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Old 01-27-2012, 21:31   #1 (permalink)
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Freestar PCM question

Ok so every light in my car flickers. They never turn of just go dim and bright very fast and it's constant. Replaced the battery, alternator, plugs, wires, coil pack, cleaned and tighten every engine compartment ground and body ground, checked power coming into the head light switch and it is flucuating so it's no the switch. I have traced about 37,000 miles of wire to check for chaffing. (37,000 is an exargeration for all you serious people). All of this and not one of them has helped or worsened the problem.

This is what I can tell you I replaced a 1 year old interstate battery with a 65 ext series motorcraft because the other would not charge past 75%. The alternator is putting out 14.5v constant (all the time). I was told this is max output and should not be like that. The same person said hat could have damaged the other battery. The same person said the PCM controls the alternator and could be bad. Also said the freestar is notorious for getting water in the PCM and that it could be damages. We haven't actually opened it up yet. Extended warranty says they'll pay for the PCM and the programing.

So the ? Is do any of you think this is a viable option, could this be the culprit? Thanks....
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Old 01-28-2012, 05:13   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Freestar PCM question

14.5 v is usually the max output and means the alternator is working flat out all the time . You can get this if the battery has a weak cell and the alternator is trying to compensate for that . Even though the battery was replaced , wouldn't do any harm to load test it .If you can get the PCM replaced and the programing carried out under warranty I'd jump at it .
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Old 02-01-2012, 19:54   #3 (permalink)
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Ok, so here is a bit of an update.

After checking over things again, I have decided to move forward with the PCM replacement. Gave the shop all the warranty info and they made the call. Now here's the good part... The warranty company approves the cost and replacement of the new PCM, but not the programming. LOL, what a joke right. So I get on the phone with them and have it out with the guy in India, and explain that maybe cars don't have PCM's there but here in America and all over every other part of the world they cannot run without programming. I questioned their reasoning behind replacing a broken part with a new part to only leave the care inoperable. After 25 minutes on hold, he gets back online and says that his supervisor has approved a one time only programming, and that he would notify the shop of the new approval. Somethings I will just never understand.

Anyway, the shop ordered the part from the Dealer and it will be in tomorrow. So the car goes in at 9am and we'll go from there. I'll let you know what happens. I certainly hope this helps anyone else that is having this same issue.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:18   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Freestar PCM question

Update 2-2-12

Shop called and the new PCM is installed, but the problem remains. Arg, can on be made at myself for getting my hopes up. Said for $60 an hour they could have their electrical guy go through it. So I bit the bullet and agreed. I hope I don't regret this decision as last time the dealer did this and came up with nothing and I still had to pay. Very discouraging. :(
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:09   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Freestar PCM question

Okay, got another call from the shop. By the way I am trying to post all the updates as much as possible so that anyone that experiences these issues has a good bit of knowledge from my experience. So the shop said that the alternator tested good on the computer but that it still puts out 14.5v full time. So they proceeded to unplug the alternator from the PCM and low and behold the alternator continued to charge at 14.5v. They said that the alternator should have shut down once it lost the PCM signal to charge.

Well the alternator was put in at a different shop so once i pick it up I will take it there and explain the situation. It is still under warranty, so hopefully they will take care of their responsibility. I'll let you know more, when I know more.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:34   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Freestar PCM question

Thanks for all of the updates.
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Old 02-02-2012, 19:09   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Freestar PCM question

Ahh what a day it has truly been.

So I picked up the van and the PCM has fixed the bucking issue that I thought nothing about and the blinking TPMS light that I thought was just a low tire that I couldn't perfectly get filled to the right PSI.

I then took the car to the other service garage that put the alternator in back in October of 2011 and they of course were immediately on the defensive. Once I started digging I soon found out why... Turns out after my own investigation they charged my Extended warranty company the full price of a "New" Motorcraft alternator from the dealer yet installed the cheapest re-manufactured alternator in town. The installed the WWA P8404 from Advance Auto Parts. This alternator new to the everyday customer runs $135 in any Advance Auto Part store, however installer price is $116. This alternator has by far some of the worst reviews I've seen on a product. They charged my warranty company $357.50 for the alternator and an additional $85 to install it.

Unwilling to further deal with me once I brought my knowledge to their attention, I then called the warranty company. The warranty companies records indicate that the service center quoted them for a New Motorcraft alternator from the ford dealer, and NOT some cheap aftermarket re-manufactured. Fearing they would cause more harm than good to my car by taking it back, they instructed me to return to the place that did the PCM and have them install the Motorcraft alternator and the warranty company would pay for it and then they (the warranty company) would go after the other service center for the cost.

What a glorious day this has been, but at busted those slimy punks and my car is going to be fixed.

More updates to come.
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Old 02-02-2012, 19:28   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Freestar PCM question

It does sound like a good day. It's a good thing that the slime place didn't do any other work on your van and it sounds like a good Extended Warranty company. Thanks for keeping us informed.
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Old 02-03-2012, 21:25   #9 (permalink)
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It's been a long road, one that I don't want to soon travel again.

The new shop put in the New Motorcraft alternator and they say the lights no longer flicker and the charging system is stabilized. Absolutely music to my ears.

Total diagnostic and damage costs

Dealer electrical trouble shooting $104.86
Independent Shop Diagnostics $ 60.00
Independent Shop Diagnostics $125.00
New Battery (it fried the old one) $120.89
My portion of the original alternator $ 32.00

Total spent to diagnose a bad alternator $442.75
(This total doesn't even include the numerous hours I spent looking at it and driving it all over hell's half acre to get it looked at.)

The kicker is I made numerous trips to the shop where it came from and always got the same answer, "it's a short in your cars wiring, not our alternator".

All of this could have been avoided had they just put in what they claimed they were, which was a new Motorcraft 140amp alternator. So now the big question is do I have a legal case to recoup some of my losses should I decide to go to small claims court? I think I do, I have everything well documented. Not to mention they warranty company is investigating them for fraud now, not sure if I could get a statement from them but that would be great if I could. If you think about it I spent nearly as much on proving the alternator was bad as the warranty company paid for the new one.

What do you think? I'd like to hear your thoughts and suggestions. I am not sue happy, and have never sued anyone or business before but I seriously thinking about it this time.

Thanks,

Matt
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:43   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Freestar PCM question

I've never done that. It could cost more time than it's worth. Maybe small claims court. Keep us informed on what you do.
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