How To -- 1st Gen Alternator Replacement - Nissan Murano Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 12-09-2013, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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How To -- 1st Gen Alternator Replacement

This write-up applies to all 2003-2007 1st gen MO's. Changing out the alterntor is a serious PITA so following this write-up will hopefully make your life a bit easier.

On 12/07/13 I decided to replace my alternator on my 2004 Murano SL AWD. I was reading less than 13 volts on the battery while the engine was running and was also getting excessive ripple voltage. I also had quite a few electrical issues like the SET light for my cruise control would flash, noise on the radio stations, etc. I figured I would change out the alternator first before I went to troubleshoot anything else. I went to AutoZone and had them test my charging system. The frist time I was getting a low voltage and excessive ripple reading. Shortly after that on a 2nd test a week or so later, I was getting a bad battery reading. It was definitely time to change the alternator!

As a reminder, the voltage across your battery, to get a good charge, should be ~14.5Vdc and the ripple relatively low. I'll post pictures of the before/after test on the new/old alternator to illustrate this. I used AutoZone's setup to test the alternators.

First of all, as stated before, let me say that this project is a serious PITA if you follow the instructions in the service manual, and the TSB. I'll elaborate further later in the post where applicable. Bottom line, to make your life easier, plan on removing the radiator. If you don't, you'll have to remove the heat shields on both the radiator side exhaust manifold and pre-cat. My MO has 140K on it and the majority of the heat shield bolts came out damaged or broke. Save yourself some hassle and just remove the radiator, trust me on this one!

There is a fantastic write-up for removing the alternator here:

2003-2007 Nissan Murano Alternator Replacement Procedure | Nissanhelp.com

I copied the pictures over to this thread just in case they get lost on the other site. I also provided a couple deviations to the instructions, so read on my friends!

First of all, tools: You'll need a set of metric open/box wrenches, various 3/8" ratchet extensions, both 1/4" & 3/8" sockets, a 3/8" socket elbow adapter, flat headed screw driver, 3/8" ratchet torque wrench, very long needle nose plyers, zip ties, plastic bags or saran wrap, wire cutters, etc.

And most of all, a S**T load of patience. The alternator is in a real tight space, and removing the bolts will be a pain. You have been warned!

Second of all, a new alternator: ~$125 shipped TYC lifetime warranty alternator from RockAuto. RockAuto TYC 213826 Alternator 100 Amps


So, first step is simple, get the right front passenger wheel off the ground and remove the wheel.

Then remove the passenger Engine Side Cover (1.jpg) and Lower Engine Cover (2.jpg). Next loosen the Idler Pulley Lock Nut on the Idler Pulley (3.jpg). In order to get the alternator/ac/crank pulley belt off, you'll need to use a standard length socket with a 3/8" elbow and a long 3/8" extension. The adjustment nut is in a tight place so you will need the extra mobility of the elbow. Once on the adjustment nut, turn it clockwise to pull up the idler pulley to loosen the belt. I thought it was counter-clockwise so don't make my same mistake!

Once the belt is off, completely remove the Idler Pulley as it's in the way of the alternator Through-Bolt Nut.

Next you'll remove the A/C Compressor Harness (4.jpg).

PITA Experience #1:
Getting off that D**N alternator Through-Bolt Nut was tough! It's torque spec is 62 ft-lbs and it will not come off easy! Because the frame rail is so close to the area, there isn't enough space to get a deep well socket, impact wrench, etc on it. I had to resort to the following combination:

1) Standard depth socket
2) 3/8" elbow adapter
3) Long 3/8" extension
4) 3/8" ratchet wrench
5) Breaker bar

Make 100% sure the socket is fully engaged on the Through-Bolt Nut. You'll have enough space on the back of the socket to engage the elbow, but it will want to pull the socket back. If you try to break the Through-Bolt Nut with partial engagement of the socket, you'll run the risk of rounding it out. If there is a better tool out there, like a shorty deep well socket, then I suggest that. Otherwise, if you have the same tools I do, be careful and take your time, the Through-Bolt Nut WILL come off. It took some constant/increasing strength on my end but it eventually broke loose. Took me almost an hour alone trying different tool combinations to get it out. Hopefully my experience will get you through this step faster.

Now get out your screw driver and hammer on the alternator Through-Bolt a bit to break it loose so it will slide out towards the exhaust manifold. You'll need very long needle nose plyers to get out the bolt. Curse at the Through-Bolt and its Nut and and move on.

Next it's time to open some space up so you can get the alternator out. You'll remove the attery itself (self explanatory if you're tackling this job) and Battery Tray (7.jpg). You will have to remove the fuse box attached to the battery tray. There's a couple plastic tabs you can push in and the fuse box will come out. Quite easy!

Then it's time to prepare to remove the Cooling Fan Assembly. Drain the radiator coolant, remove the radiator side of the Upper Radiator Hose (8.jpg), there's no need to remove the other side from the engine. After the coolant is done draining, simply close the radiator drain valve. Then disconnect the 2 Cooling Fan Assembly Wire Harness Connectors (9.jpg) and all ties holding it down. My ties were all so dried out they simply broke off so during reinstallation I used standard zip ties. Easy!

Next remove the 2 screws that are holding the Cooling Fan Assembly to the radiator itself (10.jpg). Then remove the CVT fluid cooling hose form the bottom of the Cooling Fan Assembly.

Continued in the next post. Only allowed to attach 10 pictures per post! Plus there is a picture size limit of 100K, WTF?
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After 142K miles, my MO is history. Now sporting a loaded silver 2012 Ford Edge Limited with 20" wheels.
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post #2 of 18 Old 12-09-2013, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Continued from previous post...

Double check there is nothing holding down the Cooling Fan Assembly itself and simply remove it from the engine compartment (11.jpg).

TSB & Service Manual Deviation #1
The web site link in post #1, the TSB, and the Service Manual call for the removal of the exhaust manifold and catalytic converter heat shields (13.jpg & 14.jpg). I seriously do not suggest this! After 140K miles, like on my MO, only 50% of the bolts will survive removal if you're lucky. If you live in a humid area or somewhere that gets a lot of salt on the roads during winter, I'd be surprised if you get 30% of the bolts out alive. Skip this next step and go on. After I had a lot of bolts snap of me, I repaired the threads of the ones I pulled out, threw some WD-40 on them and put them right back in. I'll explain later.

Next remove the Alternator Harness Connector and the B Terminal nut (14.jpg).

TSB & Service Manual Deviation #2
The next step asks for cardboard to be put on the radiator to protect it (15.jpg). The space is tight, so if you followed the original instructions for removing the heat shields, and had success with it, then protecting the radiator is important. The heat shields are removed so you have space to get out the alternator. In my situation, I didn't remove the heat shields so I opted to remove the radiator. It's actually quite nice to get that few extra inches of space because the alternator will literally come right out without issue. It will take you a few more minutes to remove the radiator, but it will be worth it!

To get out the radiator, simply remove the 2 lower CVT cooling hoses from the radiator, plug up the hose and radiator ports with saran wrap and zip ties, remove the lower cooling hose on the radiator side only, unlock/remove the upper radiator retainers, and out comes the radiator. You'll be very happy you did this!

Now it's time to get out the alternator itself! Remove the Alternator Upper Mounting Bolt (16.jpg).

Getting out the alternator will be the same whether or not you take out the radiator. You'll have to maneuver it out of the area it's in. Move the lower radiator hose and power steering cooling line out of the way the best you can. Turn the radiator clockwise about 70 degrees and pull it out ass end first. Then rotate it towards you so the alternator pulley is facing you and lift it straight out (17.jpg). If you left the radiator in, you'll have a very tight space to work in. You'll have to get the radiator more towards the drivers side by the front motor mount. Then it will come straight up. You might have to remove a harness connector off the front of the motor and the motor cover itself to get it out. With the radiator out, it will be a piece of cake!

So now that you have the alternator out, take a break because getting it back in will be just as much of a pain.

Alternator Reinstallation Notes:
Most documents will like to say "installation is reverse order of removal". Ha! Screw you guy at a desk that has never seen the real application much less know what a spark plug is!!! Ideally that phrase works but getting those 2 retaining bolts and nut back on will be tough, especially if you're solo at the job like I was. Time to put those long needle nose plyers and some old farmers techniques to work!

Of course, get the alternator back in its space the same way you got it out. You'll have more space to work if you took out the radiator of course!

PITA Experience #2:
If you have a lot of spare bolts laying around, or have a short/stubby screw driver, put something in the alternator Through-Bolt hole (5.jpg) to keep the alternator in place. That will hold the alternator in place on one end while you place the Upper Mounting Bolt on the other end (16.jpg). The area is akward so this will help a lot! Once you get the Upper Mounting bolt in, don't fully tighten it down yet, wait until after you install the Through-Bolt and its Nut. To tackle that D**N Through-Bolt on the other end, pull out your long needle nose plyers and maneuver it in the hole the best you can. You'll have to reach up and grab onto the alternator pulley and move around the alternator to the Through-Bolt in place. Now tighten both the Through-Bolt Nut and Upper Mounting Bolt the best you can. The Upper Mounting Bolt will be easy to tighten, but again, the Through-Bolt Nut will be a PITA. Use the same set-up you used to get it out, but with a good torque wrench and you'll be fine. Reference attached torque specs (18.jpg). Also, just be patient!

If the alternator is back in, and secured, then reinstall the rest of the parts:
1) Put the radiator back in.
2) Attach the lower radiator hose and CVT cooler hoses.
3) Secure the radiator upper mounting clips.
4) Reinstall the fan assembly.
5) etc, etc, etc.

By the time everything is said and done, the belt is back on, the radiator is back in, the fan is tightened down, the battery is reinstalled and connected, the radiator is full of coolant, etc. Take a volt meter and hook it to the battery terminals. You should read over 12.5Vdc. Fire up your MO and take a look at the reading, you should be reading ~14.5Vdc. Enjoy your new alternator!

To seal the deal, also take your old alternator to AutoZone and have them do a test on it. Suprisingly enough, my alternator passed all tests except for ripple. Don't know why ripple would cause a low voltage on my battery, but who cares, the new alternator is in and my MO seems to be working again.

Moderators: I suggest making this thread a stickey. Do you agree?
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After 142K miles, my MO is history. Now sporting a loaded silver 2012 Ford Edge Limited with 20" wheels.
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post #3 of 18 Old 12-09-2013, 03:12 PM
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WOW. Excellent write up. Needless to say, this needs to be a Sticky.

Another one for WarHammer.

This is a repair that I hope I never have to do simply because of everything it entails, but having this write up I know I can do it.

2005 Murano S_Black_2WD

Repairs to Date (all done myself): Lower Control Arms, Front Right Axle Half Shaft, High Pressure Power Steering Hose, Oil Pan, Front & Side Motor Mounts, Coolant Drain/Refill, Drive Belts, Front Struts, Oil Cooler Gasket, Camshaft Position Sensors, Rear Shocks

Repairs Coming Soon: Spark Plugs, Valve Cover (if leaking oil).
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post #4 of 18 Old 12-09-2013, 05:18 PM
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Good work man! But I sure hope I don't have to deal with this for a long while. When I had my alternator recall done, I vaguely remember asking the guy if they need to remove the radiator and he said no. I could be wrong though....there was a discussion on this long ago when the recall came up.

So, the 3rd test on the original alternator out of the car tested good? Except for the ripple? Weird...
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post #5 of 18 Old 12-09-2013, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys.

It was odd to see the instructions not pull the radiator. It's not that many extra steps, but gives you quite a bit more space to work with. Given the number of miles on mine, and how easily those 10mm heat shield bolts were snapping, I had no choice.

I got my alternator recalled just after I got my MO. I think it had around 30K miles at the time, bought it used from CarMax. So I got over 100K miles from the alternator, which is okay. I just hope my woes and documented experience will turn into a time saver for someone else down the line.

And the ripple being the only failure? Also wierd to me. A coworker of mine said that charging DC batteries with an AC signal with a DC bias is not good. The battery probably wouldn't allow more than ~13Vdc on it because the excessive ripple damaged a cell. I have a warranty on the battery through Nissan so I'll get a new battery regardless.

After 142K miles, my MO is history. Now sporting a loaded silver 2012 Ford Edge Limited with 20" wheels.
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post #6 of 18 Old 12-10-2013, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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Attached to this post is the old/new alternator tests. Interesting that the only thing failing was the ripple voltage on the old one. I wonder why, from an electrical standpoint, why the alternator wasn't charging up the battery correctly with a bit more ripple. The upper spec limit was 1.25V so the difference is only 0.65V. Curious...

Any ideas?
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After 142K miles, my MO is history. Now sporting a loaded silver 2012 Ford Edge Limited with 20" wheels.
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post #7 of 18 Old 12-11-2013, 05:13 PM
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I looked up the ripple thing and it seems that there is a small range thats allowable -AC - before it totally messes up the DC total output - charging power to the battery. Usually caused by one or more diode failure - When I had an alternator issue with my old car before, it was the regulator that was not up to par. Anyways, no matter which component fails its a complete replacement repair nowadays. I usually change the alternator when the car stops driving or when some major electrical flactuations occurs. But in your case, its a good headsup to avoid being stranded. Since you were already experiencing funky electrical symptoms.
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post #8 of 18 Old 12-12-2013, 12:32 AM
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Nice writeup Warhammer! I'm afraid I may have to undergo this procedure at some point in the not too distant future. I had my alternator replaced a month after I purchased my MO and shortly thereafter it started exhibiting electrical symptoms again (brake + charging indicators flickering together). It's been over a year so far without failure so I'm bracing myself for the inevitable. But it's nice to know I have your writeup to refer to when the time comes. Thanks

'04 SL Black w/ '07 Engine (RIP)
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post #9 of 18 Old 12-12-2013, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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No problem KM. I'd suggest the fix sooner rather than later. A quick trip down to AutoZone or another auto shop and they can hook up their charging system tool to your battery and you'll have a good answer in seconds. They can tell you exactly what you're failing, test the battery, etc.

FYI, I never got the brake + charging lights on my gauge cluster. I guess I was still good according to the ECM. It was of course the electrical issues that made me focus on the alternator. And it only happened a couple times, but I did experience having issues locking onto FM radio stations. I guess there was also a poor grounding issue or the ripple was causing the circuitry to go haywire! Got to love it!

After 142K miles, my MO is history. Now sporting a loaded silver 2012 Ford Edge Limited with 20" wheels.
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Thanks for the write-up! +1 to make this a sticky.

Just tackled this yesterday and was lucky enough to have use of a lift and heated garage. This was a SERIOUS PITA to do, and took about 4 hrs from start to finish. Opted to remove the heat shield and only lost 1 of the bolts after 7 years of rust.

Boy do I miss my subaru where it took about 15 min to replace the alt!
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post #11 of 18 Old 12-16-2013, 11:32 AM
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Masterful write-up!

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post #12 of 18 Old 07-18-2015, 10:40 PM
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Tackling this tomorrow and not that experienced on nissans to say the very nervous after reding this post wish me luck does anybody know how much a real mech would do it for just interested
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post #13 of 18 Old 01-18-2016, 10:14 PM
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I just finished this job on a 2004 Murano after battery and brake lights came on intermittently. Based on my VIN, it was NOT part of the alternator recall. A few comments about the job:
1. I too was unable to get the tensioner pulley nut off. Rounded it off after excessive attempts with open-end 14mm. Ended up cutting it parallel with the bolt with a Dremel tool and several cut-off wheels. There was no corrosion on the inside of the nut after we cut it off so I think there was excessive torque used. And before anyone asks, my last resort was a propane torch before I decided to cut the damn thing off. Went to Nissan dealer to get a new tensioner pulley, bolt, nut, etc. You have to purchase the entire pulley mechanism, part number 11925-31U0C. $79 (time was of essence). Online, this part is around $45. The pulley bearings were shot anyway, so worth the replacement.
2. The nut on the alternator through bolt wasn't as much of a pain as it was made out to be - I just used a 1/2" drive set instead of 3/8" and the 14mm socket was deep enough to get the nut off of the through-bolt.
3. I used a 3/8' drive 14mm socket, a 3/8' swivel and a 3/8' flex-head ratchet to remove the upper bolt. This flex-head ratchet has been one of my best investments.
4. Getting the new pulley nut on was a bit of a pain. The bolt flops around because it rests in an elongated slot so I have an old drum brake adjustment tool that I used to reach behind the pulley bracket and hold the head of the bolt steady while I got all the washer, bushing,spacer, pulley, bushing, and nut on. This isn't a long bolt and you can't get your fingers in behind the pulley bracket to hold the bolt, hence the brake adjustment tool.
5. I needed a 2nd person to get the new alternator bolts in. I got underneath the Murano and held the alternator up while my neighbor got the upper bolt in, with the aid of a socket and short extension. We then pivoted the alternator to the rear and I stuck a stubby phillips into the through bolt hole from inside the wheel well. I was then able to reach in between the exhaust manifold and the engine and put the through bolt in. Make sure this bolt goes all the way in, making sure the little tab/key, whatever you call it (prevents bolt from spinning when you torque the nut) is fully engaged! I put the nut on but the bolt kept spinning so I had to reach in there again and turn the bolt until the tab found it's spot and prevented the bolt from spinning. Also, I did NOT remove any manifold heat shields as Warhammer recommended. All of those bolts were well-rusted and they didn't seem to be in my way anyway...
6. Everything else seemed to go according to plan. I happened to have a spare gallon of anti freeze so I replaced the coolant.
1.5 days on this job, which included re-tensioning the new alternator belt after break-in period, and while everything was removed (like the battery pan), I hit the entire engine bay with Gunk engine cleaner.
7. Thanks to Warhammer for the thread. Helped a lot!
8. Last bit of advice - use anti-seize liberally on bolts when reassembling. Just good practice I learned from my Navy days.
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post #14 of 18 Old 04-07-2016, 12:09 PM
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To the engineers that designed this piece of crap how stupid can you be. A whole day to change an alternator is friggin crazy. Good article on how to do this my friend but the guys at Nissan need to be shot.
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post #15 of 18 Old 05-31-2016, 05:12 AM
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This alternator failure took me pretty much by surprise. The only warning I got was that the car was slow to crank one day and the next day the battery was dead. My battery is not very old. I got no warning lights at all to indicate that my voltage was low. Hope that helps someone else, if yours is slow to crank you may want to put a meter on the battery while the engine is running so you know what you're dealing with sooner rather than later.

This write up was very helpful. I consider myself better equipped than the average person and this job still took me 3.5 hours from start to finish.

I see no way to do this job without removing the radiator. I also removed the battery and tray as suggested. The extra space is very helpful.

My 2006 has 175k miles on it so when I perform repairs I'm always looking for other issues or potential failures that aren't obvious yet. I found a small ground strap under the battery tray that had broken loose. You cannot see it without removing the metal battery tray. I replaced it with a piece of wire I had on hand. It goes from the driver's side frame rail to the transmission case.
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