How to Change the Alternator on an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme

by Justin Wash

The alternator in your Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme charges the battery as you drive so you won't have to jump-start the car every time you start it and so the ignition system does not drain the battery. A car with a faulty alternator will often start and drive for short periods of time but may need to be charged or jump-started regularly, creating a frustrating and unsafe driving experience. If your alternator is not working properly, save time and money by changing your alternator at home instead of taking the car to a mechanic.

Park your Cutlass Supreme in an open work area and pop the hood open. Use a combination wrench or socket wrench to remove the negative battery terminal cable. Locate the alternator, which should be bolted to the top left of the engine. Determine the wrench size of the two mounting bolts that hold the alternator in place. Both bolts should be the same size and, depending on the year of the vehicle, between 12mm and 14mm in head size.

Using a combination wrench or socket wrench, loosen the mounting bolt farthest to the rear of the engine compartment. When the bolt is removed, the alternator should rotate slightly around the second bolt. Reach behind the alternator with a small 10mm wrench to loosen and remove the electrical connector found on the backside.

Remove the alternator belt, paying special attention to how it is attached, then remove the second mounting bolt and pull the alternator out of the engine compartment.

Check the new alternator against the old one to be certain that the mount points and electrical connector are the same. If the alternators do not appear to be identical, return to the parts store to retrieve the correct alternator for your vehicle.

Use a small 10mm wrench to connect the electrical wire to the rear of the new alternator. Set the alternator in place, attach the forward-most mounting bolt and tighten the bolt securely. Attach the alternator belt to the alternator, making certain to attach it the same way it was attached to the old alternator.

Using a wedge or pry bar between the far side of the alternator and the mounting block, pull the alternator upward. This will tighten the belt and allow you to slide the second, rear-mounting bolt into place. Use a socket wrench or combination wrench to tighten the rear mounting bolt securely. Reattach the negative battery terminal wire and start the car. Allow the car to idle for a few minutes to charge the battery with the new alternator, then go for a short test drive to make sure everything is working properly.

Items you will need

About the Author

Born and raised in St. Louis, Mo., Justin Wash began his professional writing career in 2004 with an online freelance copywriting business. Over the years, he has written for a myriad of clients including China-Vasion and The Executives Closet.