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How to Change the Alternator in a 91 Honda Accord

by David McGuffin

If you are still driving a 1991 Honda Accord, then you should be prepared to do a lot of maintenance on your car as the age and mileage move into the higher reaches of automotive life-span. If you notice that your car battery is not holding much of a charge and cannot last more than fifteen to twenty minutes on a full charge, then you may need to replace your alternator. Knowing how to do the job yourself will help to save some of your hard earned cash as well as help you to become more familiar with your car.

Disconnect the negative battery terminal cable from your battery on your 1991 Honda Accord. Be sure to double check that the ignition is in the Off position before disconnecting the battery. You should also wait for fifteen minutes after disconnecting the battery before doing anything else to your engine. Since the alternator is located near the top of the engine, there is no need to lift the car.

Place a drain pan underneath the power steering reservoir and loosen the feed and return lines using a line wrench. Loosen and remove the feed and return lines from the pump as well, being sure to catch any power steering fluid in the drain pan. Use a socket wrench to remove the power steering pump on your 1991 Honda Accord. Make sure that you put the pump along with its two connector bolts in a place where you will not lose them or forget that those specific bolts go with the pump. You may also need to hold the pump over the drain pan for a minute to get any power steering fluid drained that is resting in the pump itself.

Disconnect the cruise control actuator from the engine, but do not remove the actuator cable. The entire actuator unit can be moved out of the way with the cable still attached to it. It will only take removing the single bolt connecting the actuator with the rest of the engine; This will save you some labor and hardship later on so that you do not have to reconnect the actuator cable.

Use your hands to disconnect the electrical connection tab that connects the 1991 Honda Accord's electrical system to the alternator. If the connection tab is stuck, then use a flat head screwdriver to gently pry it off.

Use a socket wrench with extensions and pivot heads to remove the alternator terminal nut as well as the wire from the terminal itself. Loosen the adjusting bolt and the alternator nut, both of which are found on the bottom side of the alternator, below the main alternator pulley. Be sure to lay the adjusting bolt and the alternator nut in a place where you will not misplace or lose them.

Remove the belt from the alternator pulley, which should now be loose enough, after taking out the adjusting bolt, that you can stretch it over the pulleys and slide it off of the alternator system. You should be able to stretch the belt off from the pulleys with your hands.

Use the socket wrench to unscrew the lower through-bolt. You may need to use special pivot adaptors to reach the head of the lower through-bolt, which is located underneath the main alternator pulley. There is also a small support stay that is attached to the lower through-bolt, which should be removed after the through-bolt is pulled out.

Use a socket wrench to remove the upper through-bolt and carefully support and remove the old alternator.

Install the new alternator. Tighten the upper through-bolt to 33 foot-pounds by using a torque wrench. Reinsert the small stay, the lower through-bolt and the adjusting bolt in reverse order of their removal with old alternator. Slide the belt back onto the pulley system with the new alternator in place. Reinsert the alternator nut and tighten it to adjust the belt tension. The alternator nut should be tightened to 19 foot-pounds.

Reinstall all of the other parts that were taken off to remove the alternator from the system. First make sure that the electrical connection tab is resecured. Reinstall the cruise control actuator and the power steering pump. Reconnect the power steering pump and power steering reservoir feed and return lines with the line wrench. Be sure to refill the reservoir with new power steering fluid. Reconnect the negative battery-terminal cable and try turning the car on. Allow for it to run through a couple of cycles and observe the new alternator as well as the parts that you just recently put back onto your 1991 Honda Accord. Make sure that all parts are working just as well, if not better, in the case of the alternator, than before.

Tip

  • Dispose of your power steering fluid by taking it to a parts store or a local mechanic. Never throw power steering fluid on the ground or down the drain.

Items you will need

About the Author

David McGuffin is a writer from Asheville, N.C. and began writing professionally in 2009. He has Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and Montreat College in history and music, and a Bachelor of Science in outdoor education. McGuffin is recognized as an Undergraduate Research Scholar for publishing original research on postmodern music theory and analysis.

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