How to Replace the Alternator in a Volvo

The purpose of your Volvo's alternator is to generate current to power the electrical system and recharge the battery. When the charging system malfunctions, a defective alternator is often the problem. While the removal of an old alternator and installation of a new alternator may prove moderately challenging, a do-it-yourself replacement job can save you substantial labour costs.

Purchase a new alternator at your Volvo dealer, local parts store or on the web. Depending on your model, Volvo alternators can run from £39 up to £299. Dealer prices may run even higher.

Make sure that the transmission is in the park position and that the emergency brake is set. Blocking a tire also adds a measure of safety.

Disconnect your Volvo's negative battery cable before beginning any work. Loosen the alternator adjusting bolts. On some model Volvos, you may have to remove the engine's drive belt, power steering pump and tensioner bracket before gaining access to the alternator.

Uninstall the drive belt from the alternator pulley and detach the alternator's electrical leads.

Remove the alternator's adjusting bolts and mounting bolts. Lift out the old alternator.

Position the new alternator into the existing bracket.

Replace the adjusting bolts and mounting bolts. Only tighten the mounting bolts. Allow the adjusting bolts to remain loose.

Reconnect the alternator's electrical leads. If you took out the power steering pump and tensioner bracket to gain access to the alternator, now reinstall them and tighten the mounting brackets.

Reinstall the drive belt around the alternator pulley. Adjust the tensioner on the belt. According to "Chilton's Volvo 240/740/760/780/940/960/ 1990-93 Repair Manual," the drive belt should depress about 5 to 10mm midway between the pulleys. Tighten the adjusting bolts.

Reattach the electrical connections to the alternator. Reconnect the negative battery cable. Start your Volvo's engine to verify the operation of the alternator.


You may need to remove the air pump before gaining access to the alternator on a few Volvo models.


Never attempt to run the engine if the battery or alternator leads are disconnected. Never try removing the old alternator with a metal pry bar.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket wrench set
  • Torque wrench
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About the Author

Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey's "Cape May County Herald" for more than a decade and currently covers the family and pet beat for CBS Philadelphia. Her health, fitness, beauty and travel articles have appeared in various online publications. DeFeo studied visual communications at SUNY Farmingdale.