Honda Accord/Civic/Prelude 1973-1983 Repair Guide



The alternator converts the mechanical energy which is supplied by the drive belt into electrical energy by electromagnetic induction. When the ignition switch is turned ON , current flows from the battery, through the charging system light or ammeter, to the voltage regulator and finally to the alternator. When the engine is started, the drive belt turns the rotating field (rotor) in the stationary windings (stator), inducing alternating current. This alternating current is converted into usable direct current by the diode rectifier. Most of this current is used to charge the battery and power the electrical components of the vehicle. A small part is returned to the field windings of the alternator enabling it to increase its output. When the current in the field windings reaches a predetermined control voltage, the voltage regulator grounds the circuit, preventing any further increase. The cycle is continued so that the voltage remains constant.

On early non-CVCC models, the alternator is located beneath the distributor toward the rear of the engine compartment. On all other models, the alternator is located near the No. 1 spark plug at the front of the engine compartment. On models equipped with air conditioning, the alternator is mounted on a special vibration absorbing bracket at the driver's side of the engine compartment.


  1. Observe the proper polarity of the battery connections by making sure that the positive (+) and negative (-) terminal connections are not reversed. Misconnection will allow current to flow in the reverse direction, resulting in damaged diodes and an overheated wire harness.
  3. Never ground or short out any alternator or alternator regulator terminals.
  5. Never operate the alternator with any of its or the battery's leads disconnected.
  7. Always remove the battery or disconnect its output lead while charging it.
  9. Always disconnect the ground cable when replacing any electrical components.
  11. Never subject the alternator to excessive heat or dampness.
  13. Never use arc welding equipment with the alternator connected.


See Figure 1

  1. Disconnect the negative (-) battery terminal.
  3. Disconnect the wire(s) and/or harness connector from the rear of the alternator.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Rear view of alternator connections. Always disconnect before starting this repair.

  1. Remove the alternator-to-bracket bolts, the V-belt and the alternator assembly from the engine.
  3. To install, reverse the removal procedure. Adjust the alternator belt tension according to the Belt Tension Adjustment'' section below. Torque the lower alternator-to-bracket bolt(s) to 33 ft. lbs. and the upper adjusting nut/bolt to 17 ft. lbs.


The initial inspection and adjustment to the alternator drive belt should be performed after the first 3,000 miles or if the alternator has been moved for any reason. Afterwards, you should inspect the belt tension every 12,000 miles (1973-78), 15,000 miles (1977-79) or 30,000 miles (1980-83). Before adjusting, inspect the belt to see that it is not cracked or worn. Be sure that its surfaces are free of grease and oil.

  1. Push down on the belt halfway between pulleys with a force of about 24 lbs. The belt should deflect 12-17mm.
  3. If the belt tension requires adjustment, loosen the adjusting link bolt and move the alternator with a pry bar positioned against the front of the alternator housing.

Do not apply pressure to any other part of the alternator.

  1. After obtaining the proper tension, tighten the adjusting link. Do not overtighten the belt; damage to the alternator bearings could result.