How to Change the Alternator in Honda Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The alternator in your Honda car has several internal components that may wear out or fail after years of service. Windings in the rotor and stator may open or short out, worn bushes and diodes may reduce voltage output or bearings may cause the rotor shaft to wobble. Most automotive shops will not rebuild your alternator. But you still can service the charging system in your Honda car model by changing the alternator at home using a few tools you might already have in your toolbox.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change the Alternator in a 91 Honda Accord

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.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench set

  • Torque wrench

  • New alternator

  • New alternator belt

  • Drain pan

  • Line wrench

  • Power steering fluid

 How Do I Change the Alternator on a 1995 Honda Passport?

Removing the Alternator

Detach the negative (black) battery cable with a wrench.

Unplug the wire and battery cable from the back of the alternator using a wrench.

Loosen the front, passenger-side wheel with a lug wrench. Raise the wheel with a floor jack, support it on a jack stand and remove the wheel. This will help you access the lower alternator bolt when necessary.

Insert the 1/2-inch drive of a large-handle ratchet into the square hole of the tensioner pulley, if your Passport is equipped with a serpentine belt. Rotate the tensioner away from the belt to relieve the tension and slip the belt off the alternator pulley.

Loosen the upper and lower alternator mounting bolts using a box-end wrench to hold the retaining nuts in place as you unfasten the bolts with a ratchet and socket.

Remove the tubular bracket attached to the back of the alternator and its lower mounting bolt, if your Passport is equipped with it. Use a ratchet and socket.

Push the alternator toward the center of the engine. Remove the alternator belt from the pulley, if your Passport is equipped with an alternator belt.

Take off the upper and lower alternator mounting bolts and remove the alternator from the vehicle.

Installing the New Alternator

Position the new alternator in place and install the upper and lower mounting bolts finger tight.

Slip the belt over the alternator pulley and ask an assistant to push the alternator away from the engine to provide tension to the belt, if your Passport is equipped with an alternator belt. Tighten the upper alternator mounting bolt with the box-end wrench and the ratchet and socket.

Install the tubular bracket and lower-mounting bolt on the alternator and tighten the bolts using the ratchet, socket and box-end wrench.

Install the serpentine belt using the 1/2-inch drive ratchet, if your Passport is equipped with this type of belt.

Replace the front, passenger-side wheel, if you had to remove it.

Plug the wire and battery cable to the back of the alternator using the wrench.

Attach the negative (black) battery cable with the wrench.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Lug wrench (optional)

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stand

  • Large-handle ratchet with 1/2-inch drive

  • Box-end wrench

  • Ratchet

  • Socket

  • Assistant's help

 How to Replace the Alternator in a Honda Prelude

Determine which alternator your Honda Prelude will need. You'll want to be sure the new alternator is compatible with your Prelude's engine. Models made from 1992 to 1996 have 2.0 L, 2.2 L and 2.3 L engines and models made after 1996 have a 2.2 L VTEC engine.

Disconnect the negative and then the positive battery cable with a socket wrench. Remove the power steering pump and actuator for the cruise control but don't disconnect its cable. Remove the electrical connections from the alternator.

Loosen the bottom through bolt and then the adjusting bolt with a socket wrench so that you can disconnect the alternator belt. You can now completely remove the adjusting bolt and lock nut along with the through bolt. This will allow you to remove the alternator.

Install the new alternator assembly. Replace the alternator belt and adjust it to the proper tension before you tighten the adjusting lock nut to 16 foot pounds with a torque wrench. Torque the through bolt to 33 foot pounds with a torque wrench.

Attach the electrical connections to the alternator. Install the power steering pump and actuator for the cruise control and connect the negative and then the positive battery cable with a socket wrench.

Items you will need

  • New alternator

  • Socket wrench set

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace the Alternator in a Honda CR-V

Determine which alternator your Honda CR-V will need. You'll want to be sure the new alternator is compatible with your CR-V's engine. Models made from 1996 to 2001 have a 2.0 L B20B or B20Z engine and models made after 2001 may be equipped with a 2.0 L, 2.2 L turbo diesel or 2.4 L engine.

Disconnect the negative battery cable and the accessory drive belts with a socket wrench. Unplug the four-prong connector from the back of the alternator. Remove the terminal nut with a socket wrench and detach the terminal lead from the rear of the alternator.

Use a socket wrench to remove the adjusting bolt and lock nut along with the through bolt so that you can take off the alternator.

Install the new alternator assembly. Tighten the through bolt to 33 foot pounds and the adjusting lock nut to 17 foot pounds with a torque wrench. Attach the four-prong connector and the battery terminal to the alternator and torque the battery terminal nut to 70 inch pounds.

Replace the accessory drive belts and adjust them to the proper tension. Connect the negative battery cable with a socket wrench.

Items you will need

  • New alternator

  • Socket wrench set

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace an Alternator on a 2003 Honda Accord S

Open the engine compartment and disconnect the negative battery cable. Use a wrench to loosen the nut.

Loosen the adjusting bolt on the alternator with a socket and ratchet but do not take the bolt out. Push the alternator towards the back of the engine and pull the accessory belt off.

Remove the power steering pump using a wrench to remove the bolts. Do not disconnect the hoses. Unplug the wiring harness from the alternator and then disconnect the main power cable using a wrench to remove the nut.

Remove the bolts from the alternator using the socket and ratchet and pull the alternator out of the car.

Put the new alternator in place and loosely install the bolts. Plug the wiring harness into the new alternator and then reconnect the main power cable. Tighten the nut with the wrench.

Put the power steering pump back on and tighten the bolts with the wrench. Put the accessory belt back on and tighten them by pulling the alternator to the front of the car. Tighten the adjusting bolt on the alternator and then the bottom bolt using the socket and ratchet. Reconnect the battery terminal and tighten the nut with a wrench.

Items you will need

  • Metric socket set

  • Metric wrench set

 How to Replace the Alternator in a 1999 Honda Accord

Disconnect the negative battery cable, loosening its nut with a wrench.

Remove the bolts on the power steering pump with a socket and ratchet. Remove the power steering pump but not its hose. Set the pump off to the side.

Unplug the voltage regulator from the alternator. Disconnect the electrical leads by removing the nuts with the wrench. Release the tension on the alternator belt by turning the adjusting bolts counterclockwise with the socket and ratchet until the belt is loose.

Remove the bolts from the alternator with the ratchet and socket. Pull the alternator out of the Honda.

Install the new alternator into the Accord and tighten the bolts with the socket and ratchet. Place the belt onto the alternator pulley and turn the adjusting bolt clockwise with the socket and ratchet until the belt is at the proper tension. Proper tension on the belt is when you can depress the belt ΒΌ of an inch with your finger on its longest span.

Plug the voltage regulator harness into the alternator. Connect the electrical leads and tighten the nuts with the wrench. Mount the power steering pump in place on the engine and tighten the bolts with the socket and ratchet. Reconnect the battery terminal and tighten the nut with the wrench.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Wrench set

 How to Replace the Alternator in a Honda Civic

Disconnect the cable from the Civic's negative battery terminal. Raise the front end of the car on jack stands, and remove the left side wheel.

Remove the belt for the power steering pump by loosening its mounting bolt nut and locknut, and slipping the belt off the pulleys. Remove the pump by disconnecting the fluid hoses at the pump (clamping the hoses shut to prevent fluid loss), removing the pump adjusting bolt and the mounting nuts/bolts.

Disconnect the harness clip securing the harness to the alternator by pressing its lock button. Remove the nut attaching the output cable to the alternator's backside. Disconnect the electrical connector from the alternator, and set aside the output cable.

Remove the drive belt for the alternator and air conditioning compressor by loosening the alternator's upper and lower mounting bolts, and the adjuster bracket lock bolt, then slipping the belt off its pulleys.

Detach the alternator from its lower mounting bolt (the one between the alternator and compressor) by removing the bracket's lock bolt and adjusting bolt. Remove the upper mounting bolt, and remove the alternator.

Make sure you have a replacement alternator that is exactly like the old one, with the same ID numbers and the terminals being identical in size, number and location. If the new alternator has no pulley, you'll need to swap the pulley from the old one; many auto parts stores will do this for you.

Install the new alternator in the car, tightening first the upper bolt, and then the bolts on the lower bracket.

Replace all other components in reverse order of removal, then reconnect the negative battery cable.

Items you will need

  • Jack stands Tire iron Wrench Hose clamps

About the Author

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