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I was trying to replace my alternator on my 97 4cyl and realized that the alternator doesn't fit out without crossmember removal (says the haynes manual). I got it out and realized it had nowhere to go. I was looking at it and it looks connected to some rather important suspension stuff. My question is, if I just unbolt the crossmember, is that all that would be involved or will a bunch of other stuff connected to it fall? Thanks in advance!
 

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It's fine to pull it off. I would recommend putting the front of the car on stands though, it will make it MUCH easier for removal and installation.
 

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yes. put the front of the car on jack stands. and it will be okay to take the crossmember off.
 

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I had been driving my car without the cross-member but not alot and not aggressively.

That was maybe a mistake, though. I "assumed" that the cross-member was basically a lateral reinforcement that one could leave off for a short time as long as you didn't test the suspension too much. Maybe that was "stupid".

I do have a thrown rod but thought it unrelated to the cross-member.

What is the specific purpose of the cross-member?
 

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Yeah, I think it's there for a reason. If you're going to before it, wear a helmet. They have a nasty habit of not coming off with the bolts out, only unexpectedly when you hit it with a hammer. I should have taken pictures of the bruise.
 
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