How to Replace the Alternator in a GMC Safari Van

by Alibaster Smith

The alternator in your GMC Safari is responsible for charging your vehicle's battery and providing a constant, reliable source of power for your Safari's electrical components. When an alternator begins to fail, you will usually notice the battery light coming on a lot until it finally stays on. Most of the time, this is not really a battery problem but an alternator problem--the alternator is not charging the battery, which in turn ends up dying because it loses its charge rather quickly trying to power your Safari's electrical system and components. When this happens, it's time to replace the alternator.

Step 1

Disconnect the negative cable from the battery terminal. The cable has a retaining nut and clamp that you must loosen. Use the socket wrench to loosen the retaining nut on the clamp over the battery terminal and pull the clamp off the negative terminal.

Step 2

Open the hood of your Safari and locate the fan cowling. This is a cover for the van's cooling fan.

Step 3

Loosen and remove the several screw bolts holding the cowling in place using either a screwdriver or the socket wrench (either one will work for these bolts).

Step 4

Remove the cowling and set it aside.

Step 5

Unplug both of the electrical connections on the alternator. One of them is readily visible from the front but there is one hiding behind the alternator that you may not be able to see very easily.

Step 6

Loosen the tension on the alternator belt using the breaker bar and the socket wrench. Place the socket wrench on the belt tensioner located on the pulley next to the alternator pulley. Then, place the breaker bar over the end of the socket wrench to give you enough leverage to loosen the tension. The tensioner can only be adjusted one way to loosen tension on the pulley enough for you to remove the belt.

Step 7

Remove the alternator belt.

Step 8

Unbolt the top and bottom bolts on the alternator and remove them.

Step 9

Remove the alternator. It should pull straight up out of the engine bay. Install the new alternator. Installation is the reverse of removal.

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