So a couple of weeks ago my wife got a low battery warning message in her 2012 XC60 T6 RD. I checked the battery and it read 12.4 volts at rest (car not running) - a couple of tenths lower than expected. The alternator showed to be putting out about 14 1/2 volts or so and, as a result, I decided to just "watch it". Last night, driving home from dinner I got a charging warning message. We pulled in to the driveway, left the car running, and I checked the voltage at the battery terminals - 11.6 Volts. Alternator was not charging.
Anyway, I went ahead and pulled the alternator today. I am going to try to replace just the Voltage regulator since, a.) I have seen them often be the culprit in years past, b.) Volvo actually issued a technical journal (TJ 26897) in Jan of 2014 indicating most alternator replacements they were seeing were really just bad voltage regulators, c.) It is $200 instead of $600 and d.) when I pulled the alternator and spun the pulley I don't hear any sign of a bad bearing, etc. This may be a fool's errand, but we'll see...part is ordered.
Anyway, I don't think there is a DIY on hear about how to replace it so I'll toss a few comments and pics out there.
The alternator is in the front directly underneath the big plastic intake manifold. Unlike most cars it is sort of "direct driven". It faces the left side of the car and the serpentine belt drives a shaft which the alternator pulley is coupled too with a ribbed rubber coupler. You have to remove the intake to get it out, but unlike 99% of cars this is actually a piece of cake on the Volvo so don't let that freak you out. The basic steps are:
1. Disconnect the battery - seriously you will be removing the positive cable at he alternator so this isn't "optional" on this job. The battery is under two little plastic panels toward the cowl. Pop them off and it is right there (one has clips and the other a little philips head plastic screw to release it).
2. Pop off decorative engine cover (note: there are not screws, it just pulls straight up - pull on each corner). You will note a decent amount of sound deadener under there.
3. Disconnect various connectors and hoses going to upper part of intake.
4. Remove the electrical connector to the throttle body.
5. Remove the big air intake hose going into the throttle body underneath the intake. There is a big hose clamp on it. You may need to pry the lip away from the throttle body a bit and pull (while wiggling) downward.
6. Remove the 7 or so 10 mm bolts holding the upper intake on and free the intake...since you are leaving the heads/valves exposes, do yourself a favor and stick some paper towels in the intake openings so that you don't drops something in there!
7. There are two wires going to the alternator. Pop off the nut center cap of the middle one. This is from the positive battery cable - you did disconnect the battery right - 13mm nut, unscrew it. The second is to the voltage regulator whcih is an "internal" style on the alternator. It has a fiddly clip.
8. The alternator is held on with 4 10mm head bolts. you can remove all 4 and it will just hang there. The two bottom bolt holes on the alternator have little spacers in them. These are to line up the alternator PERFECTLY to the drive pulley. You will need to wiggle the alternator back and forth to get it to free up. I used a stubby screwdriver to pry just a hair at the bottom alternator to block joint. Took a couple of minutes, but no biggie. The alternator will free up and you can pull it to your left (right side of car) and it will slide out of the coupler.
Since I haven't replaced the voltage regulator yet or reinstalled, I don't have any more than that yet. Saying a prayer the Voltage regulator does the trick! A few pics (hopefully these will show up for you guys):
Intake Removed - just sitting on top of engine (note throttle body is still attached at top of pic):
Intake on floor of garage - you can see the one electrical connector that goes to the throttle body
This is where alternator goes...the rubber coupler is seen here that the "toothed" pulled on the alternator slides in to...
The two pronged plug is actually the Voltage regular on back of alternator