No charge for my battery

I have a 91 escort wagon (I know all the jokes, believe me I make most of them) Anyway, the battery has no charge right now, and I’m not sure if it will take one or not. I’ve hooked it up to another vehicle
and had them both running, which seems to charge my batterry a little bit, but even if I leave them like that for 20 mins as soon as I unhook the two vehicles the escort dies, immediately. Like .5 sec after its unhooked. I’m pretty sure its gotta be more than just the battery. Anyone have any ideas?
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Loki wrote:

Alternator, belt, voltage regulator; one of those.
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Borrow or buy a Voltmeter. You need it.
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If your batter can't hold a charge for over a few seconds to keep your car running, it is probably completely shot.
You may also have a bad charging system.
SO you probably need to have your charging system checked and possibly the alternator replaced as well as the battery.
Jeff

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Almost definitely a charging problem, or it would continue to run when the booster is disconnected.

And the battery MAY be just fine. Most likely the alternator brushes are worn out. Often a good mechanic can replace them for a pittance instead of replacing the whole expensive alternator.

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The engine gets its electrical from the alternator, so that is probably shot. No juice goes in to keep the battery at full charge so you can start the car when you need it. When that goes, you can run off battery for a short while, but that's it.
Have you ever had the alternator replaced or anything? Probably brushes are worn down, not hard to rebuild if you have some mechanical aptitude, search this group for alternator rebuild and you'll get some good how-tos. Or you can pony up the $150 and just get a new one, cost you $100 after you turn in the old one. But new brushes are much cheaper if the bearing is good.
Get a new battery too.
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Sounds like a bad battery AND charging circuit. Once it's running the alternator should keep it running. If it runs for 20 minutes with another car hooked to it, the battery should gain some charge from the other car.
Al
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Loki wrote:

Is the battery warning light on the instrument panel coming on while the engine is running? The light should come on when you turn the key to the run position *before* starting the engine. This is how you test the light. After the engine is started and running, the battery light should go out. If the light doesn't go out, the alternator is not charging the battery properly. The next step is to get a digital multimeter to diagnose the problem. You can buy a basic meter for about $20 at many auto parts dealers or a department store. When you have the meter, I (we) can talk you through the process which will tell you if the alternator or one of it's related components like the voltage regulator is bad. You'll need to have a good battery with a full charge installed in the car to do the diagnostics.
If you're not into DIY electrical repairs, remove the alternator from the engine and take it to a shop or store that can test it. 'Advance Auto Parts' stores have an alternator bench tester. They don't charge for the service. Some places can test the alternator while it's still in the car, using a mobile test rig which can be wheeled out to the car.
BTW- There's no need to apologize for your 91' Escort wagon. The second generation Escorts from the 90's were one of the best cars Ford ever made. The same can't be said for the earlier ones in the 80's.
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I have a multimeter, so now what?
"Loki" wrote: > I have a 91 escort wagon (I know all the jokes, believe me I > make most of them) Anyway, the battery has no charge right > now, and I'm not sure if it will take one or not. I've hooked > it up to another vehicle and had them both running, which > seems to charge my batterry a little bit, but even if I leave > them like that for 20 mins as soon as I unhook the two > vehicles the escort dies, immediately. Like .5 sec after its > unhooked. I'm pretty sure its gotta be more than just the > battery. Anyone have any ideas?
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Loki wrote:

You didn't say whether the battery warning light on the instrument panel is staying on with the engine running. We need to know this before you start testing the charging system.
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Yes the warning light is on.
"Loki" wrote: > I have a 91 escort wagon (I know all the jokes, believe me I > make most of them) Anyway, the battery has no charge right > now, and I'm not sure if it will take one or not. I've hooked > it up to another vehicle and had them both running, which > seems to charge my batterry a little bit, but even if I leave > them like that for 20 mins as soon as I unhook the two > vehicles the escort dies, immediately. Like .5 sec after its > unhooked. I'm pretty sure its gotta be more than just the > battery. Anyone have any ideas?
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Loki wrote:

First you *must* have a fully charged battery in good condition installed in the car. If the battery in the car now is questionable, get a new one and charge it or temporarily install another good battery while you do the testing.
Symptom: Battery warning light stays on while engine is running.
Step-1: Key off. Measure voltage between test point 'A' on the regulator and battery -neg terminal. If the voltage reading is *not* the same as the battery voltage, check the 30-amp fuse in the main fuse box under the hood. If fuse is OK, repair wiring problem in the W/R colored wire going to the alternator three pin connector.
Step-2 If voltage at 'A' is the same as battery voltage. Key off. Disconnect the three pin regulator connector at the alternator. Key on. Is the indicator light on? If yes, repair short circuit to ground in the W/BK wire from connector. If no, go to Step-3.
Step-3 If indicator lamp was not on in Step-2 test. Disconnect the three pin alternator connector again. Also disconnect the one pin wire near the back of alternator. It has a W/GR colored wire. Connect a jumper wire from the one pin connector W/GR wire to the battery +positive terminal. Is the indicator light on? If yes, remove jumper wire from one pin W/GR wire and go to Step-4. If no, remove jumper wire from one pin W/GR wire and go to Step-5.
Step-4 Key off. Disconnect three pin alternator connector again. Disconnect the one pin connector again. Measure resistance between center pin of three pin connector and the one pin connector wire. Is resistance greater than about 1-ohm? If yes, repair fault in W/GR wire circuit. If no, check for a loose or bent center pin on the regulator where the three pin connector goes. If regulator center pin is OK, replace the regulator.
Step-5 Reconnect all wires and start engine. Measure the voltage at the one pin terminal W/GR wire near back of alternator. If the voltage about one-half the battery voltage? If yes, go to Step-6, otherwise wait for further instructions on the next test procedure from me.
Step-6 All wires connected to alternator. Engine running at fast idle. Measure the voltage at the alternator output terminal. This is the one with the large nut and rubber cap on the back of the alternator. If the voltage greater than about 15-volts? If yes, wait for further instructions on next test procedure. If no, replace the regulator.
That should get you started. Let me know what you find out with the tests so far.
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