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sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Australia Car
Satisfied Customers: 23004
Experience:  ASE Master and Advanced level certified. Factory trained with 15 years dealership experience
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Following an alternator replacement and after successfully

Customer Question

Following an alternator replacement and after successfully entering the required correct radio security CODE on a 2000 model AU Fairlane, the audio display resets and changes to TEL. and without the audio unit becoming functional again??? Have tried disconnecting the battery for 5 minutes and resetting/repeating the code entry process, but to no avail. Any ideas?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Car
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!

I expect the radio has failed due to the battery being disconnected, dying while driving or being jump started. If proper technique isn't followed when disconnecting and reconnecting a battery or jump starting then it can instantly damage the radio, not uncommon on modern vehicles.

Do you actually have a bluetooth/phone option?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your reply. No, I don't believe that it has a Bluetooth phone option. It does however have a direct wired phone cradle located within the centre console back behind the T bar auto shift. This is/was connected to the audio system speakers. The older phone-type (cradle) has not been in use for many years. For your interest, we have owned this car since new. Many batteries of course over the car's lifetime period to-date. The original alternator was recently replaced by an auto electrician owing to a small upper engine oil leak migrating into the alternator body, which in turn collected dust and resultantly clogged the alternator's fan cooling and then the alternator began slightly undercharging. Ie. Sluggish starts. Mal
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

Does the radio work at all?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. No audio sound. Digital screen just displays "TEL." when switched on.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

That's the only state it has now, pushing any buttons doesn't change anything, but if you disconnect the battery you're prompted to enter the code each time?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That is an interesting point. When the car was returned to us by the Auto Electrician the audio displayed TEL. instead of CODE, indicating that the auto electrician must have kept the system powered up by the battery even whilst replacing the alternator. When we subsequently removed the battery negative lead (once only) for a short period for the purpose of re-booting the audio system, the radio called for the expected CODE and when entered, the system paused, then reverted back to display TEL. The Auto Electrician would not have known the secret 4 digit code to enter on our behalf, so therefore it is safe to assume that the battery was not disconnected in the workshop. If he had disconnected the car battery whilst replacing the alternator, the display would have called for CODE instead of the unknown post re-boot message TEL. when the car was returned to us. One thought this end is that the display TEL. is trying to advise the driver that the audio system has received a bogus signal that the telephone is ringing? Is there such a thing as a secret code for the hard wired (centre console cradle) telephone system? Hmmm...
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

I'm pretty certain that the failure is internal in the radio. Was the code with the owner's manual in the glovebox? They may have contacted a dealer or radio code retrieval site also.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, the code was not available to the Auto Electrician. He is not even aware that the radio is/was not working following the alternator replacement. The code source from the original dealership where we purchased the car is only available to the motor vehicle owner after providing proof of ownership together with the confirmed M/V VIN No. I could try additional battery disconnections and re-entering the code a couple of more times perhaps? There doesn't seem to be any logical reason for the TEL. display. Have since spoken to the Ford Dealership service people about the problem and they have never encounterd this strange TEL. screen display on any similar vehicle, but acknowledged that the TEL. is an audio system message of some descript to the user.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

The shop would have had the VIN obviously though and a dealer would have given them the code if they asked for it.

You can try battery disconnects and re entering the code but I'm quite sure the radio is going to need to be replaced to repair this.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi sprinkles08 and Happy New Year,
Sorry for the late reply as I have been away over the holiday week.
Whilst away I found a little time to do a bit of tinkering on the troubled car and I now wonder if the audio fault (TEL.) following alternator replacement is related to the car's whole electrics system.
For example. 1/ When the car's ignition is switched on just prior to hitting engine-start, the usual dash mounted system lights come on as normal. What is different is that the battery dash-light flickers at a very high frequency or pulsing. Once the engine is started, all lights extinguish as expected.
2/ Having disconnected and then re-connected the car battery followed by entering the audio-system CODE, the dash mounted anti-skid light and the ABS warning light come on and stay on for a period of up to 30 minutes even whilst driving the vehicle. The 2 warning lights do eventually go out and will not appear again (other than during ignition test together with all the other panel lights at engine start-up) unless you repeat battery disconnect and audio CODE entry yet again.
Can you think of anything alternator/engine-related such as pre-fitted audio interference suppression modules or the like with malfunction spiking the audio system together with the Anti-Skid engage relay and/or ABS fail warning? Where would an audio-interference suppression module (if exists) be mounted somewhere on the car?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

The radio issue isn't related to any other systems or warning lights.

The first step in diagnosing the ABS and traction control lights will be to see what fault codes are setting in the ABS module using a scan tool or appropriate code reader.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Fair enough. Just thought it worth mentioning seeing that their unwarranted engine-running illumination only occurs immediately after refreshed audio code entry; not at any other time. Ie. Anti-Skid and ABS was/is functioning normally with day-to-day motoring - minus the audio system functioning.In the meantime and as soon as practical, I will get the car back to the auto electrician who replaced the alternator to see if he can assist with our audio problem.The audio system is un-branded within the boot compartment cassette player, centre console phone holder and dash-unit other than a Ford badge, however, the actual manufacturer's make/model of the main unit may be available if/when removed from the dash for diagnostics. Will keep you informed.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

At the time the warning lights are on the ABS and traction control systems are not functioning.

Let me know how it goes!