How to Install an Alternator on Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The alternator in the Vehicles generates and distributes electricity to the parts of your automobile that need it. Like most other parts on the Vehicles there will come a time when you will need to replace the alternator. The process is not difficult, but you do have to crawl under the car to remove the old alternator. Even if you have no experience working on cars, you should be able to remove and install the alternator in less than two hours.

Under The Hood:

 How to Install an Alternator on a 2001 Mitsubishi Galant

Lift the hood of the car and prop it open. Disconnect the negative battery cable using a wrench to loosen the nut on the terminal. Place wheel chocks behind the rear wheels for additional safety. Raise the Galant on the driver's side using the automobile jack.

Place a jack stand under the car and raise it up to the frame of the Galant. Remove the splash guard (if so equipped) from under the car, using a wrench to remove the bolts. Turn the adjusting bolt counterclockwise using a ratchet and socket. Slip the alternator belt off the alternator pulley.

Remove the bolts from the water pump pulley using a socket and ratchet. Pull the pulley off the water pump with your hand. Unplug the alternator wiring harness. Disconnect the wires from the alternator using a wrench to remove the nuts. Loosen the mounting bolts on the alternator and remove the alternator from the bracket.

Put the new alternator into the alternator bracket. Tighten the bolts with the socket and ratchet. Plug the wiring harness into the alternator and reconnect the electrical wires. Tighten the nuts with a wrench.

Replace the water pump pulley and tighten the bolts with the socket and ratchet. Slip the belt into place over the water pump and alternator pulleys. Adjust the belt tension with the alternator adjusting bolt, turning it clockwise with a socket and ratchet until you reach the proper tension. The belt is at the proper tension when you are able to depress it no more than 1/4 to 1/2 an inch with your finger on the longest span between pulleys.

Replace the splash guard under the car if you removed one and tighten the retaining bolts with a wrench. Raise the Galant above the jack stand. Remove the stand from under the car and lower the vehicle to the ground. Reconnect the battery cable and tighten the terminal nut with a wrench. Close the hood.

Items you will need

  • Automobile jack

  • Wheel chocks

  • Jack stand

  • Metric socket set

  • Metric wrench set

 How to Install an Alternator on a Jeep Liberty

Park the Jeep Liberty on a flat, level surface and remove the ignition keys.

Disconnect the negative battery terminal with a hand wrench or ratchet and socket.

Locate the drive belt routing diagram to locate the tensioner pulley. Once you've located it, place a wrench or socket into the insert of the pulley and turn it clockwise to release the tension on the drive belt. Remove the drive belt from the alternator pulley and allow the tensioner pulley to gently swing back. Hold the tension on the drive belt and wrap a bungee cord or mechanic's wire around it and support to something somewhere out of your working area for the alternator. This will keep the drive belt intact with the other pulleys so you won't have to reroute it.

Remove the alternator pivot and mounting bolts with the ratchet and socket. Pivot the alternator to access the connected wires.

Unsnap the plastic cover from the B+ terminal (it might also be a rubber cover; if so, peel it back and slide it down a little). Remove the nut from the B+ terminal cable and the wire beneath it connected with an electrical eyelet.

Unplug the field wire connector at the bottom of the alternator. You have to push on the tab to release it.

Remove the alternator. You might have to convince it free with the large straight-edged screwdriver.

Install the new alternator reversing the procedures. Plug in the field wire, place the eyelet wire on the mounting stud, then the B+ cable and tighten the nut. Line the alternator back into position; again convincing it with the screwdriver may be helpful. Tighten the mounting and pivot bolts. Remove the bungee cord or wire from the drive belt and hold in one hand while placing the wrench or ratchet back on the tensioner pulley. Turn clockwise to relieve tension. Place the belt onto the alternator pulley. You should not have to force the belt. If the belt does not seem to fit, then check the nearby pulleys to see if it popped off track.

Reattach the negative terminal to the battery and start the Jeep Liberty to test.

Items you will need

  • Complete set of open end/box end combination hand wrenches 3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket set Bungee cord or mechanic's wire Large straight-edged screwdriver

 How to Install the Alternator for a 1994 Nissan Sentra

Park the 1994 Nissan Sentra on a even surface and open the hood.

Remove the negative battery cable from the negative battery post with an adjustable wrench. The negative battery post will have a (-) symbol stamped on the battery above the negative battery post.

Locate the serpentine belt tensioner on the front of the engine. (The belt will have to be removed from the alternator pulley before the alternator can be pulled out of the engine compartment. The tensioner has a spring loaded arm and a pulley.)

Turn the tensioner counterclockwise with the 1/2-inch drive ratchet and a socket. Slide the belt off of the alternator pulley. Let the belt hang down but do not let the belt come off the other pulleys.

Locate the three wire connectors on the rear of the alternator. Two of the wire connectors are plugged in to the rear of the alternator, and the other wire connector is held on by a nut. Unplug the two wire connectors and unscrew the other wire connector with the 1/2-inch drive ratchet and a socket. Place any nuts and bolts in a small container for safekeeping.

Remove the two bolts from the front of the alternator bracket with the 1/2-inch drive ratchet and a socket. Put the two front bracket bolts into the small container.

Jack up the front of the 1994 Nissan Sentra and slide the jack stands under the frame of the car behind each front tire. Slowly lower the car onto the stands. Examine the jack stands to ensure that the Sentra is sitting securely on top of the stands.

Locate the two splash shields below the engine, behind the rear of the front driver side tire. One of the splash shields is attached to the metal cross brace under the driver side of the engine; the other is connected to the driver side wheel well. Remove the bolts from the splash shields with the ratchet and a socket. Pull the splash shields out of the way and set them to the side.

Look up through the splash shield hole and locate the two lower alternator mounting bracket bolts. Remove these two bolts with the 1/2-inch drive ratchet and socket.

Go back to the top of the engine and pry back and forth on the alternator with the pry bar to loosen the alternator from the alternator bracket. Pull the alternator out of the alternator bracket with your hands and set the old alternator to the side.

Slide the new alternator into the alternator bracket. Crawl back under the Sentra and line the two lower alternator holes up with the two lower bracket holes. Screw the two lower bolts into the alternator and tighten them down with the 1/2-inch drive ratchet and socket.

Install one of the splash shields back to the metal cross brace under the driver side of the engine. Install the other splash shield to the driver side wheel well. Tighten down the splash shield bolts with the 1/2-inch drive ratchet and socket. Jack the Sentra back up and remove the jack stands. Lower the Sentra to the ground.

Go back to the top of the engine and plug the two rear wire connectors back into the rear of the alternator. (The plugs are different sizes so that each connector will only fit the plug that it was designed for.) Put the other wire back onto the stud and screw the nut back on. Tighten the nut down with the ratchet and socket.

Turn the serpentine belt tensioner counter clockwise again and slide the belt back onto the alternator pulley with the 1/2-inch drive ratchet and socket.

Put the negative battery cable back onto the negative battery post and tighten down with the ratchet and socket. Crank the engine to make sure that the alternator is working properly.

Items you will need

  • Adjustable wrench

  • 1/2-inch drive ratchet

  • Socket set

  • Small container

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Pry bar

 How to Install an Alternator for a Dodge Dakota

Dodge Dakota alternator removal

Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery terminal using a socket wrench.

Locate the alternator on the right side of the engine when viewing from the front. Remove the four connector nuts attached to the alternator by using a socket wrench. After removing the four wires, replace the nuts on the correct bolts.

Loosen the alternator pivot bolt using a socket wrench. This will allow you to push the alternator towards the back of the motor and remove the alternator belt by slipping it off of the pulley.

Remove the loosened alternator pivot bolt completely using a socket wrench. Remove the lower alternator bolt using the same socket wrench.

Pull the alternator up and out of the alternator bracket.

Dodge Dakota alternator replacement

Place the alternator in the alternator bracket cradle. Slide the lower alternator retaining bolt into place and hand tighten.

Slide the upper alternator pivot bolt into place. Pull the alternator belt on to the alternator pulley. The belt will be loose and easy to maneuver before tighten the alternator pivot bolt.

Pull the alternator up and to the right to tighten the alternator bolt. The alternator will only slide so far on the pivot bolt before coming to the end of the alternator bracket. Tighten the alternator pivot bolt and torque to 35 foot-pounds. Torque the lower alternator retaining bolt to 30 foot-pounds.

Reconnect the four alternator connector wires and tighten the nuts to 40 inch-pounds.

Reconnect the negative battery terminal cable using a socket wrench.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench set

  • Torque wrench

 How Do I Install an Alternator on a Jeep Cherokee 4.0L?

Park the Jeep on a flat, easily accessible surface and open the hood.

Remove the negative (black) battery connection from the vehicle's battery using a 12-mm socket. Removing the mounting bolt will allow the connection to simply slide off. This will stop the current between the battery and the alternator, allowing you to work safely.

Locate the alternator at the front of the engine compartment. The alternator is a vented, cylindrical part connected to the drive belt. Remove the bolt that secures the electrical connection to the alternator, using a 12-mm socket wrench. Slide the connector away from the alternator.

Locate the swing pulley at the bottom of the drive belt assembly (the pulley closest to the ground). Remove its mounting bolt, using a 14-mm socket wrench, then slide the pulley off its shaft. This will loosen the drive belt.

Remove the four mounting bolts from around the edge of the alternator, using a 12-mm socket. Slide the alternator out of the engine housing.

Slide the new alternator in place and secure it using the bolts that you just removed in the previous step.

Readjust the drive belt, sliding it over the new alternator's turn shaft. Make sure to center the grooves perfectly, as doing so incorrectly can damage the belt when you try to start the vehicle.

Replace the swing pulley at the bottom of the drive belt assembly and re-secure it with its 14-mm mounting bolt.

Slide the electrical connector onto the new alternator and secure it with the bolt you previously removed. Replace the negative connection on the Cherokee's battery post; secure it with its 12-mm bolt.

Items you will need

  • 12-mm socket

  • 14-mm socket

  • Socket wrench

  • Replacement alternator (custom for your car's model and year)

 How to Install an Alternator on a 2002 Dodge Intrepid

Removal

Park your Dodge Intrepid on a level surface.

Open the hood and detach the ground (black) battery cable, using a wrench.

Jack up the front of your vehicle, using a floor jack, and support the car on two jack stands.

Chock the rear wheels and apply the parking brake.

Detach the splash shield from under the engine compartment, using a ratchet and socket.

Unfasten the transmission cooler mounting bolts, using a ratchet and socket, and move the cooler to the side.

Unfasten the lower radiator cross-member support, using a ratchet and socket, and support the radiator with another jack stand.

Loosen the alternator adjusting T-bolt, using a pair of slip-joint pliers.

Loosen the alternator mounting bolt(s), using the ratchet and socket.

Slip the belt off the alternator pulley.

Unplug the wiring harness from the back side of the alternator.

Unfasten the retaining nut holding the wire to the back side post of the alternator, using a wrench.

Remove the alternator mounting bolt(s) completely, and remove the alternator from the vehicle.

Installation

Fit the alternator in place, and install the mounting bolt(s)--but do not tighten yet.

Install the wire to the back side post of the alternator, using the wrench.

Plug the wiring harness to the back side of the alternator.

Install the belt on the alternator pulley, and tighten the T-bolt to properly adjust the alternator belt. Use the slip-joint pliers.

Tighten the alternator mounting bolt(s), using the ratchet and socket.

Remove the jack stand, then install the lower radiator cross-member support, using the ratchet and socket.

Install the transmission cooler, using the ratchet and socket.

Attach the splash shield to the bottom of the engine compartment, using the ratchet and socket.

Lower the Intrepid.

Remove the chocks from the rear wheels.

Reattach the ground (black) battery cable, using the wrench.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Chocks

  • Ratchet

  • Socket set

  • Slip-joint pliers

 How to Install an Alternator in a Jeep Cherokee

Disconnect the battery cables from the battery. The battery will need to be disconnected as you are working on the electrical system.

Remove the accessory drive belt from the pulley. You can do this by loosening the tensioner pulley.

Unfasten the electrical lines from the back of the alternator. The harness should unsnap. You can use a flathead screwdriver to help unlock the fastener.

Unbolt the screws holding in the alternator. The alternator is held up by two to three bolts. In some cases you might have to unscrew the bottom bolt from underneath the Jeep.

Remove the old alternator and replace with the new alternator. The new generator should go back in place.

Fasten the electrical harness to the new alternator. They should snap in to the back of the alternator.

Re-attach the belt. The vehicle has a belt diagram which will instruct how to run the belt. Loosen the tensioner pulley to attach the belt. The pulley will tighten as you release it.

Screw the battery cables back on the battery. Red is positive and black is negative.

Crank your Jeep Cherokee and you can test the charging power of your alternator by turning on the headlights. Your vehicle should not surge when you add the extra power from the headlights.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Ratchet

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • Alternator

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.