Question about 1996 Saturn SL

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I need to replace the alternator. How difficult is it going to be. Am I going to have to move things out of the way to get to it or is it fairly accessible?

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Hi, yes, this is a pretty big job but not really hard. You have to jack up the car and go in through the wheel well to get the alternator out. Fortunately, there are good instructions at, which I have pasted below. Please let me know if you have any questions and thanks for using FixYa.

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION See Figures 2 through 11

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2. Remove the serpentine drive belt.
  3. Raise and support the vehicle safely.
  4. Remove the right front wheel from the vehicle.
  5. Remove the right wheel inner fender splash shield.
  6. If equipped, remove the alternator dust shield attaching bolt and unclip the shield from the alternator. When removing the dust shield, be careful not to damage the rubber boot over the battery's positive terminal.
  7. Disengage the alternator field wire connector.
  8. Remove the retaining nut and wire from the positive (B+) terminal on the back of the alternator, using alternator output stud wrench SA9401C or equivalent, as a back-up wrench to prevent the stud from rotating. If the positive terminal stud rotates, the plastic insulator will crack or break, causing alternator failure.
  9. Remove the upper and lower alternator attaching bolts.
  10. Remove the alternator from the vehicle through the wheel well opening.

To install:
  1. Position the alternator in the vehicle and install the lower attaching bolt.
  2. Install the upper attaching bolt and tighten both bolts to 24 ft. lbs. (32 Nm).
  3. Engage the alternator field wire connector.
  4. Install the B+ terminal wire. The battery terminal wire should be placed on the back of the alternator between a 10 and 11 o'clock position.
  5. Be sure to use the alternator output stud wrench SA9401C to prevent the terminal stud from rotating, then tighten the alternator positive terminal nut to 89 inch lbs. (10 Nm).
  6. Install the alternator dust shield and tighten the fastener bolt to 89 inch lbs. (10 Nm).
  7. Install the serpentine drive belt.
  8. Install the wheel well splash shield and right front wheel. Tighten the wheel lugs in a criss-cross pattern to 103 ft. lbs. (140 Nm).
  9. Remove the supports and lower the vehicle.
  10. Connect the negative battery cable.

i need to replace the alternator. How difficult is - jturcotte_669.gif

Fig. Fig. 2: Compress the belt tensioner and disengage the serpentine belt, then remove it from the top of the engine compartment


Fig. Fig. 3: After removing the front wheel, remove the inner fenderi need to replace the alternator. How difficult is - jturcotte_671.gifpan>


Fig. Fig. 4: View of i need to replace the alternator. How difficult is - jturcotte_672.gifcation with the inner fender splash shield removed


Fig. Fig. 5: Loosen the alternai need to replace the alternator. How difficult is - jturcotte_673.gifetaining fastener (1), being careful not to damage the dust boot over the positive battery terminal (2)


Fig. Fig. 6: Remove the alternator dust i need to replace the alternator. How difficult is - jturcotte_675.gifth the vehicle


Fig. i need to replace the alternator. How difficult is - jturcotte_676.gif the alternator field wire connector

jturcotte_675.gif Fig. Fig. 8: Keepi need to replace the alternator. How difficult is - jturcotte_677.gifutput stud from rotating by holding it secure with a wrench

Fig. Fig. 9: If it is more accessible, remove the upper alternator attaching bolt from the top of the engine compartment


Fig. Fig. 10: Remove the lower alternator attaching bolt from beneath the vehicle


Fig. Fig. 11: Remove the alternator through the wheel well opening

Posted on Dec 30, 2010

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