1999 Mercury Sable problems

Hello! I'm trying to help out a friend with a problem she's having with he r Sable.
This started two or three weeks ago. After driving for 15-25 blocks the ca
r will start to act as tho it running out of gas. It will 'sputter' for a bit, and make a small back fire. The dash lights go out, the battery light comes on, and the wipers makes one cycle, and the car quits running. When they try to restart it, the battery has been drained. They tried jumping it off another vehicle, and she says the only thing that happens is the sta rter will click. (This may be because they aren't leaving the jumper cable s on long enough, and/or the jumper cables aren't carrying enough juice to start the car.) So they take the battery out and go have it charged.
Two months ago she replaced the battery. The car has been taken to AutoZon e(?) where they tested the battery and the alternator and was told both wer e all right. Her 'mechanic' then told her it must be the starter that is d raining the battery.
I used to have a V6 Ford engine that acted similar to this one, but we even tually found out my problem was the distributor had gone bad. She mentione d this to the above mechanic and he told her "...that can't be the problem. "
Any ideas, thoughts, suggestions, hints?
Thanks for any help you can provide!
Gerri
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Hello! I'm trying to help out a friend with a problem she's having with her Sable.
This started two or three weeks ago. After driving for 15-25 blocks the car will start to act as tho it running out of gas. It will 'sputter' for a bit, and make a small back fire. The dash lights go out, the battery light comes on, and the wipers makes one cycle, and the car quits running. When they try to restart it, the battery has been drained. They tried jumping it off another vehicle, and she says the only thing that happens is the starter will click. (This may be because they aren't leaving the jumper cables on long enough, and/or the jumper cables aren't carrying enough juice to start the car.) So they take the battery out and go have it charged.
Two months ago she replaced the battery. The car has been taken to AutoZone(?) where they tested the battery and the alternator and was told both were all right. Her 'mechanic' then told her it must be the starter that is draining the battery.
I used to have a V6 Ford engine that acted similar to this one, but we eventually found out my problem was the distributor had gone bad. She mentioned this to the above mechanic and he told her "...that can't be the problem."
Any ideas, thoughts, suggestions, hints?
Thanks for any help you can provide!
Gerri
By the sound of things, the alternator is toast. Having said that, if it was true then the battery light should be on even before the engine dies. When the battery light is on but the engine is off, the light is meaningless -- it is expected to be on at this time.
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