Tech Tips
Polish Your Own Alternator

After becoming pretty seasoned at buffing parts I was looking at my alternator one evening. This is a very visible underhood part. Next to all the things I polished this was kind of an eyesore. At current catalog prices of $80.00 to $125.00 for polished or chromed piece I thought it might be worth a try to polish it myself.

Before you start your project, use some penetrating oil the night before on the pulley nut. It is best to break the nut loose while you have the tension strength of the belt to assist you. I used a towel to grip fan blades and it broke loose. You may have to use some wedge device to lock fan from turning, just be careful not to damage blades.

After breaking loose the nut (#6) my parts came right off without any kind of puller. I already polished my pulley when I took this photo. Here is the installation sequence in case you forget.

Actually in case
I forget....

First we remove the 4 screws holding the front casing to the back. As we begin to knock down the cast on the front alternator case we will encounter this grooves where the front to back case screws go. I forgot to take my camera home for a pre shot of rough cast so mine here has already been knocked down except for this last groove I saved for ya'.

I use an expander wheel and trizact belts from Eastwood Company to make shorter work of knocking the cast off and smoothing up the finish. The alternator has plenty of really "linear" surfaces so the project is not really that difficult.

One more closeup of the groove we will be removing. There are four of these on the front casing.

Note: I was unable to separate the rotor/bearings from the front case. No problem, it just made for a little heavier work. Had to take a break occasionally.

Bottom arrow shows casting removed and the top (barely) shows groove in place. The center part where the shaft goes is covered by the pulley so you have a wide area that does not need detailing.

Here is a close up of the groove removed and polished. Much nicer appearance. There are a few areas on the casing that a indention or raised area can be leveled. If you notice in the above picture I knocked down a raised area where the top and bottom mount bolts go.

On the back housing we have many very linear surfaces BUT we have some challenges too. These grooves aren't going anywhere. I will use a sanding taper and dremmel tool to smooth the cast.

This will be a major challenge on the rear of the back housing. Too many raised and lowered surfaces and I can't get the trizact wheel onto the surface. I don't exactly know what I will do here.......go ahead and remove the bracket at this time and let's get started on Part II.

Screws 1/2/3 hold the coil on remove and remove coil then put the screws back on post. Screws 4/5/6 hold heat sink loosen totally don't remove yet. Screw 7 goes all the way through case for your battery to hook to. Remove and put bolt back on post. Screws 8/9/10 hold regulator on totally loosen but don't remove.

[ Proceed to Part II ]


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