My daughter called last night to say her alternator light had come on. Shit!
Both of my kids had gone to Sacramento to check out a school and were on the
way home. They were north of Los Angeles when the car crapped out. Anyway,
two kids with two different AAA cards each with 100 miles of towing, and
they were home by midnight with a tow bill for 12 miles.
This morning I looked under the hood. The idler pulley has come apart, and
the resulting molten parts dripped onto the tensioner pulley and cooled and
hardened. The resulting debris pretty much finished off that pulley and the
serpentine belt. So, two pullies and a belt, not too bad considering the
I open the hood this morning at 0730, and by 0830 I had all of the affected
parts, and some of the neighboring parts in a heap on the floor. The top
radiator hose was damaged by the belt whipping around, and the hose has a
very cool design -- simply pull a clip on each end and the hose comes off
easily. Very nice!
This car had a known weakness in the viscous couple (fan clutch), so I am
taking the opportunity to replace it. It comes off without removing the
pulley on the snout of the water pump -- very nice design.
The tensioners work easily with a 13mm socket on a breaker bar, and are held
on with only two bolts each. The tensioner pullies can be replaced
independently of the tensioner assembly, saving about $30 on each.
I have worked on this sort of stuff on my cars all of my life, and this
repair is by far the easiest to accomplish of any other car I have owned.
The steering rack seems a bit sloppy -- the wheel can be moved from side to
side and a noticable looseness is felt. Is the rack easy to replace?