How do you replace the alternator on a 1999 Ford Contour?
1. Put the front of the car on jackstands and dis-connect the negative battery cable.
2. Remove passenger side wheel and lower splash guards. Using low profile 3/8" socket wrench or breaker bar, remove the serpentine belt from the alternator pulley.
3. Dis-connect the passenger side tie rod from the knuckle.
4. remove the driver side wheel.
5. Get 3 or 4 feet of extensions for your 3/8 socket wrench and feed them through the driver side wheel well to the upper bolt of the alternator. Yo may need to secure the socket & extensions on the bolt from up top then get back down to the driver wheel well, but it's worth the few seconds. Remove the upper bolt.
6. From below the car, loosen the lower bolt, but do not remove.
7. There is a small bracket on the alternator between mounting bolts. Remove the 10mm bolt that secures the bracket to the block.
8. From above, pry the upper tab from the mounting bracket.
9. Below the car, hold the alternator while removing the lower bolt.
10. Dis-connect the electrical to the Alternator.
11. Maneuver the alternator out through the passenger side wheel well. Takes a little thinking, but it'll come out.
12. Transfer the small bracket to the new alternator.
13. Feed the alternator in through the passenger side and make electrical connections.
14. Secure the lower alternator tab and hand tighten the lower bolt.
15. Pivot the alternator up. The upper tab may not easily fit into place. Tighten the 10mm bolt in the center bracket to the block. This will press the upper tab into place.
16. Install the upper bolt and hand tighten. Fully tighten the lower bolt now.
17. Use extensions from the driver wheel well to tighten the upper bolt.
Remainder of this project is simple re-assembly. An experienced shade tree mechanic can do this alternator R&R in under an hour after his tools are set out.
If you have one of the 4 cylinder models like I do, its a major PITA. You can get the Haynes manual for the car and that helps somewhat. You really just have to remove the air intake assembly (big black thing on top of engine) to get at the alternator from the top and remove the wires going to it, then you have to drain the oil and remove the oil filter to get at the drivebelt from the side (through the wheel well) and loosen it to the point you can get the alternator out. Hope this helps, otherwise get a Haynes repair manual.