I got my alternator used from Goldwing Saab in New York, had them ship it to the dealership a few towns over and had my car towed there under my insurance. Alternator was $185 used. Advance Auto has them for $375 Remaned (dealer quote plus 3 day wait for part) and Saabs are $385 but had a week wait due to not being in stock at my dealer. Labor at my dealer was only $385 for installation. I wouldve done it myself but since you have to remove so much crap and I was working 13 days in a row, I had them do it.
Hey - I just pulled my alternator last week and it was not hard at all and I saved about $400+. If you are an average home mechanic you can do it noting the following:
Disconnect battery NEG, pull the plastic engine cover and air filter & air box (10 min).
Unbolt the ECU, but don't remove it. fold it back and use a bungee cord to hold it back against its harness, out of the way. (5 min)
Don't drain the radiator like some would say. Suction out and save the fluid in the overflow, then disconnect the hose over the alternator where it goes into the head. Less than a quart of coolant will spill out. Bend the hose to where the airbox was and use a bungee to hold out of the way. (15 min)
Disconnect the vacuum line that crosses over the top of the alternator, also a wire that is in the way and also disconnect the alternator wires. (10 min)
Unbolt the 4 alternator bolts. Alternator will tip in against the belt tensioner and you can rotate it out moving the hoses as needed. (20 min)
NOW - before you spend $250 on an alternator, check the free wheeling or "decoupler" pulley. If you can spin it all the way, both ways, it is bad and your alternator is not turning. It is made to turn only one way, and against a spring for 1/2 turn the opposite way. The Zen pulley (F-00M-991-139) can be easily installed with a Bosch wrench (8088) for $75 ($50 for pulley and $25 for wrench). Bench test the alternator/pulley assembly if you can before re-install.
Re-install is the reverse EXCEPT you will need to unload the belt tensioner. To do this you need to have a serpentine belt tool ($15) and remove the engine mount above the tensioner. This is quite quick and easy.* Jack up the engine under the pan just one inch with wood on the jack pad. Remove the engine mount assembly and use the tool (bend it a little as necessary). Note that the tool is not turning a bolt or anything, it is just to lever the whole pulley tensioner assembly so you can place the belt around the alternator pully.(30 min).
* When I knew I had to remove the engine mount I thought damn (darn), this is going to be hard, but it was very easy to do as above.
Altogether it took me about 4 hours, but I could do it in 2.5 now. Also, I bet tons of people are replacing the alternator when it is only the pulley. I read that the pulley life is much less than the alternator life and it is a good idea to replace it when you replace the belt at 75k miles. Also, a good clue that it is the pulley will be a light dusting of copper in the area of the alternator, engine block. This is the internals of the pulley giving out.
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You will find it...
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Here is a clip I took to help yall better understand...
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