How to Change an Alternator in Mazda Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

After the engine starts, and the ignition key is returned from the start position to the run position, the alternator then takes over supplying the power requirements of the car. A defective alternator can cause damage to the battery and may leave you stranded on the side of the road. The alternator on the Mazda car is located on the left (passenger-side) front of the engine, below the intake manifold duct. Replacing the alternator is a repair that the average home mechanic can perform in an afternoon using basic hand tools.

Under The Hood:

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Disconnect the battery at the positive terminal by turning the bolt counterclockwise. Disconnect the alternator's terminal by turning the nut counterclockwise and removing the loop from the terminal bolt. Store these connectors away from the battery.

Remove the belt by pressing on the tension pulley arm firmly, then sliding the belt form underneath the idle pulley wheel. Release the tension pulley and the belt will slacken; it can then be removed from the alternator pulley wheel.

Remove the alternator by turning the mount bolts counterclockwise, then sliding them out of the mount arms. Some models may have mount bolt heads that must be held in place with a wrench while turning the nut. With the mounts free, the alternator can be exchanged for a new unit. Position the new alternator into the mount arms and slide the mount bolts into place, locking them down with the nuts turned clockwise.

Wrap the drive belt around the alternator pulley wheel (groove side down), then press the tension pulley arm and slide the belt back under the idle pulley wheel. Release the tension arm and the belt will automatically adjust to the proper tension.

Reconnect the alternator's terminal loop by placing it over the bolt and turning the nut clockwise. Connect the battery by turning the positive terminal bolt clockwise.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Wrenches

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Disconnect the negative (black) battery terminal using a 10-mm wrench. Remove the air duct that connects the throttle body on the left side of the engine to the air flow meter on the right side of the engine. The duct runs across the front of the engine and is removed by loosening the two hose clamps with a screwdriver and twisting as you pull it off the throttle body and air flow meter.

Remove the upper alternator tensioner and bracket using a 14-mm socket and socket wrench. Rotate the alternator slightly clockwise to loosen the belt and remove the belt from the alternator pulley.

Remove the lower alternator pivot bolt using a 14-mm socket and socket wrench. Pull the top of the alternator forward slightly to collapse the spacer located in the lower mounting boss of the alternator, and slip the alternator forward into the engine compartment. Remove the battery cable attached to the back of alternator using a 10-mm wrench, and unplug the wiring harness from the back of the alternator. Remove the alternator from the engine compartment.

Slip the new alternator into the engine compartment and plug the wiring harness into the back of the alternator. Bolt the battery cable onto the alternator and slip it into place on the lower mounting bracket. Install the lower pivot bolt and tighten it snugly. Bolt the upper tensioner bracket to the engine and the alternator. Slip the alternator belt onto the pulley. Tighten the 12-mm tensioner bolt until the alternator belt is tight. Tighten the upper and lower alternator bolts tightly.

Reinstall the air duct, and reattach the negative battery cable. Start the engine, and check for proper alternator output. With the engine running, voltage at the battery should be more than 13.5 volts.

Items you will need

  • 3/8 inch-drive socket set

  • Metric wrench set

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The first step in any project is making sure that all power sources are disconnected to avoid shorts in the electrical system and/or bodily harm to yourself. In this instance you will need to disconnect the battery cables from the battery using you adjustable wrench. Make sure you remove the negative(black/-) cable first then the positive (red/+) cable.

Your next step is to remove the air intake hose from your car using a flat head screw driver. Once both of the screw clamps have been loosened take out the sensor using the end of the screw driver once again to undo the locking device. then remove the two(2)plastic tubes from the air intake hose. Once this has been done it is now time to work the intake hose off of the filter canister and throttle body by twisting it back and forth until it comes off.

Once the hose is off you will need to use the 3/8 socket wrench in the belt tensioner and push it toward the passenger side to give the belt the slack to remove it. Once it is off check the belt for any cracks, tears or any evidence of wear (if needed replace it now).

You should have full access to your alternator now you will need to use your 13mm socket and wrench to remove the three bolts and the adjustable wrench to remove the ground wired attached to the alternator. Remove the sensor wire using the end of the screw driver and then it is free to replace.

To install complete all steps in the reverse order and you have just saved yourself $$$$ and completed this job in under 30 mins for the novice.

Items you will need

  • 3/8 Socket wrench

  • 13mm socket

  • Flat head screw driver

  • adjustable wrench

  • replacement alternator

  • replacement serpentine belt (if needed)

  • replacement belt tensioner (if needed)

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Disconnect the negative battery cable before you begin working. This will lessen the chances of personal shock and drainage of the battery while working.

Use a large wrench or pry bar to wedge the accessory drive belt off of the alternator. This can be difficult, but with enough force the belt should pop right off.

Loosen the top bolt of the alternator, found directly above, and set it where you will find it later. New alternators rarely come with this sort of hardware.

Disconnect the power to the alternator. The electrical connection is underneath the alternator and can usually be removed with a 12-millimeter wrench. You may need to lay underneath the car to reach it.

Remove the bottom bolt from the alternator from underneath the vehicle. Set it aside. When this bolt is removed the alternator should come out easily from above the car.

Put your new alternator in place from on top of the vehicle. From underneath the car, install and tighten the bottom bolt of the alternator. Tighten the electrical connection to the alternator with its mounting bolt.

Place the accessory drive belt over the alternator's drive shaft.

Put the top bolt of the alternator in place and turn the adjuster until the accessory drive belt is nice and tight. Tighten the bolt with some force. You don't want the belt to come off while driving.

Reattach the negative cable to the battery terminal.

Items you will need

  • Basic wrench set

  • Pry bar

  • New alternator

 How to Replace the Alternator in a Mazda6

Determine which alternator your Mazda6 will need. You'll want to be sure the new alternator is compatible with your Mazda6's engine. Models made from 2002 to 2007 can have a 1.8 L, 2.0 L, 2.3 L, 3.0 L or 2.0 L diesel engine. Models after 2007 come equipped with a 1.8 L, 2.0 L, 2.5 L, 3.7 L or 2.0 L diesel engine.

Disconnect the negative battery cable with a socket wrench and remove the under cover. Remove the drive belt, alternator duct and heat insulator with a socket wrench. Remove the electrical connections for the alternator.

Take the three mounting bolts off of the alternator with a socket wrench and remove the alternator assembly.

Install the new alternator assembly and tighten the upper mounting bolt with your finger to hold the alternator. Use a torque wrench to tighten the mounting bolts to between 29 and 41 foot pounds. Tighten the lower right bolt first, then the upper bolt and finally the lower left bolt.

Attach the electrical connections for the alternator and tighten the bolt for the heat insulator to between 18 and 47 inch pounds with a torque wrench. Install the drive belt, alternator duct and under cover with a socket wrench. Connect the negative battery cable with a socket wrench.

Items you will need

  • New alternator

  • Socket wrench set

  • Torque wrench

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.