Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
February 1, 2000
Photos By: Chuck James

Step By Step

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Performance Distributors’ 130-amp alternator is complete and ready to install including all necessary wiring. Installation is as simple as taking off the old alternator, performing the necessary bracket and wiring modifications, and bolting on the new one.
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You must first disconnect the negative battery cable, then you may begin removing the old alternator. Our alternator was fine, but we foresee underdrive pulleys and a better stereo, so better safe than sorry. The top bolt is easily accessed with either a wrench or ratchet. The best thing to do is either use a bungee cord or tie wraps to hold the upper radiator hose at bay. The other attaching bolt is at the bottom of the alternator.
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These are the electrical plugs for the factory alternator. The plug on the right was reused, however, the plug on the left needs to be cut and replaced with Performance Distributors’ wiring.
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With the wiring and attaching bolts removed, the alternator can be taken out. As you can see, we removed the factory airbox for increased elbow room.
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The differences between the two alternators are all at the back. The lower left part of the Performance Distributors alternator meets up with the factory bracket, which needs to be trimmed in order for it to be installed.
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Place the new alternator in the lower mount. Attach the lower bolt as well, but don’t tighten it down. Use it as a pivot while you clearance the bracket.
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Place the new alternator up against the bracket, and using a Sharpie or other marker lay out what needs to be trimmed. Use either a cutting wheel or a die grinder to clearance the bracket.
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Cut the necessary wiring and crimp on new eyelets as laid out in the directions from Performance Distributors. The directions are straightforward, so you don’t need an engineering degree to accomplish this task. This kind of upgrade is perfect for the rookie Mustang owner.
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The finished product looks factory, and your volt gauge will be much happier when you add more performance hardware to your Mustang. Performance Distributors makes it easy to upgrade your 5.0 Mustang’s electrical system. With the new alternator we saw 14.6 volts with no accessories on. However, even with all accessories on, including the brights, voltage didn’t slip below 14.4 volts. 5.0

The average 5.0 Mustang enthusiast wants to have his (or her) cake, eat it, and not get any icing on the upholstery. We want underdrive pulleys because of the horsepower they’re proven to make. We want a booming stereo system because we like to kick out the jams. We want the latest technology from headlight and foglight manufac- turers to differentiate our car from others on the road. We want our A/C to be frigid when it’s stifling hot outside (especially here in Florida). However, combine all these wants at the same time and the voltage gauge will be reading dangerously low. This is even more evident with automatic-tranny-equipped Mustangs.

What happens is each of these accessories takes electrical juice to run them—sometimes more than the factory system can muster. Beginning with the ’94 model year, a 130-amp alternator was standard on all Mustang GTs.

Special Service Mustangs received 135-amp, externally regulated Lestech alternators up to the ’92-’93 models, which received Ford-built, 130-amp units, a precursor to the SN-95 unit. Meanwhile, some of us have been riding around with alternators putting out a measly 60 amps. That’s just not going to cut it for most power-hungry Mustangers.

Performance Distributors provided us with a 130-amp alternator that will bolt on to an ’86-’93 5.0 Mustang with little modification. A 130-amp unit is also available for ’79-’85 Mustangs needing just a bit more work than the later models. The alternators are brand new, not rebuilt, and include a regulator, internal fan, pulley, and wiring harness.

With Performance Distributors’ 130-amp alternator, underdrive pulleys won’t cause the usual charging concerns associated with them, and if you already have a mac-daddy stereo system, you’ll notice a difference in power output there as well. For $285, it’s one of the best upgrades for your 5.0 Mustang.