You may have seen my recent post celebrating the Murano’s 200,000th mile.
Naturally the alternator started failing. It was replaced last year and 20,000 miles ago, but fine whatever, I would have spent nearly as much towing it home as having it fixed. No sense getting needlessly riled up over that. What has passed has passed. I clean the terminals and hope to see that I just have a bad battery/connection. Car off- 12.5v...engine running 11.8v. Shit.
So I look into how to replace the alternator at home(well my mom’s paved driveway and garage of tools). Man this will be a pain in the ass, but saving ~$500 is totally worth it.
I was always afraid of working on my transverse V6. Most of it was based on ignorance and rumor. I will overcome that fear and assert my dominance over machines once again.
Being a logical world, my first step was jacking up the car and taking off the right front wheel. Then all the plastic. Just so I could get a glimpse of that sweet, well no longer sweet, alternator. Kind of. If you look at just the right angle.
The alternator is wedged between the front bank of cylinders above and behind it. The exhaust manifold toward the center of the car and the a/c compressor beneath it. Nissan recommends that you remove the front heat shields, but as this car is 13 years old and has 200k on it... HA! Fortunately other enterprising DIYers discovered that you can make much more room removing the radiator. Well I need to change the coolant anyways, 2 birds. Removing the radiator was surprisingly simple and judging by the bent fins on the back of the radiator, I’d need all the room I could get anyways.
Then comes that happy part of wrenching when you enter montage mode with the A-Team theme playing in your head. Battery tray? Gone. Fan shroud? Outta there. Coolant percolating into an EPA approved container? Oh yeah. Loosen those belts and disconnect those wires? You know I got that taken care of.
Now comes the final boss. First you loosen the through bolt with a 14mm socket, elbow joint, a long ass extension and I recommend building a Shinto shrine in the rear hatch. You’ll need it. Then blindly reach your fingers in whatever hole they can fit and get that nut. One more bolt, then wrestle the alternator out of there. All the while hoping that the alternator doesn’t decide that your face looks like a nice place to fall.
Now swap that puppy out and reconnect everything. Montage part 2. Dr. Frankenstein looks upon you proudly as you prepare this hodgepodge of mechanical bits for life once again.
The idler pulley adjustment nut has decided to seize up? Apparently I loosened it way too much and damaged the threads. Hey there’s always one thing right? Naturally the only replacement is 40 minutes away, but a well deserved break. I’ll get it done Monday.
Put in the new adjustment arm. Feel that smooth adjustment action. Delicious. Belts tight, we’re ready to rock. The moment of truth. Has all that work paid off? Or will that battery light sear itself into my memory, mocking me, haunting me when I sleep? Engine on. Light off. Feels good man.
Something is not right. A new noise.
The idler pulley.
No problem. I’ll re adjust it. Hey, this nut isn’t where it should be.... Great. The bolt thread is damaged. How’d that..? What ever it doesn’t matter. The kit came with a new one, I’ll just take off the bracket and replace it too.
That Shinto shrine was completely worth it. I could curse every single engineer who had a hand in the packaging of this demon they named a Murano. Wrench? Nope. Socket? You can’t get them square on the head since Nissan, in it’s infinite wisdom, has the metal inner fend just where you need it. I’m stuck. I’m hoping for that epiphany that occasionally strikes with a day off.
Wrenching is a cruel, cruel hobby.