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Alternator Replacement

2000 Ford Taurus Duratec 3.0 L DOHC




Tools Needed


The low profile socket 15mm is essential. A standard size shallow 15 mm socket is too big to work with the serpentine belt tool. The serpentine belt tool is like a thin breaker bar. The clearance on my serpentine belt tool plus low profile socket is about 1 1/16 inch. Even with that, it requires some jiggling to get onto the serpentine belt tensioner pulley. See the attached photo.



These low profile sockets are difficult to find. Napa said it would take 3 days to order. Autozone’s website thinks you’re trying to login to your profile if you search for them. Only one O’Reilly in town had only one set in stock. These are literally worth their weight in gold (weight of the socket * gold price per ounce vs. the labor savings just for this job, let alone other serpentine belt jobs, like power steering pump or coolant pump).


I bought the crowfoot wrench set at Autozone. Harbor Freight and Walmart in particular seemed to have sets missing the 18 mm that you absolutely need.


Replacement Alternator
Make sure that your alternator has the black case soft-start and not the white PCM controlled voltage regulator peaking out the back with the 3 wire connector. See the attached guide, especially if you're buying at a junk yard.




Procedure


Rolando Robles video
This video seems to be the best one for showing the flip and rotate technique for removing the alternator without removing the crankshaft pulley. He also shows where the main nuts and bolts are. This is for a 2002 Taurus though, which is much easier after some redesign, it seems.


The Haynes manual entry is essentially worthless for this. It focuses more on the Vulcan engine alternator which is a very easy half-hour or hour job and the 1AAuto youtube video covers extensively anyway.

The Chilton online library was my main source along with Rolando’s youtube video. Check if your local library or one in your state offers free access to Chilton online, many do. The service has many good images, but this procedure was lacking in many areas. The biggest of which is that many youtubers and mechanics have known since the late ‘90 models, you don’t need to remove the crankshaft pulley and thus don’t need to track down and buy the expensive crankshaft pulley flywheel holding tool.


My procedure follows the Chilton steps and adds necessary information and clarifies some confusion as well as skips the unnecessary steps. The diagrams and instructions in the Chilton guide are also needed to fully see the procedure.






1. Disconnect battery, negative side first, and secure the loose wires with cloth to prevent accidental connection.


Step 1.5. I recommend disconnecting the B+ alternator cable mounts. There is a 11 mm bolt bracket near the power steering fluid reservoir, 2 clips on coolant reservoir, 2 clips near the radiator fans, and finally a 14 mm bolt securing the other end to the power distribution and fuse box. Slide the cover on the left side of the box up to expose the bolt. This allows for some working room when removing the alternator and unbolting the B+ cable later.


2. Remove the serpentine belt / drive accessory belt.
Note that the method of combining two combo wrenches like shown in the 1AAuto youtube video will not work. First, I only found one combo wrench from an old set where the bevel on the 12 point end was shallow enough to barely engage the tensioner bolt. But secondly, even then there is not enough room in the drive belt crevice to connect two combo wrenches together. The wrenches from Autozone have too deep bevels to catch anyway. Lastly, a 15 mm crowfoot will not fit either, no matter how you flip it, there is not sufficient clearance to grab the bolt.


Once you have the proper serpentine belt removal tool and low profile 15 mm socket, you can have the belt off in a minute.


3. Removing the power steering hose bracket nut on the top left bolt is harder than it looks. A deep well socket will not fit in the space. A standard shallow socket is not deep enough. Instead, use the ratchet wrench with the 13 mm crowfoot and 1.5 inch extension to get it loose. You can save time by just combining the 13 mm crowfoot and 1.5 inch extension into a small thumb wrench to work it off most of the way. For removal, you can access this bolt from the top of the engine bay.


4. The instructions jump ahead with removing the upper bolts. You can’t do that until later when you remove the wheel and splash guards. You can technically get the right bolt out, but you might as well wait.


5. Remove the right front wheel. Please look up additional videos on how to safely do that, as it is a bit beyond the scope of this write-up. Use a jack stand with your jack, and put the removed wheel under the side of the frame near the jack point as a secondary safety backup. I found a suitable small jack stand at Walmart for about $10 that could be used on the lowest setting. The jack stand hold point is the dropped strip running towards the rear that is about 2 inches wide and behind the jack point.


6. Remove the various fasteners on the right front wheel front splash guard. There are 4 push pins that the tack puller / cat claw will work well with. If these get mangled, you might find replacements at Ace Hardware. You’ll need a screwdriver for the screws too.


7. Remove the splash guard for the alternator underneath. It has two coarse threaded 5.5 mm bolts that mate with what are called speed nuts on the splash guard itself. I had one rust apart and had to replace it. I found Ace Hardware carries speed nuts but unfortunately had already bought a set of M4 bolt, washers, and nut to replace it before realizing the speed nuts were available.


8. Ignore this step, we’re not going this route.


9. Skip this step too, no need for a flywheel holding tool since we’re leaving the crankshaft pulley on. That sucker is 74 ft-lbs. (the same as the brake assembly!) and in cramped quarters. You would need a breaker bar to remove it and even then extremely difficult.


10. Skip, we’re not removing the crankshaft pulley.


11.-13. Now we’re going to catch up and remove the alternator nuts and bolts. While some videos and others say keep the crankshaft position sensor cable in, I say it needs to be unplugged. I wouldn’t have enough room otherwise to barely squeeze out the alternator and the plug might have been damaged otherwise. Use the tack puller to free the O2 sensor bracket from the steel bracket fastened doubly with the bottom alternator bolt.


I removed the upper right bolt first. Once it was loosened, I could unscrew by hand with the combination of the 1.5 inch 3/8 inch drive extension and the 18 mm crowfoot.


The power steering pressure vessel, which is an integrated part of the power steering “hose” (more like a series of pipes that connects the power steering pump to the power steering down below), is held on with a bracket and 13 mm nut on the protruding end of the upper left bolt. From below in the wheel well, use the extension, universal joint, and crowfoot on the ratchet to break the but loose. Once it is, you should be able to use the extension+13mm crowfoot as a thumb wrench to unscrew it.


Now Rolando’s 2002 model seems to be designed more appropriately with enough movement to completely remove the upper bolt, but step 4 has a key point – the upper left bolt will remain inside the alternator during removal! (and reinstallation) There is a slot in the bracket that allows the bolt to slide out to the right as you rotate the alternator to flip it on its back before rotating it down and out of the engine bay. Start loosening this 18 mm bolt with the ratchet, extension, universal joint, and 18 mm crowfoot.


I then loosened the 13 mm bottom bolt of the alternator. When the upper left bolt is about ready to come out, remove the bottom bolt completely. Finish removing the upper left bolt until it spins freely. It will take some pressure to pull the bolt towards you and slide the whole alternator out to the right of the bracket slot. See the diagram with steps.


Once the alternator is flipped and you are lowering it down, you will have access to the two cables on top. I used a jeweler’s flat head screwdriver to help pop the locking tab on the low power signaling cable to the voltage regulator. The B+ connector is hidden under a rubber cap that protrudes from the end of the alternator output cable. It is a 10 mm bolt holding it, unbolt it.


Once both cables are free, continue rotating the alternator so the bottom end comes towards you and pull it out. It will scrape against the crankshaft pulley some. It is a bit like a manipulation puzzle, and might require going back and forth until you finally get it out.


14. Installation is not the reverse of removal. There is one big key point and a few smaller ones.


Remember to have the top left bolt inside the alternator as you reinstall it. To identify the bolts, the bottom has a regular flat hex head, the top two have threads beyond the bolt head. The top left bolt is the longer of those two.


Use the reverse to get the new or rebuilt alternator inside. When it’s in halfway again, reconnect the regulator cable. Ideally, use some automotive electrical connector spray cleaner and follow up with some dielectric electric connector protector gel. Do the same for connecting the B+ cable again. The 10 mm bolt needs to be torqued to 71 lb.-in. or about 6 lb.-ft. This is not a lot! Learn from Rolando’s mistake and don’t break your new alternator by not using a torque wrench.


Once you have the alternator flipped back over, use your hands to feel and get the top left bolt back into the groove of the bracket keeping the bolt head behind the bracket. It will take some force to get it aligned. Once it’s in position, I recommend having your ratchet with 13 mm socket ready to go to put the bottom bolt partly screwed in. This will help hold the alternator in place while you finish getting the top left bolt aligned and catching the threads. If you need to, remove the bottom bolt and readjust if it isn’t fitting right.


Eventually, get all the three bolts in and start using the extension+crowfoot 18 mm thumb wrench to tighten the top bolts and the ratchet for the bottom 13 mm. Tighten them all evenly. When they’re almost finished, torque them all to 18 ft.-lb. The torque wrench will need the universal joint and an extension to reach from the wheel well with the 18 mm crowfoot. Use your left hand to guide the crowfoot onto the bolt heads by feel and then tighten. Adjust the setting of the torque wrench to offset the universal joint if needed, though it shouldn’t be much deviation.


Once all 3 bolts are tightened, also install the bracket securing 13 mm nut on the top left bolt and torque to 13 ft.-lb. in a similar fashion.


Use electrical connector spray to clean out the crankshaft sensor socket and plug and let dry thoroughly. Then use some dielectric gel and plug in the crankshaft sensor again. Re-secure the O2 sensor socket.


Now for the major deviation from reversing the procedure. Don’t reinstall the two splash guards yet. Instead, rethread the serpentine belt onto all of the pulleys, starting at the bottom and working up. Once you have all but the power steering pump, use the serpentine belt tool to loosen the tensioner pulley and place the rest of the serpentine belt in place. Check all the connections and loosen the tension and adjust as needed.


At this point you can reconnect the battery, re-secure the B+ cable, and try starting the car to make sure the serpentine belt is on straight. If you’re concerned about vibration, you can replace the wheel, but just leave the splash guards off for now if the serpentine belt slips and needs adjustment. Once the belt and the new alternator seem to be running smoothly, then the splash guards can be replaced.


Replace the lug nuts in the star pattern as shown in the owner’s manual and torque to 100 ft.-lb. See other guides for more information on wheels.
 

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I have done 4 of these. See pic, I use the sub frame drop, makes it easier. I drop the Alt with the heavy wire on it, just remove from the mega fuse. I tape the long bolt in place so it does not fall out, use parachute cord as a puller to pull the Alt up in place to start the long bolt. I drop the alt to the frame then lower the sub frame. Put the Alt in side the fender, then raise the sub frame. In this case, the wire shield was breaking up so I taped it with elect tape. The shorter bolt with unused thread extension, I cut it off while it was out. For holding the parachute cord at the top, I wrapped it around a piece of wood for a handle. The nut cover was missing and I did not replace it.


-chart-
 

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Remind me never to buy a dohc in the future lol
It is a 2 hour job, and maybe every 125-150K project.
Last gen of Lin Cont, 2 hours to change the belt, every 30-40K miles. Same time to change the Alt and my last Cont had Alt fail at 47K and next one at 80K. Traded the car.


And the Vulcan has rust in coolant and plugged heater core, and water pump fail. Then there is the cam sensor issue.


I have now 3 DOHC '03's and I'll deal with the Alt.


Just my experience.


-chart-
 
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