The Two Brushes

“Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.” (1 Chronicles 16:8)

Recently I sent out a prayer request saying that my car (for one) had gone down. It turns out that one of my brushes on the alternator was worn down, and so the alternator could not deliver the charge to the battery like it was supposed to. The end result, of course, was that the car could no longer operate without any electricity to supply the voltage needed to create the sparks on the spark plugs (hence, it ‘died’ for while).

However, my friend Bill is a trusty sort of guy. Having worked at GE for many years specifically with motors, he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, with confidence. “Here, let’s take a look at it,” he said. Soon, he had his meter on the battery, and sure enough, “it looks like the alternator, or, it could be the regulator,” Bill said. I suspected myself that it was indeed the brushes, for we both noticed that when I ‘revved’ up the engine a little bit, lo and behold, the voltmeter would *sometimes* jump up, indicating that a momentary “good” connection had been made with the alternator.

Now here is where the grace of God comes in, for the previous week I had spent $300 dollars Canadian on repairs on the same vehicle, and I was in no “mood” to spend any more. In fact, my heart sank at the thought of it. Thus it was, that on one of those mornings that I woke up, I appealed to the Lord, right from the bottom of my heart, “Have mercy on me, Lord!” Well, I would like to testify as to exactly what the Lord did!

I called up Ford Motor Company and asked them how much new brushes were for the alternator. I had previously installed new brushes on the starter of the same car a year or more before that, and felt comfortable that I could do it on the alternator, as well. Well, the man on the other end of the line “accidentally” looked up the wrong part number. He said to me, “Oh, they’re cheap. They’re only five dollars (and some cents).”

In fact, that dealership did not have them in stock, so I was forced to go to another Ford dealership in town. When I got to the parts department, I spoke with a man there and said, “Well, I’ve come to pick up alternator brushes.” “Did he tell you the price?” the man said to me. “Yes, about five dollars and some change” I responded.

The man said to me, “Who said to you that?”

I explained that I had phoned another dealership. He then picked up the phone and called the man at that other dealership, complaining to him that he had “accidentally” given me the wrong part number. The “right” part was one that cost $123.11 including tax! Woah!

I asked if I could see them both. “This one is the older version,” the man said to me concerning the cheaper one. “Your car takes the newer version — the one with the regulator attached to it.”

But oddly enough, I noticed that the “older” version and the “newer” version used the exact same brushes! I said to the man, “How much is this (older) version rated for? He said, “80 amps. The newer version is rated for 95 amps.”

Well, that got me a little scared, thinking that if I tried to retrofit the older version into my present alternator, that it might overload the wires.

However, the wires looked pretty much the same to me …

Still, I bought the newer version, not the older one. I paid full price.

But when I got home, I did not have peace.

It was as though the Lord was saying to me, “I showed you the older version for a reason. That was no ‘mistake’!”

I called back the man and said to him, “Can I bring this back?” even though the bill clearly said, “No refunds on electrical parts.”

He said, “Yes, as long as it is not installed.” Praise the Lord for his graciousness, for again we see the Lord making provision to help me out, when in fact the receipt said, “no refunds.” Cheerfully, I was able to make the switch and get the cheaper part – the ‘old’ version. The man did not even have to get the part. Even though it was 24 hours later, it was sitting right next to him because he had not re-shelved it yet.

Then, came the job of installing it. On one particular day, I spent about 2 full hours trying to loosen a single bolt. It wouldn’t loosen!

The next day, an odd thing happened. At around 4:15 p.m. I suddenly felt like I had to “go home and fix the alternator, right now!” Wow! I didn’t want to leave work all of a sudden, but I felt “impelled” to. So, I got up and went! In about 10 or 15 minutes, I was home. By the way, I was running on the remaining amount of electricity that was in my battery after it had been recharged. But it was now almost empty.

When I got home, I started to “undo” all of the various connections again, and then came to that one difficult bolt that wouldn’t budge. I oiled it and spent a few minutes getting things prepared. Just then, a man who drives my son and daughter home from school pulled into the driveway.

“Ah…. this is it!” I felt in my spirit! This is why the Lord wanted me to come home at this very time! To meet him! Now this man has worked on cars before … many times, and was no stranger to ‘stuck bolts’. Plus, it seemed like he enjoyed the challenge. In about 30 minutes, the bolt was off! Praise the Lord!

Sure enough, the “old style brushes” ended up working in this alternator … as the Lord seemed to be pointing out when the man in the parts department originally gave me the wrong part number. It was just a matter of listening to the Lord, and making a few small changes here and there as I was installing them (using a drill to ‘refit’ the part in a very minor way).

Praise the Lord, he helps his people!