ask the dealer who performed the belt change if they tested the alternator, and if no then why not? At least get them to pay for labor! Good luck!!!

Last edited by blkstar15; 11-29-2015 at 11:56 PM. Reason: edit
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Old 11-30-2015, 12:51 PM   #4
silvercookie
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Join Date: May 2008
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Queens, NY, 11385
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PSM

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That definitely sounds like something touching and shorting out in one way or another.
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Old 12-01-2015, 09:31 PM   #5
db97
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Location: louisville, ky, usa
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2009 WRX
satin white pearl

Default actually...it wasn't the alternator that was on fire...

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

here's a pic of the part...it's to the right of the alternator...i mistook it for the actual alternator. it was glowing red and on fire. you can see the singe marks (black marks).

question to the mechanic folks...what exactly is this part? either way, parts of the engine just don't catch fire like that. this kinda of looks like a distributor cap, but modern cars don't use distributor caps anymore...i think.
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Old 12-01-2015, 11:08 PM   #6
Spinnich
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Location: Schuylkill County, PA
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WR Blue

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Correct, you don't have a distributor cap. Your link doesn't seem to be working but the only thing that I can guess you mean is the A/C Compressor, it's about the same size as the alternator and hooked up to front belts.
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