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Turbocharged Engine Alternator Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Turbocharged Engine Alternator Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets, 17mm open-end wrench, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-11)

Parts Required:

Alternator

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Car will charge properly

Complementary Modification:

Change serpentine belt and tensioner

A 12-volt battery powers the electrical system in your vehicle. The initial job of the battery is to power the starter motor, thus cranking the engine fast enough to start. The battery also supplies voltage to the ignition system, the fuel system, lights, HVAC system, windows, door locks and multitudes of sensors throughout the car. In order to maintain the battery in a state of charge, a belt-driven electrical generator, generally referred to as an alternator, is bolted to the engine block. The belt driving the alternator is powered by the engine crankshaft pulley (vibration damper). As soon as the engine starts, electrical power is generated by the alternator and supplied to the vehicle electrical system and to the battery to recharge it.

Generation of electricity creates a significant amount of heat in the inner windings of the alternator. This heat needs to be vented and dispersed in order to prevent damage to the alternator. Air-cooling of the alternator is used in nearly all car models and all MINI models.

A faulty or failing alternator can cause many problems, from a simple discharging of the battery to an engine drivability problem. There are a few signs and tests you can perform to determine if the alternator is the root cause of your problem. If you get lucky, your battery light (charging system indicator) will illuminate to warn you of a possible failure. When the battery light (charging system indicator) is ON, this means a voltage difference has been detected between battery positive (B+, terminal 30) and the ignition ON circuit (terminal 15), indicating a fault in the charging system.

It is common for an alternator to fail slowly. When this happens your symptoms will be present when the electrical system has the highest load, i.e. at night. Driving at night, you may notice the instrument panel lights dim, or the radio or headlights flicker. This is a good indication that the alternator cannot handle the excess load. Another sign of a charging system problem is that the headlights or radio will dim when lowering your window. When the alternator can no longer charge the battery, you may park your vehicle and not be able to start it. Of course this could be a faulty battery too.

Always check the voltage of your charging system under load. Voltage should be within 13.2: 14.5 volts d/c. To load, have the engine running at idle, turn on the headlights and HVAC blower motor. Never disconnect a battery cable while the engine is running to test the alternator. You may cause damage to the alternator or other electrical components from the surge in amperage. Before performing any tests of your alternator, charge and test your battery. If the battery is faulty, your alternator tests will not be accurate.

In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with replacing the alternator on the MINI R56 models with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Be sure to work with a cool engine and disconnect the battery before beginning. R56 models can come with a few alternator amperage ratings. Be sure your replacement alternator has the same rating as the faulty unit. You can usually find the amperage rating on the alternator housing. The standard amperage rating on turbocharged engines is 150 amps.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Place the radiator support in service mode. See our tech article on radiator support service mode. Remove the engine-cooling fan. See our tech article on engine cooling fan replacing.

The alternator is mounted to the front right of the engine (red arrow), tucking in behind the radiator support.
Figure 1

The alternator is mounted to the front right of the engine (red arrow), tucking in behind the radiator support. You can replace the alternator by either removing the a/c compressor, then the alternator from below, or from above, once a few heat shields are removed. I will show you how to replace it from above. Place the radiator support into service mode. See our tech article on radiator support service mode.

Remove the oxygen sensor (red arrow).
Figure 2

Remove the oxygen sensor (red arrow). See out tech article on oxygen sensor replacing.

Working in the wiper cowl, disconnect the battery negative cable and cover the battery terminal so that the cable does not accidentally come in contact with the disconnected cable.
Figure 3

Working in the wiper cowl, disconnect the battery negative cable and cover the battery terminal so that the cable does not accidentally come in contact with the disconnected cable. See our tech article on battery replacing for notes on disconnecting and reconnecting the battery.

Working at the oxygen sensor electrical connector mount (green arrow), remove the 10mm fattener (red arrow).
Figure 4

Working at the oxygen sensor electrical connector mount (green arrow), remove the 10mm fattener (red arrow). Then remove the mounting bracket from the engine.

Working at the turbocharger heat shield, remove the six 10mm fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 5

Working at the turbocharger heat shield, remove the six 10mm fasteners (red arrows).

Remove the turbocharger heat shield (red arrow).
Figure 6

Remove the turbocharger heat shield (red arrow). Be careful not to bend it when removing.

Next, you will have to remove the catalytic converter heat shield.
Figure 7

Next, you will have to remove the catalytic converter heat shield. Start on the right side (viewed from below) working next to the a/c compressor (yellow arrow); remove the two 10mm fasteners (red arrows).

Working at the left side of the heat shield near the oil cooler (yellow arrow), remove the two 10mm heat shield fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 8

Working at the left side of the heat shield near the oil cooler (yellow arrow), remove the two 10mm heat shield fasteners (red arrows).

Remove the heat shield from below (red arrow).
Figure 9

Remove the heat shield from below (red arrow). Be careful not to bend it when removing.

Using a 21mm wrench, rotate the drive belt tensioner clockwise (red arrow) and press the retaining pin (green arrow) in to hold it in place.
Figure 10

Using a 21mm wrench, rotate the drive belt tensioner clockwise (red arrow) and press the retaining pin (green arrow) in to hold it in place.

working at the drive belt tensioner, remove the two E10 external Torx (red arrows).
Figure 11

working at the drive belt tensioner, remove the two E10 external Torx (red arrows).

Remove the drive belt tensioner (red arrow) from the engine.
Figure 12

Remove the drive belt tensioner (red arrow) from the engine.

Remove the drive belt from the alternator pulley (red arrow).
Figure 13

Remove the drive belt from the alternator pulley (red arrow).

Working at the top left of the alternator, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab and pulling it off (red arrow).
Figure 14

Working at the top left of the alternator, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab and pulling it off (red arrow). Then remove the positive battery cable 13mm mounting nut (green arrow).

Remove the lower E10 external Torx (red arrow) alternator fastener.
Figure 15

Remove the lower E10 external Torx (red arrow) alternator fastener.

Next, remove the alternator from the engine by pulling it away and lifting it up.
Figure 16

Next, remove the alternator from the engine by pulling it away and lifting it up.

Be sure that the dowel pins and holes are orientated and aligned correctly with the engine when installing the new alternator.
Figure 17

Be sure that the dowel pins and holes are orientated and aligned correctly with the engine when installing the new alternator. To install the new alternator, reverse the removal steps. Check the operation of the charging system and alignment of the drive belts.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Mannt Comments: Doing the R56 Turbo alternator and on the last step but that E10 Torx is blocked by the rigid ac line. I dont see any instructions on moving the line and it isnt obvious just by looking at it. How disappointing after 7 hours. Help!
September 28, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Place the radiator support in service mode. See our tech article on radiator support service mode. Remove the engine-cooling fan. See our tech article on engine cooling fan replacing.

This will allow access, if needed use an E10 wrench, not a socket. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:52:55 AM