replacing Alternator



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Thread: replacing Alternator

  1. #11
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    Jeepman, I didn't bother trying to mess around with taking it off. A new alternator was around $200 from a local PepBoys. It was just easier to replace the whole unit considering I had to remove it anyway. The new alternator comes with a new pully. What does a new pully cost from Chrysler? $100? and the special tools?
    2001 Town and Country LXI (125,000mi.)
    Replaced: brakes,rotors,calipers,serpentine belt,spark plugs,wires,alternator,battery,tie rods,struts,sway bar links,sway bar bushings (5 times),passenger door window motor,ATC module, transmission service, transmission solenoid pack, key cylinder, power steering fluid reservoir, PCM module, oil pan/valve cover gaskets, #2 fuel injector, Fuel filler tube and countless oil changes. DIY'er

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  3. #12
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    Good thread. I just replaced the alternator on my '03 3.8 V-6 THREE times so I have a pretty good handle on the problems. Quick synopsis: First time was due to pulley going bad and I didn't want to risk problem on upcoming trip. This job took about 3 hours mainly b/c of these things: 1) First time doing this repair, used Haynes manual, but missing some details; 2) didn't have belt tensioner tool and due to limited space between tensioner and frame I couldn't use 1/2" drive rachet or breakover so had to resort to a large screwdriver for leverage (and a neighbor's help); 3) the field electrical connector mentioned in a previous post was a pain in the butt; 4) removing the dipstick with attached cable; 5) figuring out what combination of wrenches and sockets would work for the various sized bolts and 6) getting the splash shield removed and then finding replacement trim clips to reintall it.

    The first replacement alternator was defective and I had to replace it a couple of days later. With my first experience under my belt, once I had the van jacked up and the wheel removed, it took me about 15-20 minutes to remove the splash shield, loosen the belt (still didn't have a special tool); disconnect the wiring, remove the dipstick and remove the alternator. Re-installation of everything took about 30 minutes max, but did need my neighbor's help to install the belt.

    I did the third replacement in my daughter's garage in Florida on our trip. The alternator light came on and according to the code it had low output. After having a mechanic check the system and reset the code, it came on again in about 35 miles. I changed it for the third time but this time with a different brand rebuilt alternator. A couple of thousand miles since with no problem.

    I kind of doubt that it was two bad alternators. I am more inclined to believe that it was the field connector on the alternator. When you reinstall the connector make sure it is pushed on all the way, very tightly, and that the slide clip is securely in place. Also, borrow a tensioner belt tool kit from you auto parts dealer as that makes a huge difference in removing and installing the belt and enables you to do it by yourself. The first two times I changed the alternator I didn't have the tool and it made it very difficult and not as safe.

    Hope this provides some help and encouragement for the next one needing to tackle this job. I will try to remember what size tools I used for what bolts and post that later. That info is getting a little fuzzy after a month away from the task.
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    2003 Chrysler T&C LXi (85,000miles)

  4. #13
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    Hmmm, interesting. While I do remember being initially a bit stumped on how to do the belt on our 2003 (the one on our 1998 was a breeze), I did figure it out after puzzeling over it for a few minutes. Believe it or not, it actually can be done easily by one person and without any specialized tools. That said, I don't actually remember what it was that I did, go figure.
    Sold: 1998 DGC Sport 3.8 (Final odo: 178,000 miles)
    Sold: 1998 Chrysler T&C LXi 3.8 (Final odo: 190,000 miles)
    Sold: 2003 DGC ES 3.8 (Final odo: 172,000 miles)
    1998 Audi A4 Quattro (5-Speed manual)
    2001 Honda Accord EX V6 (4-Speed automatic)
    2009 Mazda3 i Touring (5-Speed manual)
    2012 VW GTI (6-Speed manual)

  5. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCMike View Post
    Also, borrow a tensioner belt tool kit from you auto parts dealer as that makes a huge difference in removing and installing the belt and enables you to do it by yourself. The first two times I changed the alternator I didn't have the tool and it made it very difficult and not as safe.

    Hope this provides some help and encouragement for the next one needing to tackle this job. I will try to remember what size tools I used for what bolts and post that later. That info is getting a little fuzzy after a month away from the task.
    Think they would have made the tensioner arm rotation a little easier. For the Jeep, I just used the drive of my rachet wrench. There was a square opening on the tensioner arm for it.
    Could one do the same or use vice grips and an insert for the Van? What size hole is available, if any?
    2007 GC SXT - Magnesium - S&G - 3.8L - 112,920 kms
    2002 GC Sport - Stone White - 3.3L - 311,200 kms
    2003 Jeep TJ Sport - 4.0L - 251,430 kms

  6. #15
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    There is a 1/2" square opening in the tensioner. B4 I started I assumed a 1/2" drive rachet or breakover would work as it did on my GM & Ford vehicles, however on the '03 T&C there isn't room for either. The loaner tool kit had a tool with a piece of 1/2" bar stock welded to a handle which worked fine. If I would have had a piece of 1/2" bar 1"-1.5" long, I think I could have made that work with a pair of vise-grips. A longer handle for leverage would be good but a large pair of vise-grips would probably get the job done. Good idea!
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    2003 Chrysler T&C LXi (85,000miles)

  7. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCMike View Post
    There is a 1/2" square opening in the tensioner. B4 I started I assumed a 1/2" drive rachet or breakover would work as it did on my GM & Ford vehicles, however on the '03 T&C there isn't room for either. The loaner tool kit had a tool with a piece of 1/2" bar stock welded to a handle which worked fine. If I would have had a piece of 1/2" bar 1"-1.5" long, I think I could have made that work with a pair of vise-grips. A longer handle for leverage would be good but a large pair of vise-grips would probably get the job done. Good idea!
    The one for my Jeep was tight as well, maybe some build-up in the square hole needed to be cleaned out, but it went in just enough to get the leverage needed. So a slightly undersized short piece of 1/2" square bar and a pair of large vice grips would probably work.
    2007 GC SXT - Magnesium - S&G - 3.8L - 112,920 kms
    2002 GC Sport - Stone White - 3.3L - 311,200 kms
    2003 Jeep TJ Sport - 4.0L - 251,430 kms

  8. #17
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    Before you replace the alternator, you want to be absolutely sure it is bad. Just because it is not producing around 14.5 volts to the battery doesn't mean the alternator is bad. It could be just a bad connection. I can speak from experience. I took a '91 Escort to Sears because my alternator light was coming on. On the way to Sears, I noticed that the light would sometimes go out, but then come back on again. Sears tested it and said the alternator was bad. I asked them if it could be just a poor connection and they said absolutely not, the alternator was bad. I left and went and bought a new one. Before installing it, I went to the library and got a repair manual that had an alternator test procedure in it. Went home and started going through the test procedure. At one point, I found that there was a bad connection. I corrected that and the problem went away. Took the alternator back for a refund and never had that problem again. Kept the car until a couple years ago and the alternator was still working fine. Definitely don't take what Sears says as gospel. If possible check it yourself, or at least get a second opinion from a reputable repair shop (good luck on that one).

  9. #18
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    I have replaced my alternator twice. Kinda easy with it being on top up front. As for the tensioner, I use a crescent wrench opened to fit the tensioner body and a length of rope attached to the open hole at the end of the wrench. Wrench fits in the tight space easily, and the rope can be any length, giving plenty of room for leverage.

    As for the Haynes manual, I've found that sometimes it is overkill in removing some things. And it is known to be inaccurate in some descriptions.
    '01 T&C LXi -200k miles
    '84 Celica - 200K+
    '95 Accord - 135K

  10. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonMur View Post
    I have replaced my alternator twice. Kinda easy with it being on top up front. As for the tensioner, I use a crescent wrench opened to fit the tensioner body and a length of rope attached to the open hole at the end of the wrench. Wrench fits in the tight space easily, and the rope can be any length, giving plenty of room for leverage.

    As for the Haynes manual, I've found that sometimes it is overkill in removing some things. And it is known to be inaccurate in some descriptions.
    Nice trick. I have also heard of using an old belt, in a similar fashion, to release install the belt.
    2007 GC SXT - Magnesium - S&G - 3.8L - 112,920 kms
    2002 GC Sport - Stone White - 3.3L - 311,200 kms
    2003 Jeep TJ Sport - 4.0L - 251,430 kms

  11. #20
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    You can buy a belt tension pulley tool at Advanced Auto for less than $20. Ever replaced a belt on a dark night in the rain? Once you have, you get the wrench.
    2002 T&C Ltd.
    White w/Gray 145,000+ miles
    1997 T&C Lxi
    Green w/Tan 225,000 before sold

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