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Power steering pump and alternator bracket replacement

PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:05 pm
by Grover
A couple of weeks ago, my '89 Caprice threw the serpentine belt. Since it was 8 years old, I figured it had stretched out and got another one. Stupidly, I bought one from AZ which broke within 15 minutes. After returning the spaghetti that I had to cut off my fan, I decided to get a Gates belt. The Gates didn't shred, but it did pop off like the old belt, so I took a closer look at it and found out that my alternator pulley and my power steering pump pulley were not in line with the rest of the system. A closer inspection revealed that the bracket that held these two components was cracked. This has a 350 in it now, but had the 305 originally.

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Dang! Cracked bracket!

This bracket is cheap cast aluminum, so there's no re-welding it. I had to get a new one, which is fortunately still sold. Since this process is a little involved, and my process had a few steps that may be applicable to other areas, I decided to take some pictures along the way and write it up for the boards.

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Here's the whole shootin' match.

1. First, you need to disconnect your negative battery terminal. If you don't, you'll get shocked when you try to disconnect the wire to your alternator (I'll point this out in the step when we get there). I have a kill switch, which works just as well.

2. Remove the serpentine belt. This consists of taking a ½" drive ratchet and loosening the tension on the belt tensioner, then slipping the belt off. Don't worry, the routing of the belt is shown on a sticker on your fan cover (provided it hasn't come off).

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These tensioners are the best idea ever.

3. Warning! This wire will be live if you don't disconnect the battery first! Pull back the boot on the alternator wire and unscrew the bolt. I'm not sure if the bolt on mine was original since the threads were cross-threaded, but the head on it was 8mm and the bolt I replaced it with was an M6-1.0. Remove the wires on the plastic harness to the alternator.

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Remove the red wire with the boot and...

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This is the guy that will get you.

4. Remove the bolts holding the alternator in place. This consists of the rear bolt to the brace (13mm, bolt #9 in the diagram below), the top screw (Torx T40, #21 in the diagram), and the bottom screw (Torx T50, #17 in the diagram). Theoretically, there is another brace on the top (#6 in diagram) with a nut (#7) holding it onto screw #21, but I did not have this brace or the hole on the engine block for bolt #8 that would hold it in place. Remove the alternator.

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Manual diagram

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With alternator removed

5. Remove the upper fan cover. This consists of two types of bolts: a fine thread for the top, and a coarse thread for the bottom. Don't get these mixed up. Both are 10mm heads.

6. Get a pulley remover/installer. You can get these as the loan a tool at AZ or buy your own at HF for less than $20. Lisle also makes a nice one that's a bit more pricey. It can look like the diagram below, or the one in the picture below.

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Here's the old style. The new style is a two piece deal held together with a steel ring.

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Pulley puller in progress

Either way, follow the instructions that come with the tool and remove the pulley from your power steering pump to gain access to the bolts behind it. Removing the pulley requires some muscle. I braced a wrench on a wood block on the frame and pulled against it with a ratchet to make sure that I wasn't damaging any hoses or lines.

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No more pulley.

7. Undo the bolts holding the power steering pump in place (#s 24, 25, and 26 in the diagram below, all Torx T50s).

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Ignore the figure on the right unless you have the 307 olds engine that came in the wagons.

The wagons have some extra bolts, but for my work, it was fairly simple.

Remove the bolts and make sure you're holding onto the pump, as it is reasonably heavy and will fall if you don't. Take time to use bailing wire or a coat hanger and tie it off to something. This is like doing brake work--tie it off or when if falls and rips a line, you'll be sorry. I didn't remove the power steering pump lines like the manual called for--once the pump is hanging out of the way, you'll have plenty of room, and you also don't have to bother draining and bleeding the power steering fluid.

8. Remove the bracket bolts. There are three of these and the thread is 3/8"-16, but I'm not sure what the head on the bolt is since I discovered that one of mine was missing and the other two were sheared off. Guess I know why my bracket was broken.

Remove the nuts on the studs. Two of these, 14mm each (#21 and 22 in the diagram below). You'll probably need an extension on your ratchet.

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Bracket diagram

9. Disconnect the wiring harness bracket (13mm, not in diagram) and then pull off the larger aluminum bracket itself. Mine had broken in several places.

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Wiring harness bracket.

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Damn. Broken in multiple places.

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Here's what it looks like with the bracket off, before getting the studs out of the block.

10. Extract any broken bolts. You'll need some cobalt drill bits to drill into the bolt itself, then an extractor with a tap handle.

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One of my least favorite parts of car repair

If you're lucky, you may have a screw you can grab with vise grips. I had to extract one and was able to pull another with the vise grips. I also cleaned out the block threads with a tap.

11. Set the new bracket on the studs, lining it up.

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New bracket in place

Put some red loctite on the new bolts and screw them into place loosely. My new bolts were 9/16", but if you have originals, they could be anything.

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Don't forget the loctite--the torque specs are kind of low, so if you don't loctite it, you could have the same problem that I did with bolts coming out.

12. Torque down nut #22 (14mm, 24 ft-lbs on my car--check yours!), then bolts #18 and #23 (9/16" on my new bolts, 24 ft-lbs), then nut #21 (14mm, 24 ft-lbs), and finally bolt #20 (9/16", 24 ft-lbs).

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Bolts on

13. Reattach the wiring harness (13mm, no torque spec)

14. Reattach the power steering pump screws (T50s), then torque them down (#24 in Figure 8 diagram to 30 ft-lbs, #s 25 and 26 to 37 ft-lbs).

15. Reattach the pulley with the pulley installer. You may have to clean the threads on the pump spindle before you put the installer in, since there could be rust buildup. This is a taxing operation with no option for shortcuts.

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This is a pain in the ass

16. Start two alternator screws (T40,19 ft lbs; T50, 37 ft lbs), and the bracket bolt (13mm, 19 ft lbs), then torque them down to the specs in your manual.

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Alternator being installed

17. Reattach wiring harness to alternator, and screw holding battery wire in place (8mm), then recover with boot.

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Almost there!

18. Reinstall serpentine belt and reinstall fan cover (8 bolts, 4 fine, 4 coarse, all 10mm).

19. Reconnect the battery.

You're done!