Start by moving the power steering reservoir out of the way. Disconnect the battery and then remove the wires from the alternator. Take the tension out of the tensioning pulley and remove the belt from the alternator. Remove the bolts from alternator, you may have to take the top mounting bracket off of the engine. The hardest part I found was to get the alternator out after everything was unbolted. My brother-in-law the mechanic came over and advised me to put a floor jack under the motor (use a block of wood to protect the oil pan etc.). Remove the bolt in the engine mount and raise the engine with the floor jack until there is space to bring the alternator out of its hiding place. Bring it straight out from the front of the engine (front being the passenger side of the car. It might be easier to raise the engine and then take out the alternator, but I didn't have the opportunity to try that. But it's definitely easier to put the replacement in with the engine still raised. I spent all day trying to figure it out, after my brother-in-law helped me with the engine jacking, it took about 20 minutes to complete the job.
I've got the V6 and I didn't need to lift the engine, just remove the radiator fan directly in front of the alternator. The fan has 2 screw bolts(10mm) on top, 1 on bottom(which I could just manage to access from the top with a deep socket), unplug the wires and you can lift it out of the way. This gives you enough clearance to remove the alternator (be careful not to ding your radiator though). Also, I didn't relized that the tensioner pulley was a spring-loaded type...I've never seen one till now. Just put a wrench on the middle of the pulley and you can adjust it to move the alternater back in place. Another tip, since you're replacing the alternator, might as well replace the belt too. Good luck. 2hours - not hard, just hard to get to till you figure out what items you need to move out of the way.
If this is the LX or EX (4 cylinder)
1) Disconnect the battery cable (*).
2) Remove the green connector on the back of the alternator and the single wire (to help ensure you don't loose the nut, screw it back on the terminal).
3) Loosen the power steering pump - slip the belt off and then push the pump up out of the way. You do not need to remove the pump.
4) Remove the lower alternator bolt.
5) Loosen the upper alternator bolt.
6) Remove the tension bolt.
7) Slip the belt off the alternator pulley.
8) Remove the upper alternator bolt.
9) Grab hold of the alternator pull it out. You may need to move it up and down and wiggle it slightly to get it out.
Installation is in the reverse order. Be sure to set the proper belt tension on the alternator and power steering pump. Check the belt tension the next time you fill up for gas and adjust if needed.
Total time to R&R the alternator should be under an hour.
Looking at the alternator with the pulley facing you, the right mounting hole (where the large upper alternator bolt slips into) is a bushing. Carefully take some channel lock pliers and push it in so it's flush. This will help make installing it easier. As you tighten the upper and lower bolts, it will slide this bushing into proper position.
(*) = If your radio has a security code, be sure you know what it is before you pull the battery cables! If you have access to a battery charger, it may not be a bad time to re-charge the battery while you are R&R'ing the alternator. I would suggest that if you do elect to recharge the battery to take the battery out of the car.
Email me if you have questions; firstname.lastname@example.org
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