1st time I did the alternator, I got stuck since there's a sliding brass bush you need to knock back to let the alt drop. I posted on it somewhere with pics and everything.
Park on a set of ramps.
So, once you have the air filter, and belts off. You disconnect the battery,
pull the plastic pan, disconnect the electric connections on the alternator, pull the 2 bolts on the alternator (might need to remove a tensioner too,3 bolts), give it a couple easy whacks with a rubber mallet to knock that bush back, and it will drop right down.
Remove bolt from sway bar, and pull swaybar aside let alt drop out.
No need to remove the swaybar, just the one bolt.
2nd time took me only 15-30 min.
When I reconnect the battery, I always make sure I am not drawing any current. Make sure all interior lights are turned off, and never leave the key in when you disconnect the battery. NEVER! You may need a new EIC if you do.
So, this way, you will not generate a large spark, or create a voltage spike that can damage the sensitive electronics.
Quickly and firmly reconnect the cable don't arc it more than necessary.
This seems to work for me, no blown modules etc.
The alternator is a PITA to get out. It comes out from underneath (yeah, I know, you'll bet $100 it won't, but it does). It's possible it's just the regulator that's bad and it can be replaced separately, but the alternator still has to come out for that job.
There is no reason to retain voltage when disconnecting the battery. And if you try, you are more likely to fry some electronics, so just don't do it. You will only need to reset three things - the click, the one-touch window and sunroof closure, and ESP. All are easy. For the windows/sunroof, just open them, then press and hold the close switch and hold for an extra 5 seconds. On ESP, start the engine and turn full left-right-left. On the clock, well, "RTM"