How to Replace the Alternator on a 1997 Ford Explorer

by Mary Ellen Popolo; Updated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • 15-mm wrench

  • 10-mm wrench

  • 95-amp or 130-amp alternator

The alternator in your 1997 Ford Explorer is responsible for keeping the vehicle's battery fully charged. The alternator also powers the vehicle's electrical components, which consist in part of the radio, headlights and windshield wipers. If the alternator fails, the electrical components will no longer work. In addition, the battery's power will drain and the vehicle will not start. Replacing the alternator will get your 1997 Ford Explorer back on the road. The job doesn't actually take very long, and it requires just a few tools.

Removing the Alternator

Disconnect the battery ground cable.

Remove the air cleaner outlet tube.

Release tension to the drive belt by rotating the belt tensioner pulley counterclockwise, using the 15-mm wrench. Remove the drive belt once tension has been released.

Unplug the voltage regulator electrical connector from the alternator.

Remove the B+ terminal cover, the B+ terminal nut and the B+ terminal electrical connector, using the 10-mm wrench.

Unplug the wiring harness from the side of the alternator.

Remove the alternator bolts with the 15-mm wrench.

Remove the alternator from the vehicle.

Installing the Alternator

Position the new alternator in the vehicle.

Install and tighten the alternator bolts, using the 15-mm wrench.

Attach the wiring harness to the alternator.

Reinstall the B+ terminal cover, the B+ terminal nut and the B+ terminal electrical connector, using the 10-mm wrench.

Plug in the wiring harness to the voltage regulator electrical connector.

Reinstall the air cleaner outlet tube and the drive belt.

Reconnect the battery ground cable.


Disconnecting and reconnecting the battery may cause abnormal drive symptoms. These will correct themselves when the vehicle is driven approximately 10 miles.

About the Author

Mary Ellen Popolo began writing freelance articles online in 1998. She has published numerous how-to articles specializing in home and family and many other topics.

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