If you shop at Amazon.com (for anything), use this link to support MyFordFreestyle.com!

[walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

MPH
New Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 7:45 pm

[walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by MPH » Sun Aug 30, 2009 12:20 am

Well I had a problem with our FS where the battery would die every day or so, with no error light coming on and no warning on the charging system.
So I changed the battery. Low and behold, 3 days later the battery was dead again, so I did a little research and thanks to this site, found the way into engineering mode and saw that the voltage was deteriorating over a few days from 13.5v to 12.4v, of course I checked with a meter at the beginning which showed about 13.8v.

So I checked into a new alternator with a couple of places, like canadian tire, ideal supply, nothing, they dont carry a FS alternator, so I went to ford and they said they only have one choice, remanufactured...at a mere $412 <cough> including core charge, i think its $35.

Anyway, after I swapped it out and took the 'still in guarantee' new battery for a replacement ;) the sysem is fine with charge at 14.0-14.1v, after turning everything on, a drop to about 12.4v for a few seconds, then back to 14.1v. I'm happy its fixed..for now.

Anyway, here's a quick and nasty walkthrough on replacing an alternator on a freestyle.

It is a relatively simple job, although it requires a couple of choice tools and the ability to visualise something you cant see as most of the work is done blind.

Tools I used:

Trolley jack, axle stand.

8mm ratcheting spanner/wrench for battery clamp.

15mm 3/8 socket, deep for the three nuts holding the alternator to the engine.

Short and long 3/8 extension bars for the above.

10mm ratcheting spanner/wrench for the alternator positive terminal.

Flat bade screw driver for those pesky plastic push-in retainers.

Cross head screwdriver for the push-in screw-out type retainers.

A low profile 3/8 ratchet, pivot head (snap-on) for moving the belt tensioner.

An assistant to hold the plastic trim out of your way while you move the tensioner and remove/replace the belt.

A stubby flat blade screwdriver, or a socket type one, to help unplug the alternator electrical connector.

Lets get started:

First, remember that I did this on a 2006 SEL, if your model/year is different, the locations etc. may vary or even worst case, you may not be able to do it this way due to space restrictions or other reasons.

Disconnect the negative on the battery and shove it down behind the battery a bit so it doesn't come back and touch the terminal again.

Jack the car at the passenger front, securely support it then remove the wheel. You will see a stiff plastic shield all the way around inside the arch and just below that, a flexible rubber shield just to the right of the suspension strut.

Using the flatblade screw driver, pry the three plastic push type retainers holding the plastic to the rubber mudguards. Put them in a safe place.
If you can't, or are having trouble pulling these out, the rubber shield holes will stretch around the clip heads, but to replace the shields later, take the retainers out first. It will be easier after you have done the other retainers, see below.

Using the cross head screwdriver, carefully (try not to push as you turn) unscrew the three following screw type retainers, at the top of the rubber shield (one) and two to the right of that (one at the bottom of the shield and one a little way up), which should allow you to pull the rubber shield down out of the way and to pull the plastic shield outwards out of the way (this is where the assistant will come in later).

That is all of the bodywork access work you'll need to do. (yay)

Time to assess the job:

The alternator is located at the lower rear of the engine compartment, you should be able to see the black plastic shield around it, or the lower part of it I should say, sticking out just below the inner arch to the left of the suspension strut. Pretty much all the work done on this is carried out blind.

The alternator is 'bolted' to the engine by three bolts, two lower at each side and one upper in the middle.

About halfway down at the inner rear of the alternator (left hand side as you are viewing it through the arch) is a rubber shield which is held at the top and bottom by push type retainers. under that is the electrical socket/plug and just above that, a rubber 'bulb' covering the terminal for the large cable.

Routed around the rear and then crossing the outside of the alternator is a small wiring loom, which terminates with a plug to the left of the crankshaft pulley, it is held by (yes theres more) two push type retainers ( I hate those things), one towards the pulley in front of you and one at the rear of the alternator shield.

Back to the disassembly:

Unplug the connector on the loom mentioned above at the crankshaft pulley then wiggle/pull the nearets retainer out (to the left, it's pushed in sideways), then wiggle/pull out the one at the rear. Move the loom down and out of the way.

Ok now have a feel around the upper rear of the alternator shield, you'll find the rubber shield, wiggle/pull the lower push type retainer out and push the shield up and rotate it back out of the way.

Feel around the electrical connector, you'll feel a slot which is part of the plug lock, get the stubby screwdriver in the slot and pry the plastic out just enough that it will allow you to pull the plug out. Be careful not to pull too hard with the screwdriver or the slotted piece may break off.

Once the plug is out, feel a little higher and locate the rubber bulb covering the terminal, push the cover out of the way and using the 10mm spanner/wrench, undo the nut and disconnect the cable. Push the cable and plug up then back, out of the way.

Now all that left between you and the alternator being out is the three nuts and the serpentine belt:

First we'll need to do the belt. You will have noticed, looking from above theres next to no room between the belt and the inner panel of the car, also made worse by hoses and AC pipes.
All the room you'll need in there is to plug in a 3/8 ratchet to the upper part of the tensioner which is located above the crankshaft pulley and towards the front of the car. you can see the lower part of the tensioner if you pull that plastic shield away that you removed retainers from earlier.

For the next part I used my snap-on ratchet as it is low profile, you need a low profile or youll have trouble plugging it into the square hole on the upper part of the tensioner.
You will need to set it to 'tighten', then working from above, (this bit is a little awkward but possible) offer the ratchet down and push it into the hole (you may have to adjust the ratchet end angle to align with the hole otherwise this could be a long part of the job).

Once on there, allow the ratchet to rotate and fall to the back of the engine, it will rotate all the way around 180 degrees and finish up hanging down where the plastic shield is underneath.
Now grab an assistant and ask them to hold the plastic shield back out of your way (its not hard, my 7yr old was my assistant) then working under the wheelarch, feel your way up the ratchet and flick the switch to 'undo'.

Adjust the ratchet shaft to a 7 o'clock position then using the rear of the wheelarch for back support, push on the ratchet with your left hand, while simultaneously pulling the belt off of the crankshaft with your right. Slowly allow the tensioner to return, making sure your hand isn't going to be trapped, it will come back a lot further than the starting point.

unhook the belt from the alternator and carefully push it down and to the right, out of the way. (no need to completely remove it unless you are replacing it).

Once the belt is off of the alternator pulley, again feel around the alternator shield, you will feel two recessed channels to the rear and under the alternator, follow them and you will feel the two lower nuts holding the alternator to the engine.
Now feel around the top and you'll feel the other nut holding the alternator to the engine.

Using the 15mm deep socket and long extension, undo the nearest lower nut, then furthest lower nut.

Using the deep socket and a short extension, undo the upper nut.

You may find that the nuts don't undo, the while long stud comes out instead, no worries, it doesn't make much difference, my lowers came out with the studs and the upper nut came out on its own.

once all three are out, if there is a stud or studs left in, slide the alternator, complete with shield attached, down and off of the stud(s), then rotate it onto its side so that the pulley is facing up, then wiggle it out from under the arch, there is enough room, just be careful you don't damage the steering rod bellows.

Ok the alternator is out!

now remove yet another push type retainer holding the shield to the alternator and remove the shield.

As always install is a reverse of removal, however note the following:

The new alternator will come with a new terminal nut screwed in tight, remove before installing, it is recessed and you'll have trouble getting it out once the alternator is attached to the engine.

When re-attaching the alternator, make sure the belt is still out of the way before the alternator is slid 'home'

When putting the belt back on, position the ratchet at 9 0'clock and pull down, then push as before, make sure the belt is on all other pulleys AND centred on the tensioner before pushing it onto the crankshaft pulley. re-check all the pulleys again.

The only issue I had was getting it centred on the tensioner, it just required a couple of extra checks and adjustments.

Remember to remove the push type retainers from the plastic shield under the arch before reconnecting the plastic and rubber shields back together.

The screw type retainers should be separated and first the outer, then inner part needs to be just pushed back in.

I think thats it, its late and i'm tired so apologies for typos etc, i'll re-read this when i'm more awake tomorrow, of course comments/corrections are welcome.

I hope this helps someone, it looks long but believe me, the job took less than 2 hours and that was with tea/coffee breaks and running away from aggressive wasps.

Finally, after all is finished, don't forget to re-teach the computer after the battery has been disconnected, it's explained in the user manual.

M.
Last edited by MPH on Wed Sep 02, 2009 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JustBuryMeInMyFord
Regular Member
Posts: 128
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 9:19 pm
Location: Southern California

Re: How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by JustBuryMeInMyFord » Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:41 am

Greetings MPH,

I can't say that I would be inclined to tackle that job, but those instructions were superb. I can see that you are going to be a welcome and valuable member to the site.

Cheers,

JBMIMF
JustBuryMeInMyFord
06 Freestyle Limited (present) New CVT at 118,000 miles.
03 Focus SE, 2 of them. (present)
69 Thunderbird Landau (past)
87 F150 4X2 (past)
80 Mustang Fastback (past)
74 Pinto Pony (past)

User avatar
mmsstar
Regular Member
Posts: 1138
Joined: Thu Dec 25, 2008 10:44 am

Re: How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by mmsstar » Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:07 pm

I tackle manuals from time to time as we bring on new products or update older units. I agree it was well written. All he left out were the "magic words" you may use when you drop something or can't quite reach something or the socket or wrench slips off the nut :lol:
Drove an 06 LTD FWD from July 08 to August 10, moved on to a 2011 Flex

JustBuryMeInMyFord
Regular Member
Posts: 128
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 9:19 pm
Location: Southern California

Re: How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by JustBuryMeInMyFord » Sun Aug 30, 2009 3:14 pm

.....as well as the part of the manual which states "refer to this handy list of expletives and make sure that you know how to use them".
JustBuryMeInMyFord
06 Freestyle Limited (present) New CVT at 118,000 miles.
03 Focus SE, 2 of them. (present)
69 Thunderbird Landau (past)
87 F150 4X2 (past)
80 Mustang Fastback (past)
74 Pinto Pony (past)

MPH
New Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 7:45 pm

Re: How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by MPH » Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:17 pm

Hi and thanks for the replys :)

Ive read through it again and it needs a little more work which i'll do this week and perhaps get a pic with the wheel off.

There wasn't any expletives except for when I went to get up and shoved my knee into a wheel stud (doh), and when the wasps came calling, thats when I do the 'dance of the bumble bee' :lol:

I still can't get over the fact theres a handy space just big enough to get the alternator in and out, these days its usually a case of dismantling a ton of stuff then rotating the engine to even see the damn thing.

Wheelman
Regular Member
Posts: 1632
Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 9:31 am
Location: Yorkton, Saskatchewan Canada

Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by Wheelman » Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:56 pm

The correct Title for that musical selection is "The Flight of The Bumble Bee", not "The Dance of The Bumble Bee." :lol: :roll: :P

MPH
New Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 7:45 pm

Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by MPH » Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:40 pm

Wheelman wrote:The correct Title for that musical selection is "The Flight of The Bumble Bee", not "The Dance of The Bumble Bee." :lol: :roll: :P
Yes, I am aware of that, but as I cant fly.....


...and if you witnessed it first hand...you would agree :)

Wheelman
Regular Member
Posts: 1632
Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 9:31 am
Location: Yorkton, Saskatchewan Canada

Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by Wheelman » Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:50 pm

Cheers!

wjkulju
New Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:56 pm

Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by wjkulju » Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:17 pm

Changed my alternator this weekend. This post helped. I did a couple of things different however.

First, I bought a remanufactured alternator direct from Canadian Auto Electric in Toronto for $190 not including the core charge. Why pay a middle man a huge premium when you can go direct to a source?

Second, if you look at the tensioner from the top of the vehicle, you'll see recessed slots that allow it to be gripped by a large adjustable wrench. Doing so and then wedging a short length of wood between the wrench and the radiator support allows you to release the belt tension with ease.

Dana Hanchett
New Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 3:12 pm

Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyl

Post by Dana Hanchett » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:48 am

Thanks MPH for the write up. This along with Ford's Workshop manual I managed to get the alternator replaced. One thing I had to do differently was to leave the alternator cover or shield in the engine compartment and remove just the alternator. We tried to remove the cover seperately and with the alternator attached and could not get it out. Just not enough room. Hope this helps someone and saves them a lot of fustration.

tradosaurus
Regular Member
Posts: 165
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2007 7:55 pm
Contact:

Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyl

Post by tradosaurus » Sat May 29, 2010 4:26 pm

I just finished changing out the alternator on my 2005 Freestyle.

I would add that with a work light you can see a little without working blindly if you work under the front passenger wheel well with the tire off and on jackstands. I was able to see the nut to take off one of the wires and see the other wire that plugs in to the alternator.

Additionally you can push back the tensioner pulley with a 1" long open end wrench. The top of the tensioner pulley bracket has a place where the open end 1" wrench will fit just right and someone from the top of the engine compartment can easily push back the tensioner pulley.

I bought my alternator for $135 at O'Reillys. It comes with a lifetime warranty.

Other than that the hardest part for me was figuring out how to put the drive belt back on. :lol:
Last edited by tradosaurus on Sat May 29, 2010 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1 Tim 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence, with all subjection

tradosaurus
Regular Member
Posts: 165
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2007 7:55 pm
Contact:

Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyl

Post by tradosaurus » Sat May 29, 2010 4:28 pm

Dana Hanchett wrote:Thanks MPH for the write up. This along with Ford's Workshop manual I managed to get the alternator replaced. One thing I had to do differently was to leave the alternator cover or shield in the engine compartment and remove just the alternator. We tried to remove the cover seperately and with the alternator attached and could not get it out. Just not enough room. Hope this helps someone and saves them a lot of fustration.
I was able to get the alternator out with the cover but I agree that leaving the cover and removing the alternator would be easier and not risk tearing up the rubber boot by the wheel.
1 Tim 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence, with all subjection

ChBenson
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:37 pm

Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyl

Post by ChBenson » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:40 pm

When you say "re-teach the computer after the battery has been disconnected, it's explained in the user manual." What user manual are you refering to? Vehicle? Repair Manual? Alternator Manual?

Thank you. I am going to replace my alternator. At this point my only concern is "re-teaching the computer" I have no idea how to do this.

knowitall
Regular Member
Posts: 1122
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:12 pm
Location: Texas

Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyl

Post by knowitall » Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:50 pm

Thanks tradosaurus. You are a true genius!

User avatar
mmsstar
Regular Member
Posts: 1138
Joined: Thu Dec 25, 2008 10:44 am

Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyl

Post by mmsstar » Sat Oct 08, 2011 10:11 am

When you disconnect the battery it lobotomizes the computer, deleting the stored settings. When you reconnect and start the car it re-learns everything.
Drove an 06 LTD FWD from July 08 to August 10, moved on to a 2011 Flex

Post Reply