Re: 98 Windstar 3.8 V6 Auto - Alternator Issues

So the original lasted almost 5 yrs, AFAYK, then replacements fail.
5 years is about the life of a battery, aint it? Did you by chance replace the battery within 6 months of the first failure?
Couple thoughts... The alternator MUST have a good source of cooling air... Has anything changed that might affect airflow? in front, over and around the alt and grill area and underneath?
Also, a spark jump between plug wires or intermediary conductor can kill a diode bank... make sure there's no way...
If you can rule out all the above, I suggest a Used Alternator... SOME actually last the life of a car.

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BLimey wrote:

hood.... call your ford dealer up and ask them to check your vin. number in their computer to see if the recall/extended warranty of 100,000 miles or 10 yrs. applies to your car.
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According to the dealer, there are no TSB's or recalls specific to this failure. That's what I'm being told anyway.
Nothing has changed in regards to the cooling or airflow for the alternator. The battery is original and I think I'll change it anyway. I agree, it's at life end. I'll also check over the plug wires carefully and check for any failing wires.

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BLimey wrote:

Well, after that many failures, i think you have a problem in your car. But what? It would be interesting to know how your alternators are failing. I see two scenarios here. When its groaning, its under overload. So, the real question is is it because of the bridge diode pack shorting out in the alternator, or because of a intermittent short in the wire harness somewhere. I junked a Taurus once and took off the air box. Much to my surprise, i saw where the harness sawed itself raw to bare wires on some metal. Who know how long it was this way, or how if affected the car. These sort of problems are a bear to find. Harness go places that are hard to see or detect.
A current meter to monitor alternators output current would tell you if its a short internally, or in the cars wiring when you sense the problem is happening. Another issue is lose of grounds. You might want to take off the batteries and firewall grounds and clean and retorque them. Check all the hot wires from the battery too while your at it.
BOB
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New battery goes in tomorrow....
Blimey

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Did anyone check the Voltage regulator.. did anyone make sure the battery was fully charged before starting the van after installing the alternator...? Ruined a new alternator once by starting the car with a half charged battery after putting in the alternator..!

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I was told the voltage regulator is integrated in the alternator. I'd better check on that again to make sure. I did check the battery and charge voltage after the alternator was replaced and it seemed reasonable. I'm replacing the battery this morning anyway.
BLimey

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I did check on the regulator. There are apparently two styles - an older style that is attached to the alternator and can be unscrewed, and a newer style alternator with an integrated regulator that cannot be easily removed without complete disassembly of the alternator. I just installed the newer style alternator this time with a new battery as well. We'll see what happens this time....

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