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I've got an odd problem with my '03 SVT. A friend had borrowed the car, so this is all second hand info, but should be reliable.

He was driving and there was a short lived burning plastic smell. At this point, the battery light started going on and off randomly AND he could hear the engine through the speakers. He brought the car back. I checked voltage across the battery terminals and got 12.6 Volts running. So, the alt appears to be dead.

I had never heard of the engine noise through speakers issue, but Mr. Google says it really is a thing. It's typically caused by a bad ground on a speaker or a short somewhere. However, I also remember reading threads here about bad alternators doing all kinds of weird things on Foci.

Before I replace the alternator, I want to make sure I'm not going to fry the new one. So, how would I pin down a short on the stereo circuit when it's always powered? Has anyone ever had this stereo issue with a bad alternator?

Thanks muchly for any light anyone can shed on this!
 

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Moved to General Tech Chat.

A perfect Stereo will still "whine" when the inputs (power/R/F) aren't good. That's typical noise from a bad alternator - at the power side the battery can't absorb all the electrical noise from the partial output & it continues to the stereo - on a radio station there's probably some R/F interference as well.
 

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Over the years i've dealt with several bad alternators on foci, most would whine through the speakers when they were dead or near dead.

The burning plastic smell could indicate a short elsewhere but inspect the alt first. See if the main hot wire going to the alt was melted right at where it connects to alt.
 
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