Question about 2003 Ford Windstar

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2003 Ford Windstar: Check Charging System alert

A few days after having my air conditioning system charged (refilled or whatever the proper term is), my Check Charging System alert came on my message center (along with the battery light on the dash and the alert "ding"). I had my alternator replaced in March, so I was pretty sure it was not the alternator (plus it was under warranty). I took it into the shop and they confirmed that the alternator was working fine, but it looked like the cap (again, not sure if that's the proper term) that holds the wires to the alternator needed to be replaced as the wires were stretched and worn. The technician had explained that the while the alternator was charging my battery, it was not doing it while the engine was idling only when the rpms were in a cruising level. He said the van wouldn't leave me stranded, so I took it back on Friday to have the part replaced. After leaving the shop and taking my kids to the movies, the alert came on again. On my way into the office yesterday morning the same alert came on followed by and alert (nothing in the message center) of the ABS, Activetrac and Brake symbols on the dash. The two separate alerts took turns flashing on every five minutes or so on the drive to the office. I called the mechanic and explained what happened and he suggested that he'd need me to drop off my van to take a longer look at it. I explained that I'm off on Friday for the holiday weekend, so that would be a good time for me (this was after he advised that it is most likely not something to be overly concerned about, but something we'll want to fix). I don't really know much about cars, but I do know computers. I was told a while back that if you don't address things quickly enough in this van that the computer will start "yelling" at you with alerts. I am wondering if perhaps since it took over a week to get the wire thingy replaced if the computer was yelling at me and perhaps now it's not registered that the part has been replaced as the computer needs to be rebooted (like installing or uninstalling some software on windows requires a reboot). If that's the case, is there a way for me to reboot the computer myself? I would be more concerned if it weren't for me having a total checkup (including the brakes) in March when the alternator was replaced. Thanks in advance for your help and answers.

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The computer system learns failey quick on vehicles/not the problem,,,have the tech, check battery load check,and check it for ac voltage if ur old alternator ,before it went out completey ,was charging ac voltage ur battery would have been sort of modified to ac voltage and now would be putting out some ac voltage,,,,this woul cause the problem ur having ,,,of course,me i would take the alternator back for a free replace ment and install a good 65 series battery or orbital or such brand so u have more than enough reserve power on hand and alternator doesnt have to work as hard

Posted on Jun 30, 2009

  • oblix71 Oct 24, 2010

    i am experiencing the same issue. But I have replaced both the alternator and the battery. This is when the check charging system light came on. I now readying the ecu. Any luck fixing this problem?



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SECTION 414-00: Charging System - General Information 2003 Windstar Workshop Manual
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    please rate

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