How to install alternators and starters
Remember, if you have any questions or if you're unsure of anything, feel free to contact the Parts-King.
Parts you'll need:
3/8 socket set
Serpentine belt tool
Set of combination wrenches
NOTE: It's always a good idea to use a fender cover to protect your paint job.
You may have to remove some components to gain access to the alternator on some vehicle applications.
When the battery is disconnected some vehicle computer and memory systems may lose data. You might need to drive your car for about 25km to allow your car's computer to reboot itself.
Safety comes first
Allow the engine to cool completely before attempting to replace the alternator or the starter.
Every vehicle is different. When it comes to maintenance and repairs always follow the vehicle's owner's manual.
Make sure you have all of your tools and supplies before you begin – the last thing you want to do is go shopping when you have the car on the jack.
Safety should be your number one priority. Don't smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, or wear a necktie while working on the car. And watch out for hot objects, sharp instruments, hazardous materials and other potential safety hazards in and around your workspace. Always wear your safety glasses, a dust mask and latex gloves.
Don't work with a Philips when the job calls for a flat. Substituting tools can compromise your safety or your vehicle's performance.
Finally, when the fun turns to frustration, or if the job requires specialized knowledge beyond your capabilities, please do not attempt it yourself. Seek the assistance of a professional mechanic or installer. The last thing we want is someone getting hurt.
Steps for removing an alternator:
- Disconnect the battery ground cable.
- Remove the ground wire (black) from the alternator.
- Disconnect the positive wire (red wire held on by a retaining nut) from the back of the alternator.
- Disconnect the wire harness from the alternator.
- Remove the drive belt.
- Take off the mounting bolts from the alternator bracket.
- Remove the alternator from the engine compartment.
NOTE: Some models use a belt tensioner that applies tension to the drive belt. The best tool to use for this job is the serpentine belt tool.
On other models you need to loosen the adjusting bolt on the alternator bracket. If you're not sure about how to remove the drive belt, feel free to contact the Parts-King.
Steps for installing your new alternator:
- Put the alternator in the engine compartment
- Install the mounting bolts that connect the alternator to the alternator bracket.
- Connect the alternator wiring harness.
- Connect the ground wire to the alternator.
- Now install the drive belt.
- Reconnect the ground battery cable.
NOTE: Your new alternator should come with a retaining nut. If it doesn't, keep the old nut. Remember to remove the nut before you install the positive wire.
NOTE: This is a great time to replace the old worn out belt. When inspecting the old belt look for signs of cracking, oil soaked, hard glazed, splitting or fraying. All these signs mean it's time to replace the drive belt.
Steps for removing the starter:
- Before you get started you may need to remove some parts to gain access to the starter. This only applies to some vehicles.
- Disconnect the battery ground cable.
- Raise the vehicle and support it securely with jack stands.
- Disconnect the wires from the starter and starter solenoid.
NOTE: Probably a good idea to remember where each wire comes off. A good way to keep track is to mark each wire with masking tape indicating where it connects to. Trust me. I learned the hard way.
- Now remove the mounting bolts.
NOTE: Some vehicles have two mounting bolts while others have three. Not to worry. Every manufacturer is different.
- Remove the starter from the engine..
- Some vehicles use shims. Make note of where they were placed because you'll have to replace them the exact same way with the new starter.
Steps for installing the starter:
- Put the new starter in the engine compartment. If you have them, install the shims in the original position
- Install the mounting bolts. Torque to the specifications.
- Connect the wires to the starter and starter solenoid.
- Reinstall any components that may have been removed to gain access to the starter.
- Raise vehicle and remove the jack stands.
- Reconnect the battery ground cable.