The problematic alternator on the SD1 finally burned out–but I found a rebuilt Range Rover alternator from the late 1980s on eBay for $80 and figured “what the heck.” It fits just fine, and while there is an extra connector on the back (I think for a tach on the RR) it seems to work fine. Sure beats $300 to have the original Motorola rebuilt. Of course, whenever you do a job like this, you run into the previous owner’s bodges…
In this case, the biggest problem is the (now) shiny new bolt you can see just above the coolant hose and below the fan belt. That holds the business end of the belt tension adjusting bracket, and the old one was completely stripped (the belt could not be tensioned and was on by force of habit, I think). As usual, a “simple half hour job” turns into a two hour slog. In the end I was victorious–thankfully there was enough room to painstakingly turn a tap.
The alternator puts out a steady 14.25 volts at the battery now, no matter what the load. Alas, the telltale on the dashboard still glows faintly. There is probably a loose ground (or other source of resistance) in that circuit–but I’m not anxious to spend hours checking electrical connections to try and figure out what the issue is. As long as it’s charging, I can live with the light.
The car has otherwise been pretty reliable. The demisting is pretty bad, mainly because the window vents in the doors are either disconnected or have collapsed–and the rear window defroster only has three live strands, which makes it less than handy.
I’ve put about 2,000 miles on the car since I bought it and it’s returning a consistent 21 MPG, not bad for a V8 sedan.
I’m not convinced I’ll own this car for a really long time, but it certainly is filling its mission of “interesting car for the winter.” I even got caught in a snow storm and made it home–not bad for a rear-wheel-drive car on summer tires.