Alternator: Removal & Installation - Tips? Suggestions?



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Thread: Alternator: Removal & Installation - Tips? Suggestions?

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Alternator: Removal & Installation - Tips? Suggestions?

    Well, a few of you may have seen a post of mine in another thread talking about the high-pitch singing and the whining that is present in my 2000 Town & Country Limited 3.8L which corresponds to engine speed. Yesterday, I almost couldn't the van started out of the blue. It took a solid 4-5 seconds of slow molassass like cranking to get the engine going. I drove it straight to this Checker Auto place that does free charging system diagnostics, which is when I found out that my battery was so dead I shouldn't have been able to get a peep out of it. This confirmed my suspicion about the alternator. Previously I thought it could be the water pump, but now that I was told that a problem was detected and that there is an "Excess Ripple" error, I think its time for a new alternator. Now many of you may laugh, but I have never replaced an alternator before, and I have never had to remove/install the belts in any of my Town & Countrys before. I'm going to post the instructions I found for removing and replacing the alternator for the 3.3L/3.8L V6 DCX '96-'00 minivan engines. If someone could read them over and tell me if they are in fact the most appropriate instructions it would be greatly appreciated. Tips, tricks, suggestions would be helpful too.

    REMOVAL
    1. Disconnect the cable from the negative terminal of the battery.
    2. Remove the windshield wiper housing.
    3. Remove the bolt holding the top of the alternator mount bracket to the engine air intake plenum.
    4. Remove the bolts holding the outside of the alternator mount bracket to the alternator mount plate.
    5. Remove the bolt holding the top of the alternator to the mount bracket.
    6. Remove the alternator mount bracket from the vehicle.
    7. Rotate the alternator toward the rear of the vehicle.
    8. Disconnect the push-in field wire connector from the back of the alternator.
    9. Remove the nut holding the B+ wire terminal to the alternator.
    10. Remove the wire/terminal from the alternator.
    11. Remove the bolt hoding the bottom of the alternator to the lower pivot bracket.
    12. Remove the alternator.

    INSTALLATION
    1. Installation is the reverse of removal.
    2. After the alternator is installed, adjust the drivebelt tension.
    3. Check the charging voltage to verify proper operation of the alternator.
    __________________________________________________ _________________
    Haynes Repair Manual: Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager & Chrysler Town & Country 1996 thru 1999 Mini-vans


    So, what is going to be my biggest challenge? Is getting the drivebelt on and off going to make me wish I were never born? Because if so, then I might have to take it somewhere, which I would really rather not do. I'm trusting that even though the manual doesn't technically include the 2000 model year, the steps are still exactly the same.
    1996 Chrysler Town & Country LX [My lovable Daily-Driver]
    2000 Chrysler Town & Country Limited [Yes, it's still around!]
    2000 Chrysler 300M [New kid on the block...]

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    I can't speak for the alternator removal steps, as I haven't yet performed them myself, but removing the drive belt is a piece of cake. Just rotate the tensioner pulley bolt clockwise to loosen the drive belt, and pop it off. I just used two combination wrenches; one with the proper size to fit the tensioner pulley bolt (15mm IIRC), and then another one hooked on to the first as a cheater bar. Even putting the belt back on isn't all that difficult.

    Chad

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    So...getting the single v-ribbed serpentine belt off...

    Ok, so putting it back on...does this require that the bolt is torqued to a specific amount because if so, I need to get a torque wrench...

    Also, from the diagram, it seems as though the belt is really convoluted in how it's wound around all the pulleys and stuff. If it for some reason falls out of the engine while I have it off, what are the chances of me being able to get it back on properly to all of those pulleys? Kind of an intimidating diagram to be completely honest....

    Also, what size alternator goes into the 3.8? The guy at Checker Auto says that there are two different ones, like 90W and 120W or something like that and he told me I need to check. Does anyone know?
    Last edited by Chrysler1924; 02-05-2007 at 01:33 PM.
    1996 Chrysler Town & Country LX [My lovable Daily-Driver]
    2000 Chrysler Town & Country Limited [Yes, it's still around!]
    2000 Chrysler 300M [New kid on the block...]

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    The tensioner assembly simply consists of a spring loaded lever arm. By rotating the tensioner pulley bolt, you're not loosening/tightening the bolt, you're actually rotating the pulley downward which loosens up the belt. It'll be pretty obvious once you get in there. You're over-analyzing this thing to death. Just go do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrysler1924 View Post
    Ok, so putting it back on...does this require that the bolt is torqued to a specific amount because if so, I need to get a torque wrench?
    A Torque wrench is ALWAYS a good idea. The cheapish ones from Checker are OK ... I bought one from Checker in COS about 10 years ago and it's served me well.

    I got the alternator off without removing the cowlings btw, but it did take some juggling.

    Also, from the diagram, it seems as though the belt is really convoluted in how it's wound around all the pulleys and stuff. If it for some reason falls out of the engine while I have it off, what are the chances of me being able to get it back on properly to all of those pulleys? Kind of an intimidating diagram to be completely honest....
    There should be a label somewhere under the hood showing the belt path. It's not that hard. The easiest thing to do is to get it around every part of the path except on the idler (towards the front top, no grooves) then work the belt on there as you pull the tensioner. Just watch your fingers and never put them under the belt!

    Also, what size alternator goes into the 3.8? The guy at Checker Auto says that there are two different ones, like 90W and 120W or something like that and he told me I need to check. Does anyone know?
    There are a number of different alternators that can go on this engine. They are all, from what I understand, interchangeable. The 120 Amp is installed if the van has the towing package, but it would not hurt to install it, although it will be a bit more expensive.

    Your best bet is to pull the original and take it to NAPA and see if you can get a DENSO rebuilt one. Some of the rebuilders are better than others.

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    Boy I'm really not ontop of my game today. I said Watts instead of Amps. Forgive my idiocy. Thanks for the info- I guess you mean just to get it around all the components on the path but start seating it tight from the idler, down.
    1996 Chrysler Town & Country LX [My lovable Daily-Driver]
    2000 Chrysler Town & Country Limited [Yes, it's still around!]
    2000 Chrysler 300M [New kid on the block...]

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    Yup ... put it around all the components *except* the idler wheel (as opposed to the tensioner wheel) ... they look the similar, except the tensioner is further to the rear of the engine compartment and lower.

    Hold the belt against the idler and gently pull it up. Pull on the tensioner with a LONG 15mm wrench and you'll find that you'll be able to slip the belt over the idler taking care where you put your fingers!

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    You know the battery could what's causing the alternator to sing like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sellinghomes4u View Post
    You know the battery could what's causing the alternator to sing like that.
    I had this thought too. If the battery is as dead as you say it is, it could be putting a HUGE load on the alternator trying to charge it. Since you will need to replace the battery anyway, do that first and then look at the alternator if the "singing" doesn't go away.
    Kevin Peterson
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    Just wanted to add my .02 to this discussion that alternators are one of those jobs that you only want to do one time and one time only. Meaning, stay away from those inexpensive (dare I say "cheap") rebuilds that probably came from abroad. Even if it has a "lifetime warranty," do you want to have to replace it again, or worse yet, have it get you (or your wife) stuck somewhere? I've always had the best experiences removing and taking starters and alternators to the local starter/alternator/automotive electric shop. They tend to use better quality rebuild parts, and don't want any of their rebuilds coming back. Sure, it may cost you a few bucks more, but who wants to have to remove that wiper cowling again?

    1988 Chrysler LeBaron Convertible, 2.2L Turbo (original owner)
    1996 Town & Country LXi Van, 3.8L
    1989 Beretta GT 2.8L V6 (original owner)
    2009 Honda Accord EX 2.4L I4 (original owner)

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