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VW MKIII-A3/B4 TDIs This is a discussion about MKIII-A3/MkIII Jetta/Golf (<99.5) and B4 Passats (96,97) TDI's. Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old May 19th, 2006, 16:22   #1
Stealth TDI
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Default Another Alternator Pulley Post...

Hi,

I've been getting some squeaking from the alternator area. I was afraid it was a bad bearing. The problem went away over the winter. Now that it's warm, the problem is back and even worse. Sounding more like a belt, I gave a look and found chunks missing out of the serpentine belt. So I figured that was the problem... a squeaky belt. I replaced the belt and the problem persists.

Upon inspection of the alternator pulley, I discovered the pulley is rotating along the shaft. I'm unsure if it can be tightened. After reading in here, it looks like it must be replaced. BTW, removing an alternator from an A3 TDI is an absolute PITA. I had to remove the right-hand headlight, uncouple an AC bracket, then lift the AC line up about 18" to clear a path for the alternator to come out from behind where the headlight used to be. :shock:

ANYWAY, my goal is to figure out how to tighten up this pulley or replace it. I'm certain there is nothing wrong with the alternator. I found a cover that I've removed. However, there are tools needed that I do not have. Check this out:



This photo is looking at the alternator from the pulley side. These splined fittings are inside the pulley area. Surely someone in here has replaced an alternator. Looking at NEW alternators, it appears they are not shipped with pulleys. So this pulley would have to come off whether I'm replacing the pulley or needing to transfer it to a new alternator. That also suggests the pulley can be replaced independently. Does anyone know what I need to do to replace this pulley?

With over 200,000-miles on the car, the alternator owes me nothing. Should I just replace it while it's out? My gut says NO. But it would suck to put it back in and have it fail in a few months. :lol:

I appreciate your advice...

Thanks!
Scott
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Old May 19th, 2006, 17:00   #2
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Oh,

I recall reading about how MetalNerd has the appropriate tool to remove the pulley. I've found it:



But which piece turns which way? And when it comes off, is one of the splined pieces attached to the pulley? Or does it come off separately? I'm heading to NAPA in the morning to see what they have to say. But I'd rather hear from folks who've actually done some work on this particular alternator. Also, I recall reading up on someone replacing their brushes and/or voltage regulator. Should I do it? Or should I just wait until I have problems? I'm so seasoned on getting the alternator out now I could probably do it with no problems next time.

Take Care,

Scott
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Old May 20th, 2006, 00:08   #3
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In the absence of any other data I'd say you'd unscrew the pulley in the opposite direction to normal rotation; screwthreads are normally implemented so that normal useage will tend to tighten the fastener.

So if the alt rotates clockwise, you'd want to hold the shaft (small spline) still, and turn the pulley anticlockwise...
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Old May 25th, 2006, 17:45   #4
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Okay.

Here are the photos:

First, my alternator removal lesson... The AC line is smack in the way of getting the alternator out nice and easy. The only way to move the AC line is to unbolt it and lift it up to slide the alternator under it. The only way to unbolt and lift the AC line is to remove the headlamp. The only way to remove the headlamp is to remove the grill... :roll:


Here you can see the AC bracket I needed to unbolt after removing the grill and headlamp...


Now another lesson... I didn't need to remove the alternator to replace this pulley. In fact, the pulley was on there so tight I HAD to reinstall the alternator so it would be braced well enough for me to hork on the 30-spline pulley nut with a 20" cheater bar. That thing was TIGHT!
Here's the old pulley. You can see the center section just sort of let go and the outer section started to slip around the center piece...





It's tough to see; but there are little tiny cracks along the inside of the out piece. You can also see a chip on one part...


The nice, shiny new pulley...



Oh, here's the alternator shaft (I know... I said "shaft"...) :lol:


Apparently, these wacky pulleys made their first appearance in TDIs. They're designed to engage the alternator in only ONE DIRECTION. I guess when you cut off the engine either the sudden stop of the engine or a TINY amount of reverse motion (as the engine comes to rest) causes small voltage spikes that can shorten the life of the alternator. This pulley allows the alternator to spin down separately from the engine. I guess it was an "upgrade" to prolong the life of the alternator. One parts guy told me all the new VWs have these things. But my 2003 Passat w/1.8T does NOT have this pulley. So I'm guessing it's a TDI-only thing. What I don't understand is why a TDI would need this pulley and the other plants do not. :shock:

Oh well. It was an interesting lesson. I now have the tool in case I need to swap pulleys again. Now I'll monitor an intermittent N109 Fuel Cutoff Valve fault that MAY have been caused by the pulley. I have a spare part on hand. But the new pulley might have fixed my problem. Time will tell. My VAG-COM has paid for itself over and over again. 8)

Take Care,

Scott
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Old May 26th, 2006, 00:14   #5
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Used by other brands too. What you have to remember is that because a diesel only revs to 5k max compared to 7-8k in a modern gasser, the drive ratio is radically different. Your alt is spinning at perhaps 12-14k at the redline. That's a lot of inertia, and it'll drive the engine if it so desires; the pulley isolates it...
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Old May 26th, 2006, 07:33   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth TDI
Okay.

The nice, shiny new pulley...
Do you have a part number for the new pulley? Did you get it from the dealer, NAPA, or somewhere else? Thanks.
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 07:31   #7
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Sorry,

This post escaped me. Free wheel pulley part number is 028 903 119 AA. The ribbed belt pulley Retail price is $114.20. I got mine at Impex for about $96.

Scott
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 07:33   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth TDI
Sorry,

This post escaped me. Free wheel pulley part number is 028 903 119 AA. The ribbed belt pulley Retail price is $114.20. I got mine at Impex for about $96.

Scott
Thanks for the info, Scott. I don't need a new one now, but it's always good to be prepared.
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 11:23   #9
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I would have had to really fight the urge to coat the inner hub of the old pully with loctite and slap it all back together.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 06:16   #10
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Another possible source for the dreaded cold weather, first start in the morning, ear splitting squeal ?
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Old June 7th, 2006, 06:37   #11
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Loctite would not have worked. There's nothing in there for it to work on. The surfaces are smooth in the broken part. Luckily, my new part arrived before my drive to BugOut 59 where I took 2nd place in my show class. Had the part NOT showed up, I would have JBWelded it and hoped for the best until the part arrived. However, JBWeld would not have allowed freewheel action.

Regarding the cold weather, I'm not sure what you're saying. But I say I think the cold weather is what masked the problem over the winter. I'm sure the belt tightened in the cold, allowing the pulley to have more tension. Once it warmed up, the pulley was once again allowed to slip and get progressively worse. The problem surfaced because the pulley failed. The weather only hid the symptoms.

OH, before I forget, I've read a post or two about jumpy serpentine belt tensioners. One of the first things I replaced while troubleshooting my problem was my serpentine belt tensioner (I thought the squeaking could be this tensioner). It was boucing around a lot and I thought it was failing. Sure enough, the new one made no difference. At that point, I feared one of the accessories was binding and causing the bouncing. I removed the belts to check the accessories and everything rotated smoothly. I didn't catch the slipping pulley at this point... must not have "failed hard" yet. Anyway, replacing the alternator pulley fixed EVERYTHING. The belt now glides smooth as silk... no more bouncing tensioner. To those with bouncing tensioners, you may be seeing the early signs of an alternator pulley failure.

Take Care,

Scott
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Old June 7th, 2006, 09:16   #12
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Has anyone considered lubricating the pulley assembly? I'm guessing this is a roller-clutch of the same kind as used in motorcycle electric-start drivetrains...
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Old March 16th, 2007, 14:56   #13
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Time to revive this thread. I've been getting TINY squeaks from time to time. After another eight months and 24,000-miles, my alternator finally gave out. The total mileage is 224,000-miles. I have a replacement onhand from NAPA (fastest source besides the dealer) and will swap it out tomorrow (pouring rain today). The replacement came with a solid pulley. I'll remove the freewheel pulley to check its condition before committing to the pulley swap. I hate to give up that pulley since it costs 75% as much as I paid for the rebuilt alternator. But I wonder if the solid pulley will work fine.

Thoughts?
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Old March 18th, 2007, 06:01   #14
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where and how much did the tool that holds the larger outer splined part of the pulley cost where did you find it.

Also what did the rebuilt alternator cost, what was the symptom of the failed one? was it just bearings?

Thanks
Bruce
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Old March 18th, 2007, 15:36   #15
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$33 from Metalnerd. Picture near bottom of page on the link below.

http://www.metalnerd.com/cat05.htm
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