How to replace Alternator
Hi Neon Fans. Had to replace the alternator in the 2001 (230,000 kilometers) Neon. I've asked other forums but no real detail removal of the alternator has come up. As we all know it's tight in the engine compartment for some repairs. The car sat for a month or more, my son didn't use the car so when he tried to start the car, the alternator was seized. I got it moving again and had to replace the belts. So I got a taste of what it's like to work on the belts of this car. Soon we noticed that when all the accessories were running... lights - heater - rear defroster - etc. the battery light came on. Checked with a meter and alternator was only putting out approx. 11-12 volts, which is not enough.
Purchased a rebuilt alternator from Napa.
THIS JOB TAKES PATIENCE AND THE RIGHT FRAME OF MIND. EXPECT APPROX. 3 HOURS.
Took me 2.5 hours. Sorry I did not take pictures, wish I had.
- First jack up right (passenger) side of car, remove tire and block to make it is safe to work under and through the wheel opening. PLEASE make sure it is safe to work, you'll be working under and above the car to remove the alternator. Next disconnect Battery, you will be removing wires from the alternator later.
Next - Remove the protective plastic shroud that protects the crank wheel and a/c compressor. there are 2 plastic anchors and 2 small bolts to be remove. The bolts are located up between the shroud and the frame, they can be hard to see. Once they are removed you'll see a little more but not a lot.
Next - You can now see the bottom portion of the alternator, locate the lower mounting bolt. With your socket loosen the bolt, this is a tight spot. Once you have loosen it a bit you can use extension(s) to bring your ratchet out between the rotor and just forward of the strut, this will be on a little angle but your not putting a heavy force to damage the bolt head. Loosen the bolt, but do not remove.
Next - Go to the top part of the alternator and loosen(don't remove yet) the locking nut on upper bracket, there is just enough room for your socket and ratchet to fit between the bracket and the body of the car. Loosen the tension bolt on the top bracket, the head of the bolt is facing the fire wall. Loosen it all the way, but do not remove yet. The alternator should be loose to move forward so that you can remove the belt.
Next - Remove the tension bolt, it's approx. 3 inches long. Move the alternator back towards the fire wall and you'll be able to remove locking bolt from the bracket. Now move the alternator towards the firewall as far as it will go.
Next - This is a bit tricky. This is the time to remove the wires from the alternator, doing it after all the bolts are removed could cause a problem if you drop the alternator and break the wires off. A small mirror will come in hand, because you can hardly see down behind the motor. The plug has a red locking clip. this has to be moved in a downward motion to unlock the clip (tough to do). and pull the plug off, be careful when you do this. Then with your socket unbolt the other black wire. There is a heat shield there, you can push this toward the manifold the get at the nut.
Next - Go back down in the wheel well and finish removing the lower mounting bolt. I found that after the nut falls off keep using you ratchet and pull on the shaft of the bolt to remove it all the way. It will take a bit of time. Remember to use your extensions so that your out by your rotor. Now your alternator is free!
Next - From above, and you'll have to lay over the motor to do this. Reach down between the hoses. Bring the alternator pulley wheel first vertically approx. 6-8 inches and then move horizontally towards the center of the car. Now bring it vertical again for a short distance and then horizontally back thru the hoses and then finally up and out between all the hoses. It's sort of a zig-zag motion. It didn't seem too hard to get out. Use caution around your hoses.
Hope you could follow this.
If your belts are worn, this would be the time to replace them, allow more time to replace belts.
To install reverse the procedure.
Before you install ....PLEASE!!! CLEAN AND LUBE all the nuts and bolts so that they spin freely. This will help when you install your new alternator.
If you have large arms.. this tip might help you a bit. Remove your coil pack on top of the motor, this will give you more room to reach down.