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Guest Message by DevFuse
 

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Bolt-in EA series Alternator upgrade. Nissan Maxima alt installation guide.


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218 replies to this topic

#1 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 05:39 PM

Picked this up from an '87 Maxima at the yard today - these are 90 amp units. It's a Bosch reman (which I've had good luck with) - the Maxima had 282,000 miles on it :eek:. I swear if I didn't care about 4WD/AWD I would totally rock one. Loved the talking digi-dash last time I rode in one.... I digress.

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This pulley has got to go....
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I pulled it off with my cordless impact (120 ft/lbs). They aren't tight.

Looked through my box of alternators and parts and after trying a couple pulleys I found the fit I wanted in the EA82 twin-groove pulley. These are very common on EA82's with air conditioning. There needs to be a spacer behind it to space it out from the shaft's drive-end bearing race so it doesn't contact the case. The maxima alt has a pulley with a built-in spacer so you have to use the spacer that comes with the EA82 pulley. Unfortunately it's too thick. I rectified this easily by clamping it in a pair of vice-grips and running it against a belt sander. I then cleaned it up with a draw-file and lapped it as flat as I could with a peice of glass and some 120 grit sand-paper. It's slightly less than 3/8" thick now. I took off about 1/8" of material.

Here's the setup I used (before I modified the spacer):
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And here's the spacer next to a stock one:

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At this point I was all ready to get to work on the wireing. I'm not a hack-wireing kind of guy so I was about to pull out the soldering iron & heat shrink to install the Maxima's deutsch style plug...... then I realized that this isn't neccesary. In fact NO modifications to the vehicle wiring are neccesary other than removing the female spade connectors from the white plastic plug they are installed in. The Maxima alt has two male spade terminals inside the deutsch connector - the stock female spade's on the harness slip right on :banana:. Even the Maxima's wireing was the same color and size. It was obvious what went where:

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Put the belt back on and fired it up. I got lucky at the yard - the dirty thing even works!

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And the output was excelent from the VR:

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Probably the easiest, quickest swap I've come across. WAY simpler than the GM and XT6 conversions (I've done both - XT6 requires shims on the mounting ears and I had to turn a spacer on the lathe for the pulley - GM required mount changes and wireing). And in fact it is 100% reversible since all you would need to do is reinstall the plastic plug over the spade terminals and bolt the old unit back in.

Slam. Dunk.

GD

Edited by GeneralDisorder, 20 June 2009 - 05:44 PM.


#2 The Dude Abides

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 05:55 PM

Just curious what is the year range we can use and what is the bonus of this. I understand for offroad lights and a winch. But what is the output of the factory alternator.

#3 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 06:13 PM

Just curious what is the year range we can use and what is the bonus of this. I understand for offroad lights and a winch. But what is the output of the factory alternator.


EA81's are factory with 50 amp alts, EA82's are factory with 55 amp alts. Most replacement EA81 alts are actually EA82 alts though so pretty much all of them are 55's by now.

The stock units don't seem overly reliable and when you add a few lights and maybe a decent stereo they really don't cut it at all.

As I understand it these came with all the SOHC V6 maxima's from 86 to 94. As long as it has a serpentine pulley it should be the one you want. They are mounted under the engine - accesible from behind the passenger side front wheel - just forward of that. They also have a neat tensioner bracket that I grabbed - I'm going to modify the stock EA81 alternator bracket using the tensioner system from the Maxima.

GD

#4 Ever Victorious

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 07:24 PM

Great find, GD!

#5 TomRhere

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 07:35 PM

Good work!!!!

Wish I had yards around here to do some "playing" in. They all went to the "We Pull It & Charge You More" type.

#6 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 07:36 PM

Good work!!!!

Wish I had yards around here to do some "playing" in. They all went to the "We Pull It & Charge You More" type.


LKQ is national now - check their web site and see if any are in your area. They bought up a chain of about 5 yards here and are killing the competition with thier low prices.

Alt was $14.99 with a $5.00 core. So $20 for an afternoon of fun!

GD

#7 bratman18

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 08:02 PM

This is awesome!! I have wanted to do an upgrade to my alt but didn't want to deal with more modifying, this looks real easy!! Great work and thanks for sharing.

#8 TomRhere

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 08:16 PM

I'll check into that....

Yards around here went crazy years ago. You can't pull anything. If you want a piece of door trim, you have to buy the whole door, even if what you want is something that could be grabbed from a wrecked door.
You get the "we can't sell the door if you pull that off it" crap. Can't really see anyone wanting to buy a T-boned door, but that's their way of business now.

I used to buy up vehicles that were sitting, "dead", around the area. Drag them home, and either fix/sell or part-out.
Was able to call or stop by a yard, grab what I wanted and head out the door. Stop back in a day or two and pay for the parts after I sold what I was working on.
That,, ain't happening anymore..... Sorry for the hi-jack rant....

#9 SoobieDoo

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 09:38 PM

Finally a thread on this worthy of the USRM. I know that I would have tried the stock pulley first, but sanding down the spacer to fit is the key. Many thanks!

#10 The Dude Abides

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 10:26 PM

Grinding down that spacer could be a pain in the butt though. I know it probally sounds stupid but would a stack of washers do the same job.

#11 Loyale 2.7 Turbo

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 11:03 PM

This is awesome!! I have wanted to do an upgrade to my alt but didn't want to deal with more modifying, this looks real easy!! Great work and thanks for sharing.


I Agree! ... Nice Find and Well Done Job! ... I am in that Same Situation that I Want to Do an Alt Upgrade without the need to Modify a Lot of Things...

Thanks for Sharing! :)


... I know it probally sounds stupid but would a stack of washers do the same job.


I Was About to Ask the Same...

Kind Regards.

#12 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 01:17 AM

Grinding down that spacer could be a pain in the butt though. I know it probally sounds stupid but would a stack of washers do the same job.


You would have to find washers exactly the right size to fit the shaft and no larger in OD than the spacer I show in the pictures - in theory yes it could work. In practice you will never find the right size - you would have to make them which would be a bigger pain in the butt than just changing the spacer.

I can think of a dozen ways to shorten the spacer - do you have a hacksaw and a vice? How about an angle grinder and some vice grips? Hell give me an hour and a course draw-file. Dremel tool?

It took me about 5 minutes to shorten that spacer - I used one of those 10" circular bench sander's from harbor frieght. This is the one - got it on sale for like $39 IIRC:

http://www.harborfre...temnumber=47404

You just have to get the job done - you only need to make one. Even if it takes your entire saturday - it would still be worth it.

GD

#13 ferox

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 03:21 PM

GM required mount changes and wireing

What is different between the GM and Nissan alt's that requires wiring changes versus no wiring changes, respectively? Is it just the 10% difference in output?

#14 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 05:33 PM

What is different between the GM and Nissan alt's that requires wiring changes versus no wiring changes, respectively? Is it just the 10% difference in output?


I meant at the connector to the alt. With the Nissan unit you just plug it into the stock wireing connectors. The GM has a different connector that needed to be changed. Perhaps not all GM alts use the same connector but the one I used (the newer, small-case GM alt style) did require a connector swap.

No matter how big of an alternator you install, the draw off it will be the same as long as you don't change what you are running off it. If you are adding lights, stereo's, and other higher-draw equipment, then the output wire running from the alt to the main junction (the fusible links) should be upgraded and any additional circuits should be properly fused with their own run from the main junction. The existing circuits in the car aren't going to draw more than 50 amps as that's what they were designed to use - you could install a 1000 amp alternator and it wouldn't make a bit of difference to the wireing sizes unless you started drawing more than the stock equipment.

I find that the stock 55 amp units are not really powerful enough at idle. They *can* produce 55 amps but only once they hit several thousand RPM. At idle they are lucky to make about 20 amps and that's just not enough to run the lights, stereo, cabin fan, etc. When you are wheeling you spend a good deal of time idleing and having the extra power availible at low RPM's is desireable. Add a few spot-lights and some decent tunes while you are on the trail and the stock units are almost unbearable.

GD

#15 ferox

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 09:04 PM

Perhaps not all GM alts use the same connector but the one I used (the newer, small-case GM alt style) did require a connector swap.

Hmmm, the ones I have installed had the two male spades, but perhaps they are a smaller size than the stock alt.

you could install a 1000 amp alternator and it wouldn't make a bit of difference to the wireing sizes unless you started drawing more than the stock equipment.

So, when you advised me on installing my GM you instructed me to use heavier gauge wire, was that so I could add greater load later on without danger of burning a wire? I think I misunderstood you at the time, so I take it if you are just running stock electrical you can just use the factory wiring.

I find that the stock 55 amp units are not really powerful enough at idle...the stock units are almost unbearable.

Yes I must say the alt upgrade is very satisfying after the stock unit. It doesn't even break a sweat.

Nice work, definitely the quickest and least effort alt. upgrade so far.

I do have to say this for the GM though, it took me about 1.5 hours to do the bracket mod, and required more effort and tools, but it was still really easy and the GM now bolts on straight out of the box with the correct pulley. Also, with the bracket mod. a bunch of other alts. will now fit with only a few washers to fill-in any back spacing if needed, and the 7157 and 7137 (63 amp version) are widely available in stock. I think the relative availablity would be especially evident in rural areas, though I have no data.

So I think the best alt. mod depends on the needs and tools available to the end user. I have a welder, I like to drive to places aptly descibed as "the middle of nowhere"(yes I know I should carry a spare alt., but it doesn't always happen), and value the ability to bolt a new alt. in without any work other than the two bolts holding it in, so the GM is still the best choice for me. So as far as the USRM is concerned it would be nice to have a thread that compares and contrasts the two options, so people can make an informed choice about what works best for them...blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, great write-up and thanks for all your help.

#16 bheinen74

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 09:20 PM

I qualify as middle of nowhere. Junkyards here have hundreds/thousands of GM cars sitting in them, but no Maximas/nissans etc, pretty slim pickings on the foreign jobbers. The way for me is to go with a GM alternator, if I choose to upgrade.

Hmmm, the ones I have installed had the two male spades, but perhaps they are a smaller size than the stock alt.

So, when you advised me on installing my GM you instructed me to use heavier gauge wire, was that so I could add greater load later on without danger of burning a wire? I think I misunderstood you at the time, so I take it if you are just running stock electrical you can just use the factory wiring.

Yes I must say the alt upgrade is very satisfying after the stock unit. It doesn't even break a sweat.

Nice work, definitely the quickest and least effort alt. upgrade so far.

I do have to say this for the GM though, it took me about 1.5 hours to do the bracket mod, and required more effort and tools, but it was still really easy and the GM now bolts on straight out of the box with the correct pulley. Also, with the bracket mod. a bunch of other alts. will now fit with only a few washers to fill-in any back spacing if needed, and the 7157 and 7137 (63 amp version) are widely available in stock. I think the relative availablity would be especially evident in rural areas, though I have no data.

So I think the best alt. mod depends on the needs and tools available to the end user. I have a welder, I like to drive to places aptly descibed as "the middle of nowhere"(yes I know I should carry a spare alt., but it doesn't always happen), and value the ability to bolt a new alt. in without any work other than the two bolts holding it in, so the GM is still the best choice for me. So as far as the USRM is concerned it would be nice to have a thread that compares and contrasts the two options, so people can make an informed choice about what works best for them...blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, great write-up and thanks for all your help.



#17 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 11:38 PM

So, when you advised me on installing my GM you instructed me to use heavier gauge wire, was that so I could add greater load later on without danger of burning a wire? I think I misunderstood you at the time, so I take it if you are just running stock electrical you can just use the factory wiring.


Basically that's the idea - upgrading the wire from the alt to the junction and from the junction to the battery as a safety measure is a good idea. Especially if some future owner of said vehicle were to run his 5,000 watt staduim lighting system directly from the battery with no fuses. :lol:

I do have to say this for the GM though, it took me about 1.5 hours to do the bracket mod, and required more effort and tools, but it was still really easy and the GM now bolts on straight out of the box with the correct pulley. Also, with the bracket mod. a bunch of other alts. will now fit with only a few washers to fill-in any back spacing if needed, and the 7157 and 7137 (63 amp version) are widely available in stock. I think the relative availablity would be especially evident in rural areas, though I have no data.


Yeah - I would agree with most of that. The Nissan alternator is for those casual EA series owners that want a stricktly bolt-in operation with no metal-work or other modifications. The GM alts are nice but when it comes time to sell the vehicle or move your stereo/lights you may have to buy another one or unmodify, etc. For those of us that tend to change cars like we change underwear, a bolt in operation is preferable. I don't like spending a lot of time on modifications to the woman's car for example - I would much rather just install the alt and send her to the stereo shop :lol:.

The GM is a bit cheaper as well in the aftermarket, but not by a lot. The Maxima alt is considerably cheaper than the XT6 90 amp unit. About $85 for the Maxima alt minus the core charge from rockauto.

So I think the best alt. mod depends on the needs and tools available to the end user. I have a welder, I like to drive to places aptly descibed as "the middle of nowhere"(yes I know I should carry a spare alt., but it doesn't always happen), and value the ability to bolt a new alt. in without any work other than the two bolts holding it in, so the GM is still the best choice for me. So as far as the USRM is concerned it would be nice to have a thread that compares and contrasts the two options, so people can make an informed choice about what works best for them...blah, blah, blah.


Yes - there are advantages to both and it may depend on where you live. For me, with the abundance of self service wrecking yards as well as early Maxima's (and me not knowing sqaut about american cars in general) the Nissan alt is the way to go. Plus it's a good feeling to be replacing a Hitachi with another Hitachi. Not that there's anything wrong with the GM alt, but the fact that it's all put together with non-metric fasteners makes me cringe. :rolleyes:

Anyway, great write-up and thanks for all your help.


You're welcome as always.

GD

#18 TheYeti

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 02:09 PM

The stock EA81 alternator I have now definitely can't handle running everything in the winter months (this includes a set of Hella 550s). Watching the volt gauge drop below 12 is not fun when you are sitting in snowbound traffic...

I managed to find an alternator from an '88 Maxima. The next thing I need to find is a pulley I guess...

Thanks for the write up, GD. Hopefully everything goes just as smooth for Super Grover's conversion.

#19 monstaru

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 04:21 PM

it almost looks like a guy could " double belt" that setup.do not know if in the long run it would end being worth it,but efficiency is efficiency.......cheers, brian

#20 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 05:58 PM

it almost looks like a guy could " double belt" that setup.do not know if in the long run it would end being worth it,but efficiency is efficiency.......cheers, brian


If you use an EA81T crank pulley and water pump then it works out much better - both have dual groove pulleys and they have the same size grooves - so it works just like the EA82 dual-belt system. This is only feasible if you run either no power steering or use the EA81T power steering pump and bracket - the non-hydro lifter EA81 blocks don't have the bosses to bolt on the turbo style power steering bracket though so if you have a solid lifter EA81 with power steering it won't work.

GD

#21 NorthWet

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 06:59 PM

Looks like if you had snagged the Maxima's connector plug you could have swapped over the plastic to your spade connectors and had an even cleaner install. (Hindsight/armchair-mechanic'ing is wonderful! :grin: )

Does anyone know if the multi-groove pulley on the Maxima's alt would work on an XT without changing? (Hmmm... my kinda-memory is telling me the Maxima uses 5-ribs while the XT uses 4-ribs.... is that right?)

#22 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 07:35 PM

Does anyone know if the multi-groove pulley on the Maxima's alt would work on an XT without changing? (Hmmm... my kinda-memory is telling me the Maxima uses 5-ribs while the XT uses 4-ribs.... is that right?)


The pulley I took off the maxima alt is a 4 rib.

GD

#23 Yo'J

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 08:45 PM

Now the ea81 pulley and spacer wont work right? One needs the extra length? I don't have an ea82 to look at right now, but I have been under the hood of my ea81 looking at my half exploded battery from my dying alternator.

:horse::banghead:Next!:-\

#24 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 08:53 PM

The EA81 pulley needed an even shorter spacer to clear enough of the threads to make it viable. There *might* be another 1/16" available beyond what I cut the spacer down but I cut it very close. The two-groove pulley from the EA82's is thinner where it mates to the shaft and allows the nut more purchase on the threads. Even at that the nut isn't flush with the end of the shaft so I fear the single groove EA81 pulleys (the two-peice one's anyway) are too thick to work on the Maxima alt.

Using the twin groove pulley is only neccesary due to the shaft fitment. There might be single peice v-groove pulleys out there that would work - I didn't have any handy. But there is no reason that you can't use the twin-groove pulley in all the single belt applications. Just go yank one from a yard and stick it on. It's not going to hurt anything to run a single belt over a two-bely pulley.

GD

#25 Caramanos2000

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 10:47 PM

This is the thing for meee :) Simple and no dimming lights at idle. I have no fancy lighting or stereo should I still upgrade my wiring?




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