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I don't believe I have ever encountered this anywhere, but last weekend, I was doing my best "shade tree mechanic" impersonation and noticed that my ratchet, with extension and socket attached, had suddenly (and took quite a bit of strength to disengage) attached itself to the pulley of the alternator.

Is that normal? Am I missing a grounding wire somewhere? I just don't remember alternators having magnetic pulleys, but it has been a really long time since I had to tinker on an older car, so I forget some of the finer key points of the odd things to look for - such as left hand threaded studs on the drivers side, etc.
 

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Since the shaft on which the pulley is mounted sits in a strong magnetic field, it is most assuredly magnetized. . To hold a socket that strongly might be due to the shaft sitting directly under one of the field magnets. Remember the science class where you wrapped a wire around a steel shaft, and it became magnetic?
 

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Since the shaft on which the pulley is mounted sits in a strong magnetic field, it is most assuredly magnetized. . To hold a socket that strongly might be due to the shaft sitting directly under one of the field magnets. Remember the science class where you wrapped a wire around a steel shaft, and it became magnetic?
Sure. In fact, we even built a big enough version with a hand crank to power a small light bulb.

I just don't remember this occuring when I was putting the alternator back on my Neon or Caravan, or even the Forenza. Maybe newer alternators sheild the pulley better then older ones. It just startled me when it practically yanked the tool out of my hand. It almost pinched my finger. Then I almost had to wrestle with it to get it loose. That thing must have one heckuva magnet to do that when the motor was not even turning at the time.
 
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