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How to Replace Alternator 96-98 Pontiac Sunfire

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Created on: 2010-05-28

Learn how to replace the alternator on your 95-05 Pontiac Sunfire with this 1A Auto instructional video.

  1. step 1 :Disconnect the battery
    • Use your 8 mm wrench to disconnect the negative battery terminal
  2. step 2 :Remove the serpentine belt
    • Locate your serpentine belt diagram or draw one out/take lots of pictures for reassembly.
    • Use your 15 mm wrench to release the tension on the tensioner pulley to remove the serpentine belt.
  3. step 3 :Remove the alternator
    • Unbolt the two 15 mm bolts with your wrench.
    • Remove the one 13 mm bolt with your other wrench.
    • Unplug the wiring harness.
    • Pull the alternator out.
  4. step 4 :Install the new alternator
    • Work the alternator into place and start bolting it in.
    • Torque the bolts to 40 ft lbs
    • Plug the wiring harness back in.
  5. step 5 :Replace the serpentine belt.
    • Use your routing diagram or drawings/pictures to route the serpentine belt back into place.
    • With your 15 mm wrench, release the tension from the pulley system to get the belt over the last pulley.
    • Reconnect the battery with your 8 mm wrench.

Tools needed

  • 13mm Socket

    15mm Wrench

    15mm Socket

    8mm Wrench


    13mm Wrench

Brought to you by 1AAuto.com, your source for quality replacement parts and the best service on the Internet. Hi, I'm Mike Green. I'm one of the owners of 1A Auto. I want to help you save time and money repairing and maintaining your vehicle. I'm going to use my 20+ years experience restoring and repairing cars and trucks like this to show you the correct way to install parts from 1AAuto.com. The right parts installed correctly, that's going to save you time and money. Thank you and enjoy the video.

In this video we'll be showing you alternator replacement on this 1997 Pontiac Sunfire. It's pretty much the same procedure for any '95 to '05 or actually '92 to '05 Sunfire or Cavalier, and really the same for just about any vehicle. The tools you'll need for these vehicles are a 15 mm wrench and a 13 mm wrench and then also a socket and ratchet.

You can use an 8 mm or a 5/16ths wrench. You want to disconnect the positive battery cables. Next you want to use a 15 mm wrench to hook onto your idler pulley on this bolt right here. Then you push down on that wrench. Okay and that allows you to remove the serpentine belt. Then be careful as your letting the wrench back; because, it goes back further than it went down. Now with two connections on the back of the alternator, one here which basically is a little tab that you pry up with your finger and that pulls out. One here. This is definitely a bolt that you do not want to touch if the battery is still connected. We put our wrench on there, another 13 mm socket. Remove that wire.

There are three bolts that hold the alternator to the engine. There's a 15 mm bolt down here and then a 13 mm bolt right there, and then we'll go up and underneath and there's another 15 mm bolt right there. I'm going to point to it, yes, that guy right there. Okay, so I'm going to just kind of fast forward as I basically just take the bolts out. You can see I take this top one, I take it all the way out and then the bottom one I'm actually just going to loosen way up. I'm not going to pull it out. I'm going to pull that out last.

Now I'm going to do that back one. You can reach it with an extension right from the back there. Once you move those bolts, then this will come off the rest of the way. We'll pull on the alternator and it's out. You can see the bracket where it goes into. Then obviously to install put the bottom in first. Start with this top one. You've got to kind of push these hoses out of the way. You feed this long one through. Then you put the back one in and by the feel of your hand you just push it in. It starts pretty easy. Then we'll tighten them up.

All these bolts you want to make tight. There specifications are probably about 40 foot pounds, which is tight, but not crazy tight. Plug them back in the harness. Put your power wire back on. Put this boot back on. Now the fun part is the serpentine belt. Your car will have a diagram right there. I can kind of give you an overview. You can see the belt down here. You want to make sure it comes down over your AC compressor if you have one. Then over here you want your belt, make sure it's down around your power steering pulley. Then you want to pull your belt up and onto your alternator and you'll release it.

You'll actually be releasing it. Now what you're going to do is you're going to push your belt tension down with the wrench and then you're going to take the belt and put it in and around this idler pulley here. I'm going to take my 15 mm wrench and put it on the pulley as high up as I can. Now I'm going to press down the idler pulley. I'm going to make sure the belt is around my AC pulley and around my power steering pulley. I'm pushing the wrench down and then with my other hand I'm pushing it onto the idler pulley here. The first one should go on there correctly. Now I let my wrench go and it's all tight. Just do a little visualize. It's around my air conditioning pulley down there. It's there correctly. It's on my power steering correctly and down around the crank correctly.

We can reconnect the battery, start it up and make sure that the gauge reads correctly or if you just have it done right that your alternator light goes out. Okay, the light shape, I got battery is the battery light. If it goes off when the engine starts, that's what you want.

We hope this helps you out. Brought to you by www.1AAuto.com, your source for quality replacement parts and the best service on the internet. Please feel free to call us toll free 888-844-3393. We're the company that's with you on the internet and in person.

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