How to Change an Alternator


Changing an alternator on a vehicle usually isn’t too bad of a job.  Typically you disconnect the battery, disconnect the wires from the alternator, take your engine belt off and remove the alternator mounting bolts.  Sounds easy enough right?  On many vehicles it is, but on the Ford Fusion in the video above it turned out to be a lot bigger project.

We wanted to make this video to help out anyone trying to change the alternator on a Ford Fusion V6 like this one to make sure you know you can indeed do it without removing your air conditioning compressor and evacuating your air conditioning system.  If your air conditioning system is already out of refrigerant or you don’t mind evacuating and refilling the system by all means remove the compressor as it will make the job MUCH easier!

Besides requiring some specialty equipment, opening up your air conditioning system an be dangerous because it can allow debris or moisture to get into the system which will cause your air conditioning to malfunction down the road so we recommend NOT evacuating and opening your air conditioning system if at all possible.

In the video above, you can see it is indeed possible on this car!  This trick is to loosen up the subframe and motor mounts enough to rock the bottom of the motor towards the rear of the vehicle.  Moving the motor and subframe opens up a very small window in the passenger side wheel well where you can sneak your broken alternator out and your new one in.  You do have to remove the AC compressor from the block but you don’t have to disconnect the refrigerant lines and open the system.

Many front-wheel-drive V6 vehicles will have similar difficulty replacing the alternator and other accessories due to cramped engine bays and the orientation of the motor.  If you have a different vehicle but have managed to find an easy way to get the alternator out, leave us a comment here or on our video!  Don’t forget to subscribe for more how-to videos in the future.

How to Change an Alternator Quick Tips

  • The first thing you should do is disconnect the battery.  Pulling either the positive or negative cable (or both) will work just make sure you isolate them so there is no chance of it touching to the battery terminal by accident.
  • Use your new alternator to figure out how to wires and connectors come off the old alternator.  You don’t want to break a clip or connector on your engine wiring harness
  • Don’t over tighten the mounting bolts when you install your new alternator.  They often thread directly into the engine block or other difficult to get to bracket so stripping them can be a nightmare.
  • Change your belt while you’re in there.  You’ve already got it off so changing it will only cost you a few dollars and is good insurance for the future!
  • Don’t get any oil or cleaner on your new alternator to help it have a long and happy life.


Photo by Parvez AzarQaderi on Unsplash


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