How hard is it to replace an alternator bearing

My 1998 S790 developed a strange noise around the timing belt, that was changed a few weeks ago. Went to the dealer and they said that it's the alternator bearing that is loose and they want to replace the alternator and bearing, and wants to charge a $1000 for it.

How hard is it to change the alternator bearing by myself? Is it doable, or do you need to have heavy machinery to do it?

Thank you,

Henry

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Clara wrote:

I've only ever changed the whole alternator, if you can find a source for the bearing you could probably take it apart and change it though. A new alternator from the dealer is over $400 last I checked, but you can likely buy a rebuilt one for much less from a local auto parts store. Changing the alternator is not particularly difficult, if you're comfortable doing general maintenance.

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Thank you James, You are correct - the dealer had recommended replacing the alternator. The cause is "Alternator Front Bearing is Failing and Noisy. Need to Replace Alternator". How much time should I allocate for replacing an alternator and is there a good site on the web that would step me thourgh the process. I also have the mechanics manual at home...

Henry

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Found the following http://volvospeed.com/vs_forum/index.php/topic/63411-alternator-replacement / -- do I need to re-tention the belts after the replacement? Wonder how hard it would be....

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Found this thread that talks about replacing alternator as well: http://volvoforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=36180

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Clara wrote:

I've never done it on a FWD Volvo, but in any case the challenge is access. There are only 2-3 bolts and about as many wires to R&R, but in some cars you will swear you need 5 more elbows in your arm to get to them. Don't skip the "disconnect the negative battery cable" step that any manual starts with. There is often no fuse of any sort between the battery and the big red wire on the alternator, and if it shorts to something, there is enough current available to set the wiring harness on fire.

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Thank you for the suggestions. It turns out, based on talking to the mechanics, that it is the wheel-and-shaft (on which the belt rests) of the alternator that is loose (e.g. wiggles a bit) and that what's causing the noise. The dealer just replaced drive belt (and timing belt) about a couple of weeks ago. Since I'm not sure in terminology, what is the belt that is connected to alternator? And does one touch the belt connected to alternator to replace timing belt and drive belt? Should I trust them with another repair if I do decide to go with a mechanic doing it?

Of course they told me I have to replace alternator immediately, and a new one will be around $1000. Thanks to the posts, I figured I can get rebuild alternator for half the price ~$270, and then their labor is ~ $370. Really tempted to do it myself -- the only big stopper is how do I know whether the belt is tight on it after putting the belt back? And how hard is it to get the belt off it?

Sorry for too many questions,

Henry

Henry

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wrote:

the rebuild price still seems steep. contact me privately i might have a line on better/cheaper.

oooh!! you raised a # of points. replacement 30 min to 3 weeks (45 min). 4 hands are better than two (esp if the +2 are young strong & stupid). tension? well, you know when you know. it just runs right. officially, check deflection -- it should be about 1cm. getting the belt off is not a problem a knife, scissors, a rusty spoon. putting back together is more of a problem. i think you will need to pop the timing & re tension everything.

this raises another ? WTF? alts don't just break. people put them back together usdab & then they fail. whoever replaced the timing belt needs to answer a few ?s.

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On 17/06/2010 07:58, Henry wrote:

According to my Haynes manual (I no longer have the car, so I can't verify) there is a spring-loaded tensioner which automatically maintains the correct tension. It says you have to relieve the tension when removing and re-fitting the belt by putting a spanner on the tensioner nut and turning it anti-clockwise - i.e. pushing the end of the spanner towards the rear of the engine compartment.

*Sounds* easy enough! (but the reality may be different).

--
Cheers,
Roger
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Roger Mills wrote:

That sounds like a serpentine belt like a friend's Buick used. As lousy as that car was, I have to admit it was the easiest most straightforward alternator replacement I've ever done. Bolted right to the top of the engine and took about 5 minutes to change.

With V-belts, you tension them until there's about 1" of deflection when you push on a span of the belt with your finger. It's not rocket science, doesn't have to be exact, but too loose and it squeals, but too tight just puts more stress on the bearings.

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The belt to the alternator is called the alternator drive belt generally, sometimes it also drives other things, sometimes a single belt wraps this way and that, driving most or all of the engine driven accessories, that is referred to as a serpentine belt. Yes, changing the timing belt generally involves removing any other drive belts since they pass in front of the timing belt. Yes if the alternator shaft wiggles at all the bearings are shot and it should be replaced ASAP. It sounds like your mechanic is honest.

If you are comfortable doing basic mechanical work then I think you will be fine with this. Get a Haynes or similar manual, read through the instructions a couple of times, make sure you have all the required tools and parts on hand, and then set about the work. Allow a weekend just in case you break something or get stuck, plenty of people here can offer you tips if you have trouble. So long as you don't lose any bolts or forget how it goes together it should go pretty smoothly.

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Thank you for the responces!! I have the Haynes book, have a few links on different sites (would be great if there was a YouTube on how to do it). Got the part from a store in not too far from my home, paid $110 (+30 core charge) - much better than Kragen price of ~$270. It is some what heavy - will probably need assistance in putting it in (actually will be happy to provide assistance for a mechanic that would put it in :) ) == Still thinking on whether or not to do it myself - will probably start doing it over the weekend, ask for help if I get stuck and get a mobile mechanic help if I will realize that I'm in trouble :)

Henry

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wrote:

it seems like you know that weekends can be good/bad. no matter how well you plan, there will always be that last little "gevortner" that you didn't think of -- or was it a "ramitsframits"? i could quote the hhtg, but you know where this is going. always have alternate transport. 99% of the time things are easier than they seem. the other 1% sepaku is the the only option.

110 seems fine. if it seems heavy, consider Archimedes.

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Well, figured I'm not sure I can do it myself after trying to lift the belt and see if the alternator bearing is broken. I tried to ease a the belt a bit and my fiance tried to move the shaft of the alternator - and then we switched, nothing seemed to be moving. Asking a mobile mechanic tomorrow morning if a) we need to change the part b) fixing the part and I will help and learn.

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You would probably have to remove the belt to tell. The play in the shaft may be only a few thousandths of an inch, a good bearing should have *no* runout that you can feel.

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Well, everything is done now. The old alternator did produce a noise, but the shaft was not moving. The new alternator is in place. I'm glad I did not do it by myself -- did not have all the tool, and access is tough. I helped mobile mechanic to do it though: took him two and a half hours - of course it was his first volvo. Half way through the project I thought I'll have a bunch of spare parts as opposed to a car, but alas the car is all done and running fine.

Thank you very much for your support!

Henry

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I see you used a "mobile mechanic."

Not necessarily a bad way to go.

I was doing a transmission R&R on a Volvo 850R and having never done this task on a FWD, I was a bit nervous about pulling the CVCs.

I called a couple mobile mechanics I found from cragigslist.com, and quickly zeroed in on one guy who knew the answers to the questions I asked him, to try to prequalify him.

To make a long story short: a Win-Win situation.

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First Volvo come one an alternator is an alternator 2.5 hours is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

wrote:

Well, everything is done now. The old alternator did produce a noise, but the shaft was not moving. The new alternator is in place. I'm glad I did not do it by myself -- did not have all the tool, and access is tough. I helped mobile mechanic to do it though: took him two and a half hours - of course it was his first volvo. Half way through the project I thought I'll have a bunch of spare parts as opposed to a car, but alas the car is all done and running fine.

Thank you very much for your support!

Henry

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On Wed, 16 Jun 2010 11:00:37 -0700, James Sweet

right up! but are we sure that it's not an alignment problem? a bolt failed on me @ the intersection of nowhere & no brain (grade 8? whatdayoumean, i never got out of 5th?) the v belt could no longer transmit power (shredded, there is a Jon Deere that fits) & thus the alt didn't charge. rebuilt alts are cheap, when i was young & broke, i once rebuilt a 4 barrel Weber -- try that in your spare time. your choice. 60 US or 3 days asking yourself -- now where do you think that goes. i like learning & my money!!!!!

why are you still talking to a dealer? you are now part of a huge community. network!! you will be taken care of. the only requirement -- pass it on.

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Clara wrote:

Times and alternators have changed a bit, but in the '80's I had the fortune to take a car (either and AMC or a Volvo, I forget) to a local 'old school' mechanic. It had a noisy alternator. He replaced the bearing in it. The charge was $.50 for the part and about $25 for labor. Total.

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