An alternator is an AC generator that keeps the car battery charged and helps to power the electrical accessories in the vehicle as it is running. The alternator, as with all other parts of an automobile, goes through wear and tear and at some point will require repair. There are several steps that one goes through when repairing an alternator.
Disconnect the battery
This is the very first step. It is important that the battery is disconnected first before going any further in repairing the alternator. This ensures that all wires are disconnected from any electrical charge. Once this is done, disconnect the wires from the alternator. During this step it is essential to mark each wire as it is disconnected to be sure where each wire goes when returning the alternator after replacement.
Remove the belt from the pulley
The next step is to remove the serpentine belt from the tensioner pulley in the vehicle. This tensioner pulley needs to be moved enough in order to enable the belt to come off. Different vehicles have different types of tensioners, either screw-type or spring-loaded tensioners, that require release in different ways. This is the most difficult step in repairing an alternator that needs to be handled with caution. Once the belt is off, remove the mounting bolts that hold the alternator in place in the bracket. Similarly, different models have different numbers of bolts to remove.
Examine the bearing and the replacement
The bearing is supposed to make noise when it spins. If this does not happen, it means that it needs replacing. Similarly, the replacement needs to be working properly in relation to the type of alternator in hand. Once this is done, the replacement is put in its place and correctly latched in firmly.
Test after di-assembly
This step requires the use of an ohmmeter to test the diodes and evaluate whether there are any repairs required. A diode is a one-way valve for electricity. This test ensures that the diode is receiving current in the proper manner.
Reverse the removal steps and re-assemble
The screws which separate the rectifier from the brush assembly are reinstalled in this step. The brushes should also be removed from their channels and replaced. The slip rings should also be polished using fine sandpaper. All the steps taken when removing the alternator can now be reversed to re-assemble the alternator back in place. This includes carefully readjusting the tensioning and belt routing. After reassembly, the vehicle is ready for use.