Why do they make this so complicated?

bunnspecial

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Hopped in the MKZ on Monday evening to run over to the in-laws house, and I'm rewarded with the battery icon popping up in the message center.

Call in my regrets for not coming(my wife was at work) and instead get to work diagnosing. Everything's acting like a bad alternator-in particular voltage under 12V running-so I ordered one from Autozone for next day pick-up. I also tossed a charger on the battery just to be safe.

I was advised that due to how Ford alternators work, sometimes a bad battery can act like a bad alternator. I went out with the battery fresh off the charger yesterday morning, started the car, and sure enough with "goosing" the throttle I saw voltage shoot up to ~14V on the voltmeter and the charge light go out on the dash. I drive up to Autozone and they stick their tester on it and say the alternator is fine and the battery looks iffy, so I return the alternator and buy a battery.

About halfway home, the battery light comes back on and nothing I can do gets the alternator back to life...so alternator time.

In general, I really dislike working on front wheel drive vehicles, and especially V engine ones. I remember the mechanic always fussing the worst about my dad's Continental with the DOHC Modular V8. Some things on the MKZ aren't terrible(I was surprised at the plugs, for example, even if I did have to pull the intake plenum) but others well, aren't great.

The alternator is tucked on the front side of the engine just under the valve cover-in theory not as bad as it could be but in practice, miserable. One bolt has to be accessed from up top and another from the wheel well, and of course removing/installing the serpentine belt is best done from the wheel well.

The bigger issue, though, is getting the darn thing out. There are two schools of thought-one is remove the cooling fans and the other is drain and remove the AC compressor. The latter, of course, requires draining and refilling refrigerant, plus the potential for other issues when the system is opened. I opted for the radiator fan removal.

I should also add that I can't find a video on Youtube on the full procedure on my year(or year range) MKZ. There's a decent one on a 2010 Fusion, which is similar, but I also didn't like that it dropped the sub frame to get enough clearance to get it out through the wheel well. Also, it's not 100% transferable as the 2010 Fusion had electric power steering and the MKZ used hydraulic. This was a new one to me, though-it actually doesn't change too much as the power steering isn't driven off the serpentine belt but rather a separate "stretch to fit" one time use belt. I'm debating too if I change both while I'm down here, although access isn't terrible and the serpentine belt is in relatively good shape.

So, here I am after working on and off yesterday. When I took this photo, I hadn't removed the serpentine belt yet as I was waiting on the tool to arrive(hooray for Amazon same-day delivery). I honestly don't do that many serpentine belts and I've always-on rear wheel drive cars-had zero issue using a breaker bar or even ratchet. Of course that's asking too much-there's not enough room for that. I spent $60 on the deluxe model "every conceivable application" serpentine belt tool, and I have to say I don't regret buying it as it's NICE(plus between it ratcheting and the way it fits together, there's about 100 different angles it can be assembled into for maximum leverage in confined spaces). That got it off with no trouble, though. I also look like I got into a fight with a cat.

Now, back to it later today. The next obstacle is the alternator bolts themselves. I worked on the lower one for a little while, and I can JUST get a socket on it but not much else. I may be swinging by Harbor Freight and getting a 3/8" drive impact wrench(or maybe even 1/4" for size reasons). Of course it's humid enough now, though, that even though I've been pretty light on air useage, I had to drain the compressor mid-way through the day yesterday as there was enoguh water in the tank that my moisture traps weren't catching it and my impact wrench was having trouble with lugnuts that I pulled off with a normal 12" ratchet...
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DT

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Wow, yeah, reasonably newer cars and DIY maintenance. I was thinking that looked like some bloody knuckles :D

The trips for tools is familiar when I did a few major-ish projects on my Vettes, I still have, but only used that one time, a pulley/belt tool (mine was a long, flat bar with like flat sockets, no ratchet action ...)

Well, umm, enjoy I guess, at least that sounds like a fix. We had a BMW that had the same sort of "false positive" for a bad battery, fortunately under warranty (ugh, it was actually just a couple of months old at the time).
 

bunnspecial

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Well, and another tool order...

I have piles of sockets that I've accumulated over the years-shallow and deep well in 1/2, 3/8", and 1/4", and even duplicates in both 6 point and 12 point.

The only problem-where I'm almost always working on the MG, my tool collection is very SAE heavy. The MKZ, of course, is mostly metric.

Clearances are tight enough that sometimes it's just a matter of finding the rights "puzzle pieces" that are long enough to get out of the way but short enough to fit, and my spotty collection sometimes isn't cutting it. I have shallow well in 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2", plus some spotty 1/2" deep wells. I did get some deep 1/4s the other day. Still, though, I am ONE bolt away from getting the alternator loose. It's the top nut on a stud, and I need a deep well socket to get it. I don't have a deep well 15mm socket in any drive size...

So another Amazon order with deep wells in 3/8 and 1/2 is on its way. I COULD go and buy just the ones I need, but individual sockets are often silly money compared to the same quality bought in sets.
 

Herdfan

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The only problem-where I'm almost always working on the MG, my tool collection is very SAE heavy. The MKZ, of course, is mostly metric.

Well that seems bass ackwards. ;)

I have a full set of Craftsman sockets. Some are 30 years old and some are the newer one with the laser etching that you can no longer read.

I really want a set of the new Milwaukee sockets because they have white markings on black sockets so my old eyes will be able to tell which one I am using. As it is now, I just keep grabbing them until one fits. :ROFLMAO:
 

bunnspecial

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Well, it escalates.

In trying to maneuver out an alternator with about .1mm of clearance, I managed to snag the radiator, so that's coming out.

Good news is that I can go ahead and pull the old rad while I'm waiting on this and that should give me plenty of room to work. I can button up the alternator job and test it-likely won't have a radiator here until next week...
 

bunnspecial

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Okay, well replacement alternator is in the car. I threw a new serpentine belt on it(because why not?) started it up, and alternator is working.

Now I'm on to the radiator, which arrived today. Fortunately I did find videos on Youtube that were close enough to get me there. I was initially afraid that the AC condensor lines ran through the radiator support, but those were actually trans cooler lines. Of course I'll have to top up the transmission fluid, but that's minor.

Next step is to shoehorn the old rad out, put the new one in, and from there assembly is the reversal of disassembly.

BTW, a new one on me although apparently they're common-the power steering is driven off a separate belt from the serpentine(so I didn't have to mess with it). There's no tensioner or tension adjustment-it's a "stretch to fit" belt and supposedly is one time use. I ordered one, but figured I'd just leave the old since the serpentine honestly was in perfectly usable condition, I didn't see any obvious distress on the PS belt, and there's a chance I could have screwed up the new one installing it without the proper tool.
 
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