alternator bad? or going bad? or bad groud or positve cables? - Focus Fanatics
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:52 PM   #1
Focuslu86
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alternator bad? or going bad? or bad groud or positve cables?

So my battery light came on when I put my turning light on, and then it disappeared. After that I decide to take my car to an auto parts to test my battery, starting system and charging system. The battery and starting system cam out to be normal, and the charging system was "overcharging" (high). Does that mean that I have a bad alternator? The car runs fine, but I have noticed that my head lights fickle. I tested the battery myself, and got 12.4 V (engine off), and then turned the engine on and got between 13.4-15.0 V. I then applied load (ac, lights, radio) and stayed within the same voltage 13.4-15.0. I then rev the engine to 2000 rpms and got the same values as well. Can a bad ground or bad ground cable or bad positive cable cause this problem? I do own a ford focus 2001 zx3 2.0 DOHC.


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Old 04-18-2014, 08:28 PM   #2
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Yes & yes. You need an $80 Pos & neg battery cable and an OEM alternator.
Been there, done that!
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:15 PM   #3
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Don't forget to check the Alternator pigtail as well.
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:20 PM   #4
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I have also noticed that the car seems to want to stall at idle, just struggles a little bit to stay running. I have had this issue for a long time if I think about it..does this mean bad wiring? pigtails or pos & neg cables? rather than the alternator?
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Old 04-19-2014, 12:14 AM   #5
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Could be the PCV valve hose that goes into the intake manifold, that's been known to cause idle issues.
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Old 04-19-2014, 11:19 AM   #6
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I guess a good rule of thumb is to do the cheap (if not free) stuff first. Sleepyboy can attest that last night I had a fickle issue and all I needed was a better ground.



Check your grounds all around, double check your alternator pigtail, check the PCV hose as mentioned, and check that all your battery and power connections are snug, clean, and make good connections. If none of that helps, then start looking at the alternator issues. It seems that the power is being made (you're reading enough voltage) but it just may not be delivered appropriately (which means check your wires).





If all else goes screwy, I have had before where the alternator made power like it is supposed to, but the voltage regulator pooped out and so i no longer got consistent voltage. If that is the case, you can either get a new alt, or get your current one rebuilt.
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:38 PM   #7
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^^Up, crazy how a that worked out since it was working fine before, glad you got it fixed.


To the OP you may also want to consider the power wires as well. I went through 3 alternators before replacing the cables and I haven't had a problem since.
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