How to Change the Alternator on a 1982 Buick Skyhawk Limited

The alternator in the 1982 Buick Skyhawk provides electrical power to all the components on the vehicle. It is also responsible for charging the battery after the engine starts. The alternator does not fully recharge the battery, but it does re-energize power back to the battery that was used up turning the engine over. An alternator dying is less rare than a battery dying, but the 1.8-liter engine of the Skyhawk will only have portable power from the battery when the alternator fails. Once the portable power of the battery is drained, the engine will cease.

Tools Used: Box-end wrench set, Masking tape, Marker, Ratchet and socket set, Replacement alternator, Medium pry bar

Change the Alternator

Open the hood on the Buick Skyhawk and disconnect the black negative terminal clamp from the battery using a box-end wrench. Loosen the retaining bolt enough to allow the clamp to wiggle and then remove it from the battery post. Ensure the clamp cannot come back into contact with the battery post during the duration of the procedure.

Disconnect the two terminal plugs and battery leads from the rear of the alternator, but use the masking tape and the marker to label them for proper replacement to the new alternator when ready for re-installation.

Loosen the two bolts on the alternator pivot bracket with a ratchet and a socket. Push the alternator inward along the slot of the pivot bracket and then slip the V-belt off of the alternator pulley.

Remove the lower alternator mounting bolt (now accessible with the alternator pivoted) with the ratchet and a socket.

Loosen the rear fastener bolt and then remove the front upper alternator mounting bolt.

Remove the alternator from the Skyhawk.

Replace the new alternator by reversing the removal procedure. Use the pry bar to pivot the replacement alternator along the pivot bracket until the V-belt is tight on the pulley. Twist the belt until it only allows a half turn to optimize the correct tightness of the drive belt.

Reconnect the negative terminal clamp to the battery and tighten the clamp retaining bolt. Start the Skyhawk to test the alternator.

Tips & Warnings

In the event the alternator drained the battery, recharging the battery might be required before the engine will start.

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