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Alternator Bracket Gasket Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Alternator Bracket Gasket Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

10 hours10 hrs

Tab:

$5

Talent:

****

Tools:

Jack, jack stands, Torx drivers and female Torx socket set, 10mm-17mm socket and wrench set, flathead screw driver, (engine hoist: optional but highly recommended), safety glasses, torque wrench, lug wrench

Applicable Models:

BMW E65 7-Series (2002-08)

Parts Required:

Alternator gasket, power steering fluid

Hot Tip:

Rent an engine hoist

Performance Gain:

Stop pouring oil into your engine only to watch it weep out

Complementary Modification:

New power steering fluid

I know what you are thinking! Who designs an engine with a hole in it that does nothing, then seals the hole with a $5 gasket that leaks, and requires removing several engine components, along with the engine mount, and eight to ten hours of labor to replace it? If you purchased a 2004-2009 BMW with an eight-cylinder engine and have just found out the dealership wants between $1,400 and $2,200 to replace a $5 gasket you are probably not happy. Seriously, someone had to get fired over this! This is one of the reasons that a car that once sold for over $100,000 a few years ago can now be had for less than $20,000 today.

If you are going to do this job yourself, there are a few things you need to know going in. First, you are going to be removing the driver side engine mount, so you are going to have to support the engine. I highly recommend you rent or borrow an engine hoist. While you can support the engine from below on a jack, doing so requires removing the dynamic drive. Also, it is going to get fairly crowded under the car, and if you can lift and support the engine from the top, it will give you more room to work below. If you are saving over a thousand dollars on labor, spend $50 and rent a hoist. It will make the job much easier and save you time in the long run.

Next, don't be in a rush! You are going to be removing bolts that are in hard to reach places, and you DO NOT want to strip them. If you strip them, the engine has to come out of the car to fix it, so take your time and work methodically.

Warnings aside, if you are comfortable working on your car, have the right tools, and a level place to work you can do this job yourself and save a ton of money.

Let's begin. First loosen the driver side tire. Safely lift and support the vehicle. Get the vehicle as high as you safely can to give yourself as much room to work as possible. Please see our article on "Safely Raising and Supporting Your BMW". Remove the driver side tire. (I removed the tire to give me more room to work, it is a really tight fit in there.)

Go to the trunk and disconnect the battery making sure the cable cannot accidentally make contact with the terminal while you are working.

Open the hood and remove the upper front engine covers.

Next, you want to remove the MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor connector, the air duct and the top of the filter housing. The MAF connector just unplugs from the sensor housing in the air duct. The actual sensor stays in the air duct. Use a flathead screwdriver and loosen the clamp connecting the air duct to the intake duct. Unplug the breather hose going in to the side of the air box cover. Squeeze it together and pull it off. Unclip the air box's two clips, and slide the top of the box back and up. Pull the air duct from the intake, taking care that you don't damage the overflow reservoir line or rip the rubber boot connecting the ducts. Leave the actual sensor in the air duct, and take care that nothing comes in contact with the sensor surface.

Next, you will remove the front cross member covers so you can get the cooling fan and cowl out. On the 7 series there are eight Torq screws holding the metal plate over the radiator on. Using a T30 remove them and lift the plate off. With the plate off you will see a plastic cover over the radiator and shroud. Use a T27 and remove the five Torx screws holding it on. Unclip the overflow tube, and remove the cover.

Move to the fan and shroud. Unplug the two electrical connectors for the AUC and fan motor at the top passenger side. Raise the fan housing up about an inch, and fold in the retaining tab on the driver side of the fan housing, this will help it clear the bay. With the tab folded in lift the shroud straight up and out.

Remove the drive belt by placing a T60 Torx socket in the drive belt tensioner. Turn the tensioner clockwise. This will release the tension on the belt and allow you to remove it. If you are reusing the belt make sure you mark the rotation direction before removing it. There is a small hole on the lower part of the tensioner between the bolt and pulley that you can place a pin into to lock the tensioner in place if you are working by yourself. The belt can be quite stubborn to get on and off at the best of times, let alone if you are trying to do it yourself while holding a wrench on the tensioner.

Now you need to remove the alternator. There are two bolts that hold it to the front of the engine, and two electrical connections on the side. The electrical connections are much easier to get access to and remove if you unbolt the alternator first. Remove the 13mm and 16mm bolts from the front and slide the alternator forward. Then remove the connector and cable from the side of the alternator. Do not let the alternator hang from the cables at any time.

You are going to have to remove the power steering pump from the alternator bracket, and hang it out of the way. I recommend draining the fluid from the reservoir and disconnecting the line from the reservoir to the pump, but leaving the lines out from the pump to the steering system intact. Removing the input line from the reservoir will give you more room to swing the pump out of the way and therefore give you more room to work. You are going to be lying under the car at this point. The bracket is behind the pump, so the more room you have to reach in there and work the easier the job will be. It will only take a minute to drain and separate the line. Doing so can save you a ton of frustration later. Just do not forget to refill it with new clean fluid. Do not re use the old fluid when you put it back together.

Begin by using a turkey baster to drain as much fluid as possible from the reservoir. Place a large catch pan under the car and have something smaller to catch the fluid that will be in the hose. It is easier to separate and reconnect the hose from the bottom of the reservoir than from the pump itself. Use a flathead screwdriver, and loosen the hose clamp. Prepare a small catch container to collect the fluid in the hose. I cut the top off a small disposable water bottle, and it worked great. With your catch bottle in hand pull the hose from the reservoir, and catch the remaining fluid from the reservoir in the bottle. Carefully turn the hose upside down and pour the fluid from the hose into the bottle. With the hose empty remove the two bolts holding the pump to the alternator bracket and engine. Swing the pump out from the engine, and tie it and the hoses up somewhere safe out of the way. You will now have access to the alternator bracket.

Remove the belt drive tensioner using a 17mm socket and breaker bar.

You are going to be removing the engine mount so you need to support the engine and have the ability to raise and lower it. Move back to the top of the engine, and remove the top cover. It is held in place by four T27 Torx screws. Remove the screws, and pull the cover off the top of the engine. With the cover off you will see the engine lift point (eye hook) at the front of the driver side cylinder bank. Attach your hoist to the eyehook, and lift the hoist until it takes the weight of the engine. Move back down under the car to the alternator bracket.

There are nine bolts (including the engine mounts) holding the alternator bracket to the engine. At the front of the engine you will need to remove two 13mm bolts along with a T45 Torx bolt. On the side the engine mount is attached to the alternator bracket and engine by four E12 Torx bolts. They are basically female Torx bolts. You will need to get the proper socket to remove these. DO NOT attempt to remove these with anything other than the proper socket. Failure to do so may result in stripping the bolts, and you do not want to do that.

The two bolts on the front are relatively easy to get access to, while the ones on the rear are more difficult. You will need an assortment of universal joints and extensions to access the rear bolts through the wheel well. After you have removed the four bolts holding the mount to the engine, remove the single bolt holding the mounting arm to the mount. Raise the engine enough to remove the mounting arm.

There are now two remaining bolts holding the bracket to the engine. Remove the 13mm and 16mm blots, and gently pull the alternator bracket away from the engine. There are two guide tubes on the engine that the bracket sits in so you cannot pull it off towards the front of the engine.

Take the alternator bracket to your bench. Clean it up, and replace the gasket. Give the engine block area around the bracket a good cleaning. Make sure you do not get anything inside the holes in the block, as it goes directly into the engine.

Installation is the reverse of removal. (Don't forget to refill your power steering fluid.)

Congratulations! You just saved yourself a lot of money!

Open the compartment in the trunk, on the passenger side, behind the rear wheel.
Figure 1

Open the compartment in the trunk, on the passenger side, behind the rear wheel. Remove the jack, and disconnect the ground cable (green arrow) from the battery, making sure that it cannot accidentally come back in contact with the battery terminal.

After removing the front engine covers, remove the MAF sensor connector.
Figure 2

After removing the front engine covers, remove the MAF sensor connector. Simply squeeze it together and pull it out of the housing (yellow arrow). Use a flathead screwdriver, and loosen the clamp (red arrow) connecting MAF duct to the intake tube.

Unplug the breather hose (yellow arrow) going in to the side of the air box cover.
Figure 3

Unplug the breather hose (yellow arrow) going in to the side of the air box cover. Squeeze it together and pull it off. Unclip the air box's two clips (red arrows).

Slide the top of the box back and up.
Figure 4

Slide the top of the box back and up. Pull the air duct from the intake, taking care that you don't damage the overflow reservoir line (green arrow) or rip the rubber boot (yellow arrow) connecting the ducts. Leave the actual sensor in the air duct, and take care that nothing comes in contact with the sensor surface.

Remove the front cross member covers so you can get the cooling fan and cowl out.
Figure 5

Remove the front cross member covers so you can get the cooling fan and cowl out. On the 7 Series there are eight Torq screws (yellow arrows) holding the metal plate over the radiator. Use a T30 to remove them, and lift the plate off.

Use a T27 and remove the five Torx screws (red arrows) holding the plastic radiator cover on.
Figure 6

Use a T27 and remove the five Torx screws (red arrows) holding the plastic radiator cover on. Unclip the overflow tube (green arrow), and remove the cover.

Unplug the two electrical connectors for the AUC (yellow arrow) and fan motor (red arrow) at the top passenger side.
Figure 7

Unplug the two electrical connectors for the AUC (yellow arrow) and fan motor (red arrow) at the top passenger side.

Raise the fan housing up about an inch (red arrows), and fold in the retaining tab on the driver side of the fan housing.
Figure 8

Raise the fan housing up about an inch (red arrows), and fold in the retaining tab on the driver side of the fan housing. This will help it clear the bay. With the tab folded in lift the shroud straight up and out. Watch for the over flow tube (yellow arrow).

This photo illustrates the fan and shroud out of the engine bay.
Figure 9

This photo illustrates the fan and shroud out of the engine bay. You can see how the passenger side clip (red arrow) is fixed and the driver side clip folds (yellow arrow).

Remove the drive belt by placing a T60 Torx socket in the drive belt tensioner.
Figure 10

Remove the drive belt by placing a T60 Torx socket in the drive belt tensioner. Turn the tensioner clockwise. This will release the tension on the belt and allow you to remove it. If you are reusing the belt make sure you mark the rotation direction before removing it. There is a small hole on the lower part of the tensioner between the bolt and pulley that you can place a pin into to lock the tensioner in place if you are working by yourself.

Remove the 13mm and 16mm bolts (red arrows) from the front, and slide the alternator forward.
Figure 11

Remove the 13mm and 16mm bolts (red arrows) from the front, and slide the alternator forward. Then remove the connector and cable from the side of the alternator. Do not let the alternator hang from the cables at any time.

You can see the battery cable (red arrow) and electrical connector (yellow arrow) connected in the engine bay.
Figure 12

You can see the battery cable (red arrow) and electrical connector (yellow arrow) connected in the engine bay.

This photo shows the alternator removed from the engine.
Figure 13

This photo shows the alternator removed from the engine. You can see where the battery strap (red arrow) and the electrical connector (yellow arrow) go, and see how easier it is to remove them with the alternator partially out of the engine.

Use a turkey baster to drain as much fluid as possible from the power steering reservoir.
Figure 14

Use a turkey baster to drain as much fluid as possible from the power steering reservoir. Place a large catch pan under the car, and have something smaller to catch the fluid that will be in the hose.

Use a flathead screwdriver, and loosen the hose clamp.
Figure 15

Use a flathead screwdriver, and loosen the hose clamp. Prepare a small catch container to collect the fluid in the hose. I cut the top off a small disposable water bottle, and it worked great. With your catch bottle in hand pull the hose from the reservoir (red arrow). Catch the remaining fluid from the reservoir in the bottle. Carefully turn the hose upside down, and pour the fluid from the hose into the bottle.

With the hose empty remove the power steering pump (red arrow) from the engine.
Figure 16

With the hose empty remove the power steering pump (red arrow) from the engine. There are two bolts holding the pump to the alternator bracket and engine. Swing the pump out from the engine. Tie it and the hoses up somewhere safe out of the way. You will now have access to the alternator bracket. Please note: Some models have a 6mm Allen head bolt behind the power steering pump that must be removed before the pump can slide forward.

Remove the belt drive tensioner using a 17mm socket (green arrow) and breaker bar.
Figure 17

Remove the belt drive tensioner using a 17mm socket (green arrow) and breaker bar.

Move back to the top of the engine, and remove the top cover.
Figure 18

Move back to the top of the engine, and remove the top cover. It is held in place by four T27 Torx screws. Remove the screws (green arrows), and pull the cover off the top of the engine.

With the cover off you will see the engine lift point (eyehook, red arrow) at the front of the driver side cylinder bank.
Figure 19

With the cover off you will see the engine lift point (eyehook, red arrow) at the front of the driver side cylinder bank. I loosened the ERG hose (green arrow) to help clear the hook.

Attach your hoist to the eyehook, and lift the hoist until it takes the weight of the engine.
Figure 20

Attach your hoist to the eyehook, and lift the hoist until it takes the weight of the engine.

At the front of the engine you will need to remove two 13mm bolts along with a T45 Torx bolt (red arrow) that hold the alternator bracket to the front of the engine.
Figure 21

At the front of the engine you will need to remove two 13mm bolts along with a T45 Torx bolt (red arrow) that hold the alternator bracket to the front of the engine.

On the side the engine mount is attached to the alternator bracket and engine by four E12 Torx bolts.
Figure 22

On the side the engine mount is attached to the alternator bracket and engine by four E12 Torx bolts. They are basically female Torx bolts (red arrows, two shown). You will need to get the proper socket to remove these. DO NOT attempt to remove these with anything other than the proper socket. Failure to do so may result in stripping the bolts, and you do not want to do that. The two bolts on the front are relatively easy to get access to, while the ones on the rear are more difficult. You will need an assortment of universal joints and extensions to access the rear bolts through the wheel well. After you have removed the four bolts holding the mount to the engine, remove the single bolt holding the mounting arm to the mount. Raise the engine enough to remove the mounting arm.

This photo shows the removal of the bottom forward Torx bolt (green arrow).
Figure 23

This photo shows the removal of the bottom forward Torx bolt (green arrow). You can see how little room there is to get at things, and this is the easy side.

Here is the engine-mounting arm removed from the vehicle.
Figure 24

Here is the engine-mounting arm removed from the vehicle.

This photo shows the alternator-mounting bracket with everything removed up to this point.
Figure 25

This photo shows the alternator-mounting bracket with everything removed up to this point. There are now two remaining bolts holding the bracket to the engine. Remove the 13mm and 16mm bolts, and gently pull the alternator bracket away from the engine.

Shown here is the infamous alternator bracket gasket (red arrow).
Figure 26

Shown here is the infamous alternator bracket gasket (red arrow). Remove the old one. Clean everything up. Install the new gasket, and you are ready to put it all back together.

This photo shows the lower engine block with the alternator gasket removed.
Figure 27

This photo shows the lower engine block with the alternator gasket removed. The red arrows show the oil passage holes that the gasket seals, while the yellow arrow shows the guide tubes on the block. Make sure everything is clean. Take your time, and put it all back together. Congratulations! You just saved yourself a lot of money.

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 03:01:17 AM