How to Change the Alternator in a Grand Caravanby Chris Moore
The alternator is a very important part of the Dodge Caravan's electrical system -- it keeps the van powered by converting mechanical energy to electrical to keep the battery recharged. A bad alternator will cause the battery to lose power quickly and needs to be replaced. The exact method of changing an alternator will vary, especially depending on the type of engine your Caravan has, so check with your mechanic before you take on this task yourself.
Disconnect the negative (black) cable from the van's battery by loosening its cable clamp nut with a wrench. Place the disconnected wire someplace secure to prevent it from touching the battery terminal.
Detach the nut securing the B+ wire terminal to the stud at the back of the alternator. Disconnect the field wire from the stud, then disconnect the field wire electrical connector from the alternator.
Remove the alternator's drive belt by rotating the tensioner with a wrench on the tensioner pulley leg -- the direction you need to turn it will vary depending on the engine type -- and slipping the belt off the loosened tensioner. You may need to remove the power steering drive belt first.
Remove all bolts securing the alternator in place -- there should be two or three of them -- and remove the alternator from the vehicle.
Mount the new alternator in place and attach the bolts.
Reinstall the drive belt, making sure you route it in the same path as before. A diagram often is printed on the side of the engine compartment to aid this.
Connect the wires to the alternator, including the field wire and the B+ wire. Reconnect the negative battery cable.
- "Chilton Chrysler Caravan/Voyager/Town and Country Repair Manual"; John Wegmann; Haynes North America; 2006
- You may need to disconnect other parts to access the alternator, depending on the year and engine type of your Caravan. These can include the air intake duct, the EVAP purge system solenoid, the lower splash shield or the oil dipstick tube.
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Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.