Serious Explorations Ford Explorer and Ranger Message Board
#1 Resource for Ford Explorer and Ranger Owners - By Enthusiasts, for Enthusiasts.


Ford Explorer Generation Guide

EF Swag Store 2015 Ford Explorer Forums Elite Membership Chat Room My Posts Reviews Explorer Photo Gallery
Go Back   Ford Explorer and Ranger Forums "Serious Explorations" > Ford Explorer Ranger Repair - Troubleshooting - Modifications & Detailing Forums > 1991 - 1994 Explorer Ranger Navajo 1st Generation > Stock 1991 - 1994 Explorers

Notices

Stock 1991 - 1994 Explorers For questions related to the base Ford Explorer. Problem solving, maintenance, TSB, service bulletins, owner reviews, specifications. No modification questions.

Battery Light On, Yet Alternator is Charging?

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 06-25-2009, 06:22 AM   #1
Tshark299
Upstate NY
'93 XLT
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 109

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Original Poster)
Battery Light On, Yet Alternator is Charging?

Last week it wouldn't start because the starter went, so I replaced that and it was fine for about 3 days. Then developed a weak/no start again so I replaced the battery cables that were way past due, and again it was fine for about 3 days.

Finally last night it would not start again, tried putting a charger on the battery for a couple hours which helped a little but not enough. I pulled the battery out of my Wrangler so see if that would crank it and sure enough it started strong. Since the parts store was closed and my Jeep is not on the road right now anyway, I decided to leave that battery in it for the time being.

Problem now is that I noticed halfway through my drive home that my battery light on the dash was on. The alternator is charging though, because the volt gauge gets noticeably higher after starting the engine. Basically it starts and runs fine and normally now, except that the battery light will not shut off.

The only difference now from the way it was originally is that the Wrangler battery is a bit smaller than the Explorers. I think it's a group 56 vs 65. Could that actually make the light come on though? It doesn't seem like the battery should make a difference.

Any other ideas??




__________________
'93 Explorer XLT 4x4 5-speed
Tshark299 is offline   Reply With Quote
( Join the Elite Explorers )

For only $20 per year you can become an Elite Explorer member. Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose and fix problems yourself, and learn which modifications really work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members can change the forum "styles" to eliminate most ads, including blue underlined links, and no ads on photos. Other benefits include the ability to store 1000 Private Messages, upload photo attachments directly to your posts and to our Photo Gallery and more. Join the Elite Explorers today.


Old 06-25-2009, 08:24 AM   #2
tbe2002
Longmont, CO
08 Expedition Limited
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 116

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't know if I would trust the Gauge in the cluster. You may need to actually go to an auto store and have them test the alt. You can either have them bench test it (if u take it off and bring it to them) or you can have them do a load test on the while system. Every auto store I know does both of these for free.




__________________
2008 Expedition Limited - 113,000, 4x4, Black
2000 F350 7.3 Diesel - 150,000 4x4, Yellow, Lifted 6 in, 37in tires.
2002 Explorer XLT- 220,000 miles, 4X4, Black, K&N air filter (Moms)
tbe2002 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 08:42 AM   #3
rayford2
Clarion, PA
'94 XLT
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 45

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tshark299 View Post
Last week it wouldn't start because the starter went, so I replaced that and it was fine for about 3 days. Then developed a weak/no start again so I replaced the battery cables that were way past due, and again it was fine for about 3 days.

Finally last night it would not start again, tried putting a charger on the battery for a couple hours which helped a little but not enough. I pulled the battery out of my Wrangler so see if that would crank it and sure enough it started strong. Since the parts store was closed and my Jeep is not on the road right now anyway, I decided to leave that battery in it for the time being.

Problem now is that I noticed halfway through my drive home that my battery light on the dash was on. The alternator is charging though, because the volt gauge gets noticeably higher after starting the engine. Basically it starts and runs fine and normally now, except that the battery light will not shut off.

The only difference now from the way it was originally is that the Wrangler battery is a bit smaller than the Explorers. I think it's a group 56 vs 65. Could that actually make the light come on though? It doesn't seem like the battery should make a difference.

Any other ideas??
Check across your battery with a voltmeter while
the engine is off. With the engine running you should read 1/2 to 2 volts
higher than the engine off reading. If it's too low it's probably an open diode
in the alternator or a bad regulator. If it's too high it's probably a shorted diode or bad regulator. The regulator is integral with the alternator, not separately mounted. Easy fixes if you know what you're doing; if not, get another alternator. The warning light comes on if either high or low charge condition exists...Hope this helps.......Ray S. in PA
rayford2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 09:07 AM   #4
nitro71
Spokane WA
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,061

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
There's a long.. Post by Chetz? about charging system in the 91-94 forum. He tried everything and it turned out to be a fuse. I'd recomend reading that for a lot of good info.
nitro71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 06:37 PM   #5
Tshark299
Upstate NY
'93 XLT
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 109

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Original Poster)
Nitro, I think I found that thread you're talking about. Lots of good info in there but his problem was a little different than mine. He was having a low charging problem. If anything my alternator is putting out extra juice.

I did check that fuse box though and I did have one burned out, but it was a 20A, not a 15. I swapped a good fuse in there and it didn't seem to make a difference for me. Light was still on and the gauge was at the "A" or "L" in "NORMAL". With the engine off it's at about "N" or "O".

I still don't have exact voltage numbers though... I'll try to get them tomorrow while I'm at work and have access to a good multi-meter.

Interestingly though, the light went off for a minute on my way to work this morning, then was back on again the next time I looked at it.

Anyone know what the 20A fuse in position 19 under the hood is for??




__________________
'93 Explorer XLT 4x4 5-speed
Tshark299 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 06:41 PM   #6
Tshark299
Upstate NY
'93 XLT
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 109

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Original Poster)
Quote:
Originally Posted by rayford2 View Post
Check across your battery with a voltmeter while
the engine is off. With the engine running you should read 1/2 to 2 volts
higher than the engine off reading. If it's too low it's probably an open diode
in the alternator or a bad regulator. If it's too high it's probably a shorted diode or bad regulator. The regulator is integral with the alternator, not separately mounted. Easy fixes if you know what you're doing; if not, get another alternator. The warning light comes on if either high or low charge condition exists...Hope this helps.......Ray S. in PA
rayford, where is the diode of which you speak? Inside the alternator or elsewhere? There are a couple diodes in the power distribution box under the hood.... wondering of one of those might be it.




__________________
'93 Explorer XLT 4x4 5-speed
Tshark299 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 06:45 PM   #7
BrianDye
Michigan
2009 Edge Limited
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 5,600

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
If thats a 92 doesnt that seem a little high?
Maybe im getting the gauges confused....




__________________
[CENTER]'09 Edge Limited AWD
'14 Jeep Patriot
BrianDye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 06:52 PM   #8
Tshark299
Upstate NY
'93 XLT
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 109

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Original Poster)
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianDye View Post
If thats a 92 doesnt that seem a little high?
Maybe im getting the gauges confused....
It's a '93 but yeah.... that's the problem. My battery light is on and I don't remember the volt gauge normally reading that high. Any ideas??




__________________
'93 Explorer XLT 4x4 5-speed
Tshark299 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 09:15 PM   #9
chetzar
B-Town, Illinois
1993 Green Explorer XLT
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 130

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It seems like the over charging could be due to a smaller battery. Unless i'm reading this wrong, you said you use a smaller battery from your Jeep in the Explorer. Now with a smaller battery, you would need a higher output to keep the battery charged up enough. Now keep in mind with a smaller battery is going to drain faster, thus making your alt work harder. Honestly, if you have alot of accessories, it might not be able to keep up. I would suggest turning off your stereo, disconnecting any amp power cords, or any other aftermarket power cords. This may sound silly, but it will help you get things back to normal. However it dosent seem like your gauge readings are far off, atleast from mine. W/o the engine on, mine reads between the N & O and with engine on it reads between M & A (at idle, at 2500rpm i get all the way up to the right side of the A).

Also, having your battery on a charger for a "few hours" wont do much if its drained enough to not have the juice required to start (Anything under like 11.3 volts I think). When i took my battery to get tested it was down to 10.9volts and it took the store an hour and halfish to charge it (and they have a retarded fast charger). From what I read it sounds like there is a very good possibility that your battery is no good. And if your alt is bad, and your battery is old, or your battery is bad and your alt is old, it could be both. Best bet is to get both bench tested to ensure proper functionality, they like to shit on people in pairs.

Another thing you could check is since you said you had starting issue, your starter solenoid might be bad, since the power runs from the alt to the SS, then from the SS to the batt.




__________________
1993 Green 4x4 Exploder XLT AKA The Bitch Pickle
232,000 Miles
Lots of new stuff, cuz the old stuff broke. (Retired)

1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.2 V8
192,000 Miles
chetzar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2009, 05:48 AM   #10
rayford2
Clarion, PA
'94 XLT
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 45

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Diodes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tshark299 View Post
rayford, where is the diode of which you speak? Inside the alternator or elsewhere? There are a couple diodes in the power distribution box under the hood.... wondering of one of those might be it.
These diodes are pressed into the alternator frame, usually removed with an arbor press to push them out when necessary. I think there are 6 of them for a 95 Amp. alternator. They are tested with an ohmmeter (set on a low range), when they are disconnected at one end, by measuring the resistance one way, and then reversing your ohmmeter probes to measure them the other way. You'll need a soldering iron to disconnect the diode leads for testing. There should be at least a 10:1 ratio between the readings. The diodes you mentioned have nothing to do with the alternator; one protects your computer against reverse current during start and run, I don't have my EVTM handy to say what the other one is for.
If you're not familiar with alternator disassembly and reassembly you should probably trade the old one in once you're sure it's faulty.LOL Ray S. inPA
rayford2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2009, 06:17 AM   #11
rayford2
Clarion, PA
'94 XLT
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 45

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
US Batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by rayford2 View Post
These diodes are pressed into the alternator frame, usually removed with an arbor press to push them out when necessary. I think there are 6 of them for a 95 Amp. alternator. They are tested with an ohmmeter (set on a low range), when they are disconnected at one end, by measuring the resistance one way, and then reversing your ohmmeter probes to measure them the other way. You'll need a soldering iron to disconnect the diode leads for testing. There should be at least a 10:1 ratio between the readings. The diodes you mentioned have nothing to do with the alternator; one protects your computer against reverse current during start and run, I don't have my EVTM handy to say what the other one is for.
If you're not familiar with alternator disassembly and reassembly you should probably trade the old one in once you're sure it's faulty.LOL Ray S. inPA
Now here's a note about batteries. They are selected according to the demands of the vehicle. Since most automotive applications use a 12 volt system, the larger the battery, the more current it can produce. A 95 Amp alternator will only deliver 95 Amps WHEN THE ENTIRE AUTOMOTIVE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM DEMANDS IT. This is highly unlikely and indicates a malfunction EXCEPT DURING START, or there are too many accessories running at the same time. And this includes winches and 110 volt inverters among other things.
What's my point? If you have a lot of accessories and/or the vehicle is loaded with power using options, then get the largest battery that will fit into your battery tray, and has the same height and terminal post configuration.
Connecting a 95 Amp 12 volt alternator properly across ANY automotive 12 volt battery will not cause an over voltage condition unless there is something electrically wrong with the alternator. And it won't cause an over current condition unless the battery has defective cells.
A battery charger does much the same as an alternator except it does so under better charging control parameters. If any 12 volt battery needs 10 Amps for charging, that's what the alt. or battery charger will deliver. If it needs 2 Amps the same holds true.....Hope this helps.....Ray S. in PA
rayford2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2009, 08:48 AM   #12
scas
Edmonton, AB
'93 Sport
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 55

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Having a smaller battery in a pretty much stock vehicle is not going to afftect your system up. I ran a small battery after my posts were smashed in by a brute with a 2x4, and the only thing I could find was a battery from a honda civic. Tiny.. Dosen't even sline up with anything under the hood. Then I drove from my hometown of Chatham, Ont to Edmonton AB with, never had any problems with the starting or charging, even in the crappy weather we drove through
scas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2009, 04:22 PM   #13
Tshark299
Upstate NY
'93 XLT
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 109

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Original Poster)
Yeah, I didn't think the different battery should affect the way it charges. I mean, I was always under the impression that the battery was really for starting the engine, and that the alternator should handle electrical demands from there on out. The truck cranks strong and starts instantly, and runs perfectly fine other than the battery light being on.

Today I drove to the store, the light was on when I pulled out of the driveway but shut off for the rest of the trip there. I shut it down for the few minutes I was in the store and when I restarted it to come home it was on again, and stayed on the whole time.

The gauge seemed to be in the same place with the light on or off. It was between "A" and "L" with the light on, solidly on "L" when the light was off this past time.

I've been reviewing the wiring diagrams for the charging system and have decided that my next step is going to be redoing/cleaning up all the positive battery cable connections, especially the ones on the fender mounted solenoid. I'm thinking that if there's a weak connection there the alternator sensing circuit might be getting a false reading. Plus this problem started happening not only after changing the battery, but after I installed the new battery cables as well. Worth a shot at least.




__________________
'93 Explorer XLT 4x4 5-speed
Tshark299 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2009, 04:30 PM   #14
Tshark299
Upstate NY
'93 XLT
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 109

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Original Poster)
Quote:
Originally Posted by rayford2 View Post
These diodes are pressed into the alternator frame, usually removed with an arbor press to push them out when necessary. I think there are 6 of them for a 95 Amp. alternator. They are tested with an ohmmeter (set on a low range), when they are disconnected at one end, by measuring the resistance one way, and then reversing your ohmmeter probes to measure them the other way. You'll need a soldering iron to disconnect the diode leads for testing. There should be at least a 10:1 ratio between the readings. The diodes you mentioned have nothing to do with the alternator; one protects your computer against reverse current during start and run, I don't have my EVTM handy to say what the other one is for.
If you're not familiar with alternator disassembly and reassembly you should probably trade the old one in once you're sure it's faulty.LOL Ray S. inPA
That other diode in the fuse box is for the 4-wheel ABS system, I found out. And I agree, I'd just replace the whole alternator before messing with the diodes. I'm hoping it doesn't come to that though, since I've already replaced the starter and battery cables, as well as the rear brakes and clutch slave recently, and am trying not to put more money than is necessary into this thing!




__________________
'93 Explorer XLT 4x4 5-speed
Tshark299 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2009, 04:33 PM   #15
Tshark299
Upstate NY
'93 XLT
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 109

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Original Poster)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tshark299 View Post
Anyone know what the 20A fuse in position 19 under the hood is for??
I also solved this mystery and it's unrelated to my problem. Fuse 19 is for the lighting relays in the back of the truck that are part of the tow package, in case anyone was wondering.




__________________
'93 Explorer XLT 4x4 5-speed
Tshark299 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2009, 07:09 AM   #16
rayford2
Clarion, PA
'94 XLT
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 45

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
US

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tshark299 View Post
That other diode in the fuse box is for the 4-wheel ABS system, I found out. And I agree, I'd just replace the whole alternator before messing with the diodes. I'm hoping it doesn't come to that though, since I've already replaced the starter and battery cables, as well as the rear brakes and clutch slave recently, and am trying not to put more money than is necessary into this thing!
Let us know how things turned out for you.
Good Luck...Ray S. in PA
rayford2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2009, 04:58 PM   #17
scas
Edmonton, AB
'93 Sport
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 55

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
All the battery is really for, is for starting, and regulating the volt to the rest of the vehicle while your driving. Thats why on some older vehicles you can run without a battery.
scas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 01:24 PM   #18
Tshark299
Upstate NY
'93 XLT
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 109

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Original Poster)
So I redid the connection on the fender solenoid and it seems to have helped. The day before I did it the light seemed to be on half the time I was driving, off the rest of the time. Sometimes it would be off an entire trip, but then would be back on again if I shut off the engine for a few minutes and restarted it.

I cleaned up all the connections on the solenoid post that the battery, fuse box, fuseable links, etc. all connect to. The light came on for one minute the second time I drove it after that, but otherwise the light has not been on at all. Problem solved as far as I'm concerned. The voltage gauge was always in the same place whether the light was on or off anyway, so I'm not too worried about it.




__________________
'93 Explorer XLT 4x4 5-speed
Tshark299 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 05:59 PM   #19
YBCold
702 LΛ VGΛ NV / МΠΤΣΓΓΣΨ ΜΧ
91 ∟┬
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,203

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
i have similar problem. voltage is low at start up and then levels out about 13.5V to 13.6V when i hit the accelerator. also voltage drops at stops and when i change into reverse. or have headlights on and AC on at full power. i had sub woofer and amp but i removed it. and still problem persists. i also took the alternator to autozone and had it checked and it passed. battery is new too but already is down to 11.8 volts. not sure whats wrong. takes about 1 month to completely discharge battery.
YBCold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 09:21 PM   #20
rayford2
Clarion, PA
'94 XLT
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 45

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
US Low volts

Quote:
Originally Posted by YBCold View Post
i have similar problem. voltage is low at start up and then levels out about 13.5V to 13.6V when i hit the accelerator. also voltage drops at stops and when i change into reverse. or have headlights on and AC on at full power. i had sub woofer and amp but i removed it. and still problem persists. i also took the alternator to autozone and had it checked and it passed. battery is new too but already is down to 11.8 volts. not sure whats wrong. takes about 1 month to completely discharge battery.
If the vehicle is idling at the proper RPM when in drive, and the alternator is good, then you might have what is called "excessive parasitic drain". There is a certain amount of current flowing when the engine is off to keep the electronics alive. This shouldn't exceed 50 milliamps (.050 amp) with the engine off.

To test this you need a DC Ammeter (common in multimeters). Set the meter to the highest DC Amps setting and make sure your test leads are connected Black to meter Neg. and Red to meter DC Amps (change to ma when your test goes below 500ma). Disconnect the POSITIVE connector from the battery. Connect the Black test lead to the Battery Pos. post and the Red lead to the disconnected pos. wire. Decrease the meter range until you find a reading that doesn't overload the meter. This reading should not exceed .050 Amps (50 milliamps). If it's over, you'll probably need a EVTM manual and start disconnecting circuits until you find the bug.
rayford2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Suggest this thread to friends:



Join the "Elite Explorers" Today!



Search Explorer Forum


Top of Page

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:31 AM.



US Flag
We Support Our Troops!

Explore the site!


Copyright 2014 - 1996 Rick Horwitz Photography



Ford Motor Company is not involved in the management of this site in any way.



All tips on this site are for use at your own risk and discretion.

Modifying the suspension on any vehicle will cause changes to its handling characteristics.



Vendor Tools vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.