I decided to perform a write-up on the alternator replacement having performed one just today.
Despite the years that this car was out there doesn't seem to be much information when it comes to changing the alternator or else I can't search properly. For this reason I decided to do a DIY to make the alternator replacement as quick and easy as possible. With my car there was no need to remove the Y pipe, muffler, bar end link, drive shaft, etc.
Car used: 1999 Mercury Cougar 2.5L V6 - Might be similar procedure for other years.
Small 6"-9" Ratchet
Small 6"-9" 10mm wrench (preferably with ratchet end)
Small 6"-9" 13mm wrench (preferably with ratchet end)
Jack stands (optional - for safety)
10mm,13mm,8mm,15mm socket sets
Robertson (+) Screwdriver
1) Make sure wheels are straight, hand break on and proceed to loosen the lug nuts on the passenger front wheel.
2) Jack up car as high as possible and place jack stands in secure areas. Remember you are going to be under the car and don't want to risk it falling on you. You only need to raise the front passenger side of car.
3) Remove passenger front wheel, remove all the splash guards. There are 3 pieces to the splash guards. Most use a 10mm socket while there are grommets in some areas that require prying out. To remove the main splash guard you are required to remove the mud flag (if equipped) using the screwdriver.
4) Before we remove the belt and disconnect the battery I think its more important first to see if you can actually succeed in getting the alternator bolts out first therefore we start with the toughest bolt, the bottom bolt.
Using the small 6" 13mm ratchet or 13mm wrench try to locate the bottom bolt, its opposite of where the thread length is sticking out. If you look at your new alternator we are talking about the lower bolt, use it as a guide. It might be a pain at first to get the socket onto the bolt due to the limited amount of space. Keep trying and don't give up. It helps if you have a small wrench with ratchet action on the opposite end. Once you get it on the bolt, make sure its flush and give it a good tug, it shouldn't be too difficult to break apart (at least mine wasn't). Once its apart, keep rotating (remember orientation from opposite side) bit-by-bit until you can grab the bolt with your hand. This part can take as much as 15 minute alone to do the lack of moving space.
5) Now its time to get the bolts off the L bracket. Here we are only going remove the bolt that is bolted onto the bracket and engine block, we will leave the other bolt in so we can remove it together with the alternator. Make sure car is secure and go under and try to find the alternator. It will be near the Y-pipe and control arm. Get a good light and locate the L bracket it shouldn't be too hard to locate. Now position yourself in a way so you can get your arm in there to unscrew the bolt. Luckily to your left should be a big opening so you can see your hand and the bolt you want to get it. Now you can use your 10mm small wrench or 10mm socket on your small ratchet to get this out. Put the tool in and try to align it with the bolt and tug away, once again it shouldn't be too hard to un-tighten. Whats annoying here is that there isn't much room for movement either so each turn of the ratchet might only be a couple degrees so again your hand is going to be up there for a good 10-20 minutes or so. Once that bolt it out, leave the other one in and get up.
6) Finally the last top bolt. I found this one to be one of the easiest to get out despite what I read on this forum. Look at the rear of your engine near your power steering fluid reservoir. You can see your alternator from here. To make this easier there are some cables and an big black plastic box tube in the way. Move aside this one cable by un-prying it where its mounted and move aside the big black box tube with your 8mm socket set. What you are trying to do is create space so you can get your ratchet/wrench and have room to unbolt the top bolt. Now you should see the bolt clearly and once again put in your ratchet/wrench and with a good tug you should break it apart and once again have fun removing this last bolt. After this the alternator isn't holding onto anything.
7) Remove the negative battery terminal cable.
8) Remove the belt. Remember to use a 3/8" breaker bar or belt tool to loosen the tension, by moving clockwise. DON'T UNSCREW THAT T40 BOLT IN THE CENTRE OF THE TENSIONER.
9) Remove the nut on the tie-rod end balljoint and move tie-rod to the side. Its a 15mm socket and to remove from the hub, use a proper balljoint tool or whack it with a hammer.
10) Try to get the alternator out of its mounting bracket, I used a pry bar here to get it lose. Then position it in a way so you can get it out while making sure not to pull and break the connections. If you pull the alternator out the right way there should be enough slack in the wires to have the alternator out near the brake disc where you can easily disconnect the 3 connections. The 2 terminal connections are simple. To get the red positive disconnection, lift the rubber cover and use a 8/10mm(i forgot which) socket to separate the nut from the alternator .
11) Once the old alternator is out, clean the connections if dirty and transfer the L shaped bracket onto the new alternator BUT DON'T TIGHTEN FULLY.
Now installation is nearly identical to removal except when you put in the alternator align the bottom bolt and stick something in there so you can align the top bolt and bolt it in. Then afterwards go under the car again and put back that 10mm bolt on the bracket, I said not to tighten the bracket fully because the bracket moves in a circular fashion and you can't get the bracket to the exact spot as before.
12) Enjoy and good luck.
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