How to Install a 1-Wire GM Alternator

by K.K. Lowell
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Photos by KKLowell

Installing a one-wire GM alternator makes the process of adding an alternator to a vehicle originally equipped with a generator very simple. One-wire alternators are also used by people in the performance car field to help make the car lighter as there are fewer wires to add weight to the vehicle.

Step 1

Disconnect the negative battery cable at the battery.

Step 2

Mount the alternator to the engine. These alternators were not used in cars so you may need to fabricate a mounting bracket. You might also find a bracket that will work at a local junkyard. If you must make your own brackets flat-steel stock, 1/4-inch thick and about 1 1/2 inches wide will work well. Bend the ends 90 degrees to form a cradle for the alternator and drill a hole in both tabs to slide a bolt through, which will hold the base of the alternator. Drill holes through the long part of the bracket to mount the piece to the original holes for the generator bracket. Use the slotted adjusting top bracket from the generator as a top mount. Be certain the engine and alternator pulleys are aligned properly. The belt must run straight to prevent wear.

Step 3

Follow the battery positive cable from the battery to where it is connected on the starter relay. Install a 10-gauge wire to this terminal with a ring connector and run the wire to the back of the alternator. Connect this wire to the the insulated stud output terminal on the back of the alternator with another ring connector.

Step 4

Reconnect the negative battery cable to the battery.

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