GM Alternator Build Instructions

 Any decent alternator rebuilder ought to be able to put one together for you for a lot less than having me ship one to you.

Use a core alternator from a '94-'97 Saturn 1.9 liter engine, with three simple changes...

1. Have them rotate the front housing so that the rear mount arm lines up with what used to be the front adjuster foot. (The two halves of the shell are joined by three long bolts, it only goes together three possible ways, one of which will have none of the feet line up. Its takes less time to do than to describe)

2. Then, install a 5/16-18 NC thread insert (aka heli-coil)  into the other front arm, which is now your adjuster mounting point. 

3. Have them swap out the poly-V Saturn pulley for a V-belt pulley that matches your engine's V-belt size.

That's it. Well...

4.  Bonus round: Ask them if they have the small, flush, slotted plastic cover for the back, rather than the larger shrouded one. It makes no difference, performance-wise, but they look better. 

You will want to purchase a GM alternator terminal pigtail to match. Any auto parts store will have them, or your alternator builder can most likely supply one. The pigtail has 4 contacts in a rectangular-shaped socket, with a bean-shaped housing, one large wire, three smaller wires (well, possibly three wires, not all cars use the same wiring, but the housings are the same.)  You will only use the big wire on the end, and the middle of the three small wires, marked "L" in teeny letters on the housing.  You can cut any spare small wires off flush with the rubber seal, they are not needed.  (If you go the wrecking yard route for a core, grab the little rubber boot for the charging lug wires, too. Its not critical to have, but if its there, grab it.  I have not found a place to buy them new)

To install:

Disconnect your battery, as usual. :-)

Snip off the original Lucas alternator terminal from your harness, leaving as much wire as you can. Depending upon which year your car is, you might have several brown wires. Crimp and solder a new, heavy 1/4" ring terminal to the heavy, brown wire or wires, and insulate the joint with shrink tube, or use one of the sexy pre-sealed lugs like so. This connection is important. All of your output voltage goes through this terminal, so use a good, heavy terminal not the flimsy generic ones. 

Now, on your new terminal pigtail, add another 1/4" ring terminal to the single large wire. This will also go the main output lug to power the alternator. The lug is a 6mm post with a flanged nut, and takes a 10mm wrench/socket.

The remaining small brown/yellow wire from your harness will go to the “L” terminal of the pigtail. This is the sensing wire, which leads back to your your ignition, via the idiot lamp on your dash.  You can use a butt connector, solder and shrink-tube, or even British bullet-and-sleeve for that authentic look.

So, you will have two big ring terminals, one from your harness, one from the pigtail, to the charging lug on the back of the alternator. The small wire from pigtail "L" terminal joins to your small brown/yellow harness wire. 

The new alternator should be a drop-in replacement. The mount feet are the same dimensions as the Lucas ones, and the stock adjuster bracket bolts to the single foot with the threads. This should be a coarse-threaded 5/16” bolt with a single lock washer and a heavy flat washer, though its possible that people have used different fasteners over the years.  If you have a mish-mash of fasteners, now is the time to make them right. 

Last thing... You might need to grind a bit of relief on the side of your stock adjuster bracket.  Several different bracket stampings were used over the years. Some of them are wider than others and might interfere with the pulley fan, most don't. If the new alternator fan hits your bracket, ding-ding-ding, just relieve the edge of your bracket with a grinder so that it clears the fan. It won't need very much. A shot of rattle-can paint to touch up your newly-slendered bracket, and you will be good to go. 

Bradley Restoration

Andrew Bradley, Proprietor

14093 Riverbend Rd.

Mount Vernon, WA 98273

(360) 848-6279