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Problems with Battery/Alternator AND Power Steering

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by tpenfield, October 8, 2011.

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  1. tpenfield

    tpenfield New Member

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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
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    OK, I got an unusual problem and have gone through the basics and then some. . .

    2004 Explorer 4.6 V8 AWD

    Symptoms:

    1) Battery DOES NOT hold a charge when engine is running

    2) Battery DOES hold a charge if vehicle left alone for a week or two.

    3) Battery idiot light comes on when engine RPM is under 1500 or so.

    4) Volt meter reads low after engine has been running.

    5) Power steering is sluggish (minimal assist and noticeable difference from normal).

    So, I thought common denominator is serpentine belt. I replaced the belt. It made no difference. Tension on new belt seems fine; it seems to be turning everything fine.

    So, I thought maybe battery - I replaced the battery. No difference.

    I don't want to keep throwing arts at this thing, and I am asking myself what are the odds that BOTH the Alternator AND the Power Steering pump would fail at the same time ??? :dunno:

    So, I am wondering if there is something about the power steering that relies on a properly working electrical system ??? If so, then I am thinking just the Alternator is bad.

    What else could it be? What else should I check/do ??

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  3. Robsbrd99

    Robsbrd99 Active Member

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    I'd say take one prob. at a time. First the charging issue, it doesnt sound like the alternator is charging. It should be between 13.5v and 14.0 at idle. If not,replace alternator.I like the factory ones better because some of the ones at advance will charge fine, but the light doesnt go off. You could try Rock auto for a new one. The bearings in the old alternator could be bad enough that the belt could be turning slower and causing the slow steering. While you have the belt off for the alt. spin all pulleys to verify all are good.
     
    Last edited: October 8, 2011
  4. tpenfield

    tpenfield New Member

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    Good idea to check the bearings. I would figure that the belt would burn a bit if there was too much resistance, but it is worth a check.

    Right now I have the battery charging overnight, so we will see if it can get up to the 13 - 14 volt range and how it holds up.
     
  5. D Hook

    D Hook Elite Explorer

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    Do you have a voltmeter to check the alternator while the vehicle is running? The dash gauge doesn't do much good; not as accurate.
     
  6. matt0248

    matt0248 Active Member

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    low output from the alternator can cause sensors needed to run the engine to give goofy readings, The PCM could be lowering the engine RPM too low, hence the power steering issue. Trace the charging problem first, then see about the power steering.
     

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