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Old 11-09-2003, 12:24 AM   #11
vanace
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It just frustrates me that anytime someone says "my lights dim" that someone else says, you need to buy a hopped up alternator, when that just simply isn't the case

Your a little off here. My lights dim slightly, all stock, as it came from Ford, when I put the heated seats on. think of amps as capacity. Sure, you might have a battery with 550 cold cranking amps, but a 35 amp alternator will allow the lights to dim before a 35 amp alternator. I do beleive The circuts are made so the power draw when running go to the alternator first, and if over burdend, to the battery. So the stock alternator could be over burdend and draw on the battey to keep it going.
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Old 11-09-2003, 11:32 AM   #12
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looks like RPIJG was pretty much right on the rating. according to my work's website (www.kragen.com), it looks like the alternator is 110 amps for the zetec, and 105 for the SPI. vanace, you assumption as to how the charging system works is more accurate. everything pulls off the alternator, then goes to battery as backup. provided you have a good battery that's fully charged, it's not really the high loads that kill an alternator as much as the surges, and that's where a cap helps out. caps only discharge as fast as they charge if you ground them.

Mike

PS- on a total side note, never disconnect your battery to see if your alternator is OK. it worked on older cars, sure, but it really can screw with the electronics in newer ones.
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