Instructions for Installing KIA Rio Alternatorsby Jody L. Campbell
The alternator in the Kia Rio is located on front low-side of the engine. The alternator is much more accessible by lifting the vehicle. Since a floor jack and jack stands only offer limited room, this repair is much easier on a commercial vehicle suspension lift. This is not to say it cannot be done by the determined backyard mechanic, but there will be necessary steps to take in order to remove the alternator from the vehicle.
Access to the Alternator
Before starting, plug a memory saver into the cigarette lighter or power source plug and then remove the negative battery terminal from the battery post. The memory saver will prevent the resetting of the electronic control module. Although this is not required, once the negative battery terminal is removed from the Rio, it will need to relearn its driving habits.
After lifting the front end of the vehicle--or preferably the entire vehicle--up, remove any splash shields that may block access to the drive belt assembly. Once the splash shield is removed, you will be able to not only see the alternator, but access it as well.
Removing the Old Alternator
Start by loosening the water pump bolts. Do not remove them at this point. Next, remove the alternator B terminal cover cap by pulling it off and sliding it down the wire out of the way. Remove all the electrical connections to the alternator, including the plug. Loosen, but do not remove, the alternator pivoting bolt and the tensioner mounting bolt. This will allow you to pivot the alternator in the direction to relieve tension on the drive belt. Remove the water pump pulley and then remove the power steering pump to get it out of the way. Remove the power steering pump bracket to make clearance for the alternator removal. Remove the alternator tensioner mounting bolt and then the belt tensioner itself. Finish removing the alternator pivoting bolt. Loosen the bolt of the adjusting bracket enough to rotate the bracket upward. At this point, you'll be able to remove the alternator.
An alternative method to remove the alternator is by bracing the engine with a floor jack and wood block. Disconnect the engine mount and raise the jack up approximately one inch to give enough clearance for the removal of the alternator.
To reinstall, reverse the procedure. Be sure enough tension is applied to the belt to ensure that it is functioning properly. A rule of thumb for belt tension is only being able to twist it a half turn to expose the ribs of the belt.
Test the alternator and belt reinstallation after replacing. It's also a good idea to recharge the battery--especially if it died due to alternator failure.
Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.