As I got to the Milwaukee area and got off the highway exit, I took off my earphones (no ICE on this ride…) and I could then hear a rattle coming from the engine compartment. I deliberately kept the music volume on my iPod low so I could be fully aware of any noises or other funkiness emanating from the car but this rattle I couldn’t hear. It was intermittent, loosely corresponding to engine RPMs. It didn’t sound like big end knocking (thank God!) but I couldn’t pinpoint it; I wasn’t far from home so kept going. When I got home I grabbed my mechanic’s stethoscope, one of the most useful, cheap tools you can buy, and determined the noise was coming from the Bosch 6V generator.
The Bosch 6 volt generator (part number 0 101 201 096) has a bearing for the support of the front of the armature (the part that rotates on the inside) shaft and a soft steel (?) bushing for the rear.
Looking down the generator I could see the bushing had worn out to the point the shaft was bouncing around in it and making the rattling sounds. This photo shows the cavity where the bushing resides, after I took it out with a rented (free; gotta love that program) pilot bearing puller from Autozone.
Now, here’s where the magic of the internet and Google come in. I actually found the OEM replacement bearing online. Wow… this is an obscure part of an obscure component of an obscure car. How cool is that! The folks at Wagner Alternators and Supply, http://www.wagneralt.com have a selection of such parts and the guy I spoke to on the phone was incredibly helpful, spending 10 minutes explaining to me the finer points of getting the bushing out and installing the new one.
I put it back together, put it on the car and was careful to not over tighten the belt. In fact, it looks a little loose to most people but the generator and water pump put very little load and that belt so keeping it loose, just short of it slipping, is the way to long term bushing happiness.
My next post will deal with the gas leak from the sender which had me breathing gas fumes for the back half of the trip.