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HELP I don't know if I need a new alternator or not!

Discussion in 'Under the Hood' started by Smunchie, April 8, 2007.

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  1. Smunchie

    Smunchie New Member

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    OK. I need to know if this is an alternator problem. I can start my car and it will run fine for a while then slowly the battery dies. I tested and recharged the battery and it was all good. Now it just keeps slowly dying and I don't want to take the alternator out to get it tested unless I absolutely have to. I had messed with it for a while and i cleaned the cables where they plug in the alternator and for a few days it ran fine the battery seemed to charge slightly and then again it started to die. So i'm kinda stuck recharging my battery a whole lot I think the people at advanced auto are getting sick of seeing me. If it's possible that it could just be a bad cable that would be nice but an honest opinion is appreciated ASAP I have to work TUESDAY!

    ~Smunchie
     
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  3. ricaandjohn

    ricaandjohn Member

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    i would say its an alternator problem
     
  4. ricaandjohn

    ricaandjohn Member

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    New alternator definately.
     
  5. ricaandjohn

    ricaandjohn Member

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    yup its the alternator...
     
  6. Tbars4

    Tbars4 Moderator Emeritus Elite In Memoriam

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    alternator....hmmm did somebody already say this, lmao...also could be the voltage reg. but i beleive its built into your alt...i am suprised advanced auto hasn't hooked you up to their machine while your truck was running...some parts stores like autozone wheel a cart out to your vehicle and test your system for free...you might ask them while your are buying your alt...
     
  7. Smunchie

    Smunchie New Member

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    thanks

    thanks a lot guys now i know what the hell to do! woohoo
     
  8. shamaal

    shamaal Well-Known Member

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    Sorry. but IMO I give it a even chance between the battery and the cables, particularly at this time of year.

    I take it the battery has been checked at Advanced Auto, so you know it's good. Next I'd take a real good look at the battery cable connectors that go to the terminals. If you can twist the connectors on the posts they are not tight, If you haven't already get yourself a post cleaner and shine everything up. Be suspicious of the crimp on connectors, they corrode internally and you can't see it.

    You don't say what year Explorer you have, but problems in the voltage regulator causes my voltmeter dash gauge to jump around.

    Finally, before changing anything bring it to a place that diagnoses for free, Sears is one, the other car stores (advanced auto; autozone) may do it also.

    Good luck and let us know how it works out
     
  9. ld50

    ld50 Oh, the money you`ll blow Elite Explorer

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    If you ever suspect your alternator is not working, all you have to do is disconnect your negative battery cable while the engine is running, if it dies, your alternator is fried.

    Alternately use a multimeter on your battery with engine off -should read around 12.5 volts, then start engine, and check again, voltage will be higher if alt is good, somewhere past 13.
     
  10. Smunchie

    Smunchie New Member

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    me again

    well it's a 98 ford explorer sport 2wd 4.0 V6 , and i don't know if it is a SOHC or OHV now the suggestion to unhook the negative side of the battery i did that and it kept running. I did this test on an old battery that was in the car and it didn't work so i have a new battery and I repeated and it worked just fine like nothing was ever wrong. my battery is cleaned up but i guess ill just go get a quick diagnostic on it at advanced or some place free =] anymore advise or suggestions is greatly appreciated thanks guys peace

    ~Smunchie
     
  11. AMMO_HOOAH

    AMMO_HOOAH Active Member

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    Ya, you definitely need to take it to autozone or AA, and have your charging system checked.
     
  12. ld50

    ld50 Oh, the money you`ll blow Elite Explorer

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    I don`t think it is your charging system, they rarely go intermittent, at least I`ve never seen it.
    Has your truck ever died while driving and needed a recharge, or does it only die when it sits?
    Is it possible you have a current drain somewhere?

    A quick check for a current drain is to take the neg terminal off, make sure nothing is on in the truck, key off, doors closed, under hood light unplugged, etc. and use a 12volt test light between the terminal and the battery post. you can get them cheap from any parts store. If it lights up, there is enough current leaving your battery to cause a problem with battery life.

    then you can start taking fuses out till the light goes out and you will know at least what circuit it is on.

    This can be done with a ammeter too of course, any current drain more than
    .05 milliamps is not good.
     
  13. trucku

    trucku Well-Known Member

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    I used to check my cars that way, but I read here someplace its a no no to disconnect the battery and let vehicle run, especially with all of our computermabobs.


    I vote use the meter.


    But in any case since the vehicle is still running when battery is disconnected you must have a load or a short someplace.

    I had a dead battery issue a while back. The truck ran fine, but when I shut her off, she would not start. Everything looked peachy, but when disconnected the battery terminals they had corrosion under them. I cleaned it with the wire terminal brush and everything was good. Coat the terminals with dielectric grease.

    Good luck
     
    Last edited: April 9, 2007
  14. ExplorerDMB

    ExplorerDMB Moderator/Technician Moderator Emeritus

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    I would not do that with a newer vehicle. Doing that now a day may damage the PCM. The proper way to do that now to full field the alternator is to use the scanner. But that was a good test for the 80s and early 90s!

    -Drew
     
  15. ld50

    ld50 Oh, the money you`ll blow Elite Explorer

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    I`m not saying let it run, your battery does protect from voltage spikes from the alt, so I wouldn`t drive around like that, and I wouldn`t spend to much time fiddling with the cable at the battery.
    This is the check for people who don`t want to buy a multimeter, and already suspect a fried alternator. If done quickly and properly shouldn`t ruin anything that wouldn`t be ruined in the first place. I doubt a vehicle exists that is so sensitive that a break in the battery circuit while it`s running would wreak all sorts of havoc on computers and such.

    -that being said I`m just a backyard hack anyways, and this is all just my opinion! :D
     
  16. trucku

    trucku Well-Known Member

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    LOL.....


    I guilty of it....LOL. Figure I would be the lucky one to kill my truck, so I don't do it anymore.
     
    Last edited: April 9, 2007

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