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Ask Chris (aka- Moose) Your Own Question
Chris (aka- Moose)
Chris (aka- Moose), Technician
Category: Lincoln
Satisfied Customers: 2206
Experience:  16 years experience with Lincoln
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1998 lincoln town car: car went one

Customer Question

The alternator light on my 1998 Lincoln Towncar flickered off and on for a few weeks, (but not every day) and then stayed on. The car went dead when I pulled into my driveway. Long story short, we replaced the alternator with a new one. The light went off. The next day on my way to work the lights went out in the car, but the radio and power windows still worked. I pulled off the freeway, shut it off, and of course it wouldn't start, though windows and radio still worked. I had the alternator tested, and it failed. However, the light was still off. My question is this, can the alternator test bad if it's a wiring problem somewhere?

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Lincoln
Expert:  Davehop replied 5 years ago.

Hello and welcome to JA, where did you obtain the alternator from, the dealer or an auto parts store?


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
O'Reilly Auto Parts, but that doesn't matter at this point anyway. Since I asked the question, they have replaced the alternator with another new one. Once it was put on, the battery light came on again. I started the car, then did the quick "disconnect the battery" test. The car stopped running. I'm convinced it's a wiring problem, but really don't know where to begin.

Expert:  Davehop replied 5 years ago.
what voltage is the system charging at?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Not sure what you mean. It's not charging.
Expert:  Davehop replied 5 years ago.
if you put a voltmeter on the battery when the engine is running, what is the voltage?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'm sorry, I don't have a voltmeter. The O'Reilly manager tested it, though, and told me the battery is good. That's when he tested the first new alternator and it showed a problem. Sorry, but that's all I have right now. I
Expert:  Davehop replied 5 years ago.
Well if you can get a voltmeter I can guide you through the diagnosis and we can find the problem.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I doubt if I can, and don't fully understand. How will that help? Battery is good, alternator is new, light stays on, car dies. I have a feeling you're as stumped as my professional and shadetree mechanics are. I'm leaving for work shortly (in my other Lincoln, which has no air conditioning and it's going to be 101 today), so won't be able to check any more emails at home until late this afternoon. You may want to cc [email protected], though I don't know if I'll be able to go to this website from work.
I know you're trying, but it sounds like this is a unique problem.

Expert:  Davehop replied 5 years ago.
Actually I'm not "stumped" at all, with the dribble of information that you have given me thus far, I have no idea what may be going on, that is why I need you to obtain a voltmeter so I can diagnos the problem, but I have a feeling that you may be incapable of following simple directions and are therefore not willing to learn how to figure it out, and will continue to rely on your "professional" and shadetree mechanics who obviously have no clue what is wrong with your car, and will no doubt continue to use inferior parts from an auto parts store, instead of parts from the dealership, which may be your problem all along. If you wish to continue with me, I will gladly assist you, but we will need a voltmeter to continue.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
WOW Did not think that Autolite was an inferior part. And yes, professional mechanic who has been in business for over 25 years, just not at a dealership. Granted, he may not be a Ford/Lincoln specialist, but he is a professional. As for shadetree mechanics, the only thing I need help on when I change the alternator is putting the belt back on. For that I need a helping hand. And since I can't get my hands on a voltmeter I think we're done. Thanks for your help anyway. I will be sure to post your reply when I send my feedback. I certainly wasn't trying to insult you when I said I thought you were stumped, and don't feel your response is professional at all.
I apologize for my dribble of information, it's all I have.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
By the way, though I may be incapable of following simple directions, have solved my own problem. You would think a professional mechanic such as yourself would have suggested I check the charging fuse. But wait, I figured that out all by myself. Imagine, that, a little ole widow like me, solving a problem with the same information as you, the keyboard mechanic, had available.
Expert:  Davehop replied 5 years ago.
Well good for you, but if you had been able to just get a voltmeter in the first place, like I had asked you to , the first thing I would have had you check was the voltage to the alternator. Have a nice day.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I figured it out without a voltmeter.
Expert:  Davehop replied 5 years ago.
good for you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you. I won't take up anymore of your time. I hope you and your family have a great weekend. Thanks for your efforts.