Question about 1997 Ford Windstar

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Battery Light keeps coming on in my 1997 Windstar

I have a new battery and new alternator, but the battery light comes on internittantly, like on the expressway when excellerating. Suggestions?

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1) Loose wiring between alternator and battery

2) Loose contacts on battery itself

3) Loose/failed or poor earth contacts on main engine earth strap

4) Alternator undercharging to less than 12 volts or intermittent no charge fault.

If all else fails testing your alternator is a quick and simple job. Even though its new it may be faulty. You don't need to take your alternator apart to test it and you don't need any expensive tools.

What you will need is a volt meter or multimeter. They are very simple to use and can cost as little as $15.

Here is what you do, simple car alternator test ;
Make sure all the accessories on your car are turned off (lights, radio etc.) and then rev up the cars engine to a fast idle (say 2000-2500 rpm). You will need the help of an assistant to keep the revs within this range.

Set the volt meter to the DC scale and measure the voltage across the battery terminals - red lead of the voltmeter goes to the positive battery terminal, black to the negative terminal.

With the engine at a fast idle, the voltage on the meter should read between 13.5 and 14.4 volts. As the alternator needs to generate a larger voltage than the battery's rated voltage if the reading is less than 12 volts then you have a failed alternator.

Hope this helps.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009

  • Radio Code Pro
    Radio Code Pro Jun 24, 2009

    I forgot to add - no 5) - check the belt driving the alternator is correctly tensioned and not slipping!!

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  • Expert
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Most likely there is a bad diode in the alternator. needs tested.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009

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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

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