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Where is it, and what does it look like?

It will be usually near the top of the serpentine belt routing. It will be connected to a pulley that belt goes around this pulley. It will have a ground wire along with a connector. It will have several bolts mounting it to the mount that it is on. It will also have on it vent looking openings. If you look in them you will see copper wire coilings. It is sort of cylinder shaped, but lying long ways. I hope I explained this good.

Testing An Alternator

Many auto parts stores will offer free alternator testing, either on the car, or off.

Testing method:

  • Start the engine and allow it to reach operating temperature
  • Connect a voltmeter between the positive and negative terminals of the battery
  • Voltage should be 14.1-14.7 volts
  • If voltage is higher or lower than specification, connect a voltmeter between the battery positive (B+) voltage output terminal of the alternator and a good engine ground
  • Voltage should be 14.1-14.7 volts
  • If voltage is still out of specification, a problem exists in the alternator or voltage regulator
  • If voltage is now within specification, a problem exists in the wiring to the battery or in the battery itself.
Serpentine Belt

Before starting, make sure you have the belt routing diagram - likely inside the engine compartment somewhere, draw your own, or download one.

The belt tension is not adjustable - the belt tensioner takes care of that. If the belt is loose, the tensioner will have to be replaced.

See "Related Questions" below for more about the serpentine belt.

Replacement Procedures - 3.0l Engine
  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable
  2. Disconnect the wire from the terminal - 5/16ths (?)
  3. Disconnect remaining wiring connector(s)
  4. Detach the serpentine drive belt- if all you're doing is the alternator, you might try putting a piece of tape on the belt as it crossed the various pulleys to hold it in place.
  5. Loosen the large, horizontal oriented pivot bolt - goes through the top of the Power Steering bracket
  6. Remove the alternator bracket / brace - 2 bolts & one at the back of the alternator - set it aside for now
  7. Now you can remove the pivot bolt
  8. Remove the alternator- may have to pry it / weasel it out of the mounting

To install:

  1. Position the alternator on the engine
  2. Install the alternator pivot bolt and bracket / brace
  3. Tighten the:

    * alternator brace to 15-22 ft lbs

    * pivot bolt to 30-41 ft lbs

  4. Install the serpentine belt
  5. Re-connect the 2 wiring harnesses, and the wire held on with the nut
  6. Connect the negative battery cable
Replacement Procedures - 3.8l engine

Changing the alternator on the 3.8 is very easy. There are only 3 bolts holding it on. There is 1 wiring plug and 1 battery / hot wire connected to it.

  1. Disconnect the positive cable from the battery as to avoid any electrical shorting,this will clear any codes and the check engine light if it was on.
  2. Remove the nut from the single wire on top of the alternator. Screw the nut back on so you don't loose it.
  3. For the wiring plug, just push in on the drivers side of it and pull up and it will come off.
  4. Remove the belt - grab the backside of the belt the runs from the top of the alternator towards the back of the van, pull real hard on it towards the front of the van, (be careful not to pinch your fingers between the belt and the pulley) and the tensioner will give allowing you enough room to slide the belt off of the alternator.

    See "Related Questions" below for more about the serpentine belt

  5. Then remove the 3 mounting bolts and voila - it's off!
  1. Start with remounting the alternator with the 3 bolts
  2. Hook up your wire - using that nut you did not loose - and wiring plug
  3. Re-install serpentine belt - make sure the belt is around all of the pulleys and lined up correctly and pull again towards the front of the van to slide it back on - careful not to pinch your fingers between the belt and the pulley!
  4. Hook the positive wire back up to the battery and then have an assistant to just bump "NOT START" the engine as to get the belts properly aligned.
  5. Take a visual inspection and make sure the belts are positioned correctly on the pulleys and then go ahead and start the van.

Good luck!

To remove the alternator on a 1998 Ford Windstar if it is a 3.8L engine: FIRST - Remember to disconnect the battery!! Then, remove the tension on the belt. There is a tensioner towards the rear of the engine. Use a good box wrench and pull as much as you can because the tension is hard on those engines. Once you have that off, remove the 3 bolts and they just have to be taken off after that you have to remove the ground. Make sure that it is clean. When reinstalling, put some die electric grease on it. There is 1 electrical connector; unplug it. Also put on reassembly die electric grease in there for better conductivity. You should have the alternator off...just do the reverse to put in the new one.

If the 96 is like the 98, loosen the mounting bracket bolts, make sure you remember which way the serpentine belt goes on, pull off the belt, remove alternator, replace with new one, put belt on, use a pry bar to re-tighten the alternator and tighten bolts.

It was about the easiest thing I have done on my '96 with a 3.8L engine. First always disconnect the battery when removing charging system components for safety. Rather than loosen the tensioner, I was able to grab the serpentine belt past the alternator with my hand and pull against the tensioner to gain enough slack to slip the belt from the alternator pulley with my other hand (careful don't get pinched) . Next remove the cables and electrical connectors. Now you can remove the mounting bolts and remove the alternator. Compare the replacement alternator to the one you removed to insure they are similar enough to install the new alternator. Reverse the process above... Install mounting bolts and torque appropriately, connect cables and connectors, route the serpentine belt, pull slack on the belt and slip it over the alternator pulley, reconnect the battery and check for proper operation. Even with the trip to the parts store, it probably took me less than an hour.

It is not hard to do...the alternator is right on top. Just take the serpentine belt off, remove the bolts and plugs, and bolt the new one in. be careful not to torque the top screw too much or it will break off.

Disconnect the batter cables so you, and car don't get a shock. remove the 2 wire connected to the alternator. One is a Plug, push in on the l/s of the clip and lift up. The other one is held on my a small nut on a stud, Once this is done take a picture of write down the routing of the Serpentine belt, so you know that will be correct when your finished. There are just 3 bolts, loosen them all together. Before you remove the bolts even though they are loose, pull towards you really hard on the belt and pull it off the pulley. Remove the 3 bolts, remove the alternator, replace alternator, tighten 3 bolts, then pull on the belt again and put back on in same orientation, reconnect wire to alternator, reconnect battery, start engine

I just did it. It took about an hour. The instructions to replace a 2000 Windstar's alternator work for the 2002. See: How do you replace the alternator on a 2000 Ford Windstar.

I found that wearing an old work glove made it much easier to pull the belt against the tensioner. Also, when you replace the belt, make certain that the belt is inside the grooves of each of the pulleys. It was off the first time I replaced it. Don't bother trying to push it back; take it off the alternator again and re-thread it.

Once I finished, I started the engine and noticed some whining from the belt. I also noticed that it rode a bit outside of the polished spot on the pulley immediately below which rides on the outside of the belt. I double-checked all the pulleys again, and they were all on. After driving the van the couple of miles to the auto parts store to return the core, it quieted down.

First you disconnect the battery. then you need to take the belt off by the back pulley. But you don't need to take it all the way off. Just so you get the alternator belt off. I just replaced the one on my 1997 . then you have three bolts, and one small nut to remove . Then put all back together the way you took them off. Jon

you have to remove belt and disconect neg battery cable 3 15 mm bolts hold alt on,1 plug then pos.

You must have the car well off the ground because the best way to get to it is from the back of the engine. There's a nut back there that's hidden. Might as well change the rear spark plugs while your there. To change the number 6 you have to remove the alt. bracket anyway.

Removing the belt and alternator and replacing the new one is just as stated above, but putting the belt back on isn't such an easy task on my 2000 windstar. It is very difficult to pull back on the belt to replace it back on the pulley. It takes a fair amount of pulling and when you pull on the belt all the pulleys move so you can't easily place it over the alternator pulley. To remedy this jack the car up on the front passenger side and remove the front passenger side wheel. Then securely place jackstands under the van so that you can easily slide under the car. Locate the belt tensioner which is the small pulley closest to the rear of the van. Call a buddy to help at this point. Have the buddy stand by at the topside of the the van. Place a 13 MM boxend wrench on the retaining bolt for the Belt Tensioner Pulley. Push the wrench toward the front of the van as if trying to remove the bolt (counter-clockwise motion) Push it as far as you can. While you are holding the tensioner have your buddy slip the belt back over the alternator pulley. Once this is done slowly release the tension on the tensioner. Replace the wheel, lower the car and give your buddy a cold drink!

Perfect tool to release the ford windstar 2003 belt tensioner:

socket wrench breaker bar, 1/2", remove the head (don't know the

name), Normally you can get those socket wrench breaker bar from 15 to

18 inches, I guess. If the bar is too long, you may remove air

conditioner part (don't know how to say the name, you will know what I

am taking about when you get there, )

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Q: How do you replace the alternator on a Ford Windstar?
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