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Alternator help

  #1  
Old 12-13-2008, 04:23 PM
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I''m trying to replace the alternator , but I can''t seem to get any leverage on taking the bolts off. Any ideas on how to get the stupid thing off? And i''m only talking about the one on the tension bar. Once I get that one off, I have to figure out how to get the one on the other side on the top off, not to mention there''s a 4" wide bar in the way (the one the engine shield attatches to).
If I do it myself, I can save 200$ rather than taking it to the shop. Not to mention there''s already a ton of other things that need to get done on it, so the more I can save by doing it myself, the more I want to do.
 
  #2  
Old 12-13-2008, 08:43 PM
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the last time I did this, I had to use a cheater bar (generally a metal pipe that fits over the wrench) and hold the wrench in place while forcing with the greater leverage. righty tighty lefty loosey. The alternator probably won''t budge until all the bolts are loose though, not just the tensioner bolt.
 
  #3  
Old 12-13-2008, 10:07 PM
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Have you tried a little PB Blaster? The double wrench trick? Can you fit 1/2 drive in there?
 
  #4  
Old 12-13-2008, 10:27 PM
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well I was trying to use a 1/4" ratchet. The first socket I had came from a cheap set and managed to break it. I bought new 12mm socket, but it started getting dark out. So I haven''t tried yet.
I have a 3/8" ratchet, but not a 12mm socket. and the ratchet is not as good quality as the smaller one.

And whats a cheater bar? Will it work under the car in a small area? Once I get the left bolts off, how do I get to the one on the to right? I used an extender to get the bolt holding the wire on, but there''s other things in the way with the top bolt.

I''ve only got ago week to do this, because it has to be out of the complex when we move.
 
  #5  
Old 12-14-2008, 10:47 AM
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you may have to remove that heat shield support and the shield to give you better access. a cheater bar is basically a pipe that fits over the handle of the ratchet. it''s a good way to break bolts free, but can also break ratchets. If you have a friend that has some better tools, you might want to consider some help on this one. If you lived near me I could help directly (north Dallas area in Texas). I have some pretty stout tools. Also, if you can prop the vehicle up on jack stands, it will make things more stable and give a little more room. Some liquid wrench, pb-blaster, or some other penetrating lubricant may help (as conan pointed out). just spray the bolts (try not to get any on the belt, wipe it off the belt if you do) and let it set for about 5-10 minutes and then go back to wrenching. had to do that with the high pressure power steering hose on my car that I replaced yesterday.
 
  #6  
Old 12-14-2008, 03:06 PM
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Can I say "oops"??

I did do a lot of spraying and got some on the belt but that was like a half hour ago. It says it''s safe on almost everything. I didn''t get the one that said it was safe for plastic though. It''s quite possible the belts will need to be replaced.

So I''ve got 2 out of three done. I used the PB blaster, and a bit of luck to get it to work. I wish I had bought some orange grease cleaner (whatever it''s called) my hands are filthy.

Ok so I''ve got two problems before I can takle bolt number three. There''s a wire screwed in to the bottom left of the top bolt. I can''t find my 8mm socket, even though I had it yesterday, and I can''t seem to find any other sockets to fit it. There''s a philips head inside the bolt, but the spacing is soo small that the only philips screw driver I can get in there is one from a swiss army knife. And that thing is stripped so it''s not working. And the other problem is the wires with the rubber plug that goes into the side of it. I have yet to figure out how the stupid thing pulls out. I''m also having a hard time getting strength into pulling the ratchet on the third bolt because of how i have the get my hands in there to hold it.
Luckily the second bolt above the belts was partially off, so I really didn''t need to spray it. And I managed to get it off.

Now how do I get the belts off as well??

Don''t you just love this learning process?

And if I lived with my aunt in Texas, we''d be really close by. But I''ve vowed to never live in Texas. Too much dry heat and too many people. And the high five highway thing scares me as well. Ok a little too much info.
And we used to have a good set of mechanic tools. Got a husky pro set at Home Depot one time with a few sockets missing and one of the larger ratchets. We paid like 20$ for it, originally a 100$ set. But that got stolen... So now we''re down to odd and end pieces from when we need things. like now.
 
  #7  
Old 12-14-2008, 06:30 PM
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So I took a trip to pep boys. Not my favorite place to shop at because they''ve sold me parts that didn''t work with my car, and on the villager it''s a crap shoot if they have what I need. I went in looking for the running lights (between the two headlights), and didn''t find what I needed, nor could I find anything similar. I hate ordering this online too. And I''ve only got one week to get this thing turned on.

In any case, I talked to a couple of the mechanics who told me it''ll be ok to just "PULL" as hard as possible to get the wires out. I''ve got a box of painters rags, so I just might have to take a few out there to wipe all the guke off.

And why can''t any one warn you that working underneath the car is going to kill your neck?? My neck hurts from trying to hold it up at odd angles to see what I need to get at. And my back says the ground sucks too.

Hopefully after tonight I can get the third bolt free.
Does the blaster stuff continue to work past the 10 min time frame they say it needs? Or should I spray more on tomorrow before I get started?

I also don''t have anything more than the jacks (one from our truck, one from the van). I''m kinda small so it''s high enough for me to get under. But if it was on a car lift, I could use my whole body to turn the stupid thing. As of right now I feel like I''m doing pull ups laying down.


Is there any way to clean the underside of the car? It''s got like all 15 years of junk stuck to it, and I''m sure it would be a lot easier to see things if they weren''t covered in an inch of black stuff.

Ohh and I finally figured it out. About in the middle on the underside, there''s a metal box with holes in the bottom, just before the muffler. Well I saw something hanging down from it, and today I finally realized it was a lizard trying to crawl out of the hole, but he''s hind legs got caught so now he''s hanging there dead. Gross... the mechanics get to dispose of him when it gets taken to the shop for the other stuff I''m not going to attempt to do.
 
  #8  
Old 12-14-2008, 08:45 PM
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sometimes those wire connectors are pinch clips. just pinch them and they''ll release. if you''re talking about the ones going into the alternator itself, yeah... just pull like hell and they should come out. The PB Blaster does continue working... the 10 minutes is just so that people will give it a chance to start working. more never hurts though. and unless it dissolves the belt or causes it to constantly slip in that spot and belt dressing can''t fix it (yes, that''s what it''s called, it''s a spray that will help recondition belts), or the belt is cracked in the V''s, you''ll need to replace it. yes, working under a car is a real pain in the ______ (insert body part). That''s what creepers are for (low profile board on casters with a pad on it... you can find them at most auto places and Wal-Marts). Or do what I do and just throw some scrap cardboard (broken down box that''s large enough to cover your backside) and just lay on that. That metal box with holes in the bottom is probably the catalytic converter (if there''s a pipe from the muffler to it) and the part with holes on it is actually the heat shield for the cat.

as for that third bolt, if you have a box end wrench that you can get on it, you might be able to get better leverage on it with that. I understand about the confined spaces though. The last alternator job I did was on a nissan altima. had a total of 2 inches max to squeeze anything in anywhere around that silly thing.

Good luck getting that last bolt off. and remember to get them good and tight when you get them back on, though they don''t need to be near as tight as they are now. just make sure the tensioner bolt is real tight, make sure the belt doesn''t squeel, then tighten the support bolts.
 
  #9  
Old 12-15-2008, 01:28 PM
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Well I''ve been using my blanket. We got a blanket on clearence at Target for like 5 bucks. It''s thick and heavy and we keep it in the car for whatever reason comes up. Usually we decide to sit out under a tree or something, we''ll use that, or if it''s cold at night, use it to stay warm. I''ve done a really good job of keeping it clean. There''s a bit of dirt on the one corner of it, but no chunks of anything.
And all boxes right now are in use for packing... the other reason why we have to get the van moving. We''ve got till the 22nd to get out of here, and it doesn''t seem like all that much is packed. But I hate going through all the stuff to see what we want, what''s trash, and what to give away. I''m completly over it and just want to throw it all in a box. And I never want to unpack anything ever again till I have a house. I thought we''d be staying in this place for quite some time so we did a good job of unpacking everything, and now I wish I never did.
 
  #10  
Old 12-15-2008, 01:30 PM
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I''m not to worried about how tight I get it on there. It''s going into the shop after this. I just didn''t want to spend 50$ on the towing fee with AAA. And the alternator they quoted me was 200$ more than the one I bought.
 

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