My alternator had been slightly crooked for a while, but now it was beginning to wobble the car like it was about to fall off – and probably would have if I hadn’t decided to fix it. I thought it would just be a case of replacing the rubber bushings, however I discovered this once the alternator came off:
Hours of crooked wobbling and loose bolts had taken its toll on the mounting holes. A replacement alternator was on the cards… I made some macaroni for dinner and then had an idea – since I now had extra bushings from the A/C removal, perhaps I could enlarge the holes and stick the metal sleeve from the bushings inside! (Actually the macaroni had nothing to do with this idea)
I also had to use a new long bolt since the old one had gone on a diet where it was in contact with the alternator.
You can see the crap hard bushings on the left and the not-quite-as-crap bushings on the right.
Using a soldering iron, I heated up the metal sleeve.
Squeezing the rubber with multi-grips cracked and tore it off the sleeve – well, most of it. The multi-grips were also great for getting the bushings off/on the bracket; as they were old, this worked well. I wore safety glasses just in case the bushing shot out of the grips. Also, try not to wrap your fingers around the handles if you are using the “wider” settings – the handles can snap shut together with your fingers as a shock absorber.
Now for the fun part – a bottle cap of methylated spirits to create a nice little fire to burn off the excess rubber. You can skip the soldering iron step if you wish and just burn the rubber, however you will make *a lot* of black smoke, plus you will have to wait longer for the rubber to finish burning. Safety – don’t leave the methylated spirits bottle near the fire, always put the lid back on, and make sure your hands are dry if you spill any methyl on them! Never pour more methyl onto the fire and check that the cap is cool before refilling to do the next bushing.
Using the multi-grips to scrape off the brittle, powdery “rubber”.
I used a file to smooth one edge of each sleeve, since they had a lip from extended service.
Drilling the holes out was quite a task, as I had to go up one size each time, and try to make sure the hole was centred. Luckily the “corridor” between the holes helped to push the drill bit towards centred. As the drill bit size increased, the corridor also had to be drilled a little. As it was only being widened on two sides, it made for a twisty, jammy drill session with the cordless drill. A drill press would be useful here. I drilled up to 31/64 of an inch, however 15/32 and some hard hammering may have been more secure. I made a “retainer” from pieces of an old electrical transformer to make sure the sleeves didn’t slide out from the mounting holes. The sleeves tapped in nicely and are held in the corrider. See the pictures below:
It wasn’t quite perfect on the back side since the hole was still out of round, however it will work until a replacement alternator is needed.
Success! The alternator lines up properly and the car runs a lot smoother. The belts still need to be replaced. As unlikely as this problem is, it may help if you can’t get a replacement part straight away – and could work for other parts like the power steering pump.
Take care guys,