NOTE:  This message was originally posted to RAMVA on Jan 17, 2004

From: Raymond T. Lowe (
Subject: The correct way to; Removing fan housing nut off generator
Date: 2004-01-17 10:16:47 PST

Many replies suggested ways to remove the 36mm nut. An impact may loosen it but how are you going to torque it to spec? Placing the opposite end of the generator/alternator in a vise are cranking on the nut is a sure way to destroy the shaft, possibly rendering the core unrebuildable. And are you going to risk the shaft on your new unit reinstalling the nut to the proper spec of 40-47 ft lbs?

Look inside the fan. There are two dowel holes, one on each side of the big nut. This is meant for the factory wrench to leverage the fan while the 36mm nut is removed or tightened. These are fairly easy to make. If you don't have a welder, take the pieces to a shop. It's a small job.

I used a 2' piece of thick-walled tubing I had lying around. 7/8" I think but 3/4 or 1" would work as well. Since this wrench has to go inside the fan, the handle has to be bent 90 degrees. The easy way to do this with thicker tubing is to cut a 90 degree notch half way through and bend it in a vise. Weld it up later. You want to do this bend about 4" from one end so the tool will also work on the wider fans.

Next is the plate, 3/16 or 1/4" steel. Looking down on your fan, visualize a half-circle just small enough to fit inside the fan opening. The inside of this half-circle will need a smaller half-circle cut away to clear the 36mm nut and washers. So what you have is basically a half circle strip of steel 1 1/4" wide. Before you do the cutting, add a bit more to each end to give a little support for the dowels. Make the dowels out of a couple of old bolts that don't have threads all the way to the head. The diameter should be just small enough to fit in the fan dowel holes. If you don't have an old fan around to get the spacing of the dowels, cut out a piece of cardboard as a template and use your thumb pressure to get an imprint of the holes. Drill the plate and slip in the bolts. Mark and cut them so you wind up with 1" dowels sticking through. Weld the bolt heads to the plate and weld the handle onto the plate in the center at the 6 o-clock position. I added little mini-gussets, one to each side.

It took me about two hours and I used a jig-saw (sabre saw) to cut the steel 3/16" plate. Build one of these and all your VW buddies will want to borrow it.