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Alternator Replacement II

New 1/24/05

Hello folks,

I have a '97 with 110K miles. The other day the car lost power and stranded me on the side of the road. After investigating, I discovered that the battery was run completely down. No light ever came on the dash to warn me about the charging system. I checked all the fuses and they are all OK. After charging the battery the car runs fine (until it runs down). I checked the charging system with a volt meter on the battery and it's not charging at all (the voltage drops to around 12 v with the engine running and the lights on).

So I assume that the alternator needs to be replaced? But I haven't been able to reach the top bolt of the alternator. I read all the info that I could find on the V8SHO website and it appears that I need to "disconnect the fuel lines where they meet the fuel rail on top left side of engine". Will I be able to reach the bolt then - I have large hands and arms? If so, can someone give me a pointer as to how to remove the lines? Is there an easier way to reach the top bolt?

Thanks In Advance

John Ball

My Alternator lasted until about 120K. I think I was about the third or fourth one to be replaced at home. I didn’t remove the fuel rails/lines, but I did pull the upper manifold assy *surge tank only*

I have large arms and hands too, but I finally crawled on top of the motor and worked an arm and a short wrench ( 14mm I think) down there to crack the upper bolt loose. Then I pulled it out and sawed the stud off of the bolt. I was able to replace the bolt from below, afterwards. When working from below, I dropped the entire subframe assy on the right (passenger) side to access the alternator area, and I *think* I actually pulled the alternator out the top, since the surge tank was off.

This is a 4 wrench job, not so much for technical reasons as it is for the pure meanness of the work. 4 wrenches and a 6 pack of beer…

Perhaps, had I been able to use a hoist, it might have been easier, but I did it all on jack stands.

No matter how you do it, this job is a biyatch!

Al Primm

If the alternator was not charging you should get a light. It sounds to me like a toasted battery. I would try just a battery before I attempted an alternator change.

Rick Glass

Even though it runs fine after I charge the battery up. Runs until the battery runs back down that is (like I clearly explained in my original post).

Even though the voltage is barely 12 volts when the engine is running with the headlights on (like I clearly explained in my original post)?

So why would the charging system not work and the light not come on?

Not necessarily. The light will not notify you of all alternator failures.

Glen Murdock

The light should come on when the output from the alternator is low, no light means the alternator should be charging properly. However a bad battery (dead cell) even when trickle charged and/or with a good alternator will still continue to die even while running and feeding from the alternator because the cells are not taking the charge.

This happened on my '94 SHO and at least 2 other cars I have owned, light came on when alternator died, no light when it was just the battery that died.

Oh, and I don't think a bad alternator wouldn't be putting out anything close to 12 volts.

I could be wrong, but a battery is A LOT cheaper and a helluva lot easier to change than the alternator. I would take my chances with a $40 battery from Wal-Mart before I did anything else, remember you can always return a Wal-Mart battery, you can't return an alternator and your labor (or the busted knuckles).

Rick Glass

When the alternator on my '98 quit, the only time that I would get a light was after the car quit because that battery had no juice. No notice when running. I did however get other warning signs, like the clock and radio fading into oblivion. I ended up replacing the battery first to no avail. Got a local mechanic to quote me 2 hrs shop time for replacement. I nearly felt bad two days later when I picked up the car and handed him $120. Maybe the best deal I ever got on a repair. He did make me promise that I'd never bring that car back to him.

Ryan Dudek

I agree it is always worth trying a new battery on a SHO. Can you swap one out of another vehicle?

Nothing wrong with the battery. I guess that I should have pointed out that, after charging it, I checked the specific gravity and all cells are fine. And I load tested it - OK also.

But I did say that the charging system isn't working and that it runs fine after charging up the battery until the battery runs back down.

My problem was the connector at the alternator, either loose or corroded. All I had to do was disconnect and reconnect it.

Paul Nimz

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