alternator problem?

Phil Rose pjrose at
Fri Aug 22 06:29:47 PDT 2008

At 5:35 AM -0700 8/22/08, Kneale Brownson wrote:
>There are three belts on the front of the engine driven by the 
>crankshaft.  As you are facing the front of the car,  the alternator 
>will be down low to your left.  Down low to your right will be the 
>A/C compressor.  Above that to the right is the power steering pump.
>   Starting at the engine, the first belt is the power steering pump 
>belt.  The middle one goes to the A/C compressor.  The outer one 
>goes to the alternator.
>   If your system has thrown two or three belts, most likely they 
>were not high quality metric belts.  Conti belts are recommended and 
>usually give no trouble for years of use.
>   You do not need to remove anything from the car, just loosen the 
>tensioning system for which ever belt(s) you need to service and the 
>belted device will move inward to allow installing the new one. 
>Looking from underneath the car, you can figure out what ALL needs 
>to be loosened.  The alternator and the compressor tensioning 
>systems INCLUDE funky little geared devices that let you do it all 
>with wrenches (no need for prying, etc.) if the teeth haven't been 
>mucked up.  You also have to loosen the main bolts that attach the 
>devices to their brackets.  The power steering pump uses a bolt in a 
>cage to tension the belt and also has to have its main fastener 
>loosened.  If you're not familiar with the tensioning devices, you 
>should consult the Bentley because it's easy to ruin the geared 

What Kneale says! Especially the "ALL" part of it.  It's been a few 
years since I've done one, but invariably there are more bolts 
involved in doing the alternator than you might anticipate. IIRC, the 
alternator belt replacement and tensioning requires  the loosening 
and subsequent tightening of at least 4 (yes four!) bolts.

First and foremost there's one to be loosened/tightened located at 
the top side of the alternator --which is what provides the 
alternator's pivot point. That one can be difficult to see and reach. 
Do that one from above the engine I seem to recall.

Then there's two on the (geared) tensioning bracket--one at each end) 
. The bolt at the top end of this bracket allows it to pivot slightly 
and the other bolt releases (or locks) the toothed tensioning wheel 
that Kneale mentioned. If the tensioning wheel is stripped you can 
still do the job, but it can turn an easy one-man operation into a 
two-man job.

Finally, you must also loosen (then tighten) a bolt located at the 
end of the longish bracket over near the A/C compressor (this bracket 
or rod helps to maintain (stabilize) the tensioned alternator 
position.  Obviously all these bolts must be loosened to begin with, 
and the order in which they're re-tightened is important. I may have 
forgotten some of the details (maybe it's 5 bolts?) but the point is 
to think it through since failure to loosen all the bolts will keep 
the belt from being tensioned adequately and will, as Kneale 
mentioned, possibly destroy that handy little tensioning wheel. It 
may already be trashed by a previous wrench--many shops (usually the 
independents) will have spare adjuster wheels in stock (sell for 
about $5 or $10).



Phil Rose
Rochester, NY
mailto:pjrose at

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