Installing the GoWesty Alternator Fix Kit is fairly simple, but for someone who’s never taken out their power steering unit before, it can be a bit perplexing. It takes a little patience and some “accessory Jenga” to get the job done.
The power steering pump removal was new to me.
For the front bracket removal, there are five bolts. The lower bolt (pivot bolt) is a carriage bolt with a 17mm nut - remove this first, or at least loosen first. Then remove the four 13mm bolts. (Don’t be a sucker, jump the gun, and try to remove the top right bolt - it’s not attached to the bracket.)
This is a good time to clean up parts. I cleaned the front bracket and bracket. I also noticed the power steering hoses were covered in gunk. So I sprayed them with degreaser, continued to work the project, then cleaned them up. I’ll check them again in the next few days/weeks to see if there is a leak.
The bolts that attach the bracket itself are tricky to get to - don’t approach the job if you’re in a rush. Try playing around with the positioning of the power steering unit itself. It turned out, mine was missing the rear (farthest towards the front) bolt, which I later found loose in a pile of dried up mud on top of the right cylinder head...which made me think of jamming through mud puddles and dirt roads…
Getting the alternator pivot bolt out can be tough. Remove the adjustment bolt and loosen the adjustment arm so it can be moved out of the way. The pivot bolt is another carriage bolt and it helps to wiggle the alternator up and down, and side to side while trying to push the bolt through. I ended up having to re-attach the nut until it was flush with the end of the bolt and using a rubber mallet to punch it through. The ‘ol wiggle-n-hammer did the trick.
When re-installing the power steering bracket and GoWesty bracket combo, threading the lower bolt (the one that needs the spacer) first is a big help, then attach the upper bolts. As the instructions say, do not tighten all the way. But, don’t leave it too loose either; almost finger tight is about right. The reason for this is getting that carriage bolt through; because it's longer, it’s more of a pain than it would seem!
I ended up reusing most of my bolts and washers (besides the extended alternator pivot carriage bolt) as they seemed to be in pretty good condition. I kept the new hardware as spares.
I also learned I needed larger wrenches (my largest is 16mm) as getting a socket onto the front bracket's lower 17mm carriage bolt was a little difficult (but not impossible). Oh, and always wear protective eyewear, especially when under the Vanagon. Luckily, I’ve never been close to any serious accidents, but it’s avoiding all the dirt and debris falling in my eyes that I value.
All-in-all, not too difficult of an upgrade. Can I speak to if it’s worth it or not? Nope. But I think that’s the point of the kit - to stop a potentially serious problem (engine block damage) before it starts.
Per typical Vanagon maintenance style, you'll probably uncover more things to research and add to the To-Do List...