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Leland Pate's Avatar
 
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Never give up... Never surrender... (an alternator story)

Well, life is so very bitter-sweet.

I ran into a bit of a problem earlier today when my MIG welder ran out of wire. To make a very long story short, I could only find a small reel of flux-core wire that was too large for my nozzle. Defeated, I came inside and made myself some dinner.... the words, "Never give up... Never surrender" where echoing in my head. With a full belly, I once again braved the freezing garage and went to work. I used a proper sized drill bit and found a spare nozzle. I basically drilled out the hole in the nozzle to make it large enough for the flux wire. I have never fooled with a MIG welder before and wasn't completely sure just how to get this thing back together. Especially when it came to feeding the new spool. But as luck would have it, everything worked.

I made some pretty good progress with the muffler. Details of which will be put in the "Love story" thread. But here is the puzzler:

After I bolted the pipe back to the SSI's, I decided to try a trial run, just to see how it sounded.

As soon as I fired up the engine, my ears were met with the wonderful throaty sound of my new exhaust. But wait, what's that??? A very high pitch squeeling sound of a fanbelt slipping. I stood there for a few seconds thinking, "damn... it's never squeeked THAT long before"... and about this time, my nose detects the very distinct odor of burning rubber. I make a bee line for the ignition switch and as I turn it off, I see the alt/batt. light is on.

"Oh crap", I think and pull the engine lid.
A cloud of smoke rises from the engine and my eyes are stinging from the noxious fumes, in a panic I look for burning wires... I can hear something "sizzling" but it took me a second to realize it was my fan belt.

Well, that's a releif, for a second I was thinking I had a wiring harness fire!
But, ok,... why the hell is my fanbelt frying? I tug on the fan, and it makes a jerky grinding noise. Oh boy.

So, I remove the half melted belt and pull off the fan, while leaving the shroud and alternator in place.
At this time, I'm thinking, well, I did have the whole thing out earlier in the month to polish up the fan... maybe I messed up?

I see no evidence of the fan blades hitting the shroud, as I suspect it wuold if the alt. had come loose from behind the shroud. Instead, I see these marks on the inside of the fan.

There is one large scratch, one small scratch three knicks on those little nubs.

Reference Fig.6.1






The woodriff key was in the bottom of the fan when I pulled it out.
The 10MM bolts holding the alt. to the shroud and air guide were all tight. Which means that the alt. wasn't coming loose. But what the HAY is going on here???

My only theory at the moment is that when I put the alt/fan/shroud in last time, somehow the woodriff key wasn't seated right, or maybe not at all. I suppose that if the loose key landed in the right spot, it could cause the fan to jam against the alt. body.
??? But, come on, I've driven the car several times since I reinstalled it and I don't think it is very likely. If it had been loose the whole time I think something would have gone wrong before now.


The only thing that I can think could be amis is one 10MM bolt that holds the alt. to the shroud.
Reference Fig. 7.2





Reference Fig. 7.2.1




As you can see in the first picture, the plastic has given way here from some overtightening in the past. But what really worries me is the fact that this one part of the airguide isn't lying flat with the back of the shroud.

I can't understand it.

Anyway, my fingers are killing me so I'm going to go flick a cigarette on some passing car to see if it explodes.
Any tips would be appreciated.

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Old 01-31-2004, 09:42 PM
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Well, I have it all out of the car again.

As a forensics expert I can see evidence of foul play on the alternator.

There are a few shiney gashes around the circumference (near the allen bolts that hold it all together). I'm, still theorizing that the woodriff key went and did some evil work.


Hmmmmm....
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:16 PM
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Oh, and now I'm paranoid of the possibility the alternator is damaged. When I sit it in my lap and give it a spin, I can hear a sort of subtle noise. It's almost like a clicking, but not rythmic and not very metallic. More like a wire flopping on a moving part.


Am I just PARANOID???

Raise your hand if your just about sick and tired of my pathetic diagnosing noise descriptions... don't be afraid.
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:19 PM
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Alternator schmalternator!

How do you like the new muffler?
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:41 PM
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Yea and how did you like the flux-MIG welding?
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:53 PM
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It is confirmed.
Upon further inspection, I found a very obvious ring in the fan. If you look at the pictures above, you can see it. It looks like the woodriff key was free and rested on the bottom of the fan. As the fan spun, it just slid around in there. I think it's a miracle it didn't get into the alternator. This also explains why the woodriff key wouldn't go back into the shaft goove this evening.

So, it goes back together tomorrow morning. Also, I discovered why the air guide wasn't sitting flat against the shroud. In my infinite Porsche wisdom, I mounted the alternator one hole too far to the left and the voltage regulator was binding just a tad and wouldn't allow the air guide to seat properly.


I only listened to the pipe for a few minutes so I'll have to report more tomorrow.

Pics will soon follow.

The flux-core wire made a bit of a mess. It splattered a whole lot, but other than that it was ok. I think I prefer the solid core, as it seemed "hotter" and easier to get a puddle going.
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Old 01-31-2004, 11:47 PM
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Old 02-01-2004, 05:15 AM
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Lee

you are disconnecting the battery when you use that mig??
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Old 02-01-2004, 05:56 AM
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Dont forget to re-connect the flux capacitor on your mig-28
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Old 02-01-2004, 07:33 AM
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Rich, disconnecting "what" battery?

The car battery?

I haven't welded anything to the car/chassis. But I must admit, I didn't know you are supposed to unplug the car battery before welding.
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Old 02-01-2004, 08:47 AM
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Lee

Yeah, sorry, you're welding off the car.

but yes, if you do weld anything (using electric welders) on the car you should disconnect the battery - there is a chance of doin damage otherwise.......especially to the alternator if my memory is any good.

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Old 02-01-2004, 08:51 AM
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