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Old 04-26-2011, 09:47 PM   #1
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Why I went into engineering/stupid things engineers do with car designs


See the photo below from my efforts to change my alternator on my 2007 Toyota Yaris.

I am at 115,000 miles, I would expect better based on Toyota's reputation, but then again I don't buy the hype either, so at 115,000 miles I'm not overly surprised to be replacing the alternator.

But what really pisses me off is the simple fact that I am prevented from doing this simple routine mechanical repair BY STUPID ENGINEERING.

Take a look at the lower mounting bolt in the picture below. Notice on the upper hand end of the bolt that there are aproximately 1-2 threads visible. Notice on the lower hand side that the head of the bolt is contacting a bracket and can be moved out no further. This bracket is secured with 1 bolt, and this bolt does not have adequate clearance for any kind of socket wrench.

This bolt has enough engagement that it prevents the alternator from being removed.

This is very basic stuff. Knucklehead Japan engineers probably never touched a wrench in their lives, and they probably did their clearance study based on the wrench without even thinking about the fact that the bolt is longer than a socket and wrench.

Just plain stupid.

If anyone has any slick tricks to get past this before I take a pry bar to the alternator and pull until something breaks I would appreciate it.
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Old 04-26-2011, 10:31 PM   #2
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If anyone has any slick tricks to get past this before I take a pry bar to the alternator and pull until something breaks I would appreciate it.
ya. just dissassemble it in reverse of how they assemble it> Start with removing the body from the drivetrain, then you will have clear access to the alternator.

dang I've always wanted to tell an engineer that due to all the bloody knuckles I've had.

what is the bolt running into? Is it something you could drill from the other side to allow clearance (a requirement to change the water pump on an older Buick Century. same basic problem; bolt too long to remove)

if you can't do that, would it held to unbolt the motor mounts and lift the engine a bit? (manufacturer recommended procedure to change plugs on a V-8 Monza)\

I can't see that it would help to jack up the car, remove the right front wheel, use 3' of extension and a swivel (the manuf. recommended procedure to change a spark plug on a 1983 ? Chevy Impala V8 with AC.)

sorry for having the fun at your expense but I was serious about the drilling method and the lifting the engine method. Sometimes those engineers really put the shaft to the mechanics.

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Old 04-26-2011, 10:47 PM   #3
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Why I went into engineering/stupid things engineers do with car designs


Gettin' the old one out is easy...gettin the new one in...and workin', now there's the trick. I worked on forklifts for a number of years...talk about crowded. Gotta pull the hydraulic pump to change a fan belt.
Step back and look at whats in the way. Buy one of the rebuild books at your local part store. Take your time, and take pictures if your memory's like mine.
Try not to end up with any 'extra parts' at the finish line.
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:20 PM   #4
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Why I went into engineering/stupid things engineers do with car designs


My Ford's oil filter was mounted over something important (can't remember what - got rid of it years ago) but every time you changed the filter you would drip a little oil onto this other part leading to premature failure.

Can't tell you how many times I've looked up directions online for doing one car repair or another that the directions included the term PITA.

And Plastic clips. I really really really hate automotive plastic clips.
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:12 AM   #5
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ya. just dissassemble it in reverse of how they assemble it> Start with removing the body from the drivetrain, then you will have clear access to the alternator.

dang I've always wanted to tell an engineer that due to all the bloody knuckles I've had.

what is the bolt running into? Is it something you could drill from the other side to allow clearance (a requirement to change the water pump on an older Buick Century. same basic problem; bolt too long to remove)

if you can't do that, would it held to unbolt the motor mounts and lift the engine a bit? (manufacturer recommended procedure to change plugs on a V-8 Monza)\

I can't see that it would help to jack up the car, remove the right front wheel, use 3' of extension and a swivel (the manuf. recommended procedure to change a spark plug on a 1983 ? Chevy Impala V8 with AC.)

sorry for having the fun at your expense but I was serious about the drilling method and the lifting the engine method. Sometimes those engineers really put the shaft to the mechanics.
I LMAO at that really. I remember in high school this kid that had a new Chevy Geo that lost a fan belt, and the dealer had to pull the engine to change it.

I started off with a '55 Ford with the inline 6. I climbed into the engine compartment and sat next to the engine to work on it.

So anyway, the bracket that the bolt is hitting is a support bracket for some of the HVAC tubing. This was as easy as moving that bracket forward 10 mm to clear that bolt. I got at the bolt for the bracket with an extension and a bit of an angle. Not ideal, but there's no downside to having designed it rightto begin with.

And yes, I absolutely know how it went in to begin with. Engines get built on a dress line, sometimes not even in the same plant, then get mounted on a subframe that gets lifted up into the body from below.

Everything I've done as an engineer, I make it my business to do my own work whenever I can doing assembly, installation, replacement, teardowns and repairs. Usually anything that makes a part more serviceable is also going to make it less expensive beccause it's easier (less labor intense) to assemble, rework is less likely and when needed can be done faster,
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:15 AM   #6
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Why I went into engineering/stupid things engineers do with car designs


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
My Ford's oil filter was mounted over something important (can't remember what - got rid of it years ago) but every time you changed the filter you would drip a little oil onto this other part leading to premature failure.

Can't tell you how many times I've looked up directions online for doing one car repair or another that the directions included the term PITA.

And Plastic clips. I really really really hate automotive plastic clips.
I've seen a lot of oil filters over exhaust, maybe it was over an O2 sensor.
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:12 AM   #7
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Why I went into engineering/stupid things engineers do with car designs


Wobble extension bars are your friend. Stubby, flex head ratchets are too.
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:36 AM   #8
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been there myself in a similar situation for our old Alero. Thought I would change the belt, had it off the pulleys ready to pull out to find it made a loop around the motor mount. Had to get the engine hoist out just to change the thing
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:27 PM   #9
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so, the alternator mount, bolt is going through, can not be removed?

bolt it is jammed against can not be undone with a ratchet box wrench?
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:33 PM   #10
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charging section here has 3 easy steps generator removal. it is OEM Toyota manual. You sure you have a Toyota?
http://www.etimago.com/yaris/repairmanual/
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Old 04-27-2011, 11:57 PM   #11
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charging section here has 3 easy steps generator removal. it is OEM Toyota manual. You sure you have a Toyota?
http://www.etimago.com/yaris/repairmanual/
Look at page CH 10. They indicate a different bolt needing to be removed that what the OP is removing. The one the OP is taking out is about 8 oclock while that manual is directing that bolt remain but a bolt about 5 oclock be removed. That manual also shows a bracket on the top of the alt to allow for belt adjustment. The OP's appears to have an automatic tensioner.

I don't know where you got that info from but is there a chance to peak at an 08 model to see if it is like the one the OP shows in his pic?
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Old 04-28-2011, 01:13 AM   #12
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The picture is looking down at the alternator lower mount bolt with the alternator clocked forward. The upper mount bolt goes into the slotted bracket, and the bolt mounting the slotted bracket to the engine block doesn't need to be removed but that's not the one I'm talking about.

This shouldn't really be a procedure where a manual is needed, it's pretty much been the same aside from the fact that the lower mount used to be done in 2 bolts, one at the front the other at the rear but that was 56 years ago before alternators started being used.
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Old 04-28-2011, 01:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ukrkoz View Post
so, the alternator mount, bolt is going through, can not be removed?

bolt it is jammed against can not be undone with a ratchet box wrench?
I just get pissy when I have to work on a car I have to drive. And when it requires tools I can't find because I moved, my garage is smaller, and I've never had occasion to dig them out therefore they are buried deep because the metric system is a tool of the devil, to quote grandpa Simpson.

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavendar/...224/metric.wav
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Old 04-28-2011, 01:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
WillK;638074]The picture is looking down at the alternator lower mount bolt with the alternator clocked forward. The upper mount bolt goes into the slotted bracket, and the bolt mounting the slotted bracket to the engine block doesn't need to be removed but that's not the one I'm talking about.
I know it isn't the upper bolt isn;t the one you are talking about. I didn't realize you had the alt tipped forward. So, this is the directions for what you need to do to complete the removal:


Quote:
(e) Remove fixing bolt B and remove the generator.
for some reason, they do not speak of needing to do anything special to remove the bolt.

I can't tell in your pic but is the boss the bolt passes through first (as you are putting the bolt in) part of the mounting that remains with the engine or part of the alternator?

If it is part of the alt, it would appear you should be able to pick up the alternator with the bolt left in the boss. Because you are in the situation you are, I suspect that last part of the boss is part of the engine mounting.

So, although this really isn't that old of a vehicle, is it possible an engine mount has broken or shifted enough to cause the engine to set deeper in the engine bay than it should? While it really doesn't look like lifting it up a relatively small amount such as you might experience from a worn mount, I figured I would at least toss that out there.

can you determine how much further you have to pull the bolt out to get it out? Is there any chance of simply wedging the engine towards the drivers side that amount without having to disassemble major components?
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:20 PM   #15
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jackstand engine. looks like bolt head needs only another 1/2 inch clearance to slide out, and you can move engine more than that easy on mounts.

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