Question about 2000 Ford Escort

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Replaced loose battery terminal and alternator light is now on

Not sure if alternator is overcharging what is the solution

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If an alternator overcharges, it will most probably spit out electrolyte from the filler caps or vents when run for a time. It may also become quite hot to touch.
Providing the engine is starting OK, and the charge warning light on the panel is not alight or flashing on and off, what you need to do is have a voltage check done on the battery with the engine running. If the alternator is OK, the voltage should be in the vicinity of 13.5- 14.0 volts (13.8 is the accepted "standard").
Any higher, it could indeed be overcharging.
Turning on the headlights should not materially change this voltage.
If the voltage is only around 12V or even less, turn on the headlights, and observe it again.
A low voltage can mean the alternator is not charging.

Posted on Jan 08, 2009

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The battery terminals should read 12V+-.2V when the car is off, and it should read 13V-14V+-.2V when the car is running. If it's lower, then your alternator is not charging your battery properly and if it's over, then it's overcharging and damaging your battery.

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You should also check to see if there's an issue with the alternator itself. It should read 13-14V +-.2V across the terminals with the car running and the alternator cranking.. If it's below 13, then it's undercharging your battery. If it's above 14V, then it's overcharging and damaging your battery

Other causes could be from the ECU which will also trigger the light to come on as the battery light doesn't mean just the battery / alternator, but any major electrical component

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i think the alternator/regulator is overcharging the battery. this explains the cd player turning on and off and the headlight blowing. overcharging also will boil the battery fluid down and trap explosive gases in the battery. when it got really hot because of the lack of fluid, the battery shorted out and ignited the gases in the battery. replace the battery headlight and alternator, and check the output of the system at the battery while running it should be between 13.6 and 14.5.

Mike

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