Question about 1999 Mercury Cougar

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1999 Mercury Cougar *possible* alternator problem?

Hello, I'll start from the beginning

I recently purchased a 1999 Mercury Cougar 5spd Manual with 126k Miles and in pristine condition. 1 Owner, took wonderful care of her.

Her upgrades consist of a K&N Cool Air intake, Venom ECU piggyback, X Rear 1.5" alloy sway bar, and a catback exhaust, Ford Racing Sparkplugs and no clue what else. -From what i have found-

While driving from WA to AZ cruising at 80mph in Cruise Control, the car chugged, Lost all gauges, tac, odo, and MPH included. Car ran just fine for roughly 500 miles before we reached our next checkpoint, St George, UT. We brought the car to the Good Ol' Boys mechanic shop and got the problem diagnosed as a Speed Sensor going bad, had it repaired and the car ran like a top once more. After leaving the shop i pulled up to a Sonic for lunch stopped the car, went to start it and... NOTHING. Dead. So we cleaned corroded acid on the battery terminals and reconnected the Battery and whala!, problem fixed.

Well roughly a Month has gone by with no problem until the other night while cruising at 55 on a hwy, the gauges went haywire, my traction and ABS lights came on and started flashing, and the car went kapoot. Lost everything, wouldn't start, emergency flashers barely blinked ect.
Pushed the car over to the shoulder, played with the terminals, then turned off the Venom, and it started. Made it a whole block before it happened again. dead. **Interesting thing occurred when playing with the terminals. The radio turned on with the keys removed and the door open. ?!?!**
A friendly guy stopped with his truck and provided us with a jump. car ran just fine for roughly 20 secs after the cables were removed then took a poo again. He provided us with another one, and this time, once we removed the cables the headlights dimmed massively then everything shutoff after about 5 secs. we pushed it to the gas station and i got it towed later that evening. *highly recommend spending the $7 extra or w/e on your INS for roadside assistance, really comes in handy on those $200 tow bills**

The next day we went down to jump the car. After inspecting the K&N we noticed the Negative battery cable is rubbing against the Metal Mesh frame of the filter and the cable is bare. A friend noticed it smoking when we had the problem the night before. We put a rag between the metal mesh and the cable and the car started with no problems. hmm? it drove about 1/4 mile before dying again. Jumped. went for about 1/8 mile, died again. Jumped once more and it went about 1/2 mile, and then it died as i was parking it. While cruising down the road, when it was starting to die, the whole car chugged and jerked vigorously. SO we went down and traded in the old battery for a new one, old one was dated 2004. Put it in, and car runs like a charm. Come to find out, the Battery Voltage Sensing Fuse #7 was blown so the light never came on.

The car has started just fine, we taped the negative cable with electrical tape for now, replaced the fuse, and after a day of driving, the fuse has blown again so that when you turn the key to accessory before starting, the light does not show on the instrument panel. We purchased some more fuses and replaced it again, tried using all accessories in the car besides cruise control trying to blow it to see what wire we need to look for that might be causing a short, but are unsuccessful so far.

Does ANYONE know what the Godforsaken root of this annoyance is?
Other than its a FixOrRepairDaily


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  • 4 more comments 
  • matt_boelter May 26, 2009

    its a stupid light.

    Charging system

    Illuminates when the ignition is turned on and the engine is off. The light also illuminates when the battery is not charging properly and the vehicle way require electrical system service.

    The problem is, the fuse for that light blows, so i don't want it to blow so i know when my alternator is NOT working. I read over a post concerning a Datsun that when the fuse blew, the alternator would not charge. I'm hoping that's the problem and i can just find whats causing the fuse to blow and fix it.


  • matt_boelter May 26, 2009

    ** current fuse is not blown, light turns off after engine is on... like its supposed to**

  • matt_boelter May 26, 2009

    Hooking up the battery to a voltage meter gives us 12.35V.

  • matt_boelter May 27, 2009

    Possible Diagnosis

    Brought it to a mechanic, determined that when the car is revved above 2k RPMs the Regulator in the Alternator is not slowing down the amount of output to the battery generated by the Alternator therefore the fuse pops because the output goes almost to 14v when it should stay a constant 13v regardless of RPMs. Once that fuse is popped the circuit cannot complete thus the battery does not charge when car is being driven untill it is parked and started with a new fuse.

    *Possible* Solution: New alternator with an estiamted $300 Labor bill alone becuase this alternator is such a SOB to get to.. Yippy?

    Any Suggestions or alternatives before i go through with this? Im just gonna go through 10A fuses till i come up with some managable way to do this. Friday is deadline for solution. 3/30/09


  • matt_boelter May 28, 2009

    ya, 14 FROM the alternator is normal, but not FROM the battery. which is why the fuse is popping, it pops before it gets to 14. but the thing is, it doesn't stop, well, until the fuse blows. Got an estimate from AZ Motor trends for parts and labor $385. not bad.
    Pep boys quoted me $462 or something.


  • matt_boelter May 30, 2009

    alternator fixed. problem solved.

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Yes my battery light started coming on my cougar and i checked the voltage with a meter and the battery is showing the right voltage. but when i drive at night the lights goes dim and then to bright again. so can you help

Posted on Jul 19, 2009

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  • Master
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With the fuse in and not blown what is the battery voltage, Possible defective alternator?

Posted on May 26, 2009

  • 1 more comment 
  • Clint Smock
    Clint Smock May 27, 2009

    12.35 is not high enough. It sounds like the alternator is defective. If the regulator is shorted in the alternator it will blow the fuse.

  • Clint Smock
    Clint Smock May 27, 2009

    14 volts is normal. You don't want more than 14.6. Replace the alternator.

  • Clint Smock
    Clint Smock May 29, 2009

    Battery voltage is 12.4 but with the engine running you should read alternator voltage at the battery, 14.6. Still sounds like alternator, but I'll look up the diagram.

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