Let's face it: Cars have become reliant on computers, sensors, and all kinds of electronic devices. Even the simplest Chevy out there has been upgraded in some way, from a simple HEI distributer to an electric fuel pump. While these upgrades typically make the car better, they tax the factory power supply—aka the alternator.
We looked to Summit Racing for one of the company's 140-amp alternators that will provide plenty of juice. This alternator is an internally regulated, one-wire design that will still bolt right to the factory brackets and is something very simple to wire in. The new unit is in an updated case compared to the stock unit, and with the new case come some great improvements like a larger rectifier to handle higher amperage, a wider stator and rotor, and larger cooling holes at the back for better cooling of the rectifier, stator, and other internal components.
High-output alternators have been available in the aftermarket for a while now, so the prices have come down considerably. We have a car in the shop that will be receiving a slew of upgrades in the future, including electric fans and a decent audio system, and the first thing we want to do is put an alternator in place that can feed these power-hungry upgrades. We have even created a small chart to show you some of the more common components and what kind of power they take to function. Using the chart you can start to see why higher-amp alternators are out there.
|Typical Amp Loads When Being Used|
|Dash gauges||2-4 amps|
|Radio, CD players||3-7 amps|
|Headlights||3-10 amps each|
|Turn signals||4-8 amps|
|HEI ignition||6-10 amps|
|Windshield wipers||6-20 amps|
|Electric fans (each)||6-30 amps|
|CDI ignition||6-40 amps|
|Electric fuel pumps||7-15 amps|
|Headlights (high-beam)||10-22 amps each|
|Air conditioner||10-25 amps|
|Electric seat||20 amps|
|Electric windows||20-30 amps|
|Audio amplifiers||20-300+ amps|