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Charging System problem


December 14, 2012
Reaction score
City, State
fairmont WV
Year, Model & Trim Level
03 Ford Explorer LTD
so i have a weird problem with my 2003 4.0 explorer while driving the other day out of the blue i got a check charging system warning light and beep and then shortly after i lost all dash lights, my stereo and speedometer etc but motor kept running as normal !! i pulled over let the engine idle for a while but still no power but engine still functioned as normal .
i turned off the motor and obviously it wouldn't restart and everything was dead, i opened the hood twiddled with the wires on the alternator and battery tried to start again this time i got dash lights stereo and dials for a few seconds then they died again, i immediately tried again and this time i got lights and everything but clicking too because the battery didn't have enough power to start the motor !
so my friend came and jumped started me and it started first time and the battery gauge was right where it was supposed to be i let it idle for a few minutes and then turned it off, i immediately tried to start it again and it started fine so again i let it idle for a few then turned it off again and it started again on its own no problem battery gauge still fine .
i drove it to my local advance autos who tested everything for me and said my alternator was running very well but my battery was shot !! so they replaced it for me .
now the next few days was trouble free driving until guess what the same thing has happened again except this time i saw it coming on the last 10 minutes of my journey i watched the battery gauge slowly getting lower and lower until it all died again , but again motor still was running fine !! now its sitting there and once again my dash lights are back etc but only clicking but the jump start worked and car is functioning as it should battery meter is right where it should be and car sems to have no problem !!
so please if anyone has any ideas what might be causing this then please give me some insight !1:mad:

Our 2004 had intermittent Check Charging System alarms activating. They were on and off kind of hit and miss. I tested the alternator with a meter and it was fine when I checked it on a couple of occasions. With 128,000 I bought a Ford rebuilt alternator and installed it. Everything is fine now. I disassembled the old alternator to find the inner slip ring ground way down and lots of carbon dust from the brushes. It was time. Maybe same for you.

I had almost the identical problem as the OP on my '05. after replacing the battery and going through three junk-yard rebuilt alternators, was still having the same problem... wasn't the alternator or battery. What it turned out to be was a corroded fuseable link on the harness coming off the battery. The combination of the salt they use on the roads all winter, and a bad shrink tube over the connection, it was intermittent connection, sometimes charging, sometimes not. $4 for a new link and a couple dollars for crimp connectors and some new shrink tube, and it's fixed. So check the fuseable link on the harness coming off the battery.

Now, a couple years later I'm having another issue - I'll post a separate thread for that one.

well changed the battery and the alternator, and touch wood it seems to be fine now !!!lets hope it doesn't turn out to be a corroded terminal i will be a little upset at the $400 i wasted