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Replacing the Alternator
Author : Bryan Tisch
Published : 10/01/02
Last Modified : 10/01/02

Anyone ever get that $300 - $500 quote to have your alternator replaced? One word of advice: Don't fall into that trap. The new Hitachi (Nissan OEM) alternators run about $220 and have a limited warranty. Another alternative is to purchase a higher line remanufactured alternator, which is much cheaper. They utilize the same Hitachi case, offer similar reliability, and in most cases, come with a lifetime warranty. I purchased my remanufactured alternator for $80.

I have installed remanufactured alternators on both of my Maximas with good results. Two months ago, I put one in my black Maxima, these are the instructions I followed. They are mostly from a Tune-Up & Repair Manual designed specifically for the 1989 - 1990 Nissan Maxima. I use this in conjunction with my Factory Service Manual. I do not guarantee or warranty results, please do this at your own risk.

These instructions include the removal and replacement of the air conditioning and power steering belts as well. These extra steps are in red. You will need:

  1. alternator
  2. power steering, air conditioner, alternator belts
  3. Jack, jack stands
  4. 10 mm, 12 mm, and 14 mm sockets with short, medium, and long extensions, and a ratchet
  5. eye protection

Step 1: Disconnect the Battery.

  1. disconnect the negative, then the positive battery terminal.

Step 2: Loosen the nut in the center of the air-conditioning belt idler pulley.

  1. it’s the top most pulley, located on the right end of the engine.
  2. Two or three turns is all that is needed.
  3. This will allow the belt to loosen when you loosen the tensioner bolt

Step 3: Loosen the air-conditioning belt tensioner bolt

  1. This 12 mm adjuster is located above and to the left of the pulley
  2. Loosen around 15 turns or enough slack to remove and install a new belt.

Step 4: Raise and support the front of the car

  1. Use caution with a level ground, appropriate jack and jack stands.
  2. Turn the front wheels to the right after jacking up the car.
  3. Do not use the spare tire jack.

Step 5: Remove the lower right splash shield

  1. From beneath the car, unscrew the 10 mm bolts.

Step 6: Remove the splash shield from the right wheel well.

  1. The shield is again, held in place by 3 10 mm bolts and a push-in clip.
  2. The bolts and clip are located behind the right wheel.
  3. It is not necessary to take off the wheel – I did not.
  4. Personally, I question whether it is necessary to take off this shield.

Step 7: Remove the Air conditioning belt

  1. take it off the crankshaft pulley first, and then the air conditioning compressor pulley.

Step 8: Loosen the bolt on the alternator belt tension rod.

  1. On the bottom of the alternator, you will see a bolt and a metal device that it is in. Loosen the nut that is holding the bolt. (the nut facing the right tire).


Step 9: Loosen the alternator pivot bolts.

  1. There are two of these bolts, and they are at the top of the alternator (one on each side, in line with each other).


Step 10: Relax the tension on the alternator belt.

  1. Loosen the alternator belt adjuster and squeeze the belt together to move the alternator toward the engine.
  2. Note: the alternator may be hard to move, just keep working it, until it loosens


Step 11: Remove the alternator belt.

Step 12: Unplug the large connector.

  1. Press in on the tab on the connector and pull it out of the alternator

Step 13: Disconnect the wires from the rear of the alternator.

  1. Unscrew the nuts that attach the wires, and pull the wires off their studs.
  2. Watch for falling debris in your eyes.

Step 14: Free the alternator harness clamp.

  1. Remove the 8 mm bolt that attaches the clamp to the rear of the alternator.

Step 15: Remove the adjuster bracket from the alternator

  1. Unscrew the bolt that attaches the adjuster rod and bracket to the bottom of the alternator.


Step 16: Remove the alternator pivot bolts.

  1. There is a second bolt at the rear of the alternator (identical to the easier viewed one), directly in line with the front one.
  2. Remove both, securing the alternator with your hand so it doesn’t fall on you.

Step 17: Remove the alternator

  1. I had trouble getting mine out and had to push back and forth until it finally came loose.
  2. At this time you can remove and replace the power steering belt. The tensioner is in view.

Step 18: Install the new alternator.

  1. Install the bolts above the alternator, finger tight at first.
  2. Do not tighten these until the alternator belt tension has been adjusted.

Step 19: Attach the lower adjuster bracket.

  1. Screw in the bolt that attaches the adjuster rod and bracket to the alternator

Step 20: Connect the large wire to the alternator.

  1. It mounts on the upper stud.

Step 21: Connect the small wire to the rear of the alternator.

  1. The small wire mounts on the lower stud.

Step 22: Attach the alternator harness clamp.

Step 23: Plug in the large connector

  1. Press the connector into the alternator until the tab locks it in place.

Step 24: Install and tighten the alternator belt.

  1. Tighten the adjuster nut until you can deflect the belt ¼ - ½ inch midway between the pulleys.

Step 25: Tighten the pivot bolts.

  1. again, the bolts above the alternator.

Step 26: Install the air conditioning belt.

  1. assure that the grooves and ridges in belt match up with the grooves on the pulley.

Step 27: Install the splash shield on the right wheel well.

Step 28: Install the lower splash shield.

Step 29: Lower the car.

Step 30: Adjust the air conditioning belt.

  1. from the top, turn adjuster bolt clockwise until you can push the belt inward about ¼ inch.
  2. Again, this adjusting nut is 12 mm just above the air conditioning idler pulley.

Step 31: Tighten the pulley bolt.

  1. this locks the tensioner and prevents it from loosening.

Step 32: Connect the battery.

  1. connect the positive first.

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