We aren’t necessarily for or against switching to a Saturn alternator as there are pros and cons to each that have been covered throughout the years. Some of our vehicles have the factory one and some don’t; Clunkbox ended up going this route partly because we had a new Saturn one laying around. We debated relocating it but the fuel filter fit nicely against the frame rail back there and we didn’t want to redo it, and putting the largest and most awkward accessories on our personal vehicles feels like a nice exercise in making sure each setup fits.
We aren’t necessarily for or against switching to a Saturn alternator as there are pros and cons to each but hopefully this makes things a little easier for those who go that route!
A good thread with some further information: https://www.dsmtuners.com/threads/important-improvements-on-saturn-alternator-swap.344794/
When keeping the Saturn alternator in the factory location, the factory tensioner bracket won’t match up unless you flip it upside down and rearrange the tensioner bolt. This certainly works, but since it can’t be effectively locked down, the long bolt used to tension it is put under some cyclic loading that can cause it to fatigue and shear off over time. The solution ends up being pretty simple after re-evaluating a piece we made and ran a few years ago.
The top hole would bolt to the top of the Saturn alternator and the bottom hole to the factory tensioner bracket. The two important dimensions are the hole center-to-center of 2-1/2″ and the spacer thickness of 1/4″. The rest are just how we would make it.
Everything could be made from 1” wide by ¼” thick or ¾” wide by ¼” thick flat stock and just round off the edges that have any clearance issues, which is really just the one edge that bolts to the alternator ear/eyelet.
The usual grinding down of the block/front case is still necessary at the pivot, along with changing the pigtail and wiring etc, but that’s beyond the scope of this article. This was done on a 6 bolt with a 1g alternator, although a 2g should be the same. Once everything is positioned and tight, the tensioner works just the same as factory.
Please note: the normal grinding/clearancing for the alternator would still be necessary.
We hope this helps!
-Matt and Samantha