98 ford windstar 3.8 not charging

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Old 12-31-07, 06:03 PM
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98 ford windstar 3.8 not charging

I have a 98 ford windstar I just bought. I was told it just needed an alternator. I had it tested and it was not good. I put a good alternator on but none of the instrument panel gauges work. the alternator is not getting juice to the battery. Do you have any suggestions.

Thank you
 
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Old 12-31-07, 07:04 PM
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At the alternator, what is the output voltage with the engine running?
 
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Old 01-01-08, 08:13 AM
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Check the fuses for the instrument cluster, the power feed to the alternator field runs through the cluster first, if the cluster isn't powered up the alternator won't charge.
 
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Old 01-01-08, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by hiflyn72 View Post
Check the fuses for the instrument cluster, the power feed to the alternator field runs through the cluster first, if the cluster isn't powered up the alternator won't charge.
I have checked the fuses under the dash and in the engine compartment. they all look good to me.
 
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Old 01-01-08, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
At the alternator, what is the output voltage with the engine running?
the technician at autozone said the alternator was receiving 10 amps and the battery 2 amps. Thank you to all that have helped.
 
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Old 01-01-08, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bigdaddy1957 View Post
I have checked the fuses under the dash and in the engine compartment. they all look good to me.
Are you certain that they actually have continuity? Sometmes fuses can "look good" but still not be allowing voltage to pass through. If you don't mind my asking, what method did you use to check them? Test light? Multimeter?
 
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Old 01-02-08, 04:08 AM
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Output is measured in volts, not amps in your case. If there is no voltage going to the battery, there is a continuity problem with the cable from the alternator to the battery. Alternators don't receive, they give. Batteries give and recieve, so have them give you the correct information so we can help. You should have about 14 volts exiting the alternator to charge the battery and run your system after it is started.
 
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Old 01-02-08, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by bigdaddy1957 View Post
the technician at autozone said the alternator was receiving 10 amps and the battery 2 amps. Thank you to all that have helped.
And just so you know....there are no "technicians" at Autozone....lol
 
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Old 01-02-08, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by fallen4shell View Post
Are you certain that they actually have continuity? Sometmes fuses can "look good" but still not be allowing voltage to pass through. If you don't mind my asking, what method did you use to check them? Test light? Multimeter?
I am guilty of just visually looking at the fuse. I will check them all again with a meter. Thank you.
 
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Old 01-02-08, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by fallen4shell View Post
And just so you know....there are no "technicians" at Autozone....lol
I heard that,LOL Are there only 2 locations for the fuse panel? under the dash and in the engine compartment. Is there a Mega-fuse? Even with the battery at full charge and a good alternator the instrument gauges dont work. Is there a seperate fuse panel for the instrument panel? Thank you.
 
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Old 01-02-08, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by bigdaddy1957 View Post
I heard that,LOL Are there only 2 locations for the fuse panel? under the dash and in the engine compartment. Is there a Mega-fuse? Even with the battery at full charge and a good alternator the instrument gauges dont work. Is there a seperate fuse panel for the instrument panel? Thank you.
That may be a tricky subject. Sometimes they can have hidden fuse and relay panels, but not usually for something like the alternator or the instrument cluster. I am not sure on this specific vehicle where the fuse blocks are. Usually there is one inside and one outside. I have seen vehicles with a maxifuse for the alternator...but again I cannot tell you for sure on this specific model. Do you have the owners manual? The owners manual will usually tell where all the fuses are and what circuit they protect.

Is it just the guages that don't work on your cluster or does NOTHING work? Do the indicator lights come on? Do the illumination lights work?
 
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Old 01-02-08, 09:08 AM
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To test if the alternator is charging, measure the voltage (with your multimeter) across your posative and negative battery terminals with the engine off and then start the engine and measure again. The battery voltage should be anywhere from 11.5 to 12.5 volts with the engine off and should jump to about 14 volts with the engine running. If your voltage does NOT increase when you start the engine then your alternator is not charging the battery. This doesn't necessarily mean you have a bad alternator though....run the test and let us know what you come up with and we can go from there.

It is possible that the instrument cluster not working is an entirely unrelated issue from your alternator problems.
 
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Old 01-02-08, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by fallen4shell View Post
To test if the alternator is charging, measure the voltage (with your multimeter) across your posative and negative battery terminals with the engine off and then start the engine and measure again. The battery voltage should be anywhere from 11.5 to 12.5 volts with the engine off and should jump to about 14 volts with the engine running. If your voltage does NOT increase when you start the engine then your alternator is not charging the battery. This doesn't necessarily mean you have a bad alternator though....run the test and let us know what you come up with and we can go from there.

It is possible that the instrument cluster not working is an entirely unrelated issue from your alternator problems.
The voltage on the battery was 12.2 and after the engine was started the reading was 11.8 Thank you,Dave
 
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Old 01-02-08, 02:06 PM
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To further this test, take readings with your probes on the battery posts themselves, then on the cable clamps. You may have crud under the clamps and it is preventing good contact. Your reading from the alternator will be accurate on the clamps, and what the alternator is giving the battery can be measured on the posts, so the drop in voltage tells me you have crud under your clamps.
 
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Old 01-02-08, 08:40 PM
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yah, the voltage drop test as suggested by Larry is definitely a good next step. Also, if you can get to the back of the alternator, there should be a main wire (it will be the SINGLE big one) that bolts onto the back. Make sure that wire has battery voltage on it at all times. You can also run the voltage drop test from there as well to make sure your cable from the alternator to the battery is good.

Make sure ALL the wires are plugged into the alternator and double check ALL the fuses.

If all that checks out good, I think it may be time to start searching for a good wiring diagram. There's not alot more probing around that you want to do until you are sure what you are probing. Many late model instrument clusters are actually computerized "modules" that interface with the PCM and BCM to get their data. Jumping or probing the wrong wire without knowing what it goes to or through could potentially cause damage to your PCM or BCM or both.
 
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Old 01-04-08, 07:33 AM
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Smile

Sorry i haven't got back to you all who have helped me with my charging problem as I do not have a garage and we have had some inclamate weather. Yesterdays high temp. was 19 degrees.BRRRR. I am going to check all fusible links today. I have bought a repair guuide at autozone wich has been helpful with wiring diagrams. I will post my results later today. Thank you, Dave
 
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Old 01-04-08, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by fallen4shell View Post
yah, the voltage drop test as suggested by Larry is definitely a good next step. Also, if you can get to the back of the alternator, there should be a main wire (it will be the SINGLE big one) that bolts onto the back. Make sure that wire has battery voltage on it at all times. You can also run the voltage drop test from there as well to make sure your cable from the alternator to the battery is good.

Make sure ALL the wires are plugged into the alternator and double check ALL the fuses.

If all that checks out good, I think it may be time to start searching for a good wiring diagram. There's not alot more probing around that you want to do until you are sure what you are probing. Many late model instrument clusters are actually computerized "modules" that interface with the PCM and BCM to get their data. Jumping or probing the wrong wire without knowing what it goes to or through could potentially cause damage to your PCM or BCM or both.
Here are the results I have came up with. With the engine off the battery has 12.28 volts, with engine on battery has 11.8 volts going down. The alternator big wire with engine off is 12.28 volts and with engine running is 11.80 going down, the yellow wire on the alternator with engine off is 12.28 volts with the engine on is 10.5 goiong down, the light green and red wire on the alternator with engine off is 0 and with the engine on is .04. I checked the fuses in the engine compartment and they all checked out good with a test light. I also checked the 3 fusible links coming out of the engine compartment fuse box and they tested good with a test light. I checked the fuses under the dash and some of the fuses did not test good with a test light even with the ignition on. Does this help you all in helping me solve my charging problem?? Thank you,Dave
 
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Old 01-04-08, 02:14 PM
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Alternator voltage from big wire should be 14+ volts. It appears you have a bad alternator. You can have it tested at most parts houses and get a replacement at the same time.
 
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Old 01-04-08, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
Alternator voltage from big wire should be 14+ volts. It appears you have a bad alternator. You can have it tested at most parts houses and get a replacement at the same time.
Thanks for the reply larry. But what is causing none of the instrument panel gauges to work. (gas gauge,speedometer,tachometer,temperature and ignition warning lamp.)?? Also why dont some of the fuses under the dash show good when I put a test light on them . I checked them with the ignition on and off?
 
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Old 01-04-08, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by hiflyn72 View Post
Check the fuses for the instrument cluster, the power feed to the alternator field runs through the cluster first, if the cluster isn't powered up the alternator won't charge.
Here are the results I have came up with. With the engine off the battery has 12.28 volts, with engine on battery has 11.8 volts going down. The alternator big wire with engine off is 12.28 volts and with engine running is 11.80 going down, the yellow wire on the alternator with engine off is 12.28 volts with the engine on is 10.5 goiong down, the light green and red wire on the alternator with engine off is 0 and with the engine on is .04. I checked the fuses in the engine compartment and they all checked out good with a test light. I also checked the 3 fusible links coming out of the engine compartment fuse box and they tested good with a test light. I checked the fuses under the dash and some of the fuses did not test good with a test light even with the ignition on. Does this help you all in helping me solve my charging problem?? Thank you,Dave
 
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Old 01-06-08, 04:02 PM
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GOOD NEWS MEN I got it charging!!! It turned out that the exit wires out of the power distribution box in the engine compartment were oxidized and I took a piece of light sandpaper and shined them up. Hooked them back up hit the ignition and I had lights!! The alternator was making 14.5 volts. I took it for a test drive for about 10 miles with the heater and headlights on , went back home, shut it down then started it right back up. It ran good and charged good.
Thanks for all of your'e alls advice . It was much appreciated and Most of all I learned alot about electical wiring and charging systems.

Have a great day,Dave: thumbup:
 
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