Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fixing a Charging System Issue on a 1999 Ford Taurus, Part Deux

The next step was the plastic power steering pulley that had been cracked and broken. Again, there is precious little space and I had to remove the coolant hoses from the overflow tank just to get the pulley removal tool on the pulley. This part is much better experienced than told, but after a few curse words and nearly an hour I had the pulley off. Getting the new one on was fairly straightforward. However, being able to make sure it goes on straight is paramount. Also since the bolt for the installer needs to screw into the pump shaft, it also means that it cannot cross thread or you wreck the pump.

To prevent that, I screwed this bolt in by hand before cranking the pulley and action of the tool onto same. This took another half hour, but once there was resistance, I stopped and checked the alignment with the other pulleys. Not a problem and I hooked the hoses back up and filled the tank back up with antifreeze. What I didn't do on a ten year car was attempt to drain the petcock on the radiator. If this was gummed up or corroded, it would mean replacing a $150 radiator. I would rather waste $5 worth of coolant.

The alternator goes in next. Hook up the 10mm battery terminal first, making sure the wire ends up pointing toward the front of the car. The front bolt goes in first, loosely and then the rear one, loosely. sung them up gently and maybe a quarter turn as you're threading into aluminum. If you strip the threads, it's another trip to the auto parts or hardware store for longer bolts and nuts. No big deal, just inconvenient as all get out.

Hook up the exciter wires, loop the serpentine belt over the alternator, hook up the battery and you're ready to ride. Start the car and check for noise. Unless the belt or pulleys are wet, there should be none. Use a good quality alternator with a lifetime warranty as the one year rebuilds could fail and you'll have to pay again. I prefer the new parts over re-manufactured ones, but in the case of the alternator, this commands a $50 premium over a re-manufactured par. Even the $30 core charge is refundable, minus the sales taxes paid. Not everyone wants this added expense and the re-manufactured will work fine. One the other hand, a water pump is something that's always better new, but that's a whole other story.

There is a lot more to fixing something as simple as an alternator and a lot of other things to take into consideration. However, if you plan ahead and get the proper tools beforehand, not to mention taking your time and a lot of breaks, you'll have a job you only have to do once. God Bless

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