Friday, July 25, 2014

FORD - Fix Or Repair Daily

Its not true but I couldn’t resist.  We’ve owned the F250 for close to a year now and, other than not starting when we got back to Cowichan Bay from Alaska, its been dead reliable.  I dunno why the batteries went flat in 4 months but I should have disconnected them so that one’s on me.

A couple of times over the last few weeks the battery idiot light has come on so when it came on briefly yesterday I switched one of the fields on my ScanGuage to monitor voltage.  Sure enough the voltage was jumping around a lot and periodically going pretty low.  Alternator time in other words.  So today, rather than looking at crops, I drove to Swift Current and picked up a new alternator. 

I’ve fought with serpentine belts before so I was initially sceptical as to whether I could change the alternator myself.  In fact when I first looked at it I thought “no way – that’s a job for a shop”.  Everything is so crowded in there – getting a bar or socket on the tensioner looked nigh on impossible.  Fortunately I checked with Mr. Google before I made an appointment.  Ford has done something absolutely brilliant on this truck.  Its so good I have to assume they have it on other engines as well but I don’t know that for a fact.


The little tab to the right of the yellow arrow locks the tensioner “up”.  The only way it could be any easier is if you could see what you are doing.  You pull on the serpentine belt with your left hand, reach into an impossibly tiny space with your right hand, feel for the clip and flip it into place.  At that point the belt is loose enough to change the alternator (or change the belt but I didn’t do that this time).  When you’re all done another tug on the belt, the clip pops back out, let the belt go and the tensioner goes tight again.

I’ve read that some people are too wimpy to pull with one hand and flip the clip with the other.  In that event it would be a 2 person job for roughly the first 30 seconds.  My only worry was that the belt would fall down when I pulled the alternator out so I boogied up a rig involving a haemostat and my vice grips to hold it in place while I swapped the alternators.  The whole job from hood up to vehicle start took under 20 minutes.  The second time around I’m thinking maximum 8 minutes start to finish. 

Kudos to Ford.

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