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Old 09-30-2010, 06:56 AM
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Battery light

After searching every battery/alternator thread in this forum I can't seem to find anything that matches my problem, so please help me out.

I have a 2003 v-6 escape 4x4. It's had 2 motorcraft alternators put on it in the past 18 months. After sitting for 8-12 hours, when it's started, the battery light is on and the vehicle is running on straight battery. After it starts to get warmed up the alternator will intermittently charge and after it gets warmed up or driven a mile or two the battery light will go out completely and not come on until the vehicle cools down completely again. While driving the light will flash like it has a loose wire, but I've checked the wiring extensively and can find nothing. Voltage output on the alternator is very good. BTW--the alternator doesn't have 30K miles on it and the previous 2 alternators did virtually the same thing. The battery load tests good and the alternator is always showing output by the time I can get it to be tested. Anyone have any clues??? It's almost like the "regulator" is waiting on a signal from the PCM to start working.
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Old 09-30-2010, 07:29 PM
danmansjimmy danmansjimmy is offline
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still could be battery, had a few at shop where similar problem, turned out too be battery even though when load testing, they tested good maybe just try a used battery if avaiable and see if problem is fixed
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:25 PM
tcesni tcesni is offline
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A couple of years ago my original alternator failed and it was replaced with an aftermarket piece. That lasted about 1 month and that alternator failed. The second replacement alternator lasted about 1 week before it too failed. And by failed I mean that the battery light came on and shortly thereafter the car stopped running. So now I have a 3rd replacement alternator installed. This has been fine for over 2 years except that my battery light occassionally comes on, sometimes it flickers and sometimes it is off but not matter what when I check the output of the alternator everything is normal. I now just ignore the light. Have you checked the output when the battery light is no? I'll be that everything is normal.
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Old 10-01-2010, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by tcesni View Post
A couple of years ago my original alternator failed and it was replaced with an aftermarket piece. That lasted about 1 month and that alternator failed. The second replacement alternator lasted about 1 week before it too failed. And by failed I mean that the battery light came on and shortly thereafter the car stopped running. So now I have a 3rd replacement alternator installed. This has been fine for over 2 years except that my battery light occassionally comes on, sometimes it flickers and sometimes it is off but not matter what when I check the output of the alternator everything is normal. I now just ignore the light. Have you checked the output when the battery light is no? I'll be that everything is normal.
When the light is on the alternator output is 0.....battery voltage is a little lower than 12v because the engine is running. I can hear the alternator start charging because it loads the motor and the light goes out for about 3 seconds then quits and the light comes back on. After a short while the light goes out and it runs normally. It's crazy.
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Old 10-01-2010, 10:09 AM
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Definitely crazy. Good luck.
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:48 AM
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Well......it finally gave up the ghost, I guess........120 miles from home at midnight and now she's stranded. No warning. All the dash lights came on and it she managed to coast off the interstate and into a truck stop with a dead battery. Hopefully replacing it with a hot battery will get her home and I won't have to rent a car dolly......what a POS arrangement this has been.
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:41 PM
Brad99SD Brad99SD is offline
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What did you find out?

I have a friend who is having the same problem with the light coming on for a few miles than going out. I havent t-shooted anything yet with a meter or anything but i was just wondering what happend. He just had is alternator replaced a few months back too. Weird problem!!
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:25 AM
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I replaced the alternator with one I took of my superduty (replaced with higher amp) a while back and all is good again. I haven't bothered to have the old one tested yet because I haven't had time, but I'm really curious about why it only lasted 30K or less miles.
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Old 10-27-2010, 03:34 PM
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Look at connector #c134 (under the battery junction box) pins 13 and 32. Those are power coming from the battery. Bad problem with water intrusion. Good place for dielectric compound.
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Old 10-29-2010, 02:49 PM
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I am having the same problem with my '03 Escape's alternator. I've got a voltmeter plugged into the cigarette lighter socket and can see it's charging OK when the battery check light is off and running on the battery when the light comes on so at least I know the check light is working correctly.
The check light goes off when I accelerate hard so I am thinking that either the power leads are loose or maybe the whole darn alternator is loose. But I'm not used to working on this thing (used to be the wife's car until we bought her an Explorer to use) and I don't know where the heck the alternator is hiding.
I called a mechanic I use and he mentioned that he replaces the alternators frequently on Escapes and the Mazda look-alike because they tend to overheat and fry some components in the unit. Anyone ever heard of that? If true there must be some way of getting cooling air down on it (wherever it is...). He also mentioned that he has to pull the front drive axle to access the alternator and the whole job takes about 3.5 hours to replace it. What? May I please have a word or two with the Ford engineer who came up with that arrangement?

Good luck to all of you with this problem!

Jack
'79 F250 360V8 (alternator easliy accessible)
'90 E150 300 (alternator accessible with some difficutly)
'95 F350 7.3L Powerstroke (alternator right on top, thankyou)
'03 Escape V6 (haven't found darn the alternator yet!)
'08 Explorer (wifey's car - no need to look - that's what AAA is for)
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:05 AM
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Nice Ending to my Alternator Problem

Just to update my last post- I took the Escape in to my mechanic (Michalak's in Souderton, PA) and he reviewed my past history. The alternator had already been replaced less than 3 years ago so he went to bat for me and managed to convince NAPA to replace the alternator for free including the labor costs. I'm pretty delighted with NAPA and how they stand behind their parts and hope to give them a little more business in the future whenever I need parts for sure!
Also, I plan to try to duct cooling air down onto the alternator somehow to help keep it cooler. (It's located in such a dumb place on my '03!) I have some 3" ducting left over from my old Army days when I worked on helicopters that I think I can squeeze and run down to it. Apparently the alternator is overheating and frying electrical components due to a lack of good air circulation.
Hold onto your receipts guys and keep them in a file. It really paid off for me!

Good luck - Jack
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:15 PM
CSFord CSFord is offline
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2001 Escape, I found these lights are very sensitive. Seems like they can go on when there really isn't an issue. Have battery tested and ignore??
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:17 AM
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Just an update on the alternator after having it tested and tearing it down. ONE of the brushes was worn so bad it would occassionally make contact with the slip ring. The brush that was making contact cut a serious groove in the slip ring. Guy at the alternator shop told me that if it wasn't for motorcraft alternators they would be out of business. Sad.....so sad. Best trucks on the planet with crappy alternators of all things.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:08 AM
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I disagree about Motorcraft alternators. I have 250,000 on my factory alternator in an 87 sable. Replaced the brushes at ~175k. Cleaned and greased the rear roller bearing. Took it apart again last summer before a 1k trip, and was able to grease the front bearing forcing grease past the seal with my fingers. The bearing felt 'dry' when spun by hand.
They should last as long as the brushes aren't worn out, and the bearings work. The have a fan built into the pulley.
I think the 'rebuilt' was done in a back alley in a foreign country, or was a 'spray paint' rebuild. Some don't even replace the brushes...
I did have a problem of intermittent output after the last work. I forgot to tighten the 'spade' carrier to the alternator body, and the connection would make and break as the engine moved under load. My mistake.
tom
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:08 AM
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