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Old 11-01-2010, 07:30 PM   #1
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battery causing alt overcharging?

Hello all,
I just bought a new (to me) 2007 focus Se with the 2.0 engine and automatic transmission. It has 27K ish miles and everything is very clean. Carfax reported this car to have had all the maitenance performed as necessary.

During the test drive, everything was great! However, the day after I brought this car home, Im talking less than 50 miles later, the turn signals quit working, the battery light and door ajar light came on. they went off and the signals started working again. later, i noticed that none of the cluster electronics were working. by the end of this trip the battery light would come on and stay on.

My boyfriend checked the voltage on the battery with engine running and was reading 15.25+ and noticed the battery was actually bubling acid from the caps. So, as he is a good mechanic, diagnosed it saying that the alternator is overcharging the battery causing the bubling and associated oddities. To confirm, we took it to advance auto to get an alt test. They tested it and showed 17+ volts unloaded, and 16+ loaded. The parasitic load was at a whopping 4.87 Amps! To confirm yet again, lol, we took it to autozone, and yes it was charging at 17+. They also noticed that the battery that was in the car was a 26R, wheras it called for a 96R.

The dealer said, the alt is fine because the car has only 27K miles. So i took it to his shop and they said the same thing that the battery somehow causes the alternator to overcharge the battery because the battery is bad???? WHAT? It seems they are mistaken...the batter is bad because the alt is overcharging, as evident by the boiling over of the bat acid.

They replaced the battery with a new lookin 96R. and that was it. So now ive driven 30 miles and havent had any problems yet. I took it to advance and had it retested and they said it was passing. No load at 13.8. Parasitic load was non-existent at 0.00 Amps.

Sorry for this long post but if anybody stuck with me i could use some oppinions. If an alt is overcharging the voltage regulator is shot. But replacing the battery does not fix a faulty vr? Right?


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Old 11-01-2010, 07:51 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjacobs80 View Post
The dealer said, the alt is fine because the car has only 27K miles.
Too funny. He probably meant the likelihood of failure is lower because of the low mileage.
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Sorry for this long post but if anybody stuck with me i could use some opinions. If an alt is overcharging the voltage regulator is shot. But replacing the battery does not fix a faulty vr? Right?
If the alt is overcharging, it's not necessarily shot. The alt "sees" the voltage at the battery and, if it's low, it ups its output to compensate. Replacing a faulty battery can take the excess load off the alt and restore things back to their normal "balanced" state.
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:08 PM   #3
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Agree^ The battery in any case should not bubble out.
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:32 PM   #4
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QUOTE FROM:
http://www.aa1car.com/library/2002/cm10220.htm

'NOTE: If a vehicle has a history of repeat alternator failures, it might mean the battery is not building up normal resistance as it accepts a charge. This, in turn, makes the alternator keep charging the battery at a higher than normal rate. The result is that the alternator runs hot, overheats and eventually fails from being over worked. The battery charging current should gradually decrease after the engine starts, and taper off to less than 10 amps at idle (with no lights or accessories on) after five minutes of running. If a fully-charged battery is still pulling 20 or more amps after five minutes of idling, the battery is defective and needs to be replaced."

i guess that kinda proves your theory BC ZX3. Thanks for helpin bounce ideas...!!!! I just hope that if this is in fact the case, no damage has been done.
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Old 11-02-2010, 05:25 AM   #5
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Overcharging alternator= you need a new VR, I suggest local rebuilder for price and reliability. I'm sure most of you have already gone through this. I didn't have a chance to read anything else, because I don't have much time this morning.

Check your YP, find local rebuilder, take alt in, tell them what's up, and it should only take a few hours if you talk nice to them. They have other work. These are the guys who rebuild your alternator when you take it to a local shop- it should cost no more than $50 at most $80, and then your local shop charges you retail price, easily double the max.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:08 AM   #6
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What wntwn said, the alternator itself needs a new voltage regulator, which means a different alternator, it is best (what wntwn said) to take the alternator to a local rebuilder because it comes out cheaper that way, might take a little longer, just a little, but im pretty sure the saved money is worth the wait.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:20 AM   #7
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Sounds like your car still has warranty, my advice is to keep the roadside assistance number handy and keep documentation just in case it dies after the 36K or whatever. My alternator issues started around 30K and went to 50K before the alternator was finally swapped. First it was battery, then vr, then alternator finally died about a year later. Ford reimbursed me for the repair even out of warranty abut it took some calls and letters.
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:14 PM   #8
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Posted via FF Mobile best guess from here is that someone ran the battery down, substituted a mismatched old one that was laying around, then traded the car in. Poor diagnosis & "fix", followed by get rid of it `cause it`s three years old.... New battery in good condition seems to have fixed your problem properly, so you should be good now. First step in electrical system diagnosis is "Install a Known Good Battery", since battery issues can mimic or cause many other problems. Keep an eye on things for a bit of course, in case there is another issue like a poor connection somewhere in the system, but from what you`ve told I don`t expect you`ll have any other charging issues for a long time...
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Old 11-05-2010, 09:37 PM   #9
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ok guys thanks for all of your input. obviously this whole ordeal has been extrememly stressful and for a while there i thought it was over.

my boyfreind was skeptical of the fix and it seems he was right. today, after about 100 miles i started having all the same symptoms again. guagues, signals, and such not working. bat light came back on. so i took it to advance again and they said it was charging at 17.09 volts under load. by the time i got it home, the (new) battery was leaking acid profusely and smoking heavily. once it all settled down i noticed the battery was actually swollen pretty good.

well i called the dealer and they said blah blah blah bring it in on monday, they couldnt care enough about a paying customers precious time. so as it seems, the alternator is what caused the previous battery failure, and the failure of this new battery.

i highly doubt that they did not know about this issue before they sold me a 10K dollar car that needed 300 dollars worth of parts out of the gate. they dealer said he actually drove it all week before we bought it.

can a bad battery cause an alternator to overcharge? evidence suggests it can, but not in this case.
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Old 11-06-2010, 12:25 AM   #10
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You know what. With all of us just on FF, that have had problems with our alts going bad. Sure seems like Ford would know about this problem. Maybe we could get a mod to open a thread that every one could sign, and we could send it to Ford. There has to a couple hundred if not thousands that have had this problem. IDK what do you guy`s think?
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