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Old 07-25-2014, 05:16 PM   #1
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Charging Light Issues

Okay my friends,

I have searched the forums and found many different cases in regards to charging light issues. This morning I had an issue when taking my 2002 SE in for a state inspection.

We left the house to make the 7 mile ride and all was fine. At about 3 miles the charge (battery) light came on. No issue at that point just the light. When I pulled into the parking lot the car died. I started it and as long as I feathered the gas it stayed stunning as soon as I took my foot off the bass it stalled. Needless to say I headed home and started reading.

I went out to drive it a few minutes ago but before I started I took some read ins with the mulitmeter and engine off and cold it read 12.17VDC, first start up I was running about 14.31 vdc at the battery and no light.

I took off and it wasn't 2 minutes and the light came back on. I stopped and this time the car ran and idled fine. I took another reading and it was around 14.98 vdc

Got back home shut it down and felt the belt and it did feel warm but I am not sure if I would call it hot however, there is a faint smell of burnt something.

I took another multimeter reading engine off and this is what to reads now 13.01 vdc:


I started the engine to check the charge and after restart it reads 14.19 vdc:


Another issue that I am concerned about is the positive battery post. This battery is less than 2 months old and look at the acid build up.


Lastly, I shut the car off and it makes a very weird noise, one that I have never heard before. I took a video and put it on youtube. Take a listen,

YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


I am really stumped here so any and all help will be greatly appreciated.

DJ



Last edited by djcook; 07-29-2014 at 06:55 PM. Reason: Pictures not working
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Old 07-27-2014, 02:25 AM   #2
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Clean that terminal and post. Then start over, post results and we will go from there.
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Old 07-27-2014, 05:25 AM   #3
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Put some grease on outside of terminal after you clean it too, it stops that corrosion. Simple like wheel bearing grease is all I use. Don't clean just the outside, pull the terminal off and get the contact area inside, so many just do the outside and think it's done.....NO.

You will ALWAYS have a slightly higher battery charge number right after running the car, it's called 'surface charge' and slowly drops off to a battery number that is more realistic after sitting say an hour or more. Why you always charge a battery and then let it sit before reading it. Modern alt checking devices have a provision in them to remove that extra charge off right there on the spot.

How old is battery? If old then the volts show it, these can show trouble at less than 12.3 or so volts (after say an overnight sit), new hot battery is 12.8+. The alternators are bad about popping diodes trying to keep a close to dead battery charged as it keeps internally running down too. By your numbers not there yet but if old battery you may be flirting with it.
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Old 07-27-2014, 04:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amc49 View Post
Put some grease on outside of terminal after you clean it too, it stops that corrosion. Simple like wheel bearing grease is all I use. Don't clean just the outside, pull the terminal off and get the contact area inside, so many just do the outside and think it's done.....NO.

You will ALWAYS have a slightly higher battery charge number right after running the car, it's called 'surface charge' and slowly drops off to a battery number that is more realistic after sitting say an hour or more. Why you always charge a battery and then let it sit before reading it. Modern alt checking devices have a provision in them to remove that extra charge off right there on the spot.

How old is battery? If old then the volts show it, these can show trouble at less than 12.3 or so volts (after say an overnight sit), new hot battery is 12.8+. The alternators are bad about popping diodes trying to keep a close to dead battery charged as it keeps internally running down too. By your numbers not there yet but if old battery you may be flirting with it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by freemind View Post
Clean that terminal and post. Then start over, post results and we will go from there.
I cleaned off both posts and cold the battery reads 12.72 vdc. Started the car and it reads 14.99 vdc.

I started my test drive and all was great until 2.8 miles when the charge light came back on. As I pulled into the driveway the car stumbled and died. Started it and feathered the gas as I got into the garage and as soon as I stopped feathering the gas it died. I got the wife in the car she started it and I had her keep in at around 2500 rpm (so it would stay running) and it read 14.8 vdc. Again once she tried to let it idle the car stumbled and died.

amc49, the battery is only 2 months old (approx).

I am at a loss here, any ideas??

Thanks in advance
Dj
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Old 07-27-2014, 04:51 PM   #5
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Hi. All of your DVM test results show no problems. However, you have not monitored system voltage when the problem initially occurs (when bat light comes on) when driving, right?

Use the forum search box at top of any main pages like this one;
http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/f...splay.php?f=47
Then search for "odo test mode". Enter and use the odo test mode while driving your car in Battery test/monitor mode and watch for unusual voltage fluctuations while driving. Please note that some voltage changes occur when AC is on and when engine cooling fans cycle on and off.

You might also want to search for "alt pigtail". Some people have had Alt problems that were fixed by repairing/replacing the alt pigtail.
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marde View Post
Hi. All of your DVM test results show no problems. However, you have not monitored system voltage when the problem initially occurs (when bat light comes on) when driving, right?

Use the forum search box at top of any main pages like this one;
http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/f...splay.php?f=47
Then search for "odo test mode". Enter and use the odo test mode while driving your car in Battery test/monitor mode and watch for unusual voltage fluctuations while driving. Please note that some voltage changes occur when AC is on and when engine cooling fans cycle on and off.

You might also want to search for "alt pigtail". Some people have had Alt problems that were fixed by repairing/replacing the alt pigtail.

I ran the odo test mode and while driving it stayed at a pretty constant 14.5 -14.6 vdc. The light came on as expected at the 2.5 mile mark but there was no fluctuation of the vdc until I pulled into the driveway. At that point the motor stumbled and the vdc dropped to about 13.6 vdc then back up to the 14.5 vdc. I pulled into the garage and it stayed running.

This picture is in the garage at idle with the air-conditioning off:



Turned on the air-conditioning and it only dropped to 14.4 vdc



Unlike the time before, the car continued to run and only staple that one time as pulled into the driveway.

Dj

Last edited by djcook; 07-28-2014 at 05:12 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 07-29-2014, 06:53 PM   #7
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Here we go with this afternoons effort. I pulled the coolant catch tank and power steering reservoir off and the ground just under the tank was a little loose so I tightened it up. check all the wires the belt tension etc and put in back together and off for another test drive I went.

Things were great, voltage was steady at 14.4 vdc until I hit that dreaded 2.8 miles and there was the dang charge light again. I watched the voltage and with the light on it still held at 14.4 - 14.5 as I drove. about 30 seconds after com in on the light went out just to come back on as I pulled in the driveway but this time the voltage was at 15.2 vdc and stayed constant:



I turned everything on and the voltage would drop to about 14.1. I turned everything off and back up to 15.2 again. After revving the motor a few times the car started to stumble on itself and tried to die. I posted a video on youtube of this and you can see the voltage being really erratic as this happens.

YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


I am really in need go some spoon feeding here.

Thank in advance
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:24 PM   #8
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Good job posting pics, the video and more details of the problem. You might not have a bat/alt/charging system problem at all. An engine problem that causes that kind of stumble & rpm drop will also cause the alt to slow down and cause the PCM to turn-on the charging light.

I did not previously watch ur video in the first post. I do not know what that noise is, but combining that with ur new video makes it clear that you should refocus your efforts into troubleshooting the engine, not the electrical system.

Have you ever seen the charging light come on when the engine did not stumble? Have you disconnected & cleaned the neg bat cable that connects onto the car frame inside engine bay on the drivers side wheel well?

I am hoping that one of the more veteran, better mechanics than me will chime in and give you some guidance/guesses on what might be causing ur engine to stumble like that. My first guess is there are two faults; a cracked coil pack (or damaged wiring going into into it) & a vacuum leak. Hmmmm...?
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marde View Post
Good job posting pics, the video and more details of the problem. You might not have a bat/alt/charging system problem at all. An engine problem that causes that kind of stumble & rpm drop will also cause the alt to slow down and cause the PCM to turn-on the charging light.

I did not previously watch ur video in the first post. I do not know what that noise is, but combining that with ur new video makes it clear that you should refocus your efforts into troubleshooting the engine, not the electrical system.

Have you ever seen the charging light come on when the engine did not stumble? Have you disconnected & cleaned the neg bat cable that connects onto the car frame inside engine bay on the drivers side wheel well?

I am hoping that one of the more veteran, better mechanics than me will chime in and give you some guidance/guesses on what might be causing ur engine to stumble like that. My first guess is there are two faults; a cracked coil pack (or damaged wiring going into into it) & a vacuum leak. Hmmmm...?
I have seen the charging light come on with out the engine stubble. As a matter of fact the car drives like brand new until the light comes on.

It all started on my way home one evening. The charge light came on and the car stumbled. Next thing I know I have a definite whine coming from the engine compartment. I got it home and put the stethoscope on it and the whine was coming from the alternator so I changed it. That is all I have done.

All of these new issues have been since I changed the altinator.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:06 PM   #10
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Oh, well that changes a few things then... so, yes, the electrical charge system can make the engine stumble. The alt (and system) can cause problems that disturb the PCM, and may not be seen in the odo test mode bat monitor.

First guess would be a bad electrical electrical ground or similar connection somewhere.
Repeat:
Have you disconnected & cleaned the neg bat cable that connects onto the car frame inside engine bay on the drivers side wheel well?

Second guess would be bad slices at Alt pigtail. Replace the splices if you have any doubts about the health of them. That is what I would do.

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/pco-5716pt/overview/

What brand of new/rebuilt Alt did you buy?

While car at idle, use a multimeter and check for AC voltage at bat.
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