Laguna 2 on-car alternator brush replace
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Thread: Laguna 2 on-car alternator brush replace

  1. #1
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    Default Laguna 2 on-car alternator brush replace

    We have had quite a run with various gremlins in the last few weeks. The latest meant that an intermittent alternator fault became terminal...

    We'd occasionally had the "STOP charging problem" red warning message on the dash, but to date it always "healed" . But, the other day, it came to stay. Bugger.

    I will confess I'm intimidated by a) the really crowded V6 engine bay, and b) the serpentine belt [I'm old-school, I get them but I've never changed one]. So, I was about ready to not tackle this job and hand it to the professionals.

    But then I found a couple of interweb hints. One was a post indicating that someone had done a rectifier bridge change on a Laguna V6 alternator in-car, and another was this YouTube video explaining how most Valeo alternator faults are brush-related: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVvPzwtxdrM.

    The video goes on to show how it's pretty easy to do a brush swap. And, my memory of my last crawl under the car was that the alternator was pretty visible from underneath. Finally, a search of eBay showed Valeo brushes [quoting the video, unchanged in the last 30 years (!)] are readily available. So, what the hey, let's give it a go.

    The sequence for me was:
    - Car on ramps.
    - Plastic under-tray/sump guard/whatever-the-hell-ya-wanna-call-it removed.
    - Alternator revealed: a bit of a tight space, but fairly accessible above the AC compressor. CARE: it's right next to the exhaust cat - try to do this with the car cold.
    - Then it's a matter of following the video, albeit in a cramped manner. CARE: nuts can fall behind the AC compressor (guess how I know ) and can be hard to retrieve. The video indicates the plastic black alternator cover can be clip-on or held by screws. Mine was held by two 7mm screws, which ironically were the hardest thing to remove/replace. And, side note, once out, my old brushes looked EXACTLY like the stuffed ones in the video.
    - And then the reverse to re-assemble, once you have replaced the brushes.

    I will admit I had a bit of a break. Rather than wait for an eBay shipment of brushes, I tried a local auto sparky. They didn't have an exact match on brushes but adapted some and even did the soldering for me (I was OK to do it, but was happy for them to). All for the princely sum of $20, including brushes.

    So, everything now working, and I measure very healthy voltage (13.5V or better) at the battery, engine idling WITH a full electrical load.

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    Now, I know I don't have a new alternator, so a number of other things in there could still fail. But, for $20, and about 3 hours of my labour, I'm OK to roll the dice on this. I would expect a MUCH higher sum to have the whole thing professionally replaced.

    And finally: it was hard LOCALLY to find parts for an alternator! Not too surprised, I guess, but most people just want to sell you the whole unit. I do get it, and there is an argument that says that if you paid a mechanic for the labour I put in, it'd be a better investment to just replace the entire unit. Just sayin'. Each will make their own call!

    Hope this helps someone at some stage, to jump one way or the other (DIY or professionals) if they get the same problem.

  2. #2
    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    This is absolutely standard practice , for those who wish to minimize disassembly and are aware of the reason for the fault.

    Most Bosch alternators can be easily serviced in situ. Because only two m4 screws retain the brush box and regulator.
    If you are fitting a Bosch alternator as upgrade, it pays to orient the brush box in an accessible position- It makes life a lot easier later.

    The same logic can be applied starter solenoids as well. And you can save several hours of unnecessary labor to boot. The "egg " Tarago comes to mind. 31/2 hrs to R & R a starter and 20 mins to replace the solenoid contacts (which can be done with the starter in situ).

    So it pays to think the job though before starting: sometimes there is an easier way.

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