The answer to changing the alternator does not have to include all the time consuming work of detaching the drive train at all! Begin by jacking the car up on the drivers' side and secure it from being able to fall. Remove the drivers' side tire. Next,remove the plastic shroud around the crankcase. This is very easy. Just take a screwdriver and pop out the plastic bolts used to attach it to the frame. Remove hot post on battery and then remove wires from the back of the alternator. Remove the bottom bolt and screw from the mounting bracket by working through the wheelwell. Remove the top two bolts including the adjustment arm. The alternatior is now free to move around.Push it up out of the way. You now need to remove the mounting bracket with a 14mm socket. It has two bolts holding it on. Pull the shroud out of the way and drop the alternator down throught this opening. This is a very time saving method of removing and replacing an alternator on the civic. I replaced mine on a 1989 CRX. Approximately an hour from start to finish by using this medthod.
NOTE: ALWAYS MAKE SURE VEHICLE CANNOT FALL OFF JACK! I secured an 8 inch concrete block vertically under the front bumper to make sure the car couldn't fall on me whiile I was under it.
This isn't that tricky of an install. I've done it 3 times now.
First, take off your drivers side wheel.
Second, find the right size socket for the CV axle nut. I can't remember what size it was, but it was huge. Take your car to Napa and ask them to help you find the right one, that's what I did. Take off that nut with the socket and wrench, set aside.
Third, Take off the bottom nut holding the brake assembly to the arm holding it. I think it is a 17mm socket. There is a codder pin in this nut, so if it does not, its the wrong nut. After you take the nut off, pull the brake assembly up so it swings free.
Fouth, pull our the left CV Axle. This is the only way to fit the Alt. out from under the car.
Fifth, unbolt your alternator and the serpetine belt on it. If your belt is in good condition, don't buy another one. They are hardy things.
After getting your new alt in there, tighten it all up and repeat all these steps backwards to get it all back together. Make sure the serpentine belt is nice and tight on the crankshaft, you don't want much play in there, or you will lose power.
Fairly straight forward. Nothing mind blowing about it. If your having problems with dimming lights when pushing in your clutch, it might not be the alternator. Check all your other wiring (and your battery, the alt. itself, and grounds) before you change out and install the new one. It will save you tons of time, money and hassle.
Maybe a bit late with this but I have to chime in. After hearing a number of folks say you have to remove front axle to get alternator out, I couldn't believe the car could be designed so poorly. Today I swapped one out of a 91 into an 89...the trick is to jack frame remove wheel, remove plasic shroud, take of 14mm nut on alt bolt, drive out pin push alternator up somewhere to rest and the take 2 14mm bolts out to remove bracket. Now the alternator can be wiggled out past the obstructions.
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