How much would it cost to replace an alternator on a 97 Honda Civic LX?
Labor should be just under an hour in the Mitchell labor guide (around .9) with a standard dealer rate of $75.00-$85.00 per hour.
The alternator varies in price, usual list price on the alternator is $279.68, you can find this cheaper, or have it rebuilt much cheaper if the bearings are in good shape as usually the regulator, stator, and brushes come in a kit.
Doing this yourself is quite simple and requires 10mm, 12mm, and 14mm sockets and wrenches, it's completely accessible, however remember always disconnect the battery before performing any operation that involves electrical wiring of any sort.
If the wipers of a 1998 Honda Civic EX are stuck on high how would you determine if it is the switch or the motor?
I would suggest bringing your Civic to a Honda service center. This is a difficult job and if not done correctly could result in severe engine damage. The NJ Honda dealer that I use has factory trained technicians who use only the best equipment and genuine Honda parts. I wouldn't trust anyone other than their experts to work on my 2002 Honda Accord.