Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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SAAB c900 Alternator Installation

It's a lot easier getting the new alternator installed than getting the old one out.

Of course, now that I've taken one out, I know what's involved and it would take less time. Note that I say less time, not easier. It's just a challenging job, but not impossible.

First thing I did was clean up the area under where the alternator lives. I figured it was a good time to do it, especially since I'm (hopefully) not doing this job again any time soon.

I used Griot's Garage Oil & Grease Cleaner and Engine Cleaner. I put the Oil & Grease cleaner on the worst spots; but both of these products work great. The Oil & Grease cleaner is a bit stronger - and it's "Environmentally Friendly," while the Engine Cleaner is biodegradable, a good thing.

First, I put the mounting bracket back on. Look at how clean everything is! Also note the ground lead installed on the upper bolt - I left this a bit loose so I could maneuver it as needed when I went to connect the other end to the alternator.

If you've read about this job, or done it, you know there's interference between the alternator mounting bolt and the firewall.  The proper method of removal is to take the bracket off with the alternator still attached, which is what I did.

However, you will read on the interwebs of folks putting a hole in the firewall to enable the bolt to be slid off. My car has a hole like this. I don't recommend it, because it's really not necessary. But since my car does have a hole (for better or worse), I put all of the bolts for the bracket on at this point.

The method without a hole is to put the bracket on with the alternator attached, get it more or less lined up, swivel the alternator downward - and put the top bolt and ground on, then the left-side and bottom bolts on. In other words, the reverse of how I got it out with the alternator still on the bracket.

Now we put the alternator adjustment arm bracket on. The 'fork' at the top of the arm where the adjusting bolt goes should point toward the firewall. Otherwise, it will foul the alternator fan and pulley.

Don't ask how I know this.

Love love love those purple Powerflex bushings!

Next step is to put the alternator in place and run the mounting bolt through the bracket and the mount on the alternator.

The arrow in the picture shows the bolt - and you can see the hole in my firewall, sad that someone hacked it like that.

I connected the ground lead at this point while I could still get to the ground bolt on the alternator. After I had the alternator mounted, I tightened the end on the engine bracket (the one I had left loose).
I found that I had to swivel/turn the alternator to the right to slip the drive belts on. This picture shows the belts in place.

The picture above of the bolt is out of order here - put the belts on, then the bolt.

Fit the 16mm nut on the end of the bolt and tighten it up.

Sort of exciting at this point - I'm going to have a 115 amp alternator! Whoo hoo!

Now put the adjustment bolt back on and adjust the belt. I had made a mark with a silver Sharpie as a reference when I took the alternator out, so I'm in the ballpark for proper tension, I think.

I'm going to get one of these soon though.

Last step is to connect the starter and B+ leads, and there you have it.

Then I put the heater hoses all back on.

The alternator looks buried under there now!

Note also how I rerouted the throttle cable - it had previously gone under the AC hose (big one at the top). Now it's clear of the hose.

And reconnected the business end of the throttle cable. You can see it got a bit kinked when I tried to get the alternator out without disconnecting the cable. But it works fine, no problem at all.

I lost a small amount of coolant with the heater hoses disconnected, so I topped that up.

Last step is to reconnect the battery.

It works great now.

I think I wrote in an earlier post that the electrical system on this car had never been quite right in the 2 plus years I've owned it. And it had gotten progressively worse.

With a load on the old alternator, the voltage at the battery would drop to as low as 11 volts. And the battery was not consistently charging either.  I had cleaned all of the grounds in the car, and no change. So the alternator was the last step.

Now it charges, and more importantly, with a lot of accessories on - lights, wipers, etc, the voltage never drops below 13.3 volts.



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