Removal of Alternator - Astra 1.7TD - KevDGill
For those of you in the trade or just those who\'ve done it on their own cars - how long should it take to remove and alternator, change the pulley, and put the alternator back in on a 1997 Astra 1.7 TD with GM engine? I\'ve been quoted by a VX dealer for \'best case an hour, worst case an hour and a half\' but that\'s a bit vague for me and seems a long time. I\'ve been told by someone local that it\'s possible to have an alternator off and back on again within 20 mins.

Are the VX dealer trying to rip me off (aside from their £60/hour labour rate) or do you think that an hour to an hour and a half is fair enough?

Cheers for any replies

-- Kev
Removal of Alternator - Astra 1.7TD - Victorbox
I don\'t know this engine but I have some experience of removing other Vauxhall alternators & I would say 10 mins to take it off (even when you can\'t find your spanners!) with same to replace -ensuring you get the connections right. But then I would be taking the alternator to my local auto electrician for a strip down so he probably has the necessary bar to shift the nut holding on the pulley which may be torqued up quite high. The only hitch I ever encountered with taking off an alternator was when the long bolt that holds it to the block had been fitted before the radiator was put in and there was little room to slide the bolt out without hitting the rad. Always disconnect the battery. I dropped a copper spark plug cleaning brush onto an alternator some years ago with only a momentary flash of sparks and it fried the windings!
Removal of Alternator - Astra 1.7TD - KevDGill
Cheers for the reply.

The radiator won't be a problem as the alternator is on the offside of the engine compartment fairly near the bulkhead, with the pulley in question facing toward the offside of the car. The belt is awkward in that it's the wrong side of the power steering belt, but they can slip it off and let it hang I assume. I wonder whether it can be done in situ but if the nut is highly torqued then I spose maybe not.

How will they hold the shaft still while removing the nut? Is there some sort of hole for a locking pin or similar?

-- Kev
Removal of Alternator - Astra 1.7TD - Spanner Jack
There should be a hexagonal hole in the centre of the shaft for an allen key. Then a ring spanner can be used on the nut.

This is not a job for your ordinary allen key, though!
A heavy duty version will be required, usually a bit that can be attached to a half inch breaker bar.
The alternator should be taken off, and hold either the breaker bar or ring spanner in a vice to make it easier.

Within an hour - job time.

Petrol Astra's are easier - less components in the way.
Removal of Alternator - Astra 1.7TD - Victorbox
I can't comment on the power steering belt as although I've owned many Vauxhalls, I've never yet owned one with power steering! I'm not an expert on alternators, but I expect the pulley is an interference fit on the shaft or perhaps pulley has a square hole & shaft is square at point pulley fits so nut is just holding it on. I expect pulley will need to be clamped in a vice to remove nut. An old fan belt over pulley & twisted up tight with vice jaws locked onto twisted part of fan belt may lock the pulley enough to undo nut without marking the pulley. Of course if the pulley has to be replaced you may not worry about damaging the old one in a vice.
Removal of Alternator - Astra 1.7TD - KevDGill
I picked up a pulley and nut this morning and the pulley has a kind of keyhole shaped hole in it (well, a round hole with an extra missing blob bit on one side - kind of like a snowman with the head half pushed down into the body. I know what I mean anyway.)

In an update to the thread I've found (well, indirectly it was me) a Vauxhall mechanic willing to do it as a foreigner at 'mate rate' as a favour to my sister, in a Vx garage locally. The cost? The princely sum of £15 cash, and I supply the parts. Sorted. Well, lets hope so anyway. If it still squeals I'll be back on here looking for alternative reasons :¬D

Cheers for all the help.

-- Kev
Removal of Alternator - Astra 1.7TD - Dynamic Dave
KevDGill,

Don't forget to replace the belt as well. I know a new one was recently fitted, but if it's been slipping on the old pulley, chances are it will still slip on the new pulley as it will have put a shiny surface on the belt. Rule of thumb is not to combine new and old parts together.
Removal of Alternator - Astra 1.7TD - KevDGill
Fantastic. I do pick em.

Turns out the belt was squealing because :

- A bolt holding the alternator bracket to the cylinder head had broken and was stuck in its hole.
- The enterprising (and no doubt cattle-rustling) 'mechanic' who fixed it, decided that *welding* a steel bracket to an aluminium cylinder head was a good idea.
- Surprisingly enough, the weld broke and the alternator had adjusted itself slightly, allowing the belt to slip.

Better yet :

The VX garage where I had the belt done, then adjusted when I complained of squealing, didn't spot the cowboyism and just said that it must be the pulley. (weekend bloke said it should have been obvious but apparently it's common knowledge among the local dealers that the particular one I went to is cr*p. Then again, they would say that as they're a different company I spose)

So :

The guy (VX mechanic at a different VX dealer) I took it to at weekend has said I have three options.

1. New cylinder head ~£800-900
2. Remachining of my cylinder head ~£400 with risk of trashing it
3. Attach the alternator via a custom (or extended) bracket to fasten to another bolt on the end of the head (I'm not sure of its purpose but I'll get a picture up if that helps people to understand - just as soon as my group membership is processed) as well as the one surviving bolt hole.

I wondered if I could just get the bolt out (my dad's got some bolt extractors) and put a new one on but the mechanic reckons I'd have to take the head off for that too. He's probably right as there's not a whole lot of space around there.

Any other suggestions from any of you knowledgeable types out there? Or does anyone know any good bracket machining type people? The mechanic has tightened the bracket up on its one bolt as best he can for now - it's not slipping or squealing, but he said there was no point putting the new pulley on as it would be wrecked by any slippage there was until it was fixed.

Cheers again all.

-- Kev
Removal of Alternator - Astra 1.7TD - madf
I find Dexion racking (steel lengths with lots of holes for bolts) ideal for bracket manufacture. Cuts easily/can be bent/lots of holes/cheap.
madf
 

Ask Honest John

Value my car