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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2000 Windstar, 3.8.
A few months ago I had to do some repairs on the a/c, a few leaks, freon, worked well.
Just before that I had replaced the 02 sensor and all was good, till it threw the same code but with some electrical issue that no one could find. Mechanic refused to replace the sensor again because he knows the one in there is good. So engine light is still on.

A few weeks ago I had the a/c on, high, it was working really good, then there was I guess a surge, the fan got louder and the air got colder, I dismissed it. About two weeks ago it happened again.

Then today I turn on the a/c and it keeps surging, sometimes when I step on the gas, sometimes for no reason, a few times it surged 3-4 times. I thought this had to do with the a/c and I would have to make more repairs on it, and I haven't even paid off the original repair yet.

SO then the battery light comes on for about 20 secs, then I was thinking, maybe that's why the a/c is acting funny. So I was in the middle of running errands and I kept the car running just in case it didn't want to start.

I went to O'Reillys, they said they they can't get a reading on the battery, but I know they can because my battery always shows up as not charging.

Also, the past few weeks I'm having more than usual accelerating issues, today I was stepping hard on the gas and it was not moving as usual, but I thought that was the engine or tranny failing, still could be.

Could ALL these issues happening due to a bad alternator?

Is is possible it could actually be just the battery, and I ask that because I have to keep replacing the battery under warranty because it says it's not holding or getting a charge, I have replaced the battery I think 3 times in the past 3 years, for the same reason. Or could the alternator have been bad all this time?

Oh, the belt was changed about a year ago, or little less.
 

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Yes the alternator or regulator could be a problem. Check the output voltage. Best to check just after starting so that it is actually charging at the time.

Around 14 volts is about normal. It can be a little above or below that say 13.5 to 14.5 but anything too far outside that window could be a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. Isn't this something they could do at Autozone? I'm sure my mechanic can't look at it until the end of the week. Stupid question, is the alternator and regulator the same thing, or different parts?




Yes the alternator or regulator could be a problem. Check the output voltage. Best to check just after starting so that it is actually charging at the time.

Around 14 volts is about normal. It can be a little above or below that say 13.5 to 14.5 but anything too far outside that window could be a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I went to the mechanic today, he checked the battery and the readings were good, he checked with the lights and a/c on, good. Then he asked me to put it in drive and the numbers went down a little, I think he said 2-3 under the min. Repeated all those steps and the same thing. He also said the alternator was burning. So he says it's the alternator, or rather lets start with the alternator.

Does this sound about right?
 

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" He also said the alternator was burning." Never heard that term used before . From what you say , alternator needs replaced . Battery may be o.k when alternator replaced but really needs load tested . I prefer the older type battery tester compared to the digital meter type for testing for weak cells and general condition .Something similar to this ,

 

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" He also said the alternator was burning." Never heard that term used before . From what you say , alternator needs replaced . Battery may be o.k when alternator replaced but really needs load tested . I prefer the older type battery tester compared to the digital meter type for testing for weak cells and general condition .Something similar to this ,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ReAKwDX2FQ
He didn't use either of those, he had this big rolling machine he used. My concern now is the battery after I change the alternator. As I mentioned above, I had to replace the battery under warranty 3 times due to the computer saying it's not getting/holding a charge (but still worked).
 

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If battery not holding charge and they replaced it under warranty it must have been faulty . If in doubt get them to check the one you now have .He should have told you the alternator readings . " I think he said 2-3 under the min. " that is not really helpful .The other thing is if your battery is faulty the alternator has to work overtime to try and recharge .
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If battery not holding charge and they replaced it under warranty it must have been faulty . If in doubt get them to check the one you now have .He should have told you the alternator readings . " I think he said 2-3 under the min. " that is not really helpful .The other thing is if your battery is faulty the alternator has to work overtime to try and recharge .
He said the the numbers, when the car is in idle, with and with out the lights and a/c, running was at the lower end of the min, and when I put it in drive it dropped to 2 or 3 under the min. So one can only assume it was running at about 13-14, and when in gear, about 10-11. I do notice when I put the car in drive that the interior lights do drop, as well as the a/c, I thought this was normal. And when the a/c surges it only when I'm accelerating.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I just went out, battery light came on by the time I left the parking lot. Car drove as it usually does, rough, the light stayed on the whole time until I got home. I didn't turn anything on but the lights, and when I did, as driving, the interior dimmed, about halfway. I turned them off.

I know it's hard to give a definitive answer, but if anyone were to guess, battery or alternator?
 

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Alternator is a definite, due to lack of support from the alternator, the battery may be going as well. As Logan stated you should get the battery load tested.
 
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