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Old 11-20-2013, 07:01 PM   #1
lfreng
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16+ volts and a battery light

been doing some searches on this forum regarding my issue and seeing some somewhat similar symptoms but wanted to describe mine and see if anyone has experienced this.

2003 Focus SE Wagon/Zetec Dual overhead. I replaced a bad alternator about 2 years ago on this. Replaced the original with a alternator purchased directly from Ford as the other ones I tried to install from Oreilly were not working. Apparently aftermarket ones tend not to work very well in these cars. This week the battery light has been coming on intermitently and the dash gauges started swiping back and forth. Car still runs smooth while this is happening. These symptoms are more pronounced when accelerating and at lower speeds. Once I am up to highway speed I might not see any battery light for 10+ miles.

I got the car home and started to poke around a bit. I let the car sit overnight and tested the battery (key off) in the morning and saw about 12.9 volts, started the car up and was registering almost 17 volts at the battery! obviously that is high. I know there are issues with the pigtails and such at the alternator connection behind the engine. These should be good as they are relatively new although I will try monkeying with them tomorrow too. What steps should I take to try and isolate the culprit. I understand it could be grounds/regulator/bad alternator etc.

A side note I pulled the rubber boot off the rear hatch to expose the wiring harness that runs to the rear door and there were a couple of broken wires and most had cracks in the insulation. I separated them and put liquid electrical tape on them and then re taped them so there shouldn't be a possible ground issue anymore back there.

Any ideas where to start first? A new alternator is $300+ from Ford and I don't want to start there first in case it is something else. Appreciate any feed back.


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Old 11-20-2013, 09:22 PM   #2
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Generally very high voltages or spikes are caused by a failed voltage regulator within the alt; most other failures lead to low or no voltage output.
A voltage that high will likely damage your battery - and perhaps other sensitive electronics - in relatively short order.
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:31 PM   #3
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Or the voltage sensing wire is broken / high resistance

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Old 11-23-2013, 07:18 PM   #4
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Or the voltage sensing wire is broken / high resistance

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How does one go about testing the sensing wire?

I know that it is the blue one. But, where does it end? I really need to know so I can(as well as the OP)test it.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-23-2013, 07:31 PM   #5
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You can only really check for continuity/low resistance since it's a simple straight shot from the alt to the PCM pin 72.

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Old 11-23-2013, 08:44 PM   #6
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I agree either you have a bad alternator reg or the wire for the voltage regulators having issues. My car (SVT Contour) has wiring problems they run the wire all the way to the fuse box then back down causing pulsing in the voltage out put (very annoying at night with the headlights) we just cut it wire in a terminal and bolt it to the main power out put on the alt it's actually a for TSB for the cars.
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Old 11-25-2013, 03:42 AM   #7
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You have a bad alternator. You better change it soon or you will be blowing light bulbs and the battery will overcharge and boil the the water away. This happened to the wife's Civic. You are also wasting a ton of gas due to the alternator needing a lot of torque to turn it. A good alternator should read 13.5 volts and if the battery is very low to a max of 14.5 volts. This is very common when the regulator goes defective in the alternator.
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:22 AM   #8
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This has happened to a lot of Focis. Of course like BC said, you want to cover all your bases. I always recommend finding a local rebuilder and taking your alternator to them. Most areas have an electrical parts rebuilder- you just have to know who to ask if you don't know of the company off hand.
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Old 11-25-2013, 07:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVOFANATIC View Post
I agree either you have a bad alternator reg or the wire for the voltage regulators having issues. My car (SVT Contour) has wiring problems they run the wire all the way to the fuse box then back down causing pulsing in the voltage out put (very annoying at night with the headlights) we just cut it wire in a terminal and bolt it to the main power out put on the alt it's actually a for TSB for the cars.
My lights have been doing the pulsating headlight thing as well for the last year or so. Now the high voltage issue. Which wire did you cut and run to the alt power, the blue? I am assuming you just used an inline fuse instead of it running up to the fuse block in the car...
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Old 11-29-2013, 09:41 PM   #10
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A little follow up. Here is what was originally happening. Intermittent alternator light. Gauges sweeping back and forth when alt light was coming on. Checked all the grounds and the pigtail that was installed. All looked good. Battery was checked. Tested good, only 8 months old but wanted to make sure. Checked across the battery when running and it was bouncing between 14.9 and 17.1 volts. Went to Ford dealer got an alternator , swapped it and now I am getting a consistent 15.21-15.22 volts, still high in my opinion across the battery when running but I am used to working on mid 90's trucks, newer cars might be different. Gauges are not sweeping back and forth though but the battery light still comes on and now it is on constantly, turns on about 10 seconds after start up. Think it could be an bad reman motorcraft alternator? Thinking about just running it to Ford to have them test it on the car prior to pulling it out. PITA as to do.
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