How to Replace an Alternator An alternator is an important electrical component. It produces and electrical current when a magnetic field around a conductor changes (spins). Typically, a rotating magnet, called the armature, turns within a stationary set of conductors wound in coils on an iron core, called the stator. The field cuts across the stationary conductors, generating an electro magnetic field and producing an alternating current (AC). To regulate the amount of power produced, the electrical flow is regulated by a voltage regulator. This eliminates overcharging of the battery and burning up electrical components. In general, the alternator is responsible for recharging the car’s battery and running electrical components when the engine is running. Without an operational alternator, the car’s battery will slowly drain until the car will no longer start. If your battery light comes on or the alternator gauge drops below 12 volts with the engine running, chances are the alternator is going bad. However, if the alternator shows a charge higher than approximately 14 volts, chances are the regulator isn’t doing its job which can result in an overcharged battery, electrical component damage, and burnt wires. There are safety devices in place in the event of a short circuit. A wire, called a fusible link, functions as a heavy duty fuse. If a short circuit occurs, the fusible link will burn up, protecting the electrical system. The fusible link is a wire that most people over look. What often happens is the battery will test good and the alternator will produce power; however, the battery will continue to drain and go dead due to the lack of amperage delivered to the battery. When the fusible link is completely severed, the connection between the battery and the alternator is lost. Thus, the battery can not be charged and will slowly die. Common symptoms include dim lights, slow wipers, slow blower motor. Basically, anything related to the electrical system will be affected. Before replacing an alternator be sure to test the alternator to make sure it is the problem other than the battery.
Park your car on level ground with the engine off and the emergency brake on. Always raise a car according to the manufacturers recommended instructions and secure with jack stands if needed. Also we will be dealing with a small amount of grease so be sure to wear protective clothing, eyewear and gloves.
How to Remove a Serpentine Belt Video Tools and Supplies to Complete this Job 1. Wrench set 2. Sockets and ratchet set 3. Screwdriver set. (to disconnect wiring clips on some vehicles)
4. Shop towels 5. Replacement alternator 6. Volt meter (optional)
Directions Step 1 - Park the vehicle in work area and allow it to cool.
Step 2 - Disconnect the negative battery cable. Step 3 - Locate the serpentine belt automatic tension pulley. Step 4 - Using a wrench, turn the belt tension pulley to create slack in the belt and simply slide the belt off the pulley. Step 5 - On the rear of the alternator, you will find wiring. Carefully unplug or unbolt the wiring from the rear of the alternator. (note: don't worry if you cannot see or access the wiring, you will be able to disconnect the wiring later in the removal). Step 6 - Loosen and remove all mounting bolts securing the alternator to the mounting bracket. Step 7 - Once all bolts are removed, slide the alternator out and away from the mounting bracket. Step 8 - Match the old alternator to the replacement unit especially the wiring plugs or connectors.
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