Perrya shares his experience working on his own Mercury Capri.
No Car Lasts Forever
Sooner or later, the owner of a 1991–94 Mercury Capri will experience one of several signs that the alternator is going bad. Do not rely on the mileage on the car, some are bad at 60, 80, or 150,000 miles. If you see the voltage gauge shift between the 12–14V as you drive, or remain at the 12V for a time and then rise to 14V, or, if you hear odd metallic sounds or rattles, or if overnight, your battery is dead when everything is off, it is likely the alternator is going bad and sooner than later more catastrophic events prevail. The regulator inside may be failing, one of the diodes may be failing, the brushes inside are not functioning correctly due to age and wear, bearings are shot, or the pulley attached becomes unattached and the belt has problems turning.
On a 1991-94 Mercury Capri, good quality alternators, either Bosch or Mitsubishi, cost anywhere from $130-200. They are all rebuilt. Spending less than that is like, "you get what you pay for", meaning, it could fail (despite a year warranty) within days of installation. (Mine did; I bought it on eBay for $65).
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Capri service manuals will tell you to remove the alternator from the top and to remove the Intake Air Control (IAC) and hoses attached. Alldata tells you to disconnect the cat converter, exhaust, and oil filter. From the top, it takes about 1 hr, depending on how things go. The Alldata method takes 2 hrs and depending on the rust issues, could take much longer.
To remove the alternator, do the following:
- Disconnect the battery (the negative connection).
- Locate the IAC (see photo). This is a self-contained unit attached to the engine block by two bolts. It has two narrow hoses (with coolant) and two wide hoses attached. There is an electronic connector on top.
- Remove the two bolts. Disconnect and push aside the hoses. Do not disconnect the electronic connector. Disconnecting the narrow hoses may have coolant drip out.
- Pull out and set aside or completely remove the IAC. Directly below is the alternator with plenty of room.
- Remove the three alternator bolts, with the bottom bolt being last. You may have to remove the alternator bracket, if you do, do this before unbolting the bottom bolt, which is hard to see from the top.
- With bolts removed, the alternator will easily lift out. To install the new one, reverse the steps. Make sure you connect the cables to the new alt first.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.