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Old 08-14-2021, 10:57 AM   #1
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2013 Pathfinder Alternator Replacement

I just finished replacing the alternator on my daughters 2013 Pathfinder Platinum. My advice to others facing this project is to let a mechanic do it. This post is more for my mental and physical recovery than it is to provide insight to others.

I am no noob. I usually do all my own work and have worked on Fords, GMs, Isuzus, Mazdas, Nissan Titans and a Jaguar (which I own and hate). That includes all the usual and unusual jobs such as brakes, suspension, water pumps, alternators, radiators, fans (internal and external) ac's and clutch replacement for various manual transmissions.

So here is my vent. The alternator should be relatively easy right? Ok, having never worked on a Pathfinder before, I searched forums and YouTube videos for tips and process. The YouTube videos available are not very good and give little more info other than it IS a difficult job. Why? Accessibility!

I have never worked on a car where just about every difficult to reach, stubborn bolt required you to remove another piece with another difficult to reach, stubborn bolt. In addition you need to break into PS and coolant lines. Unless you want to break into a perfectly good ac system, you never do get good access to the 3 wire alternator connector and bat supply. Those remain difficult to reach and both cable are short so rotating or sliding the alternator doesn't provide any better access. I found a broken wire on the 3 wire. Whether is was already broken or broke while I was trying to free the connector, I don't know. I had to work largely by feel since I could not touch it and see it at the same time. That required a new pigtail connector, not a fun job in itself.

So if you decide to undertake this job, buy the special Nissan E-PSF and antifreeze first. You'll need it. Have a good selection of 10, 12, 13 and 14mm sockets (long and short), offset wrenches and a 3/8 long pivot head ratchet.

That last item is absolutely required to set the belt tensioner arm. I broke the cast on a new one trying to use a regular ratchet with an extension. And this is not a complete list of everything you'll need but most other items you'll probably have anyway.

I've read that shop hours are 5.5 for this job. It took me much much longer. In the end, I was successful but feel like I was put in the back of a cement truck and tumbled for 24 hours. I advised my daughter to buy extended warranty because I'm not going to touch this car again.

It is the worst car design for maintainability that I have ever seen. We will not talk about the JATCO CVT transmission that has been the subject of countless class action suits. In my opinion, the class action suits missed the mark by tying the transmission in with the model in which they are installed. It should have been a class action suit against the transmission...PERIOD!
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