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Old February 15th, 2006, 05:16 PM   #1
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 22
HOW TO: Replace alternator

I was a bit underwhelmed by the Haynes manual and the directions I found online. Here is a bit more detail from my alternator adventure. Please add any suggestions or things that I missed.

Tools Needed:
sockets: 10mm, 12mm, 14mm deep
ratchets: mix 1/4" and 3/8" drive to taste
14mm wrench

Tools Nice to Have:
Flathead screwdriver
Inspection mirror
Breaker bar/”flex handle” for the 14mm socket

How to tell it's bad:
The battery light in the dash comes on, along with all the door and brake indicators.
You hear an unusual low whining from the alternator.
Measuing the current with an ammeter suggests low/no output.

Options for replacement:
The stock alternator is a 105 Amp unit. It may be worth calling around. Honda wanted $228 for a replacement, but a local alternator shop had new Delco units for 85 bucks. You can have your old one rebuilt, buy a remanufactured unit (companies will vary on how many parts are replaced by default), or buy a new unit. Warranties vary from days to years to lifetime.

Upgraded units producing 150 Amps or greater can be had from Alterstart, Ohio Generator, High Output Alternators, V6P.net, and others. Look to spend $300 or more.

Figure about two hours to do this yourself. I was quoted around $75 for labor to have a shop do it.

DIY:
(1) Start by removing the negative battery terminal. You may want to wrap it in something non-conductive in case it works its way back to the terminal.

(2) Disconnect the two condenser fans. Push down on the tabs to release the connectors.

(3) Disconnect the electrical line from the passenger side fan housing. The flathead screwdriver is handy here to depress the tabs. Also disconnect the cable that is attached to the fan housing. Finally, on the passenger side of the fan housing, about half way down, there is another connector with a single red wire. Press on the tab facing the housing and pull to remove the plug assembly from the fan housing (note: this does not unplug the connectors, this simply releases the assembly from the fan housing).

(4) Remove the top two bolts holding the fan housing (10mm). There is a third bolt on the bottom of the housing. It is NOT necessary to remove this third bolt entirely as the housing just slips over the bolt. Loosen it and remove the housing upward. An inspection mirror will help locate the bolt. You will need either an extension or a deep socket. Be careful of the electrical line with the fan plugs, as well as of the radiator fins.

(5) Loosen the power steering reservoir (10mm). You will need the clearance to push on the belt tensioner. This is a good time to tuck the fan plugs over by the power steering reservoir.

(6) Next disconnect the alternator wires. The plug has a push tab. Under the boot is a 10mm nut. These basically stay in place.

(7) Next remove the belt from the alternator pulley. There is a roller that the belt routes under before going up and over the alternator pulley. This is the tensioner. Put a 14mm wrench on the bolt head in the middle of that roller (sockets will not fit into the space). Use one hand to push the wrench toward the back of the car, and the other hand to lift and slide the belt off of the alternator.

(8) Now to remove the alternator. The top bolt is attached to the gray bracket near the engine cover. The nut is welded to the bracket, so you only need to put a ratchet on it. The top bolt is a 12mm. The lower bolt is further toward the back, just above the tensioner roller. This bolt is a 14mm. Clearance is an issue with the lower bolt, and you will likely need a deep socket. Be careful not to unscrew it all the way with the ratchet, as it is likely to become trapped against the body metal. Loosen it as far as you can while being able to remove the ratchet, then finish it by hand or with a smaller ratchet, like a 1/4" drive.

(9) Be careful when removing the alternator not to bang up the radiator fins or scratch the plug or engine covers (you may want to put a towel or old shirt over the plastic). You will bring it forward, over toward the drivers side, rotate it so the top hole is near the engine, and pull it up carefully, wiggling as needed around the alternator wires by the engine and the cable over the radiator.

Installation is the reverse of removal. Tips referenced to the removal sections:
(8) Start with the top bolt on the alternator to save the headache of locating the lower hole. I do not know of a torque spec for the alternator bolts, but they don’t seem to tighten past a certain point. The top bolt appears to screw into some sort of steel, but the lower bolt appears to bolt into aluminum, so bear that in mind when pushing.

(6)(2) I like to use a little dialectric grease on the electrical contacts when reassembling.

Hope this helps give everyone an idea of what to expect when their alternator finally dies. Mine made it about 47000 miles, along with the battery.

Last edited by lawst_av6; February 21st, 2006 at 05:38 PM..
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Old February 17th, 2006, 12:13 PM   #2
 
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Great write up, i might need to do this soon my alternator is going bad.
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Old February 19th, 2006, 01:36 PM   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AstonV12
Great write up, i might need to do this soon my alternator is going bad.
And you have an 04???
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Old February 19th, 2006, 02:44 PM   #4
 
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No, I used to. I've sold it to my sis, I'm driving a 6th gen now.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 01:51 PM   #5
 
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Went to AutoZone and the Alterstart they have there only produce 105amp just like our stock alternator. Where do you get the 150amp with 85 bucks?
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Old February 21st, 2006, 05:49 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1lif2liv
Went to AutoZone and the Alterstart they have there only produce 105amp just like our stock alternator. Where do you get the 150amp with 85 bucks?
Nowhere. I've edited the post to clarify. For what it's worth, 85 bucks was a sale price at a local alternator/starter shop.
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Old November 9th, 2006, 08:23 PM   #7
 
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I appreciate the write-up! My alternator started to whine upon cold starting so I figured it was time to replace it.

My testament to success:
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(click to enlarge)

BTW... that rear mounting bolt was a royal pain in the a** to get out.. barely any clearance for tools. I highly suggest a flex joint for this. I didn't have one so I used some careful manipulation of a box-end wrench and a breaker bar (short metal pipe) to finally get it free.

Here are torque specifications for the various hardware:
Fan shroud mounting bolts (all 3): (7.2lb)
98-99 Alternator "black wire" nut: (5.8lb)
00-02 Alternator "black wire" nut: (8.7lb)
Alternator bracket bolt: (8.7lb)
Top/Front Alternator Mounting Bolt: (16lb)
Bottom/Rear Alternator Mounting Bolt: (33lb)

Last edited by Loris 65; November 10th, 2006 at 03:31 AM..
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 09:06 PM   #8
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I got the dreaded check battery light yesterday, and I could hear the distinctive whine of the alternator. I wonder if it's the cold weather that just got here recently, but maybe it's time to replace this sucker anyways. I would love it if my headlights don't go dim whenever I roll down the windows

Are you guys just measuring the current being supplied to the battery? I'm not sure where the terminals are on the alternator to measure the output current.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 09:20 PM   #9
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Great write up! I will probably use this how-to in the next 4-6 months. My car has an electrical whine and the lights dim when I turn on the A/C, use the windows, etc. I have an Alpine deck and a 500 watt JL amp, do you (or anyone else) recommend going with a high output alternator?
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 10:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaegray09
Great write up! I will probably use this how-to in the next 4-6 months. My car has an electrical whine and the lights dim when I turn on the A/C, use the windows, etc. I have an Alpine deck and a 500 watt JL amp, do you (or anyone else) recommend going with a high output alternator?
a capacitor for your audio system.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 10:09 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaegray09
Great write up! I will probably use this how-to in the next 4-6 months. My car has an electrical whine and the lights dim when I turn on the A/C, use the windows, etc. I have an Alpine deck and a 500 watt JL amp, do you (or anyone else) recommend going with a high output alternator?
I've read of a number of people putting some fairly high powered amps into Hondas with 85amp alternators. In part it depends on how loud you want it, and how much draw you will realistically use. I run an Alpine amp that is rated for 75x2+300x1 (rear channels bridged) without problems on the basic 85amp alternator. For flexibility purposes, if you plan on assembling a serious audio and/or video system, the high output alternator may prevent future headaches. Wasn't worth the price difference to me at the time.

Oddly enough, I can't recall of anyone mentioning whether the high output alternators eliminate the power sag when the A/C kicks in, etc., although I would presume it does. Note that a capacitor (at least in the stereo installation sense) will not affect the dimming lights caused by the things you describe (which, if your car is like mine, will dim the lights regardless of whether the stereo is on). Thanks for the kind words.

Last edited by lawst_av6; December 8th, 2006 at 10:13 PM..
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Old December 8th, 2006, 10:13 PM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitaiwan82
I got the dreaded check battery light yesterday, and I could hear the distinctive whine of the alternator. I wonder if it's the cold weather that just got here recently, but maybe it's time to replace this sucker anyways. I would love it if my headlights don't go dim whenever I roll down the windows

Are you guys just measuring the current being supplied to the battery? I'm not sure where the terminals are on the alternator to measure the output current.
To measure the current output with an ammeter you would (assuming it is the clamp style) hook the clamp to the positive battery cable that runs from the alternator. Note that the multimeters we all tend to have in our garages aren't equipped for this type of measurement. Although, with a multimeter you could probably check the voltage at the battery, and if it is no higher with the car on than with the car off, then you're not getting juice from the alternator.

The less subtle sign is, of course, that if your alternator is dead a few start ups will drain the battery.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 10:16 PM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loris 65
I appreciate the write-up! My alternator started to whine upon cold starting so I figured it was time to replace it.

My testament to success:
&mpt=[CACHEBUSTER]">
(click to enlarge)

BTW... that rear mounting bolt was a royal pain in the a** to get out.. barely any clearance for tools. I highly suggest a flex joint for this. I didn't have one so I used some careful manipulation of a box-end wrench and a breaker bar (short metal pipe) to finally get it free.

Here are torque specifications for the various hardware:
Fan shroud mounting bolts (all 3): (7.2lb)
98-99 Alternator "black wire" nut: (5.8lb)
00-02 Alternator "black wire" nut: (8.7lb)
Alternator bracket bolt: (8.7lb)
Top/Front Alternator Mounting Bolt: (16lb)
Bottom/Rear Alternator Mounting Bolt: (33lb)
Good tip on the rear bolt. Torque specs are handy too; did you pull those numbers from the Helm manual?
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Old April 3rd, 2017, 08:39 AM   #14
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I damaged the green wire going to the plug with the red wire on the fan assembly tab. Anybody know what these wires are for? Ground? The green wire is fastened to the compressor.
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