Old 12-20-02, 07:56 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 2
Question PULSATING(Strobe effect)HEADLIGHTS

I have a 1996 Ford Windstar, had the altinator replaced with a new 130 amp altinator back in march because the old one was making alot of noise, the bearings were going out.
For the last few months, the headlights will pulsate or flash very rapidly, not all the time but frequently. Drives a person crazy trying to drive a night. Even the dashlights and the radio display does it too, also the dome light when turned on at the same time the headlights are on. This only happens when the headlights are on,When this happens, you can shut the headlights off and the dashlights, dome light, clock radio light stop flashing. Seems to only happen when you put a big "load" on the electrical system. My guess it's the voltage regulator, but somebody told me the voltage regulator and the new altinator are all one unit. If this is true, do I need to get another new altinator again, or is there another problem that I should know about.
The altinator shouldn't be a problem to get replaced cost wise, I kept the receipt from the last repair job and it has a lifetime warranty.
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Old 12-20-02, 07:58 PM
Pendragon's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 1,839
You're local parts place can tell you if it has an internal or external regulator.
Old 12-20-02, 08:12 PM
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The voltage regulator is bolted to the back of the alternator.

Most remanufacturers simply test the existing regulator when rebuilding & it only gets replaced if it fails the test.

*Most* 'lifetime' alternators are garbage.

Check your battery cables and terminals at both ends. If they're clean & tight, return to the shop that installed the alternator & have it tested. Make sure they live up to their 'lifetime' warranty if (when) it tests bad.
Old 12-21-02, 08:53 AM
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I'm with Knuckles on this one.

Pitch that paperweight for a Motorcraft branded/rebuilt alternator and they'll be no problems.

The Motorcraft ones have the latest and greatest parts and upgrades and last the longest.

Many off the shelf ones are trash out of the box as indicated (not all).

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