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hooksetter

Alternator? I'm losing power captain!

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I need help from my FM friends once again. I was driving my son's car tonight and the battery light was blinking intermitently. As I continued to drive I steadily lost power to the wipers, the headlights, the radio, the dashlights and even the engine. Luckily I was able to limp home.

Once home I shut the engine off and tried to start it but nothing. I put the charger on it and the battery was dead. With the battery charger on it everything was normal again. I have the charger on it right now but fear it is the alternator or something else more than just the battery.

What is the diagnosis and what should I do?

1998 Ford Contour

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Easy way is, get eng. started, use a volt-meter (set it to volts, 20 and under) prob terms on battery with eng. running and see if you go above 13 volts (should be much higher though). If it does not do this, you have a battery charging issue. This way might be a little crude, but does work for testing.

I do not want to drive anyone in the wrong direction, but I would say alternator has failed.

Also check the belt!

Basically what has happened is, nothing is charging your battery. The PCM/cars computer system has a fail safe type reaction to this and starts shutting off needless accessories to conserve what power is left to keep the eng. running. On older models, it just does not have enough power to keep every thing running. Sounds to me like you are running on only battery power.

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Shacks correct, it is most likely a bad alternator. Before jumping to that conclusion, check the fuses first. There are 3 fuses in this system, fuse #30 inside the car 7.5 amp, fuse #5 under the hood 15 amp, and the main power fuse 175 amp,(most likely not this one). I have seen alot of the battery sense wire with high resistance to the alt from the fuse box. You can jump 12 volts to the orange wire at the alt, if it charges then, overlay a 15 amp fused wire in the circuit.

If these are ok, you can bring the car in and have the battery and charging system tested, most places this will be for free.

You never said, is this the 2.0 or the 2.5?

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It is a 2.0

I will check the volts tonight when I get home and also check the fuses and then post the results. The belt is brand new and appears to be doing it's thing.

If it turns out to be the alternator, is this something I can do myself or am I looking at a hefty mechanic bill?

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It is a pain to do, it comes out of the bottom rf wheel well area, its doable, but it is a pain. The book shows 1.2 so $ wise at a shop would be about $120 labor!

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How old is your battery? If its more than a couple of years old i would consider at least having it checked or replacing it when you replace the alternator. If it checks out fine make sure it is fully charged before you start the vehicle with the new alternator. It will take you a couple of hours to replace and it does come out the bottom as 4 mentioned. You may have to remove the upper motor mount(make sure you support the motor with a floor jack) to make it a little easier to get into some of the tight areas and or to get enough clearance to get the alternator out.

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Bad Alternator. Dropping off at the shop tonight. $350 (245 for a rebuilt alternator and 105 for labor)

Thanks for the help. If I had more time and more guts I would have taken a shot at it but for $100 I'll let a professional get 'er done.

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Wow, $245 for an alternator? Sounds like a pain in the %*# to fix also. Nice of ford to put the alternator in such a handy place!

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Wow, $245 for an alternator? Sounds like a pain in the %*# to fix also. Nice of ford to put the alternator in such a handy place!

I have thanked ford for many things wink , these arent really that bad, once you figure out wich way you need to turn the alt to get it out!

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