1988 Grand Marquis

I own a Mercury Grand Marquis that I purchased used. I have owned it over 2 years and maintained it religiously. I just traveled across the US and never had a problem. After I arrived here, one morning I
got up and the car battery was dead. A friend came over and jumped it and it worked great for a couple days. Then he tried to jump it again, but it wouldn't start up. So, I purchased a new battery. I have no idea how old the battery was in the car, so this was a good thing to do anyway.
It ran like a top for a few days. Yesterday I went out and started it and it wouldn't start. The accessory lights come on, but it just makes a whirring/electrical grinding noise under the engine (most likely near the starter). When I went to the housing for the EEC relay and moved the relay around, I got a clicking noise in the starter area (with the car keys out of the car). I am wondering if that means that the relay was not turning off when the car was turned off. I took the relay out and tapped it against the body of the car and reconnected it. Now it doesn't click anymore, but the car also doesn't start. Still the same whirring/electrical grinding noise under the engine.
My friend is bringing me an EEC relay from the parts store (parts store here is 25 miles away). I will try that, but I am concerned that it could also be the starter. Any suggestions/help would be greatly appreciated.
Take Care, Sharon
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alternator ?

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Hi Sharon, It would be real nice to have people diagnose a car just this easy, without seeing it. It really could be a few things. What described sounds like a bad bendix drive in the starter. So that gets pretty time consuming for anybody. As another poster stated it may be a bad alternator too, or just a tired old battery. I suggest that you find a good mechanic somewhere look over the situation. Regards, BeeVee

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Sounds reminiscent of an '87 Crown Vic I had. The alternator lamp had burned out and I failed to notice it not illuminating when starting the engine. Later, apparently, a crimped connection in the alternator broke, resulting in only half cyle of rectification. Without the alternator lamp I did not know of the failure and eventually the battery gave out. I was able to repair the alternator but I had to replace the battery, as well as the burnt alternator bulb. The failure symptoms were very much as you reported.
FYI--You can determine a battery manufacture date. The coded date is either stamped on the side of the battery, or a coded sticker is placed somewhere on the battery. The code is a letter and two numerical digits. The letters A through G represent, sequentially, the months of the year. The two numerical digits represent the year. The code E99 would indicate the battery was manufactured in May of 1999. Knowledge of this code is most helpful when purchasing a battery. You want to buy the freshest battery on the rack. Purchasing a battery six months old is a "no-no". Let the next guy that doesn't know the code buy that one.
Sharon Lane wrote:

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