Have you added more accessories that draw power from your car’s electrical system, such as a new sound system? It may be difficult for your alternator to keep up with the increased electrical load.
The first sign of an alternator struggling to keep up with the increased demand is a loss of electrical power. For example, your headlights might dim when you turn on the stereo, and vice versa.
The best solution in this situation is to upgrade your alternator.
Why OEM Alternators are Better Than Aftermarket Alternators
Some performance-oriented car owners install aftermarket high output alternators in their cars. It may seem like a modification that will solve the problem of unmet electrical demand, but it’s actually overkill. These alternators cost a lot of money, and they may not fit quite the same way in your engine bay. Plus, aftermarket alternators aren’t as reliable as most would like due to a few issues like low quality materials, poor fitment, and more.
What you need is an alternator that puts out a little more amperage. For example, if your stock 160 amp alternator isn’t cutting it, upgrading to a 180 amp alternator usually does the trick.
Some vehicles have a few different OEM alternators available, each with a different amount of output. Look up your year, make, and model in our catalog to see all the OEM alternators available for your car.
Replacing Your Alternator in 7 Steps
Once you have found a higher output alternator, take the following steps to replace the old alternator:
- Disconnect the battery.
- Remove the airbox. There are two 10mm screws on both sides of the air box. When you loosen these screws, the airbox can be pulled out of the throttle body. Don’t forget to disconnect the hose in the back. This is a good opportunity to inspect your throttle body for any debris or damage.
- Loosen the serpentine belt. You can use this opportunity to inspect it and see if it’s still in good shape.
- Disconnect the electrical connectors on the back and then remove the bolts holding the alternator in place.
- Wiggle the alternator free.
- Put your old alternator next to your new alternator and then compare both parts to make sure the connectors are the same. See if the terminals are the same and the pulleys have the same amount of notches. You want to make sure that the new alternator will fit into your vehicle just like the old one did.
- Put your new alternator into the engine bay and then install it in the reverse order.
NOTE: This set of instructions is based on the 2002 RAM 1500 model. However, these instructions are still easy to follow with another FCA model. If you have any questions or concerns about the process, please contact us for assistance.