Forums Forums (
-   Astra Tech (
-   -   Alternator replacement (

DCAstraFan 09-27-2013 07:52 PM

Alternator replacement
I have just replaced my alternator and it was a bear. Maybe I did it incorrectly, but I think it was the easiest, but certainly not easy. The alternator is fairly easy to get loose from the engine. But it is impossible to get the alternator out of the engine bay because the clearance is insufficient.

The initial thought was to remove the engine mount and try wedging the engine out of the way. But that seemed pretty substantial and risky. So I decided that I would disassemble the alternator in the bay and remove by pieces. Also disassembled the rebuilt alternator to get it in. It was tough and exhausting, but it worked and it was satisfying.

Anyhow, just thought I'd share.

nrramse 10-04-2013 11:27 PM

Re: Alternator replacement
Thanks for the posting, and welcome to the board!

I think all automotive engineers should be made to serve as technicians for a length of time so they know to make things like alternators a little easier to get to.

smwalker 10-12-2013 12:11 AM

Re: Alternator replacement
Just for future reference the way to get it out is to remove the passenger side engine mount while the engine is supported by a floor jack. Then you remove the alternator out the opening in the wheel well (remove front passenger tire and plastic fender panels) as you raise and lower the engine just enough to get it out. It won't come out if the engine is lowered all the way and won't come out if it is up all the way. There is a sweet spot right inbetween high and low where if you rotate it the correct way it will come out.

bigbl5 09-03-2015 08:53 AM

Re: Alternator replacement
I know this is an old thread, but I thought I would add my procedure in case someone else has this issue. Just for reference, mine was a 2008 Astra XE.

1. Disconnect battery
2. Remove air box and hoses.
3. Release tension on tensioner and remove belt from alternator
4. Lift passenger side front and remove tire.
5. Remove two bolts holding alternator (11mm 12pt)
6. Remove alternator from engine. This will probably be a little tight as the alternator threaded nuts pull tight against the mounts... a little prying and the alternator will come off.
7. Remove the nut holding the power wire and the electrical connector. This is a massive PITA. The wires aren't long enough so a lot of this is done blind. Plus the little electrical connector has a locking tab that is difficult to remove. Mine, of course, broke the little tab and I had to blindly use a screw driver to pry the tab out.
8. There was no way the alternator is coming out the top of the engine bay, so don't waste an hour trying. The key, as the other poster above stated, is to take it out thru the wheel well. I didn't have to monkey with the engine mount at all. What I did is to angle the alternator so the pulley is pointing toward the wheel well and slightly forward and slightly down. The flat part of the alternator should be on the upper right and the bolt holes should be in roughly the 10 o'clock and 4 o'clock position. The alternator will just barely fit thru the wheel well. I didn't even have to remove the splash shield.
9. Reinstall in reverse order obviously.

AstraFasta 09-03-2015 09:57 AM

Re: Alternator replacement

How many miles did your car have? How long did the alternator removal take?

Burgandy25 09-17-2015 12:59 PM

Re: Alternator replacement
This is funny because on the official instructions to remove the alternator it says to remove the engine mount/support.

smwalker 09-17-2015 03:51 PM

Re: Alternator replacement
Wondering if there is some kind of difference between the XR and XE in this area. I for the life of me could not get the alternator out of an Automatic XR with the engine mount secured. Yet the XE did not seem to have a problem. Have to give it a try again the next time I need to remove the alternator (hopefully never! LOL)

AstraFasta 09-17-2015 04:38 PM

Re: Alternator replacement
Maybe when the motor mounts become sloppy, the alternator is easier to remove? I had the transmission mount fail at 45k miles

Alternatively, the following post indicates some front motor mounts come a bit sloppy out of the factory "by design":


Burgandy25 09-17-2015 07:51 PM

Re: Alternator replacement
[QUOTE=AstraFasta;2158873]Maybe when the motor mounts become sloppy, the alternator is easier to remove? I had the transmission mount fail at 45k miles

Alternatively, the following post indicates some front motor mounts come a bit sloppy out of the factory "by design":


Yeah I was suckered into getting one of our transmission mounts replaced. They said it failed but in fact it was designed to look that way. I'll find text saying the inner plastic mold lines are meant to separate...

the second time they said it needed replacing on our other car I said no.

AstraFasta 09-17-2015 07:56 PM

Re: Alternator replacement
Actually, in my case the transmission mount needed to be replaced as the car clunked on gear changes and on bad pavement.

Replacing the mount significantly tightened up the car.

The roads in the northeast are absolutely terrible as there just is not enough money to repair them. That was probably the driver of the failure.

I guess each case is different.

bigbl5 07-25-2019 11:11 AM

Re: Alternator replacement
Wow, I'm back again reviving this old thread... I had to replace this alternator again and just came across this post. Sorry, I didn't see the questions on this back them. At any rate, when I posted this in 2015, the car had approximately 55000 miles.

A couple of months ago, the car developed a parasitic draw in which the battery would die 1-2 days. I replaced the battery as it was 5 years old. Died again. I then went through and tested the alternator - put out 14.15v, almost nil AC voltage. Ok, draw test with electronics asleep showed 380ma draw. Next went through and pulled all the fuses and relays one at a time. Draw stayed. Thinking it was an intermittent problem with door locks, I pulled the fuse. Still intermittent battery failures. Well last night I figured the only think left it could be was the alternator, so I pulled it again. Sure enough, the draw dropped to <10ma. Pushed up against block, draw returns. Pulled it away again, draw goes away. Removed alternator and tested diode from B+ post to case. One direction 530mv, nothing in the other. So, although the alternator apparently tested fine and was charging, there is a slight internal short of some sort causing the draw. I can't say I'm surprised as the alternator was the cheapest rebuilt unit I could find from Advance Auto that came out of China.

Currently the car has about 78000 miles. The first time I replaced the alternator it took about 3 hours to pull and 30 minutes to install as I couldn't figure out how to get it out of the car. This time, having experience, I pulled the air hose, then the entire air cleaner box. I removed the tension and belt from above and removed the two alternator mounting bolts from above. Once loose I twisted it around a little to reach the wires and yet again fought that damn little connector. To remove the alternator from the engine compartment, I again removed the passenger tire and using the method I described above, pulled it out through the wheel well. No need to mess with motor mount if you angle it as I described above (well at least on my XE). This time I had it out in about 40 minutes... working in an apartment complex parking lot having minimal tools.

AstraFasta 07-25-2019 09:03 PM

Re: Alternator replacement
Alternator removal is a nightmare in these cars. I replaced the pulley a few years ago which required removal. Those wires were horrible.

If alternator fails, I will go Bosch new to avoid the problems with low quality remanufactured units.

Mitt 07-25-2020 09:03 PM

Re: Alternator replacement
Hi all,
I am new to Saturnfans, but an experienced mechanic and have never needed anyone's help as I have always either been able to figure it out on my own or I have been able to access manuals for help. SO the question I have is Does anyone know how to remove the alternator from the engine compartment once it is loose. It was easy peasy to remove alternator bolts and electrical leads, but getting the alternator out of the wheel well is impossible. I have removed the passenger side engine mounts and the engine is being supported by a modified screw jack. The only three ideas I can come up with are (1)to completely unbolt the subframe (aka engine cradle) in order to get alternator out or (2)to remove the pulley wheel on the alternator and then separate the alternator into its two halves and the remove them out, or (3) to loosen/remove the engine mounts on the driver's side also and then move the engine forward 1/2 of an inch. I have already cut off excessive frame member caulking, and removed the brake line which is retardedly placed in the way. (Do not get me going on this POC, and it makes sense GM axed Saturn)This is my daughter's car, 2008 Saturn Astra XR (not XE), as I would never purchase this German made junk. Had a 1986 BMW 735i and it was also very poorly made and engineered, a real death trap too. (Inside secret, 95% of engineers cheated their way through college, at least at OSU and in the 1980s no less.) Most successful lie on the planet is that German made cars are of good quality. Haynes, Chilton's, Mitchells, and two other manuals have nothing correct in them on the removal of the alternator. BTW most Saturn Astra mechanics have all retired, although there may be a couuple left somewhere in the US, I think. I would certainly appreciate any helpful suggestions

AstraFasta 07-25-2020 09:21 PM

Re: Alternator replacement
Hi Mitt.

Alternator will come out of wheel well but needs to be oriented in the correct way (e.g. the pulley needs to be facing a certain direction).

You don't need to remove the pulley.

Do NOT jack up the engine too much, just a bit.

Also, if this is an auto transmission Astra, GM specified a fancy alternator pulley; that should be on any new Alternator. Not required but it should reduce noise and increase life of the belt and accessories.

Search the forum as someone did summarize his tricks to getting the alternator out of the wheel well. That post is not too old IIRC.

Mitt 07-26-2020 01:58 PM

Re: Alternator replacement
Thanks for your attempted help. I read that post about orienting the alternator pulley a little be down and a little forward. It may work for the Astra XE but it does not work for the Astra XR Automatic 4-door and there is no way to get it out without removing or moving something. I removed the crankshaft pulley and cover which gave me another 1/4 inch. I am going to try tor loosen the driver's side engine mount and push the engine forward 1/2 inch or maybe even 3/8s might do it. If that does not work, then I will try to just do as one other person on the forum with an XR Automatic did which is to remove and install the alternator in halves. I did have the thought that maybe the front frame rail on my daughter's particular car was installed 1/2 inch too much towards the engine compartment and that maybe for this reason my daughter's car is unique. (BTW, that is all Saturn needed to do was create a small notched out area in that front frame rail. Just a little cooperation between Saturn design teams. I do not want to cut that area out with and angle grinder due to compromising the frame structure, particularly on the bottom where it is needed, and I do not know how to weld to re-join the cut out area after the notch has been made to regain its structural integrity.) However that other forum member split his alternator to get it in and out, so maybe that is the official way for the XR automatics. Nonetheless thanks for your attempted help. I need to get a few more things fixed on this car and then tell my daughter to get rid of it and get something that is better engineered and better built (one of the top four Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Kia).

AstraFasta 07-26-2020 03:18 PM

Re: Alternator replacement
Layoria changed alternator on an XR 5 door automatic here:


smwalker also has changed the alternator an XR auto which I think is 5 door based on rear photo but I am not 100% sure of that

Mitt 07-26-2020 10:06 PM

Re: Alternator replacement
Thanks again for trying to help. The one thread does not tell how they got it out (if in fact they actually did get it out as I have discovered some people will not publicly admit defeat.). Waking up tomorrow morning before dawn to get out there before the heat comes. (It gets too hot to work on the car outside by 1 pm.) Again, on my daughter's car there is NO WAY it is coming out the wheel well (I would bet anyone large amounts of money that turning it different directions will not get it out.) without halving the alternator or removing or loosening both left and right upper engine mounts and center front engine mount, as I have already spent 8-10 hours just trying to get it out through that insufficient opening, and this does not count the 20 or so hours looking at all the manuals that have it wrong and repeatedly searching online for a GM Saturn Manual Service Manual Set. Some of these joker manuals like Haynes (which is mostly never worth even a $1 purchase) even say to remove it out the top. (laughable). Remember why the space shuttle exploded.... stupid engineering.

AstraFasta 07-26-2020 11:50 PM

Re: Alternator replacement
That is a terrible experience Mitt and I feel your pain. I spent probably 10 hours in the hot summer sun getting that alternator in and out of the Astra. It was miserable. Changing the pulley took a few seconds lol.

Good luck.

ProOpel 07-27-2020 11:21 AM

Re: Alternator replacement
I had to change mine this year too, and I had a friend to help me. We didn't have to raise the engine, but it was a pain to get that alt in that tiny space.

Mitt 07-27-2020 08:19 PM

Re: Alternator replacement
HERE IS THE ANSWER!!!! HURRAY!!!!! Went out to a Chevrolet Dealer Tech and gave him $10 to look up his official Saturn Service Manual, but it did not even specify where you remove the alternator or what you have to do, so this was absolutely no help, and a wast of $10. (I paid him first.) After another failed five hours of trying to rotate the alternator every direction and jack and lower the engine to get get the alternator out of the engine compartment of an Astra XR Automatic 4-door, the solution finally occurred to me. Here it is and hang on to this info.

1) Jack up the car and place jack stands or a couple of 8 x 8s under the car unibody frame on passenger side. Support engine with a jack (A screw jack is best for precise lowering and raising of the engine.) under the oil pan with a 2x8. (2x4 does not work but a 2x8 does because it tilts the engine forward somehow more than the 2x4.)
2) Remove passenger side wheel and lower front wheel liner.
3) Remove serpentine belt
4) Remove Passenger side engine mount, the half that is attached on top of the unibody frame member. (Need to remove air filter box first.)
5) Lower the engine until the underside of the flat extension of the remaining half of the engine mount still attached to the engine block is 3/4 of an inch above the unibody frame member (where the other half of the engine mount was installed.)
6) Detach alternator from engine block. Easy and basic, so no instructions needed here.
7) Cut away any excessive uninbody frame member caulk on the inside of the frame member to a flat surface. This will give you almost a 1/4 inch more needed space.
8) Remove the metal brake line at the connection to the rubber brake line. Take it out of the body-mounted bracket and then re-screw them back together so that you then gain the ability to move and bend that brake line out of the way of the alternator when trying to bring it through the insufficient opening in the wheel well.
9) Remove crankshaft pulley and serpentine belt tensioner in order to remove lower timing belt cover since its is in the way. (It gives you about another 1/4 to 5/16 inch additional needed room.
10) Point alternator pulley wheel downward about 45 degrees from horizontal and backward a little, around 45 degrees. It will almost fit out but it will still bind on the lower bolt hole of the alternator mounting area.
11) Have an assistant take a 3 foot crowbar and place the tip behind the rear-most point of the engine mount half still on the engine block. The other person should take a 2 foot crowbar and place the tip in the alternator lodged in the opening, specifically in one of the alternator grill slots. Ask your assistant (my lovely wife Amy)to gentled pry the engine forward about 3/8 of an inch while you pry out the alternator with the 2 foot crowbar. Viola!!! It should come out without too much pressure. NOTHING ELSE I HAVE READ WORKS FOR AN XR AND I HAVE SPENT 20-30 HOURS READING AND RESEARCHING. These instructions are for the XR. The XE is much easier to get out the wheel well opening. THIS IS GUARANTEED TO WORK. YOU ARE WELCOME. Glad I could help anyone that needs it.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:09 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc. The Saturn Enthusiasts Site.