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Old 07-24-2005, 19:01   #1 (permalink)
Backyard Mechanic
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TIP: Easy Alternator refurbish

If your mid-90's Ford has run up it's mileage to about 100 - 150 kmiles
or so, you might want to undertake a quick Saturday project that will
probably save you big bucks -and inconvenience- in the near future.

(MAny 20 year old and newer alternators are built similar to this)

Check out the back of the alternator to see if the voltage regulator (at
the connector with the smaller wires) is held on by small torx screws.

If so, refurbishing which COULD be better than "rebuilding" - for a guy
who is at all handy should be piece of cake.

Tools:
- 3/8 or 1/2 inch breaker bar or whatever you use to release belt
tensioner,
- approp metric or sae tools for automotive access service.
- 1/4 inch driver and small sockets plus small standard torx bits
- standard size paperclip

Parts:
- brush replacement set for your year, model and engine
- new belt, optional
- a dab of high temp bearing grease

Release tension and remove the belt, then listen carefully while you spin
the pulley and check for free-spin and listen for bearing singing -you
want to hear a little but no grinding or roiugh sounds- then wiggle the
pulley back and forth, no sloppiness wanted.

If it fails these, put the belt back on.

Pull the connectors - they may be a little stiff- and unbolt the
alternator.

With tape or marker, run a reassembly line from back housing to front
housing

Remove the three housing bolts, tap the edges of the front (pulley-side)
to loosen from stator (center section) and pull out by the pulley.

The stator and back housing are connected, dont attempt to separate.

Check commutator (brass rings) for galling and copper incursion into
separator between them... if brush had gone and either is grooved
continue on, the new brushes will just not last as long. Use fine
sandpaper to smooth it if ring surface is rough.. DO NOT attempt to sand
more than to get the high points off.

Check back bearing for some grease and for no "wash-board" on shaft
bearing surface.
This is a break-point: if the bearing/surface or commutator (and SOME
brushes left) is in bad shape, you may want to just reassemble and plan
to replace alt.

Remove the torx screws AT THE CORNERS of the regulator and remove it from
back housing.

Remove the two torx screws that fasten the brush terminals to the
regulator body. make sure not to lose the nuts.

blow or brush dust from brush holders/reg and insert the new springs and
brushes, note that the wire slot aligns brush terminal with proper
location,
do rear brush first, sliding straightened clip in to hold it in, then
front brush, sliding clip further in to hold both brushes in

fasten terminals with nuts and torx screws tighten just secure, not
"hard".

using just enough grease to "skin" the bearing rollers, lube the shaft
bearing surface... if you're anal and are going to blow dust out of the
rear housing, plug the bearing cavity tightly with paper towel.

remove towel from bearing, reinstall regulator, then carefully slide alt
back together following the marked alignment.

Make sure stator and each housing mate squarely.

Install the three housing bolts and tighten alternately until very
secure. not ultra tight.

Check for free-spin

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - -

Note this is a good alternative to buying a rebuilt as well... get a
spare from a salvage yard and inspect it on the spot. If the alternator
has not overheated or been zapped, there is every reaon to expect the
regulator and diodes to last until the bearings go.

In fact, you dont know that the "rebuilt" hadnt been done exactly like
this, just cleaned up more.
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