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Backyard Mechanics

June 11, 2007

Last week, I noticed my wife’s Audi A4 making a lot of mechanical noise while idling.   Raising the hood and listening closely, I concluded it was likely worn out roller bearings in either the alternator or the pulley on the serpentine belt tensioner.   The next day, she left for work and was back in 10 minutes, with the complaint that the battery warning light was now on.   One dead alternator, check.

Having changed out many alternators in my time, I figured this one couldn’t take more than an hour.  After all, it was in plain sight near the top of the engine compartment.  There are two bolts that hold it in, and the first one came out easily enough.  The second one backed out and then stopped, trapped by the fan clutch.  Certainly those clever Germans would have anticipated this and molded a relief into the fan, but no.  I broke down and consulted the service manual for the prescribed proceedure.

Basically, you needed to take the front of the car off, pull the radiator forward, remove the fan and pulley, and can then get this last bolt out.  With my garage lifts in storage,  my shop still in the planning stages, and Jim’s garage  on a roadtrip, I had to improvise.

Somehow, I needed to arrange to be able to work both above and below the car.  Inspiration struck, and I loaded the car backward on my rollback truck, and left the nose suspended in air.  I extended the wheel lift out a foot or so,  to create a work platform to stand on so I could easily work in the engine compartment.

 Fan removed, new alternator resting in place.

All done and back together, the car started up and charged properly – that problem successfully resolved.   There’s always a fly in the ointment so to speak – I now have a faulty throttle position sensor code being set by the computer – something I didn’t even touch.  I’m not big on coincidences, although they do happen.  So, a little research is in order today. 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2007 1:24 pm

    I can just hear Leslie now, “All this for a fuckin’ alternator?”

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