Tag Archives: alternator

zen and the art of galaxie maintenance.

zen and the art of galaxie maintenance. I.

the alternator melted down so it’s time to pretend i’m a gearhead and get all greasy and fix it! one of the nice things about having a galaxie 500 with a 289 motor is it’s very easy to find parts since all the ford windsor V8s have basically interchangeable parts and were in production for many years.

sure enough the local parts store had an motorcraft stamped alternator a the motor for a princely sum of about $32. $45 for the lifetime warranty which means i’ll never have to buy another alternator again.

but first i had to get the burned out alternator out. i can never remember which wire goes where so before unhooking it completely i figured it was smart to take a picture of the old alternator.

zen and the art of galaxie maintenance. II.

there are just two bolts holding the alternator in place. who knows when the last time was the bolts were loosened. it’s been my experience that the trick to replacing parts in an old car often involves figuring out how to remove rusted bolts without snapping off the heads. thankfully, the main bolt came loose relatively easily. however, the bolt attached to the pivot arm ( which allows you to adjust the alternator to tighten the drive belt ) did not want to budge. luckily i was able to take out the alternator with the pivot arm attached. of course, i first tried the ol’ squirt some wd-40 on the bolt and bang on it with a hammer which didn’t do much to loosen it. so i attached some copper pipe to the rachet to create more force with lever and held it in place by stepping on the lever arm and vice grips attached to the alternator housing and sloooooowly cranked on the bolt.

i was guessing i had about 50% chance of snapping the bolt head but i figured it wasn’t the end of the world since the rest of the bolt would be in the old alternator and the worst that could happen is that i would spend some time finding a replacement bolt. but as it happened, my plan worked flawlessly and i eventually worked the bolt loose without snapping it!

zen and the art of galaxie maintenance. III.

with the new alternator in place, now what do i do use to rotate it on the pivot arm to create the right amount of tension on the drive bent so it’ll turn the fan and water pump without slipping? you need something that’s long enough to create enough force and skinny enough to fit between the narrow space between the alternaor and the engine block.

the two foot drill bit i used to drill a hole through the trees for the treehouse deck gave me just the right amount of leverage. perfect!

zen and the art of galaxie maintenance. IV.

and whoila – with a little ingenuity, $45 ( well, i guess maybe it was closer to $60 when you include the cost of the new drive belt ) and few hours, the galaxie is back up and running!

you get the post title is a reference to “zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance”, right? of course you do.

the alternator adventure!

the alternator adventure! I.

odin and i took the galaxie 500 out to the norskedalen threshing bee and on the way out we both noted that it was making some mighty peculiar sounds. the fan belt was squeaking every so often and you could hear a sound like something was having trouble turning. i told him that i hoped we made there and back!

sure enough, on our way home a puff of smoke came out from under the hood at the same time the belt started screeching and we could hear an unsettling grinding noise as the alternator light came on.

i pulled over and lifted up the hood. the smoke and grinding sound was coming from the alternator. after a few moments it looked like everything had settled down and i figured the alternator just burned out in some manner or another and i decided to drive it the remaining 10 miles home ( some friends stopped on their way back from the threshing bee and picked up odin and followed me back home ). i figured there was more than enough juice left in the battery to power the way home and everything would be fine. what could possibly go wrong ( hint: most mechanics or car buffs are shaking their heads and sighing at my decision )?!

the alternator adventure! II.

the good news is that i did make it home. but just barely. just as i pulled up in front of the house, the engine started to overheat and hot radiator fluid came a bubblin’ up out of the overflow valve. hmmmm. how could the alternator going bad make the engine overheat?

well, the screaching noise was the sound of the alternator bearings going bad! and when they seized up soon after i shut the hood after stopping on the side of the road the friction from the resistance ripped apart the drive belt that keeps the fan and water pump turning. hence the overheating!

it looks like i’ll be replacing the alternator and the drive belt soon.

just yesterday i drove the galaxie home from la crosse at 9 pm down winding 2 laner back roads. i’m glad it didn’t happen 30 miles from home in the dark!