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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Yesterday, my alternator gave up the ghost. Fairly easy replacement except when I was trying to put the downpipe back on the turbo, I got this:

The last 1/4" of the bottom most bolt was shorn off in the nut.

I tried to extricate the stud with all the normal methods and decided it maybe easier to get it out with the turbo out of the car and I may as well replace the other two while I was at it.

Well, getting the bolt out was no fun:

But, even that didn't work. I've done everything I can think of to get the stud out and it's just not going to come out with my tools and facilities. So, it's going to a machinist on Monday to get it, and the other two removed.

Of course, to get the turbo out, I had to drain the anti-freeze.... Hold on to your socks:

That's not oil, that's anti-freeze. Well, it's an impressive mixture of oil and anti-freeze.

There is no external leakage around the head gasket. I am not loosing oil or water. I am getting no unusual smoke or anti-freezish steam from the tail-pipe. I changed the oil about 500 miles ago and there was no anti-freeze in it. I re-torqued the head bolts about 30k ago. I'm sitting at 152xxx on the clock.

I'd like to hear some opinions... will retorquing the headbolts potentially fix this or should I just go ahead and replace the head gasket?

For whatever it's worth, I think the 900 is jealous of the Bullnose and is throwing parts so I'll pay more attention to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I don't like false economy but I decided to go ahead and order a valve cover gasket and retorque the head bolts. I just don't have the time to do a head gasket right now... I'm sure it will happen soon though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry to keep bumping my own thread Mods....

But, the machinist called and I'm not feeling sorry for myself about not being able to get that stud out. He heated it pumpkin orange and then broke his extractor trying to get it out.

He ended up welding on a nut to get it off... the stud with welded nut snapped off. So, careful drilling, hopefully chase out threads and he won't have to helicoil.

I know that there are not a lot of people taking their DP off but, if you do, be careful not to hose up those studs!
 

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Good call on new bolts. I would never retorque the same bolts twice. Once they are installed, I give them one more retorque 10-20k later but never again. The penalty for failure is just too high. That being said, have you ever ran any sort of coolant additive or stop leak? That will change the color of the coolant as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Frank, I don't believe in any sort of stop leak in coolant so I've never used any.

I've let all of the antifreeze that I drained for two days and have removed approximately a teaspoon of oil from the surface. That leads me to think that a retorque would almost certainly fix this and, if it doesn't, the problem is small enough now to go ahead and get my ducks in a row for a head gasket replacement.

I plan on deleting the balance chain and my chain tensioner is getting pretty close to 11mm so I'll take a good look at timing chain replacement as well.

Funny how a wonky alternator can be the catalyst for so much work.

Oh, and I got my turbo back. He did have to do drill out the bolt and helicoil it. Boo. At least I get to fit new studs. I wish I didn't the car tomorrow or I'd go ahead and do a turbo rebuild while I've got it out.
 

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When I removed my '96's downpipe last week, all three studs came out with the nuts. Apparently one of my extended boosting sessions (probably a 10% grade, 5,000 ft climb at 95 MPH…) welded the nuts to the studs.

The nut/studs were difficult to turn, and the threads were slightly stripped. They went back in with some effort, but I'm concerned with having to remove them again.
 

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You are probably an old pro at this kind of stuff but I'll say it anyway. Buy some "Ultra Copper" RTV and use it on all of the exhaust and turbo mating surfaces. The RTV will burn off quickly but the copper will fill any voids and seal the system up nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What originated as an alternator replacement turned into a: turbo removal, exhaust flex pipe replacement, head bolt replace and general nosing around in the engine compartment.

When I removed the alternator, there was a fair amount of oil on it. The backside of the engine in a line generally going south from the chain tensioner had a decent coating of new oil. I guess I missed a torque on a valve cover bolt or didn't get the mating surfaces clean.

Of course, to get to the alternator, I had to move the exhaust, see above. I removed and inspected the turbo and all of the lines while I was it. I did not take a picture but I did run across something interesting. On the back of the turbo, the rubber oil return line that goes down into the actual pan was a little loose. So, I pulled it. Both it, and the return line, were coated in the dreaded black coffee grounds indicative of sludge. I have no other indications of sludge. But, for those trying to save a sludged engine, you should not overlook those two hiding places for coffee grounds.

I also replaced the flex pipe section that has been annoying me for some time. While I had the exhaust out, I noticed that the muffler had a pretty decent sized hole in it. So, I thought, what the hell, deleted the muffler and straight-piped back from the resonator. The car, in my opinion, sounds great. Driving at normal speeds in my neighbourhood, it sounds just fine. At WOT... just wow.

It's been 200 miles now and the coolant is completely clean so replacing the headbolts and flushing the coolant system has done what it is supposed to do.

Frank, I meant to take a picture of the pretty orange ribbon of Ultra Copper peaking out around the downpipe flange and the manifold/turbo mating surfaces.
 

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Great to hear it. I think everybody should choose a project at least once a year and just dig in to their engine compartment. Its amazing what you can find and fix before it becomes an issue. I've been doing the same on my Tundra this week and have been replacing worn out parts left and right.

I straight piped my car from the resonator back as well and loved the results. No Rice, just a deep throaty sound. On the rubber return line, that little bugger may be the most important part of the engine. If it fails, the engine dies quickly. Make sure its open, clean and in good shape or the results could be catastrophic.

The Ultra copper smells good when its burning off doesn't it :)
 
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