Need help replacing alternator

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Someone took an alternator out for us to have it tested and now it's been out of the car for weeks. I tried to put it back in but it's almost as if the metal expanded, or something. I keep trying to push it into it's place and it just won't go in (this is where that main bolt, the longest one goes through). Anyway, I know this isn't very descriptive but that's all I got for now. I've tried to read directions for replacement but all it does is tell you how to remove it, and then say installation is the reverse of replacement. No one says anything about this difficulty I'm having. :screwy:

Car: Honda Accord LX '96 L4

posted by  JaneiR36

Some cars have "sleeves" that go either into the alternator at that point, or on the mount at that point. If you have that on yours, just slide it back until you gain enough clearance to slip it in. I said "some cars" because I don't know about your particular car.

posted by  DodgeRida67

hey there is a sleeve on the mount! I'm just not too sure how I'll attempt to push it back tomorrow. I could use a hammer but that could damage the area. Or the sleeve has a notch down the length of it that looks like you could insert a big flathead screwdriver and maybe turn, or maybe even wind it back like brake calipers using a C-clamp. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks!

posted by  JaneiR36

That notch... Not a notch at all, that is a seem. Don't mess with that. It doesn't take anything to move it. All you need is a light tap with a wrench. It's what I've always done.

Edit: You're welcome.

posted by  DodgeRida67

Sounds like improper use of a tool to me. Hammers are for tapping, wrenches are for turning fasteners.

posted by  vwhobo

:hi: Had to screw this one up somehow didn't i? :laughing: But yeah, improper use of a wrench. But like I said, it doesn't take much to move it, just a very slight tap with just about anything will do...

posted by  DodgeRida67


Unfortunately, I did have to use a C-clamp to wind back the sleeve. There wasn't enough clearance with the hammer (which may have also been too big and bulky to maneuver)... but anyway, the sleeve was the key!

So here's an update on the general state of the car.

I haven't yet had a chance to check the tension of the belt or the torque of the bolts; and now I'm more convinced than ever that I should get a torque wrench because I've needed it more than a few times since it was first recommended to me :wink2: For now, all I did was wind back the adjusting bolt till the other adjusting screw moved back into the circle it previously occupied.

Now when I turned on the car, there was this loud whiny (but short) noise coming from the belt. Is this what it does when it first turns in its place? It hasn't made that sound since. Turning and holding the key in the start position for more than a fraction of a second also causes a weird sound I can't quite describe. Once you let go of the key, it just sounds normal. For a moment there, locking the car (power locks) would cause a low buzzing sound.

Finally, the charging light stays on when the engine is on. Would this go away after the car has been driven for a certain period?

By the way, the battery is now staying above 12 V with a load! YAY! :clap: That would be about 12.21 V. 12.39 was what it was without a load. Advance auto's charging seems to have helped!

Either way, if someone could let me know if there are some red flags from what I've described, I'd really appreciate it. The car has not been driven and I was hoping to check if anything I've mentioned is a serious problem. Please let me know! Thanks!

posted by  JaneiR36

bad Bad BAD!!! Battery voltage has reduced to 11.25 V with the car running. :evil: Forgot to do the one with the lights and AC on, and also have never checked fusable links before or really know what they look like (I can look this up, though, and report back today or tomorrow). Every connection I looked at was good and tight.

Either way it looks like we're back to the alternator. DAMMIT! Advance auto checked it again and said it was outputting the full 14 volts. Charged up the battery and said all it needed was a good charging and it's now okay.

posted by  JaneiR36

I had a feeling this was coming but kept quiet about it because as tbaxleyjr said, "When the car is running, you should read 13.6 - 14.8 V..." I think it's safe to say your alternator is not outputting crap. You can drive your car over to Advance Auto and have them test the charging system as it runs. Just hope your battery doesn't die at anytime during your trip.

posted by  DodgeRida67



posted by  JaneiR36

Sometimes it takes some tapping by the hammer to get it lined up

posted by  barretire

We drove the car up to a local alternator rebuilding shop today. Car drove fine, light didn't come on once. The dude did another bench test. I couldnt' believe my eyes when the battery was showing 13.68 V! The charging light did not come on once while we were there, either. So he said if it comes on and off, it might be the "brushings." (can be done for $45). Does this sound about right?

On the way home, the light did come on once at a traffic stop, but it went right back off.

The dude also said the noise at the power lock was just a local motor problem and nothing to do with the battery / alternator. He also said the belt was tight (I was hoping he had a tension checker, but I don't think he did).

Either way we're just going to keep and eye out and see what servicing it needs if it craps out again!

posted by  JaneiR36

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