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· Registered
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Vehicle: 2004 Acura TSX
Difficulty: Easy to moderate (depending on the tools you have)
Estimated time to complete: 1-2 hours

Tools needed:
  • 10mm socket/wrench
  • 12mm socket/wrench
  • 14mm socket/wrench
  • Pliers (helpful if removing the power steering inlet hose since it has a clamp securing it in place)
  • Towels (helpful if removing the power steering inlet hose since power steering fluid spills out when hose is diconnected)
  • Serpentine belt wrench (easier to remove the serpentine belt with, but not absolutely necessary).

When performing my alternator replacement, I referred to:
Another thread on this forum

The "Charging System" section of the service manual:
Charging system

Paperwork included with my new alternator that included troubleshooting tips:
Tech tips & troubleshooting

Two other threads on this forum regarding the serpentine belt replacement:

Someone suggested in another thread using angled adapters, but I couldn't get the angle right with mine to where it would work (I could get the socket positioned onto the bolt, but couldn't find a good enough angle where I had leverage to turn the ratchet). It is very cramped in that area and the bolts are difficult to access, but with a little patience and hand gymnastics, I was able to get it with tools I already owned.

Before attempting this procedure, I would suggest making sure you can access the bottom two bolts that are holding the alternator in place with your current tools; otherwise, unless you have a spare vehicle, you may end up having to put everything back together if you need to run to the hardware store to pick up some new tools.

The exact tool sets I used were (These are not referral links, just to the exact product on Amazon since I cannot attach more images in this post. I'm not particularly loyal to any specific brand of tool, these were both just housewarming gifts when I bought my house):
GearWrench 8921 21 Piece 3/8-Inch Drive (20mm) Metric Pass Thru Ratchet Set
GearWrench 9901 12 Piece Metric Flex-Head Combination Ratcheting Wrench Set

After confirming that you have the necessary tools to perform all tasks:

1) Disconnect the battery (10mm nut).
Pretty straight forward. Disconnect the negative terminal first, then the positive terminal.

2) Remove the serpentine belt (14mm bolt).

See the instructions in Thread1 and Thread2 for help with this.

The only 2 things to note:
  1. If renting a serpentine removal tool, check that it comes with a 14mm socket or that you have a 14mm socket that will fit the tool. The one I rented came with 13,15,16, and 18mm sockets, but the bolt on the idler pulley is 14mm. The serpentine tool did come with a 14mm crows foot wrench adapter, but because the bolt on the idler pulley is recessed slightly, I couldn't access the bolt with it.
  2. Apply CLOCKWISE pressure to the 14mm bolt on the idler pulley to remove belt tension (looking at it, I thought it'd be counter-clockwise, but I can assure you it is not).
3) Disconnect the two electrical connections of the alternator (10mm nut).

Don't remove the 3 bolts holding the alternator in place at this time. I was limited to 5 attachments with this post, so had to combine some of the images.

The wire (A) on the right has a rubber boot that you need to pull back, then a 10mm nut that needs to be removed with a wrench.
The plug (B) in front just pulls directly out; there are no special clips or anything like that.
Remove the zip tie clip from the metal bracket. I was able to just push mine out using just my fingers, although using pliers may be easier.

4 ) Optional step - Disconnect the power steering inlet hose and inlet joint (10mm bolt).

This step isn't necessary, but I found it much easier to work with these parts out of the way. Also, the "Charging System.PDF" file that I attached shows how to remove the power steering pump, which doesn't involve removing the hoses. Due to difficulties with removing the alternator (see step #6), I think I'd try this route if I had to do it again.
That being said, I did not remove the power steering pump; I disconnected the inlet hose and then removed the inlet joint from the power steering housing. When disconnecting the hose, I had approximately 100 cc's (aka 3-4 ounces) of power steering fluid spill, so have towels located beneath it to prevent this from getting on the lower pulleys/accessories and be ready to clean up any that does.

5) Remove the 3 bolts holding the alternator in place (12mm bolts).
See the image in step #3.

This was the most difficult step for me, mainly because there is very limited room in which to work. As mentioned in some other threads, I found it beneficial to remove the lower bolts first since it's already difficult to reach them and leaving the top bolt in place secures the alternator in place while removing the bottom bolts. I found it easier starting with the one on the right so as to provide better wrench access when attempting to loosen the bolt on the left. I used the 12mm Ratcheting Wrench for the right bolt, but after initially loosening the the left bolt, had difficulty ratcheting it with the wrench. I was finally able to get it using the Pass Thru Ratchet with the 3" extension and a 12mm socket by maneuvering around the metal A/C compressor's suction line (see image in step #4).
I'm not sure what the exact tooth count is of my ratchet, but I tried counting and estimated ~72, which I'd consider to be a fine tooth ratchet. Due to the limited room to actually turn the ratchet, ratchets with finer teeth will make the job easier.

6) Remove the alternator.
The was the second most difficult step for me, again because of the limited room. Even with the inlet hose and joint removed, it just doesn't seem like there is enough room to squeeze the alternator out (it is blocked by the power steering pump, the A/C compressor's suction line, and the cooling fan's shroud). I spun it, flipped it over, spun it some more, and finally positioned it in a way where I was able to force it out, albeit putting a lot of pressure on the A/C suction line. As mentioned in step #4, if I had to do this again, I think I would remove the power steering pump (without disconnecting the hose). This looks like it may provide that little bit of clearance that is needed.

7) Install the new alternator.
Before installing the new alternator, check to see if it has the metal bracket that is used to secure the alternator wiring to it (see image in step #3). I didn't notice that my new alternator didn't have this until after everything was reinstalled. I doubt it will cause any issues down the road, but I am now missing this bracket, so was unable to secure the alternator wiring to it. Secure this bracket to the new alternator if it doesn't have it already. For whatever reason, it was much easier to get the new alternator into place than it was to remove the old one. It took very little maneuvering to get it into place. I followed another poster's recommendation of securing the alternator in place with the top screw first (snug enough to hold it in place, but loose enough to wiggle the alternator), then the attach the bottom bolts. I had to wiggle the bottom bolts for a few seconds while pressing on them to get them to align with their respective holes, but it worked well enough. Due to the access reasons mentioned in step #5, I secured the lower left bolt before the lower right bolt. Once both lower bolts are tightened, tighten the top bolt.

8) Connect the alternator wiring and connect the power steering inlet hose & joint if you removed them.
Pretty straight forward, just do the opposite steps taken to remove them.

9) Reinstall serpentine belt

See the instructions in Thread1 and Thread2 for help with this.

10) Connect your battery
Connect the positive terminal first, then the negative.

Pat yourself on the back & crack open a beer. Double check that all wires/hoses are reconnected and that all bolts are tightened. Double check that you don't have any spare tools remaining in the engine bay, then start your car to test. If all goes well, crack open another beer.



· Royal Flush Crew
791 Posts

· Registered
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great job. What issues were you having that prompted you to change it? Were there warning lights on the dash?
My dash battery indicator light came on at the same time the alternator started making a whining noise. I checked all fuses, ground connections, then compared the voltage when the car was off vs the car running. I didn't know about the ELD troubleshooting (see the "Tech tips & troubleshooting" attachment I uploaded) until I saw the attachment that came with the new alternator, so didn't do that.
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