How to Change the Alternator on Nissan Cars

by Contributing Writer

If you have noticed that the battery on your Nissan car is not staying fully charged or maybe the alternator light on the dash has been coming on, it may be time for a new alternator. The alternator is the heart of the electrical system on your vehicle and provides not only charging for the battery but also power to the lights, ignition system and other parts of the van. If you suspect the alternator is bad, removing it and taking it to an auto parts store for testing is a good idea. While you are there, you can buy a new one if yours is determined to be defective.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change the Alternator on a Hardbody Truck

Pop the hood and disconnect the positive terminal from the battery using an open-end wrench. Then pull off the boot on the back of the alternator and unbolt the battery wire using an open-end wrench. Unplug the wiring harness leading to the alternator as well.

Unbolt the mounting bolt on the alternator, the one that's held in place on a slotted hole, and pivot the alternator up and into the engine, which will allow you to pull the belt off of the alternator.

Unbolt the alternator from the engine using a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket, then pull it out of the mounting bracket. Place the new alternator in the mounting bracket and bolt it in place. Place the belt back over the alternator pulley and make sure the belt is routed according to the sticker under the hood.

Slide the alternator down so that there is tension on the bolt. Tighten it down to the slotted mount on the bracket using a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket.

Reinstall the wiring to the back of the alternator using an open-end wrench. Use a wrench to connect the positive terminal back onto the battery.

Start the vehicle and make sure that the voltage gauge reads 14 volts and that everything is functioning correctly.

Items you will need

  • Replacement alternator

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Open-end wrench set

 How to Change the Alternator on a 1997 Nissan SE Pickup

Locate the alternator on the bottom of the truck on the right side. Remove the positive battery cable going to the starter and the alternator to prevent electrical shock while you are replacing the alternator.

Lift off and remove the drive belts with the edge of a flat-blade screwdriver. Remove the air conditioner belt first, followed by the power steering belt and the alternator belt.

Place a jack under the front of the truck. Jack the front of the pickup up and secure it on jack stands.

Remove the three wires from the back of the alternator. One of the wires has a plug that you can simply disconnect with your fingers, while the other two are secured by 10mm nuts. Use a 10mm wrench to loosen the nuts and remove the wires.

Remove the three bolts securing the alternator to the frame. One is located on the bottom front of the alternator; one is on top at the back of the part, and one is on top at the front.

Pull the old alternator loose and position the new one. Replace the bolts to secure the alternator to the frame. Reconnect the alternator wires.

Replace the drive belts in the reverse order of removal. Reconnect the battery cable. Test the alternator to make sure the vehicle starts and runs smoothly. Remove the jack stands and lower the truck to the floor.

Items you will need

  • Flat blade screwdriver

  • Vehicle jack

  • Jack stands

  • Metric wrench set

  • Replacement alternator

 How to Replace an Alternator on a 2000 Nissan Maxima

Removing the Alternator

Park the car on a flat, level surface. Chock the back wheels to prevent the car from rolling back.

Open the hood to access the engine compartment. Disconnect the black wire on the battery.

Raise the car up by placing the jack under the front cross member. Place jack stands on both the driver and passenger side. Under the door there are pinch points. Place the jack stands under these points. Lower the car onto the jack stands.

Unbolt and remove the passenger wheel with the tire tool. Disconnect the inspection cover in the wheel well with a socket wrench.

Locate the tensioner to remove the belt. The tensioner is located under the alternator. Loosen the bolt with a socket wrench and this will loosen tension on the belt. Take the belt off the alternator pulley and the air conditioner pulley. Unbolt and remove the tensioner to make more room.

Unbolt the air conditioner and place it out of the way. There will be two bolts holding it in place. Do not remove any lines or wires.

Unbolt the positive wire from the back of the alternator. Loosen the nut with a socket wrench and take the nut off. Pull the wire off.

Pull the wiring harness to the voltage regulator at the back of the alternator. Squeeze the tabs and this will release the connector.

Unbolt the alternator from the mounting bracket. Locate and remove the three bolts with a socket wrench.

Slide the alternator down and away from the mounting bracket. The alternator will come out from the bottom of the car.

Installing the Alternator

Bolt the new alternator to the mounting bracket with a socket wrench. Ensure the three bolts are securing the alternator in place.

Plug in the wiring connector to the back of the alternator. Push it in until it locks in place.

Unbolt the nut on the positive stud. Pull the nut off the stud and place the wire on the stud. Tighten the nut to secure the wire.

Bolt the air conditioner back onto the mounting brackets. Ensure both mounting bolts are tight.

Slide the belt over the pulleys. Tighten the tensioner rod to tighten the belt.

Install the inspection cover back into the wheel well. Tighten the wheel to the axle. Ensure the lug nuts are tight by tightening them with the tire tool.

Raise the car to remove the jack stands. Lower the car to the ground.

Connect the battery by tightening the negative cable on to the terminal. Ensure the positive terminal is tight,

Start the car and allow it to idle for five minutes. Shut the car down and restart in an hour to ensure the alternator is charging sufficiently.

Items you will need

  • Jack stands

  • Jack

  • Socket wrench

  • Socket set

  • Wheel chocks

  • New alternator

 How to Replace the Alternator in My Nissan Quest

Remove the negative battery cable from the battery with a wrench. Isolate the battery cable connector from the battery while you work.

Locate the serpentine belt tensioner on the front of the engine. Turn the tensioner clockwise using a socket and ratchet placed on the bolt in the center of the tensioner pulley.

Slide the serpentine belt off the alternator pulley and leave it laying on the other pulleys. Locate the wiring harness connector on the rear of the alternator. Unplug the connector by depressing the locking tab and pulling the connector out of the alternator.

Remove the upper and lower alternator mounting bolts with a socket and ratchet. The bolts go in from the back of the alternator and can be removed by sliding them out the same way.

Lift the alternator out of the engine compartment. Lower the new alternator into place and insert the two mounting bolts into the alternator and brackets from the rear of the alternator. Torque the upper mounting bolt to 21 foot-pounds and the lower bolt to 62 foot-pounds using a torque wrench.

Connect the alternator wiring harness connector to the alternator, making sure it locks in when you insert it into the plug. Turn the serpentine belt tensioner with a socket and ratchet clockwise to release the tension and install the drive belt.

Slide the belt into position on the alternator and verify that it is still on the other pulleys than slowly release the tension and allow the tensioner to tighten the belt.

Reinstall the negative battery cable onto the battery and tighten the retaining bolt with a wrench. Test drive the vehicle to confirm that the repair was successful.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Socket set

 How to Replace the Alternator in a Nissan Sentra

Determine which alternator your Nissan Sentra will need. You'll want to be sure the new alternator is compatible with your Sentra's engine. Models made from 1982 to 1986 may have a 1.5 L, 1.6 L or 1.7 L diesel engine and models built from 1986 to 1990 use 1.6 L engines. Models made from 1991 to 1994 may have a 1.4 L, 1.6 L or 2.0 L engine.

Look at later versions of the Nissan Sentra. 1995 to 1999 models may have a 1.6 L or 2.0 L engine and engine sizes for 2000 to 2006 models are 1.8 L, 2.5 L and 2.0 L. The current generation debuted in 2007 and is available with a 2.0 L MR20DE engine.

Disconnect the negative battery cable with a socket wrench. Take off the engine cover and engine under cover if you have a 2.5 L engine. Remove both lead wires and the electrical connectors from the alternator.

Loosen the adjusting bolt for the drive belt with a socket wrench so you can remove the accessory drive belt. Remove the retaining bolts on the alternator with a socket wrench and take the alternator off the vehicle.

Install the new alternator assembly and put the retaining bolts on loosely. Replace the drive belt and adjust the tension with the adjusting bolt. Connect the two lead wires and the electrical connector for the alternator. If you have a 2.5 L engine, use a torque wrench to tighten the upper retaining bolt to 18 to 23 foot pounds and the lower retaining bolt to 33 to 38 foot pounds. Otherwise, torque the retaining bolts to 25 foot pounds.

Install the engine cover and engine under cover if you have a 2.5 L engine. Reconnect the negative battery cable with a socket wrench.

Items you will need

  • New alternator

  • Socket wrench set

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace the Alternator in a 1997 Nissan Altima

Disconnect the negative battery terminal using a wrench to loosen the nut. Remove the upper radiator hose using a screwdriver to remove the clamps.

Loosen the adjusting bolt on the alternator with a socket and ratchet and push it toward the back of the car far enough that the belt loosens. Pull the belt off of the engine.

Disconnect the wires from the alternator. There is a wiring harness that needs to be unplugged, and then remove the others by using a wrench to remove the nuts.

Remove the alternator mounting bolts using the socket and ratchet. Pull the alternator out of the car. You may have to wiggle a little to free it from the bracket.

Put the new alternator in place and loosely install the mounting bolts. Plug the wiring harness in and then connect the other wires and tighten the nuts with a wrench. Put the alternator belt back on the engine and pull the alternator toward the front of the car to tighten the belt.

Tighten the alternator mounting bolts with a socket and ratchet. Put the upper radiator hose back on and tighten the clamps with the screwdriver. Reconnect the battery terminal and tighten the nut with a wrench.

Items you will need

  • Metric socket set

  • Metric wrench set

  • Screwdriver

 How to Replace the Alternator in a Nissan Maxima

Determine which alternator your Nissan Maxima will need. You'll want to be sure the new alternator is compatible with your Maxima's engine. Models made from 1981 to 1984 have a 2.4 L or 2.8 L diesel engine and 1985 to 1999 models have a 3.0 L engine in several different types and configurations.

Look at more recent versions of the Nissan Maxima. Models made from 2000 to 2003 have options for a 3.0 L or 3.5 L engine and the Nissan Maxima has been equipped with a 3.5 L engine since 2004.

Disconnect the negative battery cable with a socket wrench. Remove the passenger side engine under cover and inspection cover. Disconnect the radiator and drive belt.

Remove the electrical harnesses for the alternator and air conditioner compressor. Take the mounting bolts off of the alternator with a socket wrench and remove the alternator.

Install the new alternator assembly. If you have a 3.5 L engine, tighten the upper mounting bolt to between 12 and 15 foot pounds and the lower bolt to between 32 and 38 foot pounds with a torque wrench. Torque both mounting bolts to 38 foot pounds if you have a 3.0 L engine.

Connect the harnesses for the alternator and air conditioner compressor. Install the drive belt and restore it to its proper tension. Replace the radiator, passenger side engine under cover and inspection cover. Attach 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 Nissan Altima

Unfasten the negative battery cable of the Nissan Altima from the battery post with an open-end wrench. Locate the alternator near the front of the engine compartment on the passenger side.

Loosen the bolts that are securing the alternator to the engine and bracket with a socket wrench just enough to be able to move the alternator on the bracket. Slide the alternator forward on the bracket and remove the alternator belt from the pulley.

Detach the electrical wiring plug from the alternator socket, pulling it straight up by hand. Unfasten the ground wire and electrical wiring connector from the alternator, detaching the nuts securing the wires to the alternator using a nut driver.

Unfasten the bolts securing the alternator to the engine with a socket wrench and slide them out by hand. Lift the alternator off the bracket and remove it from the engine compartment.

Place the new alternator on the bracket and secure it with the bolts, tightening them just enough so the alternator can still move on the bracket. Connect the electrical wiring plug into the alternator socket by hand and attach the ground wire and electrical wiring connector to the alternator with nuts.

Plut the alternator belt over the pulley and pull back on the alternator with a small prybar to add tension to the belt. Tighten the bolts on the alternator with the socket wrench while applying tension to the belt.

Reattach the negative battery cable to the Nissan Altima battery post with an open-end wrench.

Items you will need

  • Open-end wrench

  • Socket wrench set

  • Nut driver

  • Small prybar

 How to Replace an Alternator on a 1999 Nissan

Detach the negative cable on the battery, loosening the nut on the terminal with a wrench.

Disconnect the two electrical leads by removing the nuts with a wrench. Unplug the voltage regulator from the alternator.

Loosen the adjusting bolt on the alternator with a ratchet and socket. Pull the belt off of the alternator pulley.

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

Install the alternator in the car and tighten the bolts with the ratchet and socket. Put the belt on the pulley and tighten the adjustment bolt until the belt is tight.

Plug in the alternator voltage regulator. Reconnect the two electrical leads and tighten the nuts with the wrench. Reconnect the battery and tighten the terminal nut with the wrench.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Wrench set

 How to Replace The Alternator On a 2003 Nissan Pathfinder

Removal

Loosen the cable clamp nut for the truck's negative battery cable and remove the cable from the terminal. Set the cable aside where it can't accidentally contact the terminal.

Raise the truck and support it on jack stands. Unbolt and remove the side and lower splash shields if your Pathfinder is equipped with them.

Disconnect the output wire from the alternator; the wire has a sphere-like connector. Disconnect the rectangular-shaped electrical connector, which is right next to the output wire. Unscrew the ground wire with a screwdriver and remove it.

Remove the drive belt from the engine, loosening the bolt in the center of the idler pulley with the wrench and slipping the belt off the pulleys.

Remove the two mounting bolts for the alternator and remove it from the engine.

Installation

Install the replacement alternator and apply its mounting bolts.

Connect the ground wire, electrical connector and output wire to the alternator.

Reinstall the drive belt, making sure it is routed along the pulleys in the same path as before. The belt does not need to be tightened yet.

Reinstall the splash shields with their fasteners and lower the truck off the jack stands.

Reconnect the battery cable.

Tighten the alternator drive belt using the wrench on the idler pulley bolt. The belt should not give more than a quarter-inch when you press down on it in the center with your thumb.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Screwdriver

 Replacing the Alternator in a 1998 Nissan Pathfinder

Remove the negative battery terminal using a wrench to loosen the nut.

Unplug the wiring harness from the alternator by squeezing the clip and pulling it out. Disconnect the other wires using a wrench to remove the nuts.

Loosen, but do not remove, the alternator bolts with a socket and ratchet. Push the alternator to the back and remove the alternator belt.

Remove the bolts from the alternator and pull it out of the vehicle. Put the new alternator in place and loosely install the bolts. Put the alternator belt on and pull the alternator to the front of the car to tighten the belt. Tighten the bolts with the socket and ratchet.

Plug the wiring harness into the new alternator and then reconnect the other wires. Tighten the nuts with a wrench. Reconnect the battery terminal.

Items you will need

  • Metric socket set

  • New alternator