1997 Ford Thunderbird Power Problems


Old 08-14-06, 09:32 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1
1997 Ford Thunderbird Power Problems

I have a 97 Thunderbird v-6 that did not have power at all when trying to start up. I replaced the battery (that they claimed was bad) and it ran for a week and now it is dead again. I took in the alternator to test it and they said it was a good alternator, but am going to replace it anyway. If it continues to not work what would be the next troubleshooting step??

Also, trying to get the serpentine belt to give some slack but cannot figure out how to get the tension down, any ideas?
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Old 08-15-06, 06:40 AM
carguyinva's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Shenandoah Valley
Posts: 1,147

why in the world would you replace the alternator anyway if it works?

first of all, charge the battery back up and then with a digtal volt meter, test the charging system on the car...removing it and testing it off the car is a waste of time in most cases.

here's what you do...

1. test the battery voltage and write it down (after charging it up, of course)

2. start the engine and with all accessories off and idling at 1500 RPM, test the voltage at the battery again and write it down.

3. now with the engine still running, turn on the headlamps (high beam), windshield wipers, rear window defogger, etc. and test the battery voltage again and write it down.

these last two steps are a little tricky but VERY important...and keep the accessories on for these last 2 tests

4. one meter lead on the negative battery terminal and the other one on the case of the alternator...write it down but don't worry if you see a minus sign on the meter display.

5. one meter lead on the positive battery terminal and the other on the large red wire on the back of the alternator (charging output) and yup...write it down.

now...here's how you interpret all of these readings

#1 should be around 12.6
#2 should be no more than 2 volts greater than #1
#3 should be AT LEAST .5 volts GREATER that #1
#4 and #5 should both be LESS that .1 volt (100 millivolts)

the first three tests establish a good battery and the ability of the charging system to respond to electrical need

the last two tests determine whther the electricity can get back to the battery to maintain a full charge.

good luck...

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