How To Change The Alternator On A 1997 Ford Escort

Learning how to change the alternator on a 1997 Ford Escort can come in handy should the alternator fail. Rather than spending money on a mechanic to do the job, you can change the alternator in a 1997 Ford Escort in under an hour, provided you have the correct tools. As the alternator generates power to run the car, it's not an optional part, but changing out a non-functional alternator in a 1997 Ford Escort is very easy to learn.

To change the alternator in a 1997 Ford Escort, you will need:
  • Crescent wrenches
  • A pen and paper
  • A ratchet and socket set
  • A new alternator
  • A voltage tester
  1. To change the alternator in a 1997 Ford Escort, first disconnect the battery. Use an open-ended wrench to remove the negative cable from the battery. Set the cable in a safe place, wrapping it in a towel or rag to prevent it from touching other components.
  2. Prepare to remove the alternator. As the serpentine belt will need to be removed to change the alternator, creating a diagram of the proper routing of the belt is important to ensure it's replaced correctly. Use the pen and paper to create the diagram, making note of how the belt is situated compared to each pulley and component.
  3. Remove the serpentine belt. Use the ratchet and socket set to rotate the tensioner pulley. Take care when releasing the tension as allowing the tensioner to spring back can damage it. Once the tension is removed from the belt, remove the belt and set aside. If the belt is cracked or worn, it is highly recommended that it be replaced with a new one.
  4. Remove the alternator. Un-clip the electrical wires from the back of the alternator and tuck them away in a safe place. Use the ratchet and socket set to remove two large bolts, one upper and one lower, that attach the alternator to the engine. Grasp the alternator from the sides and pull forward to remove it from the engine. Save the alternator and return it to an auto parts store, as many will refund a deposit for the core.
  5. Install the new alternator. Reversing the process you used to remove the old alternator from your 1997 Ford Escort, place the alternator in the same configuration on the engine. Replace the two bolts, making sure to use the longer bolt on the lower hole and the shorter bolt on the upper hole. Tighten the bolts using the ratchet and socket set, then plug in the wiring clip to the back of the alternator.
  6. Install the serpentine belt. Use the diagram you drew earlier to re-route the belt in the exact same configuration as it was previously. Use the ratchet and socket set to return the tensioner pulley to the original location to increase the tension on the belt. Examine the belt to make sure it is seated properly on each pulley and component.
  7. Reconnect the battery and test the installation. Use a crescent wrench to connect the negative cable to the battery. Turn on the ignition and examine the installation. Make sure the belt is moving correctly around each pulley and component. Use the voltage tester to test the output of the new alternator. An output rating of around thirteen volts is normal and a sign of a functioning alternator. Anything under twelve volts may mean the alternator is not connected properly or not functioning properly.
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