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Here is my DIY guide for T1 V8 alternator replacement. My model has steel suspension but I believe the process will be similar for air suspension models. All together this took me 13.5 hours, but I had no DIY guide to follow :cool:. Enjoy. I am limited to 10 photos so I only put in the most important ones. I could have easily done 25.


Make sure engine is cool. Disconnect the negative battery terminal. You will find a plastic plate in front of the drivers toward the center console on the floor. Remove it, you will now see the negative battery connection. Use a 10mm socket to remove the nut ad pull the cable off. Remove coolant tube running to coolant tank.This makes accessing the airbox easier. Others may find this step isn't necessary. Attach coolant tube to hood upright to avoid coolant discharge.

Disconnect air hose to air box.


Disconnect sensor on air hose.


Remove top 10mm nut holding on this assembly. You can use a socket driver for this. Next use a 10mm open end wrench to loosen, don't remove the lower. It will slip off of the bolt with little effort. You can move this out of the way, there is quite a bit of play in it. I put mine on top of the engine.


Disconnect air pipe on bottom of air box that connects to the air pump.

Pull the first half of the airbox out and set aside, remove air filter and set aside. Next remove the remaining back half. There is another 10mm nut holding that on.

Remove plastic clip above the airbox, slides out easily towards the engine. You should now be able to remove the back half of the airbox.

Remove the passenger side wheel and remove the wheel liner. There are a number of T20 torx screws that need to be removed. There are also two plastic nuts that need to be removed. You can look at my DIY Cowl drains for more info on this step.


Diagram serpentine belt routing for later re-assembly. Remove the serpentine belt. There is a 19mm nut on the tension-er. I was able to use an open end wrench to remove it but it would have been easier with a breaker bar. Slip the belt off of the alternator.

You should now be able to see the alternator and coolant tubes clearly. You will need to bend down the two tabs with rubber grommets shown. I used a hammer and wooden block to do the job. The alternator will not come out otherwise. Don't worry they will bend back without damage later.

You will find this mounted to the bottom frame rail. A single 10mm bolt holds it on. Remove the bolt and move it out of the way. Don't disconnect any of the coolant tubes.


It helps to hold this out of the way with some tape or zip ties.

Disconnect the sensor from the back of the alternator. Also remove the 13mm nut holding on the main cable. Cable should now come off. Make sure your battery is disconnected before you do this step! I don't have a picture pre coolant pipes removed so ignore that part. Use a telescoping magnet to hold the nut when removed. Also a telescoping mirror comes in handly for those hard to see bolts.


Now we need to drain the coolant down below the alternator. Make sure you have a large pan to collect the coolant. Remove the coolant hose that connects to the alternator coolant pipe right above the alternator. This hose has a lot of play and you should be able to control the flow pretty well. Drain enough out so that the level is below the alternator. Draining all the coolant isn't necessary.


Next remove the coolant pipes. The tubes are stacked one behind the other. The first is a J shape. There is a barely visible 5mm allen to remove. I wasn't able to get an allen wrench on it so I used needle nose vice grips to remove it. It will pull out of the back of the alternator.In this photo the J pipe has already been removed, exposing the second pipe behind it.


Next remove the second pipe. First remove the 5mm allen visible in the picture above. Next remove the 8mm allen bolt holding the bracket and pipe to the engine. I used a few extensions and a universal to get it out.


Here is the removal procedure.


Ok, alternator is ready to come out. Remove the two 6mm allen bolts holding it to the engine.



Here's the fun part. Wiggle, pry, get it out by whatever means necessary. Once it comes loose it will slide out.

Mine had bad bearings. I was able to get it rebuilt for $120. Order replacement O-rings for the coolant pipes from your VW dealer. The two going into the alternator are one size and the pipe going into the engine is a larger size. O-rings cost $6.30 at dealership, I ordered extras in case.

If you want yours rebuilt at the same place I had mine done you can ship it to him. I already spoke to him about this. His name is Mike. He's a one man show, but does a good job.

Kaza Auto Electric
64 Allen Avenue
Portland, ME
(207) 797-6658
 

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great writeup, thanks!
 

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So of all those hours, the photos and write up took 13 and the actual alternator was just a 30 minute job. Very good!

Seriously tho' - excellent job. Well done.

Hope you don't mind but I'd like to put a link to this on the UK Treg site in their "how-to" section.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So of all those hours, the photos and write up took 13 and the actual alternator was just a 30 minute job. Very good!
This DIY does make it look like a relatively easy process. Of course it's condensed into the parts you need to know. However, what you not seeing is the 1-2 hours it takes to remove a single bolt in some cases. Or spending 1-2 hours getting the coolant pipes lined up correctly. It's not a job for the faint of heart, I questioned my resolve several times during the process. In the end it was worth the $1700 I saved. I hope that it will save someone else the time of the guesswork. noobytoogy please go ahead and link to the UK site.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Here's a couple pics of the actual coolant tubes. The first picture is the one closest to the engine.



This is the outside pipe.
 

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It would be interesting to see if the part #'s for the rubber o-rings are the same as in the VW TSB for leaking coolant at the alternator...I'm sure since they upgraded these the old style would be superceded by such and thus you'd only get the correct newer version.

Looks like they had a custom run of tubing fabrication after they bolted the alternator on they created the necessary tubing runs...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Looks like they had a custom run of tubing fabrication after they bolted the alternator on they created the necessary tubing runs...
It appears on the inside pipe where they're joined together it's hand welded. Hard to see in the picture but when holding it in your hand it looks pretty sloppy.
 

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Thanks for providing the pictures and DIY information....maybe Volkswagen will pick up on how to do it! I can see that it would have taken a lot of resolve to get the job done and I am glad you were successful.
 

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maybe Volkswagen will pick up on how to do it!
I'm thinking the method I used is A LOT less invasive than dropping the engine. An engine drop can lead to many other unintended issues. Especially if your VW tech has not done it before.
 

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By the way, what problems did you encounter from disconnecting the battery? Does it start in like a safe mode and then you drive it or do you have to proactively restore settings to the computer?
 

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By the way, what problems did you encounter from disconnecting the battery?
It was a little weird. The first turn of the key the engine didn't start, didn't engage the starter. On the second it did. After that the ESP light was on for 60 miles or so. After driving the 60 miles and a shut-down / restart the ESP light went off. Thought at first I might have done something wrong but all is good now.
 

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Diodes

It was a little weird. The first turn of the key the engine didn't start, didn't engage the starter. On the second it did. After that the ESP light was on for 60 miles or so. After driving the 60 miles and a shut-down / restart the ESP light went off. Thought at first I might have done something wrong but all is good now.
Did your alternator repairman offer to replace the diode/electronics package in the alternator. Did you get an estimate on that too? Is it in the alternator or is it even serviceable? VW calls it a generator which usually means a D.C. unit but I guess it really is an alternator??
 

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Did your alternator repairman offer to replace the diode/electronics package in the alternator. Did you get an estimate on that too?
It is indeed a generator not an alternator. So it puts out clean DC power. An alternator puts out AC which is then converted to DC via diodes. It's essentially a DC motor, it has brushes. The tech said that the brushes were in good condition so no need to replace them.
 

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It is indeed a generator not an alternator. So it puts out clean DC power. An alternator puts out AC which is then converted to DC via diodes. It's essentially a DC motor, it has brushes. The tech said that the brushes were in good condition so no need to replace them.
You brought up an interesting point with the brushes, that I was meaning to ask a long time ago. My ex BMW E30 had an alternator (that lasted over 24 years and 400000km never replaced BTW) with brushes, and at around the 300000km mark, it left me stranded on the highway. Mechanic discovered the brushes in the alternator had worn out, that I did not know existed, and was good to go. One more new preventive maintenance procedure that was then introduced on the E30 forum.

You say your brushes were fine, so I guess this is not going to be an issue for us as was the case on my BMW?



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So the only electrical control is a voltage regulator. The voltage output would vary with rpms. I wonder where that is done. Probably external, the question is where would it be located?
 

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just got mine out the only hard part is getting the allen bolts broken loose from the back of the alt. First step engine removal my A$$.
 
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