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Virtual Wrench
Virtual Wrench, Ford Mechanic
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 14620
Experience:  35 years Master Mechanic
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Do you know if this person that was able to fix this problem

Customer Question

do you know if this person that was able to fix this problem
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

You will have to copy and paste the url so we can even see what you are talking about. When you use the question box for that question it doesnt carry over to here. If you can copy it and paste it here i can take a look at it for you.

LJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
have a 98 windstar 3.8 Sometimes is charges other times it does not and dies. I took the alternator out and had it tested it was reading 14 volts. When the battery light came on I tested it in the car and it was reading 11 volts car still ran for 30 mns, I turned it off waiting for about 20 mins started it again and the light was was and now is reading 14 volts?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
but it doesn't do it all the time only sometimes. it can go days without any issues and then light comes on and dies, I have checked all connections cleaned them, etc. even changed the battery
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.

Thanks,

The internal voltage regulator in the alternator is failing. Pretty common for it to charge and then not charge just like you observed. Replacement is in order.

LJ

Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.

Dont buy a rebuilt alternator from Orilleys. We have had horrible luck with them. NAPA is a lot better!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
is there any way to test it?
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

You already have :-)

When the light comes on and your meter is showing only 11 volts, it means that at that time it is not charging.

It HAS to be between 14-15 volts otherwise the light will come on and its not charging.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I took the alternator out and took it to 2 different places to be tested they said it is fine, when it fails is there a way to make sure it is the voltage regulator and not anything else like the computer or wiring that I might have missed? Its an old beater van I just don't want to start replacing parts
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.

Thats the problem with intermittent electrical issues with an alternator...it has to be tested at the moment the light comes on and from what you told me you have done that and if its not putting out 14 volts, its not charging. We replace a lot of alternators on this vehicle that do the same thing and i can guarantee you its a bad regulator inside the alternator!

The charging system is NOT controlled by the computer on this vehicle.

LJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
next time if this happens and I take off the main wire coming from the alternator and put the positive lead on the alternator and one on ground if its reads 14 or less then its the regulator? are there any other tests I can do to confirm the alternator problem when it occurs just to rule out a wiring problem.
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

You dont have to take that wire off. Just connect the meter leads to the battery and take the reading there. If it were a wire problem, it wouldnt be intermittent.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
can I change just the regulator or do I have buy a new alternator
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.

Dont even try to take the alternator apart to replace the reg! It will turn into a nightmare assembling it.

Just buy a rebuilt unit bud.

LJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
k I will try changing it tom
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.

It will solve this for sure.

Take care now.

LJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
hi, put a brand new alternator. checked all connections. Test drove for about an hour battery light on again? what can I check next?
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.

What???

Thats strange.

Upload a pic of the alternator showing where the connector is and the wires going to it please.'