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How do you replace alternator on 1997 Buick Regal?

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βˆ™ 2006-09-21 00:11:11

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I've done this and it is not too difficult, because the alternator is nice and high on the engine and easily accessible for replacement. (My car has a 3.8 L V6 engine, and these instructions are from an actual replacement job on that engine.) 1. Remove the Serpentine belt, or at least remove it from the alternator's pulley. To do this you need an 18 mm socket to place on the tensioner pulley that is just to the left and below the alternator. This pulley is mounted on a spring loaded arm that will move CLOCKWISE if you apply clockwise torque to the nut that holds the pulley on. I believe the screw that holds the pulley has a LEFT hand thread, so that when you apply clockwise torque the nut does not come loose. When you apply torque with your socket wrench (the longer the handle, the easier this step is) the idler pulley will move down and slightly to the left, releasing tension on the serpentine belt, so that it can easily be removed. 2. Remove the decorative cover from the top of the engine. You do not need tools for this step. Just grasp the front edge the thing and lift up. Then do the same at the back edge. The cover will pop off. Notice where the four little sets of fingers are and where they snap on to some little pipes below the cover. You will need to snap these on later. 3. Ideally you should disconnect the red battery cable from the battery for this next step, but the battery is difficult to reach on this car. Perhaps you should wrap plastic electrical tape around the end of the red terminal so that it does not flex back and touch the battery again while you are working. If you are going to do this step, do it now, or even do it first. 4. Remove the bolts that are visible that hold the alternator in place. [If you skipped step 3 (disconnecting the red battery terminal, then at this time take something that is an electrical insulator -- I used a flat piece of cardboard that was big enough to sit the alternator on with ease, while I work on it.] 5. In this step, take care that you DO NOT LET THE END OF THE ALTERNATOR CABLE TOUCH ANYTHING THAT IS METAL, especially if you did not disconnect the battery terminals in an earlier step. I went so far as to rest the alternator on a piece of [insulating] cardboard while I was doing this step, to reduce chances of an electrical short to "chassis ground". Now remove the electical cables. The heavy red wire is removed by loosening a hex screw. As soon as you take this terminal off, wrap tape aroundit so that it cannot accidentally touch any part of the engine. A couple of smaller wires are connected with a plastic connector...locate and the connector's locking tab and push on it as you pull on the connector to remove it from the alternator's case. 6. If you buy a rebuilt alternator, take the old one in when you buy it so you can claim the "Core" trade in value. 7. Now reverse all of these steps. Connect the alternator electrically (don't forget the little connector!). Install the alternator with the bolts you just removed. Using the 18mm socket, rotate the tensioner pulley so you can get the serpentine belt back on. Snap the engine cover back on. Reconnect the battery terminal if you removed it. 8. Check to see if the alternator is charging. This is easy if you have a voltage gage (it won't read below 10 volts anymore.) If not, see if the headlights are a tiny bit brighter when the engine is idling fast as compared to when it is idling slowly. Hope this helps.

2006-09-21 00:11:11
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