View Full Version : Need help -- replacing alternator
03-25-2006, 04:56 PM
Well, until today I have always spoken highly of Google.
Now i'm just plain pissed.
Alright, I have a bad alternator in my 99 taurus se. (sohc). And sofar I've gotten a replacement, but dont have the money to pay for the dealer's charges.. (they gave me an estimation of 480 for parts/labor).
I bought the replacement for a little over 170.
I'm not overly knowledgeable in the area.. but I know pretty much what's going on here.. I see the 3 bolts and 3wires I need to pop off to get the old one out of there....
The question is... How do I get the serpentine belt off? -- and back on for that matter.
I don't have access to any tools other than sockets, etc... (so no tension-something's that I'm finding everywhere on google??)
What's the deal? Does anyone have a place they could recommend for me that has a step by step guide applicable to my case?
03-25-2006, 06:13 PM
Are you sure you don't see a pulley about 3 to 4 inches in diameter near the alternator? That would be the tensioner. If not, maybe they use another device...power steering pump or A/C to apply tension to the belt, but I doubt it.
03-25-2006, 07:59 PM
Usually the tensioner has a 3/8" square socket on the wheel so you can turn it with a socket wrench.
03-25-2006, 08:19 PM
The tensioner pulley itself rotates about an offset pivot point. It's under tension (obviously) and you need to force it to rotate it in the other direction. Put a 15mm socket on it and use a long ratchet or breaker bar to rotate the pulley away from the belt. Pull it far enough until the belt is loose enough to be able to slip it off.
Several varieties of tensioners out there. My "good" car (Japanese) relies on a threaded tensioner, where turning a screw raises and lowers the pulley. Very easy and precise. On my '87 Firebird, the alternator is also the tensioner. I have to pry the alt into the belt to get the right amount of tension, and then tighten the set bolt. Very crude.
03-25-2006, 08:27 PM
All my service info is at work... I can get it Monday. PM me an email addy and I'll send you whatever I can find.
Any of the chain parts stores (AutoZone in particular) have free repair info.
You might also try the library to see if they have a service manual.
03-25-2006, 09:53 PM
I replaced on my 95 chevy blazer a few weeks ago. It was kinda funny. I bought my alternater a few years back at autozone, so i returned it and it was too old, so instead of replacing it they returned it and I had to buy a new one. So to make a lng story short I got paid $60 to exchange my alternater!!!. Installation was pretty easy except I turned my tensioner the wrong way and removed it. But it ended up working fine, till my fuel pump went out again last week..... Just bought a new 2006 RAV4 V6 today!!!
03-26-2006, 04:44 PM
So it looks like my coolant holder thingy is getting in the way... if I turn the bolt on the tensioner it is coming out away from the engine.. I'm assuming this is the correct direction?
03-26-2006, 08:19 PM
Did you figure it out? You can get a belt tool that is like a long open-end wrench for fairly cheap at auto stores, or borrow/rent one from Autozone. I think the direction depends on which engine you have. Go with whichever direction loosens the belt. :)
03-27-2006, 01:58 PM
Heh, well I havent figured it out yet, in fact I have a socket wrench jammed up against the coolant box/holder as we speak, and It'll be raining for the next couple days so I'll have to wait out the rain I guess.... Maybe/maybe not, depends on the temps.
I havent been able to do anything that is making the belt any looser, mainly because I cannot loosen the bolt anymore on the tensioner due to my socket wrench being pinned up against the coolant tank. I'll have to go buy another wrench which has a 1/2" drive instead of the 3/8" I have right now using a converter.. Hopefully the ~1" I gain from taking off the converter will be sufficient to get the bolt out w/out hitting the coolant tank :(
I'm not looking forward to having to take off/out the coolant tank just to service this part.
By messing with the tensioner, what exactly is my goal here? To be able to remove the tensioner, and then do my work.. or to just make the belt loose enough that I can pry it off the alternator and pry it back on??
Also, the 'tensioner' that I'm thinking of might not be what you guys are talking about.... I see a 3-4" diameter wheel just underneath the alternator, it appears to just be bolted to the engine via the bolt I'm turning.. (see above, I guess)..... and by loosening this bolt, it appears that I'm just going to remove this wheel at some point. I.E. The wheel isnt moving at all by my loosening of the bolt, it's just being unscrewed. Is this supposed to loosen the belt somehow?? --- I'm really not this dumb, I just dont see how loosening the bolt on a wheel will put less tension on the belt, when the wheel isnt being moved at all...
03-27-2006, 02:30 PM
The wheel does move; it isn't fixed. The pulley wheel rotates about a point other than its center. You're not trying to remove the nut or pulley (what ramazank did), you're trying to force the pulley against spring tension away from the belt. I'm thinking you shouldn't *have* to remove anything, but if it makes it easier to work, then go ahead. Weigh the extra time needed against the frustration of working with stuff in the way. I usually opt for less frustration.
I think a tool like this one is what you need.
03-28-2006, 03:59 PM
Well it turns out I wasnt playing with the correct wheel ;)
I went out and bought a tool as suggested by daedalus and it was a snap :)
Thanks for the help everyone!!!
03-28-2006, 09:39 PM
Good to hear everything worked out. THe tensioner's job is to keep tension on the serpentine belt, so if you can flex it back (but not too hard, as they sometimes break) pulling the belt should be very easy.
Alternators are pretty east to replace, usually. But try replacing a water pump on a early 90s Camaro. You have to remove damn near everything on the front of the engine to get to it. All day job.
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