How do you replace the alternator on a 1997 Nissan Sentra?
I did it on a 95 (97 should be similar). You start by removing negative battery post, removing radiator fan that's close to the alternator, and move away any little hose(s) and/or wires around it to gain access to the alternator.
Loosen the locknut on the adjuster, then you can turn the adjuster and the alternator belt will come loose. Loosen the alternator mounting bolts (2 of them), alternator will come out. Installation is the reverse.
It's very tight in there doing this way, but you don't need to jack up anything, or removing anything major. Patience, good tools, and little bit of time. New (not rebuilt) alternator will cost around $110 shipped.
1996 Sentra: Just did it. Did not remove radiator fans but removed bracket (1 12mm bolt) that has the cable tie-down and top bolt of alternator. '96 does not
have any adjustments on the alternator, as in for belt tightening. I ended up removing the idler pulley to loosen the belt. There are two (2) bolts on the bottom, one of which is tough to see or access. I removed the overflow reservoir for coolant just so I could see it.
Going back in, I almost needed an assistant to start the top bolt, as I applied force to get the alternator in position. Patience advice is good; try to start before 3:30 PM if you want to finish the same day.
I just did this on a 97 Sentra. It is a big pain. That alternator is really hard to get to. You have to remove the radiator fan...You also need to remove the coolant hose and the bracket that holds your wires in place. The bolts on the bottom are really hard to get to and maneuver around and are tight as hell. It is very tight quarters in there. Hard to loosen anything. Once you get all your bolts out, and remove the belt (which can be done by simply loosening the alternator and rocking it back and forth to release tension) you really need to work that thing back and forth to get it out. And it is very tight trying to get it out of there. Installation is basically the opposite. Getting the belt back on is the hardest part. There is a tension rod on the lower left side (looking at the engine) w/ an 8mm bolt on it. ONce again very hard to get to and work on w/ tools. This needs to be loosened in order to set the tension for re-installing the belt. Took a long time and a lot of muscling to get the belt back on there. Once it's on tighten that adjuster rod and make sure yer belt is tight. Replace everything and you're good to go. All in all, frustrating and poorly designed. Patience and small hands will help you out alot.
I just changed the alternator on a '96 Sentra - day one involved removal of old alternator - passenger side fan and overflow tank had to be removed. I left the rad hose as-is. The used $75 CDN alternator from recycler was not exactly the same. After a few frustrating hours trying to get the "new" one in, I realized that the casting boss near the idler was about half an inch wider, therefore the original 14 mm/M10 bolt was about half an inch too short. I went to a fastener store, bought a 40 mm long M10 bolt and thought I was in business, until realizing that the same thicker boss was also contacting the threads of the tensioner rod. A few minutes of filing off some material off the bottom of the boss provided the clearance required to no longer contact the tensioner bolt. As well, the tensioner was stuck in place, making belt replacement impossible. The alternator had to be removed again, the tensioner pulley 14 mm bolt loosened so that the pulley could be slid in its slot. We put the belt back on, and tightened the 14 mm tensioner pulley bolt, then the 8 mm tensioner rod and then the 14 mm tensioner set screw bolt. Frustrating, yes, but mostly because the replacement alternator wasn't exactly the same, so double check before installing. It will likely still work, but may need some minor modification.