Engines don’t only run on gasoline (or other fuel), but with modern engines, the electrical system also contributes a big part. In petroleum-fed engines, a charge is required for the spark plugs to ignite the fuel-air mixture. In diesel engines, a charge is required to start the engine rolling from a cold start.
An alternator is basically a generator that delivers power to the car and charges the battery while the car is running at sufficient RPMs. During idling, the battery takes over, but in excess of a certain RPM, the alternator drives power back into the battery. However, after some time, your alternator might lose its effectiveness, and you will experience weak electricity, which might be evident in rough idling, weak headlamp lights, and difficulty in starting. These can be symptoms of either a weak battery or a weak alternator. Either way, it’s best to check for both, and replace both battery and alternator if the need arises.
- Prepare your tools. Replacing the alternator on a Chevy Camaro is a fairly straightforward task, which can be done with the use of a few tools. You will need a socket wrench and torque wrench. You will also need a new alternator set. If you suspect a worn alternator belt, you can also replace this at this point.
- Prepare the vehicle for maintenance. If you’ve just used the Camaro, leave it parked for a couple of hours, to let the engine cool. Otherwise, you might get injured from the heat. Once the engine has sufficiently cooled, open the hood, and prop it up with the hood stand. Disconnect both battery terminals—positive and negative—to ensure you don’t get electrocuted while you replace the alternator.
- Remove the alternator. Look for the boot that covers the positive terminal and wire. Slide the boot down and remove the positive wiring stud by loosening the nut using a socket wrench. You can remove the cable when the nut is loosened.
Take out the mounting bolt from the alternator’s rear bracket. This will involve using a socket wrench. Then, disconnect the transmission oil cooler line, so you can gain access to the alternator. As the alternator will be loose by this time, you can remove the drive belt. Inspect the belt for damage, in case it needs replacing.
Then, remove the mounting bolt at the front of the alternator. You can now remove the alternator from your Camaro’s engine bay.
- Replace the alternator. Install the new alternator by attaching it to the engine through the mounting bolt at the front of the alternator. Tighten the bolt using a torque wrench. Use 37 ft-lbs of torque. Then, attach the drive belt and then attach the mounting bracket to the rear. Tighten the bolt to 18 ft-lbs. Attach the positive terminal stud and tighten the bolt to 18 ft-lbs using the torque wrench.
Once you have finished replacing the alternator, you can replace the battery terminals, attaching the positive first, then the negative. Do a test start and run. If you have a voltage tester, you can check the voltage that flows through the car’s electrical system. This be at a steady range from 12 volts to 14 volts. If it stays at 12 volts or below, then your alternator might not be working properly, or it might not be attached to the electrical system properly.