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Not charging. Battery and alternator were both bad according…

Customer Question
Not charging. Battery and...

Not charging. Battery and alternator were both bad according to O'reilly. Before it stopped completely I would be driving down the road and lose power to the radio and instrument cluster for a second or two. Then it would start back up. engine never stalled or sputtered during this.

Mechanic's Assistant: Did you test the battery with a voltmeter? And have you ever changed one before?

I put in a new battery and alternator. Still not charging

Mechanic's Assistant: What is the model/year of your Ford?

2004 Focus ZTS. 2.3 engine

Mechanic's Assistant: Are you fixing your Focus yourself? What have you tried so far?

Yes. New battery and tried 2 different new alternators. Did a system check and it showed no faults.

Mechanic's Assistant: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?

Just want to know why it would shout down dash and radio for an instant and then return to normal and why new battery and new alternator won't charge.

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Ford
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Answered in 45 minutes by:
9/20/2017
Ford Mechanic: 6Bucs, Ford Senior Master replied 8 months ago
6Bucs
6Bucs, Ford Senior Master
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 1,010
Experience: Ford senior master tech, 18 years experience.
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Hello and thank you for your question. My name is James.

If you have a voltmeter, check for DC voltage between the positive battery terminal on the alternator and the positive battery post. You should show less than half a volt for this voltage drop test. The engine management system takes first priority in a low state of charge condition, so headlamps, instrument illumination, and the like will power down first during a failure to keep the engine running. As far as the radio and cluster losing power intermittently, the battery state of charge is sometimes inconsistent as it drains, since the electric plates are submerged in acid inside the battery and the acid sloshes around. If your battery cable passes the voltage test, verify the battery cable ground is secured to the transmission bell housing at the top rear of the engine area and that the cable is connected securely to the body near the battery. If the cables are not a problem, the PCM controls generator function.

The charging system voltage is controlled by the powertrain control module (PCM). The generator charges the battery and at the same time supplies power for all of the electrical loads that are required. The battery is more effectively charged with a higher voltage when the battery is cold and a lower voltage when the battery is warm. The PCM is able to adjust the charging voltage according to battery temperature by using a signal from the intake air temperature (IAT) sensor. This means the voltage setpoint is calculated by the PCM and communicated to the regulator by a communication link.

The PCM simultaneously controls and monitors the output of the generator. When the current consumption is high or the battery is discharged, the system is able to increase the idle speed.

To minimize the engine drag when starting the engine, the PCM controls the generator. The generator does not produce any output until the engine has started. The PCM then progressively increases the output of the generator.

The PCM controls the operation of the charging system warning indicator in the instrument cluster. The PCM is therefore responsible for turning the warning indicator off after the engine is started and illuminating it under fault conditions (when the generator is not generating the correct amount of current with the engine running). The warning indicator will also be illuminated by the PCM at key ON engine OFF, and stall conditions.

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