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Charging system light


Takanashi's Avatar
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06-11-03, 02:29 PM   #1  
Takanashi
Charging system light

Hello All, any info would be appreceiated:
96 Ford Taurus LX 24 valve V6

I let my son, "use" my battery to see if he could start his truck, his was dead, and we could not postion my vehicle to give him a jump, due to many obstructions.

I did not realize that some of the car's engine is electronically controlled by power from the battery even when it's not running. The battery was put back and the car started, but there is no power to the climate control and radio console. A fan comes on in the car and is blowing at full force, it will not turn off. Also, the charging system light comes on and stays on. I followed instructions in the owner's guide on how to allow the computer to "relearn" after a battery has been disconnected, but this has failed. I noticed that the power windows are sluggish and the sound of the door alarm is weak.

Since I know very little about such things, I called the Ford dealer, which is right down the street, to see if I could bring the car in for a quick check. They have no openings until the 25th! They told me try some place else if I needed something sooner.
Anyway, what I'm wondering is might I remedy this problem myself, or if I do try to drive it any distance to have it looked at, might I break down?

Aloha,
Cathy

 
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06-11-03, 02:53 PM   #2  
maadi_griffin
first be sure all battery connections are tight, second, how much of a drain on the battery did your son use to start his truck? the battery could be shorted.....just a couple wild guesses.

 
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06-11-03, 03:09 PM   #3  
I would check fusible links and all fuses as step one I think your son may have shorted something out during removal or replacement of the battery.Perhaps he hooked the cables up wrong at first and then switched them back.I've seen it before.

 
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06-11-03, 08:04 PM   #4  
Agreed! Check the cable ends to make sure thier clean and tight..Also check the negative cable on the other end, where it's bolted up to the transmission bellhousing.. I've seen a bunch of these break. Then the only ground connection is the small wire from the battery, to the radiator support (or fender). This provides enough ground for some electrical items, but not nearly enough for starting purposes..

 
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06-11-03, 09:07 PM   #5  
Start your car, get on the freeway, drive for 20 minutes and see if all your problems disappear.

 
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06-12-03, 02:10 AM   #6  
Takanashi
Well davo, sure enough I have found some fuses that have shorted out. Unfortunately, I attempted to correct my car problem again, before waiting for any replies! I started it, let it idle in neutral for a few minutes, then in P for a few when the idling was going crazy and all kind of warning lights came on: ABS, theft, oil, so I shut it off waited a minute and tried to start it again, but got only strange clicking and whirring sounds. I then took out the battery, cried, then came to check for any posts.

I told the boy about this forum and what was suggested to me. He finally came clean this evening and told me what davo had seen before "he hooked the cables up wrong at first and then switched them back." These kids think we were born yesterday!

At this point I'm wondering if I need to check ALL of the fuses and possibly the battery as maadi suggested? Basically, what should I do now? I really appreciate all of your help, thanks for taking the time.

PS Lugnut, I was attempting the very same thing you advised, but never made it out of the driveway, maybe tomorrow!

 
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06-12-03, 03:54 AM   #7  
maadi_griffin
if he hooked the cables up wrong while the battery was still on your car you may have some problems. however, i'd get the battery checked for a shorted cell. even if it appears to be at full charge, a shorted cell could be causing you problems. secondly, as was suggested, be absolutely sure you are following the manufacturers instructions for resetting the computer!! thirdly, be thankful the battery didn't explode when he crossed the terminals.

 
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06-12-03, 09:01 AM   #8  
Joe_F
Original poster:

Is the battery original to this Taurus? If so, pitch it, it's wasted and old. Batteries don't usually last this long.

As mentioned was the battery in this car when the terminals were reversed or was the battery removed, put into another vehicle and reversed in that vehicle?

Which is it? .

 
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06-12-03, 12:45 PM   #9  
Takanashi
Arrg....the cables were hooked up wrong in my car! I'm on my way to buy a new battery, should I check all the fuses before putting in new battery? Again, thanks for advice

 
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06-12-03, 01:14 PM   #10  
Joe_F
Yes, check them all. HOPEFULLY, that's all the damage which has been done!

 
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06-12-03, 01:43 PM   #11  
darrell McCoy
hopefully not, but I would suspect you fried the Alt. diodes, if'n a fuse didnt go first.

 
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06-13-03, 12:05 AM   #12  
Takanashi
OK Darrell, tell me more, because we found two blown fuses, which I replaced, and then installed the new battery - correctly. The car started and I followed manufacturer's instructions so that the computer could "relearn", it idled fine and everything worked. BUT the darn charging system light is still on. I'm afraid to drive it for fear that the battery will not charge.

This is the first time I've ever had to deal with "car problems", you've all been so helpful and am sure you've saved me a pretty penny so far. What is the next step? Big role reversal going on here, have to depend on my kids to cart me around when they're not working!

Mahalo everyone

 
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06-13-03, 07:34 AM   #13  
Joe_F
There is a good chance you've wasted the alternator by reversing the cables. .

Do an output check as noted in my "The Basics".

 
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06-13-03, 10:43 AM   #14  
maadi_griffin
i agree with joe. chances are you've done something to the alternator and it may be sensing "no charge" or falsely sensing a dead/low battery.
you can do one of two things: bring the car to have it checked (most places do it free thinking you'll buy one from them) or you can remove it from the car and bring just the alternator to them.

 
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06-13-03, 03:05 PM   #15  
I would take it to someone qualified to check it.No offense but you had no problem untill someone not in the know damaged your car.I'm not against DIY but someone doing it should have at least basic backyard knowledge.You have opened Pandora's box do you feel your son can do this safely without more added expense?If so fine,if not take it to Ford.


Last edited by davo; 06-13-03 at 03:46 PM.
 
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06-13-03, 03:40 PM   #16  
Takanashi
Yup, you guys were right. The alternator is shot. The nice thing is that I was able to go to the shop and not in total ignorance, thank you all. The good news is that they can replace it today, but it won't be cheap. Did not want to attempt a DIY for the reasons davo stated. Was glad to find this forum, you were all so helpful.

 
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06-13-03, 03:49 PM   #17  
I'm glad your car is repaired and with a warranty ,there is an a/c post on here that didn't have such a nice outcome.Yet lol

 
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06-14-03, 06:29 AM   #18  
Joe_F
Good for you, and you're welcome. Got away fairly scot free

 
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