Text and Photography C. Asaravala.
Illustrations by Jon Mikelonis.
If there is one component
under the hood of a car that is generally ignored, it
is the alternator. Let's face it, if you crank the key
and the car starts, the charging system is presumed okay.
Or is it? Back in the 60's cars had just a handful of
circuits; igniton, lighting, radio, etc. Ford equipped
these early cars with meager 40-50 amp alternators. Today's
vehicles have thousands of circuits. In fact the entire
engine control system is based on the precision of electrical
components such as solenoids and actuators. The 12 volt
systems are taxed to the limit, and the 65-75 amperage
factory alternators just barely put out the current necessary
to feed all the power hungry electrical components throughout
the car. Add in modifications such as an electric fan
and fuel-pump, under-drive pulleys, and even high output
stereos, and the factory alternator becomes a major under
achiever. Electric fuel pump output can suffer, nitrous
and fuel solenoids may not open completely or as quickly,
and high-output ignitions work at less than optimum levels.
The solution is obvious - upgrade to a higher output alternator.
Up until now this meant cobbling together brackets and
wiring for a GM or even import
high-output alternator. However PA-Performance has made
such upgrades a simple procedure by offering 95, 130,
and 200 amp. output alternator kits for just about any
Ford vehicle you can think of. A stock 2G (second generation)
65 or 75 amp alternator will typically produce 20 amps
at idle, and full output is not produced until 4000+ rpms.
The third-generation alternators were designed to produce
full output at lower rpms. PA Performance tested their
130 amp 3G alternators and measured a whopping 80 amps
at idle, and up to 150 amps at only 3000 rpm. This means
even a short trip down the track will sufficiently charge
PA Performance 3G Alternator (130 Amp Internals)
Rated by Ford at 130 amps, the 3G alternator produced
greater amperage at all RPM's compared to a stock alternator.
PA Performance's 3G alternator has excellent aesthetic
appeal, but it's the quality of the 100% new internal
components and better than OE tolerances that makes it
outperform the remanufactuerd parts store units.