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Ford Taurus
Mercury Sable

How do you replace the alternator on a 1996-1999 Sable - Taurus with DOHC engine?


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2015-07-15 20:55:17
2015-07-15 20:55:17
Preliminary Notes
  • Many repair shops and auto parts stores offer inexpensive or free alternator & battery testing.

    Be sure to test before replacing!

  • It is a little known fact that a weak or failing battery is a major contributor to premature alternator death. Any battery that is 4 years old is a prime candidate for replacement.
  • If you have the engine with the dual overhead cam it is not easy, I just did it and it took me 12 hours.
Procedures

3.0 DOHC (dual overhead cam) 24 valve engine

  • Lift and chock the rear wheels
  • Remove the passenger-side tire
  • They tell you to remove the steering arm, but I have been able to get it out without doing that.
  • Release the belt tensioner and remove the serpentine belt.
  • You must then reach up under and undo the wires (one bolted on and one plug in) and
  • Still working from through the wheel-well, remove the two bolts from the bottom and one from the top.
  • If you twist the alternator around as you drop it you can usually get it out without undoing the steering arm.

BEFORE YOU GO THROUGH ALL THIS TROUBLE!

There is a mega-fuse on the front of the fuse box under the hood. It has a positive and negative wire bolted to it, remove the bolts, pull the fuse out and shake the little tabs to see if they are loose.

If they are loose it will cost you $4.99 for a new one at Autozone.

TipNow you don't really have to, but I'd advise removing the radiator over-fill tank, because it makes everything so much easier and gives you room to work - after the car has sat cooling for a while.

First compress the rubber hose clamps with a pair of large pliers and pull the rubber hoses off. Channel Lock pliers work good for that. Those hoses will be fused to the metel fittings by the heat, but, gently twist them back and forth until they come off. A dab of dish soap inside the rubber hose ends will make installing them back on much mory easy.

The over-flow tank is the large white plastic tank on the passenger's side of the engine compartment that blocks your sight and access to the belt, pulleys and bolts. Plug all the removed rubber hoses, and white tank nozzles, with compressed paper towels with Saran Wrap rubber-banded around the "open" ends if you don't want anti-freeze and water all over the place.

I have a '97 and I am assuming the '98 is the same.

If you have the dual-overhead cam model, the alternator is on the back, lower side of the motor. Standing at the passenger side fender, looking down between the power steering reservoir and the motor, you should be able to see the alternator pulley about 1 inch off the frame rail. If this is what you have, unless there was a radical redesign between the 97 and 98, you should immediately close the hood, pickup the phone and call your mechanic. You will save yourself lots of time and a very big headache. I have worked on cars for many years - can change an alternator on a normal car in about 15 minutes (thanks to auto-tensioners and anti-seize compound). Changing this alternator took over six hours. Think of all the things you could do in six hours.

Save yourself the hassle and bring it to the mechanic, you will thank yourself in the end.

Hogwash The alternator on the '98 with Dual Overhead Cams is a piece of cake. Raise the Hood. Disconnect the negative battery cable. Raise the car up and support it properly. Remove Front Passenger Tire and Wheel. Remove the little black plastic splash guard located behind the strut. Release the belt tension. Remove belt from alternator pulley. Unbolt alternator, you can remove one bolt but not the other, be careful here because the bolt you cannot remove will slip into the hole on the frame rail when you least expect it.(been there done that) Once the alternator is loose you can rotate it to remove the electrical connections and get that bolt out. The next process is tricky but it can be done. Can't does not exsit, the alternator must be rotated carefully (you'll have to experiment) in order to get it through the frame opening. You can achieve anything you put your mind to. Reverse the order for the install.

I have been told the axle shafts have to come out, the engine has to be removed, it's impossible, there's no way, you need a torch etc...

Believe it or not I can do this process in under 25 minutes.

G

This answer above is exactly right. You need to carefully turn the alternator around and then slip it out. It's not easy, but it can be done. It's a lot better than taking off the Crankshaft Pulley or the Halfshaft. I just did it successfully yesterday.

-DS

Thank you, THANK YOU!!! The above hint about going in through the wheel well was dead-on. Rotating the alternator to get it out was tricky, I wish I'd thought to take a picture to post for others. It took us about an hour of actual work time (plus the trip to the auto parts store for the part and a trip back because we couldn't find our 15mm offset wrench).

-Mrelia (5/14/05)

The alternator is definitely tricky to slip out of the wheel well penetration. Once the alternator has been mechanically and electrically disconnected in the engine compartment, turn it around so the pulley faces the driver side. Lower it down and slip it through the wheel well penetration, pulley facing down, one standoff at a time - the standoffs are like the uprights on a "U" relative to the backside of the alternator. You have to side slip one standoff through the penetration, then the alternator body, then the other standoffs. Its kind of like moving a couch through a door by slipping the first pair of feet out at an angle, then the body straight through and then the second set of feet at an angle also. I found it easiest to slip the alternator out on the forward side of the axle after removing 1 clip from the bottom of the plastic splash guard on the front side of the wheel well. !

-DXS 6-28-06

Wait a minute. This is not as simple as it sounds. My son, who is a 20 year professional mechanic, has spent about 6 hours replacing the alternator on our 96 Sable wagon (DOHC). Most of that time was spent wiggling and turning the alternator to get it to clear the frame and other components. Unless the 96 is different than the 97-99 (which it's not supposed to be), the R&R cannot "easily" be done without moving a major component. In our case we chose to take out the 2 bolts holding the R.F. sub-frame member and drop it about 1-1/12". This was much simpler than crank pulley or the CV shaft. If I were to do it again I'd pull those sub-frame bolts immediately and eliminate the scraped knuckles and time wasted twisting and turning the alt. This entire debacle shows why (again) the design engineers should be forced to work on or disassemble/reassemble the cars they build on the drawing boards. Yeah, it's doable...but it's ridiculous!

as i type this will be the second alternator. it takes some getting use to but it took no more than an hour to figure out the first time.this time took about 20 mins because i knew what had to be done. if any one have any disputes about the process check the haynes book for dohc's it will show how to take out the alternator the same way. the removing of sub-frame bolts add more time and just as hard because of the lack of working room. scrape your knuckles and be done with it .remove more bolts and be a few hours.

p.e.a.c.e zed

ok, I am in mid process of doing this job, so here we go, remove the negative battery cable, jack up the car, remove the passenger front tire, remove both left and right inner wheel wells in the passenger well, there is a little plate plastic with two bolts held on, remove that, and you will now see the alternator, remove the power plugs connecting into the alternator, and remove the two bolts and one stud bolt holding the alternator remove alternator, Install is reverse of removal, this is for the 3.0 DOHC Duratech S Engine code, with the alternator on the bottom, someone instead of having to wait on an answer

Thanks!

Ok, finished the job, it was pretty tough, that Alternator just does not want to come out easy, probably should have removed the axle, but i tore the boot instead, so i will be doing that shortly

Hey I agree with the above answer the car has to be jacked up on the alternator side, both sides of the wheel well needs to be removed, belt needs to be removed, you will need the following tools 13mm, 15mm, 18mm wrenches and offset wrenches of the same size. Will make the job go alot faster. Took about half hour to 45 minutes to remove the alternator once I had all the bolts loose and electric unhooked because on these dohc engines you have a very small hole to play with. What I found to be very very helpful to me was to remove the bands on the cv boot by cutting the factory band that secured them with a mini hacksaw. this allowed me to slide the boot out of the way. Replaced the bands with screw clamps? that you can get at any local auto parts store or hardware store. Otherwise trying to remove and reinstall the alternator with the boot in place is going to give you a headache and a few choice words I rather not put in print. This is for the Duratech Engine code "S" (posted ..... Monday May 26, 2008)

You obviosuly have the dual overhead cam model. This is a major repair. In order to get the thing out, you have to take off engine parts (and unless you know what your doing, should not take these off). The easiest way to fix this is to bring it to the mechanic and let them deal with it. I changed it myself and it took over six hours (and I've changed many alternators in my day).

ok but everyone forgets to mention that you might be pulling ur hair out by the end of the job. but it is possible to do it this way. took me 1 1/2 days and alot of miss spoken words.....the above mentioned only tells you how to take it out..its the same putting it in but remember which way it comes out,cause if not you'will be kicking and screaming.....o ya and a few busted knuckles.... good luck and have fun.. saved ($350)

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