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Since 2003, when I bought the Focus ZTW, I have changed 5 alternators, 3 batteries and 1 battery harness (the HD cables running from the battery to the starter and alternator). One alternator lasted only 5 weeks earlier this year.

The wife has been driving the reliable '99 Chevy Metro LSi hatchback for the last 3 weeks while I waited for a new battery harness to arrive (Motorcraft: $85.00)
The battery harness I replaced this last weekend and once I got everything back together the car was showing 14.7 VDC on the volt meter when I started it and it didn't move (actually didn't see it since I was testing, just assume) once I put it under load with lights on and AC on high. I figured that I had finally solved the problem

Yesterday , My wife calls and said that the car almost died on her. I get home from work and sure enough the battery reads 12.5 at idle and dropped below 12 VDC under load. This is BS and I'm sick of this Fucus. My wife is going to Advance Auto to have them test the charging system to verify that the alternator is bad. I will, again, replace it if that is the case, but what then? The damn little pigtail connection only goes to the idiot light on the dash, right? -its the only thing I have not replaced. I find it hard to believe that it is what is frying the stator inside the alternator.

This car has become the least reliable vehicle we own and I am very disappointed in Ford for not doing a recall to correct this obvious defect in their 1st Gen Fucus.
 

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Made you a thread of your own, as adding to an old one someone else was referencing would make keeping answers straight difficult.

Poor rebuilt alternators have been a plague (don't get amc49 started on the bad ones he saw at a store fresh out of the box). Whenever possible, a local rebuilder is recommended as the cheapest way to get a good result, likely to last for a good while.

The little pigtail connector supplies a reference voltage to the alternator, as well as communicating to & from the PCM both to control charging voltage & adjust engine output to match alternator load (stabilizes idle).

Stators & rotors are not usually replaced on rebuilds, rotor gets some "reconditioning". Poor internal connections to the stator are one possible cause for 'burning" them.

Better luck with the next replacement, lifetime warranties aren't a lot of help when you have to do the big job of replacement often.
 

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You can also find a good shop that will give you a 1 yr warranty on an alternator that they buy and install. It might cost a lot more but if you get another bum one you just take it there and drop it off. who knows you might get one that last another 5yrs. You never know.
 

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Diode plates and voltage regulators are the trouble with these, I've not changed a stator or armature yet. The OTC alts generally come with worthless five minute regulators in them and why you have so much trouble (and why you get the lifetime warranty, see how that works now?). 3 batteries in that car is not out of the norm which is a battery every 3-4 years. I don't care how long they said it would last.

I use nothing but better quality regulators that they say they use in the better high price alts but commonly do NOT to get more profit. One I resoldered a diode connection and still running after like five years now. One I put in brushes taken from a dead new cheaper regulator (remember how I said they lasted five minutes?) in a better regulator with dead brushes, that one now running for years too. Got a new rebuild I did setting on the shelf right now, only regulator was changed, waiting for the next foul-up to occur.

A reliable GM product? Don't go there..........look at the 15th recall this year done just two days ago...........and besides that the Metro not made by GM. A Suzuki product and as such not even comparable. The Chevy nameplate means nothing.
 

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The last time I went alternator shopping was typical of this kind of baloney.

First place I went was OReilly auto parts. Walked in, asked for an alternator, guy pulls a brand new 'rebuild' off the shelf. Opened the box, pulled out the alternator, politely asked them to test it on their alternator tester (this is before I even pulled out payment for it, remember) the guy hooks it up, fires up the tester - alternator is bad.

I then go to NAPA since OReilly does not have any other alternators. NAPA pulls an alternator off the shelf. I pull it out of the box, and turn the pully by hand - and I hear a bunch of scraping inside the alternator. To his credit the store clerk was embarrassed.

I then had to drive 10 miles to another NAPA which fortunately had an alternator that worked. (I had to have the car put back together by the next morning) It's still working, fortunately.
 

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Lucky you.................I tossed so many NEW ones when at the store it was not funny and the difference in so-called 'quality' impacting the price really did not show there at all. The 'better' ones failed as fast as the cheaper ones. Got to where we required a bench test on every alt we sold to simply weed out the bad ones and there were bunches. Common to find shorted leads and broken parts just in a cursory look. It's obvious the people making these could care less about how incompetent they look to us. The lifetime warranty basically is the only thing saving the parts companies from a federal fraud case. You get the warranty and all the part changing experience with multiple f/ups there. Lucky you. I quit and simply started building my own from the bad cores that failed quickly. Piece of cake and suddenly they quit failing. Funny as hell.
 

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Find a quality local rebuilder.
 
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