2000 Taurus alternator problem?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by QueBert, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    I have basic car knowledge so I'm kind of clueless here, last night I drove my car a few blocks to 7-11 and back. Pulling out of 7-11 I noticed my battery light blinked quickly right after I started my car. When I got back home before I was able to get into my spot, the ABS/airbag lights came on, the dash dimmed and the headlights went out completely, the car did not stall though.

    I made it to my parking spot and shut it off, figuring it wouldn't turn back I tried anyways, I got the click but the engine didn't try to turn over at all. When I got out my headlights were back on and looked to be normal brightness. Tried this morning and it started normally, wasn't about to drive it to see what was going on as after last night I know there's a problem.

    Now I'm assuming it's the alternator, seems like an easy diagnosis. Right now I'm about 100 miles from home and my mechanic's there. Here is my question, I've heard 2 different stories from 2 different mechanics on this. One has told me if your alternator is bad and you put in a battery that has been deep charged you can pretty easily drive even a few hundred miles so long as you don't use radio/power windows and such. Another had said "no way" I'm inclined to believe the first because he seems to be very knowledgeable.

    My delimma is I don't have the cash to get it fixed here so that's not an option. But, breaking down and having to be towed would end up costing me as much as the alternator, plus I'd still have to get the alternator fixed (unless it happens to be something else) So my hoping is I can take the battery to Pep Boys and have them test it, if it's bad I get a free replacement, if it's not it will be deep charged. Would a deep charge be enough to get me about 100 miles? I haven't ruled out a bad battery but if that was the case I think it should have died last night before I turned it off and wouldn't have started normal this morning.


    any help here? I'm stuck in SD but I need to get back home soon.

     
  2. PCMarine

    PCMarine Diamond Member

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    interesting problem; I'd also like to know how long you can drive on just a battery.
     
  3. cprince

    cprince Senior member

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    I lasted about 20 miles on battery power when my alternator died. It was at night, so I have the lights on, plus it was an old battery. I think that a new, fully charged battery can last you 100 miles on the highway if you don't use headlights, radio, etc.. that uses electrical power.
     
  4. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    how old was the battery and had you had it deep charged right before you had this problem? I know a deep charge gives it a lot more juice. lasting 100 miles even on a new battery though isn't going to cut it for me, but if anyone else has experience here I'd love to hear it. My Alternator isn't dead, it needs replacement if it's the thing causing the problem, but it's still working or I couldn't have started the car again this morning.

     
  5. cprince

    cprince Senior member

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    the battery was pretty old. I did not deep charge it before the incident because I didn't know that the alternator would die on me.
     
  6. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    well to anyone who reads this and had knowledge, I'm around for a few more days then I guess I get a deep charge and hope it makes it, unless I get some definite info one way or another.
     
  7. LTC8K6

    LTC8K6 Lifer

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    Auto Zone and Advance Auto will test it for you for free, iirc. They will tell you if it's your alternator or battery.
     
  8. LTC8K6

    LTC8K6 Lifer

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    To get an idea of how far your car might go if the alternator quits, you can check the reserve capacity of your battery. Cheaper batteries have shorter reserve capacities.

    The RC is how long the battery can supply 25 amps, iirc.

    The RC's of batteries for my car range from 70 minutes to 160 minutes, I believe. The 160 is more expensive, but that reserve capacity may come in handy.
     
  9. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    thanks LTC8K6, I don't think the local Auto Zone has the alternator testing machine any more, maybe there's another around here that does. Never heard of Advanced Auto. I will look into the reserve capacity of my battery. I know on Taurus they hog up power but if I could get 120 minutes out of it I'd be good, something tells me with a ford even if it's a good one it won't be that long.

    I don't believe the alternator is totally dead, it might be a bad silanoid(sp?) which could cause the battery to drain faster but still give somewhat of a charge. Going to have Pep Boys test the battery because I bought it there and they'll replace it. Auto Zones are everywhere so I'll track a local one down that'll test my alternator good suggestion man thanks.
     
  10. cardiac

    cardiac Platinum Member

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    Quebert, it does not sound like the alternator. Could be as simple as a bad battery cable. If the vehicle would not start for you that night, how did it get charged up and start in the morning?

    This most likely would be a bad ground or bad battery cable. Try and pull both cables off the battery and clean the terminals. (Pull the ground first and clean it last). Dirty terminals will give you intermittant problems like that.

    Bob
     
  11. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    humm the terminals look clean, maybe a bad cable, that might be easy enough to replace by myself. The blinking battery light definitely wasn't a good sign. And I'm going to have the batter/alt tested, always better to eb safe than sorry, especially when I gotta drive back home and have no cell phone. If I break down on the freeway 6 miles from the next exit I'm screwed :)

    I will pull the terminals and really inspect them though can't hurt.
     
  12. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    *UPDATE*

    well the problem is fixed, had the battery tested and it was bad, no biggie right? So I buy another because I can't find my paper work to get the free replacement. Was sold a 36R, checked the battery in my car and it was a 56R. Checked online and my car infact takes a 36R.

    I had the battery die about a year ago and Pep Boys replaced it, apparently they sold me the wrong battery the first time, and since the last 56R tested bad they replaced it with the same battery not checking what car I have. Which makes sense since I did bring in a 56R, I find it funny I have been driving around almost 3 years with 2 batteries that weren't the right one for my car. The 56R is much smaller, I'm surprised I made it this long without problems, I had no idea it was the wrong battery lol.

    hopefully Pepboys will give me a refund on the bad battery when I find my paper work, hated spending $110 on a new one.
     
  13. alfa147x

    alfa147x Lifer

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    Hope you find the paper work
    and glad to hear it wasnt the alternator
     
  14. LTC8K6

    LTC8K6 Lifer

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    36R for the DOHC engine and 58R for the regular engine.

    Looks like the 36R also has quite a bit more RC.

    Glad it wasn't your alternator. :D
     
  15. steppinthrax

    steppinthrax Diamond Member

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    When you have an insufficient voltage in the electrical system it will have more of an effect on your computer based systems then anything. I remember in the two times I had a bad alternator and running on just battery with my other cars I would get delayed shifting and all kinds of lights with every system (Airbag, ABS etc....)
     
  16. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    you're glad it wasn't my alternator!?! not half as glad as I am :) Ford Altenators are expensive and impossibly hard to put in. My friends a master mechanic for Ford and claims it's "easy" swap them. I would have dropped probably $400 on an alt.

    Hopefully Pepboys will give me a refund on the old battery price, it was still within the 24 month period, but for all I know they'll just offer me store credit, I'm not even sure they give cash back. But, even if they don't I am very grateful it wasn't an expensive electrical or alt problem then I'd be in $$$ trouble for sure.

    the RC on the 56 was 100 it's 130 on the 36, to say it's a bigger battery is an understatement, it's a good 30% bigger. Not sure how a 36R would be bigger than a 56R they must have ex video card industry people coming up with smaller numbers that = better products :)

     
  17. LTC8K6

    LTC8K6 Lifer

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