How to Change the Alternator on a 1986 Ford Mustang

Replacing the alternator on your Ford Mustang may be required if you're experiencing a weak or dead battery, the car is turning over too slowly, or the alternator is making grinding noises. The alternator in your Mustang, located on the driver's-side front of the engine, supplies electricity to the battery (for charging), ignition system and other electrical components in the car. If the alternator isn't working, the battery will have to supply the power needed to those accessories and will lose its charge very quickly.

Tools Used: Wrench set, Socket set

Change the Alternator

Remove the negative battery cable from the battery with a wrench or socket and ratchet. The battery in your Mustang uses top-mount posts, so the connector will pull straight off the top of the terminal after you've loosened the bolt.

Disconnect the wires from the back of the alternator with a wrench, removing the retaining nut. Slide the ring connector off the stud. Place the wiring connectors aside and retaining nut aside.

Remove the adjuster bolt from the outer edge of the alternator with a socket and ratchet. Loosen the inner mounting bolt near the engine block and remove the belt from the alternator pulley.

Remove the inner mounting bolt with a socket and ratchet; then lift the alternator out of the engine compartment. Place the new alternator on the mounting bracket and install the inner mounting bolt. Don't tighten it yet.

Install the outboard adjusting bolt on the alternator. Leave the bolt loose for now and slide the belt onto the alternator pulley.

Pull the alternator up and away from the engine to tighten the belt. Tighten the adjusting bolt with a socket and ratchet. Secure the inner bolt with the socket and ratchet.

Install the wiring harness connector in the stud at the back of the alternator, followed by the retaining nut. Tighten the nut with a wrench.

Install the negative battery cable onto the negative battery post and tighten the retaining bolt with a wrench. The battery cable must be secure, but don't tighten it so much that you strip the nut on the battery end.

Start the car and verify that the belt is running correctly over the pulley. If you have a voltage gauge in the car, check it to verify that the alternator is working correctly.

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