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Edward, Service Technician
Category: GMC
Satisfied Customers: 3136
Experience:  20 + years experience on various makes and models.
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I have a 1999 Ford Escort that keeps dying when driving. At

Customer Question

I have a 1999 Ford Escort that keeps dying when driving. At that point the battery is mostly drained. I took it to NAPA and they tested the battery and the alternator w/ a little handheld machine. They tested both good.
However, when I use my voltmeter to measure the voltage across the battery when the car is idling, I see that the voltage oscillates between 12.4 and 14 V. It goes up and down within that range. Is this normal? I tested a 4 runner and a Ford Windstar and the voltage is very steady. Could the alternator or regulator on the Escort be bad?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: GMC
Expert:  Edward replied 1 year ago.

Hello, Eddie here and I will do my best to help. On the back of the voltage regulator at the alternator, do you see a "GROUND HERE TO TEST" sign, and an arrow pointing to this screw? look at the picture in this diagram and let me know. Thanks.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, my Escort doesn't seem to have that, but I could be mistaken. Here are the best pictures I could take.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Edward replied 1 year ago.
Its in the back of it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's basically impossible to get to the back w/o taking the alternator out. I don't think it has anything like your picture.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Edward: this is the alternator:
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You might be correct. Looks like the "Ground here to Test" is written on the regulator.
So how do I test it?
Expert:  Edward replied 1 year ago.

OK, run a jumper wire, from the case of the alternator, (it's ground, any good ground like negative battery terminal if your wire is long enough) and ground that screw by touching the jumper wire to it. That will bring the alternator up to maximum output. Then you can see if your voltage stays at 14-15, and it should. Is the check engine light on now when driving? Also, does it die just at idle, like when you pull up to a stop light? or will it die going 50 mph down the road?