This 2000 Dodge Caravan with a 2.4 liter engine came in with the complaint that the battery light was coming on. The battery had not gone dead at this time but the customer was concerned. I finally got it to act up long enough to determined it was worn brushes in the alternator.
The first step in removing the alternator is to remove the coolant overflow bottle. After removing the 10 mm headed screw, it will lift up enough to remove the hose.
The attaching bolts that hold the alternator in place have 15 mm heads. The adjustment bolt has a 13 mm hex head.
The battery lead is held on with a 10 mm nut. I had to reach under the intake to remove it. There is also a harness connector that need to be disconnected from the rear of the alternator.
The bottom fastener is a bolt and nut and requires accessing under the intake also. You can barely see my arm behind the radiator support.
With the bolt removed the alternator can now start moving towards the passenger fender area.
Underneath the radiator hose.
It takes a little bit of twisting and rolling around to get the alternator up through the hole.
Now that the alternator is off of the vehicle, it is time the change the brushes. I removed the 10 mm nut and insulator from the battery output post.
An 8 mm socket will remove the remaining nuts and one screw that hold the SRE (slip ring end) cover on the rear of the alternator. Not the small ground strap that I am holding in the next picture.
There is a dust cover that is normally stuck to the inside of the SRE cover. I find it best to leave it untouched.
There are three phillip’s headed screws that hold the brush holder in place. It is important to use a good #2 phillip’s screwdriver. The screw heads are very easy to strip out and that will cause a lot of grief.
The dull coloring of the upper slip ring is a clear indicator of a brush making poor contact.
I cleaned the slip rings with some emery cloth and checked to make sure the slip ring was not worn through to the plastic.
The worn out brush holder assembly.
Note how much longer the brushes are in the new brush holder assembly. If you need one of these bush holder assemblies please click here.
A small screw driver works well to hold the brushes back far enough to install the brush holder assembly over the slip rings.
The brush holder installed.
Do a quick wire brushing to make sure that all of the ground contact points are clean. Make sure you have a good wire brush with no loose bristles. A loose bristle can leave a short in the alternator. I installed the SRE cover and tightened all of the screws and nuts.
One last thing to do. There is a movable bushing in the SRE housing that made the alternator removal difficult at best. It will make installation nearly impossible if not moved slightly.
A well placed socket, A good pair of pliers and a lot of elbow grease will move the bushing. I normally do this in a vise but it would be difficult to get a good picture of everything and most people do not have a bench vise.
Of course I also tested the alternator on my test bench. Since most of you will not have one of these I did not bother with the pictures and explanations. You might be able to get a local parts store to test it for you before you install it though.