I did the alternator swap on the Wifely Unit’s 2004 Ford Focus today.
It took me SIX HOURS to get it done.
First I had to spend an hour getting the Sprite started and moved out along with a bunch of other shit outside along with it, just to make room to get the damn thing in the garage.
I knew in my bones that it was going to be too cold to do it outside and that I would run out of daylight not long after I started in on it if I did it outside.
Screw that noise.
I wound up going to Harbor Freight, on Black Friday, about forty five minutes after I started in on it to get a new drop light.
I don’t know how I managed it but I was in and out of there in less than fifteen minutes.
I had it unbolted in less than an hour, the bolts come out towards the fender instead of the firewall.
Then I fought that dirty bastard for three hours getting it out of the car.
I’m sure you are supposed to take it out from underneath.
Fuck You Ford, we are doing it MY WAY.
I was changing the front motor mount while I was at it and I had the engine jacked up so far it was trying to pick the front tires off the ground.
Lots and lots of fighting involved just to get the damn thing out of the location it was bolted into after I got all the fasteners off. Then fighting connectors that I couldn’t see the release mechanism on, brackets and tubes, fuel vapor emissions solenoids with hoses, tubes, connectors and all kinds of crap in the way.
I almost had it out and ran into a bracket that is welded to the strut tower and another one protecting the fuel regulator that was actually a two piece bracket. I got half of it off and then discovered the bolt to take the other half off was trapped behind the fuel regulator and they wanted me to take the entire fuel rail off of the injectors just to get that one stupid bolt out.
That round thing right in front of the pulley nut is where a ground strap bolted on to that bracket that is welded on. I bent that tab down and in the end wound up flattening that whole bracket down with a hammer and a pry bar.
You can see the big bracket at the top, all it does is protect the fuel regulator from damage. I got that big part off and then found the trapped bolt.
This here was what was underneath that bracket and what the trapped bolt was holding. As you can see it was plainly in the way.
Was being the key word.
Like the title says, I have zero mercy on these fucking Fords anymore.
I have been putting up with their bullshit way too long.
The dirty bastards pull shit like the trapped bolt, the connectors you can’t see to get unplugged, the fucking brackets welded to the strut tower that you can’t remove and a bazillion other sadistic tricks to discourage people from working on them, including their own technicians.
When I found out I couldn’t get that bracket out of the way without taking the fuel rail off to get one motherfucking bolt out, it was Game On Bitches.
I got the Angle Grinder out with a cutting wheel on it and cut that fucking bracket right the fuck off.
Fuck with me will ya?
After that and pounding that welded bracket out of the way it was still a frustrating trial and error mess of trying to get it lined up right to get it out.
I even had to pry the engine backwards a bit.
I obviously did get it out, there is a whole lot more to this story with me fighting all kinds of crap but it DID, come out the top.
It took another hour and half to get the new one back in, turned end for end and right side up to kind of get it where it needed to be. Needless to say there was much cursing, prying, hammering, folding, spindling and mutilating but I FINALLY got the sonofabitch back in under the plastic fucking intake manifold, the bolt holes lined up and the bolts started.
I had pried some other shit out of the way getting it out so I had to pry it all back into position, reconnect everything and swap out the motor mount on it’s bracket.
I had that back in and two bolts tight when I noticed that the serpentine belt had somehow gotten all fouled up in the course of all of this. Take the motor mount and bracket back out, get on the internet to find the correct routing because the sticker is gone, up down up down underneath the car fighting the belt back on the pulleys and then get it back on the alternator. Reinstall the motor mount, the power steering and coolant reservoirs and get all the tools off the engine.
No extra bolts, nuts or washers this time either.
Hook the battery up and start the damn thing. Checked the voltage, its a bit high at 15 volts and change but it’s not jumping up to 18 like it was before.
I’m going to call it good for now.
What an ordeal just to change a damn alternator.
My lower back started hurting two minutes into this little fiasco, that Focus is the perfect height to kill my back when I have to work on it because I have to bend over for everything to just about thigh high.
Now that I am done, I am basically crippled. It was all I could do to get that bastard back out of the garage, crawl into the Sprite and get it back inside, then roll out of that damn thing. All of the tools are still laying right where I set them down.
This is why I hate working on newer cars.
At least it’s done now. The Wifely Unit tells me that we may get some snow tomorrow night. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit.
When I went to get in the Sprite it was frozen.
Iced up but good.
I am really glad I decided to go to the trouble of getting her car inside now and get this little chore out of the way and off my plate.
Oh yeah, I had to diagnose a water leak on the dishwasher, by getting on Youtube and then try to find a lower front door seal Wednesday. Couldn’t find a seal. One outfit said they would have one in on Friday.
So I got to drive across town and pick one of those up then come back and change that out before I even started on that car.
I see a whole bunch of doing very little for the rest of the weekend if I have my way.
So after I published this, I got to thinking about wanting another old Ford Pickup because they are so much simpler to fix and will get you where you want to go without a bunch of frills and needless gizmo’s that I don’t need or even want.
Six miserable hours to change an alternator in a fifteen year old car or this?
How about fifteen fucking minutes?