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johnS
Hello,

My alternators on it's way out, when everythings on the voltage goes down to like 10.5V. It's fine however when the essential things like headlights, brake lights, heater fans and radio are on (around 13.5V) Just when you turn the front demisters on the voltage goes low. You can hear a slight whine

What is the cause of this? a diode gone perhaps? When I have rev's high (about 2,500rpm) the lights are less dim with the front demisters are on.
artscot79
if you mean the heated window at the front its a mega high voltage item thats why its advised to be used only when necessary at idle the voltage will drop and the alt will whine if the voltage is okay with headlights and rear demist on and the voltage increases when you rev the car the alternators fine.
johnS
[quote name='artscot79' timestamp='1338942508' post='185862']
if you mean the heated window at the front its a mega high voltage item thats why its advised to be used only when necessary at idle the voltage will drop and the alt will whine if the voltage is okay with headlights and rear demist on and the voltage increases when you rev the car the alternators fine.
[/quote]

thanks for the reply

the red warning light comes up for 5 seconds intermittantly, though, (when i say intermittently, I mean twice in 5 months
artscot79
have a free battery test done could be a faulty battery or battery cell also check the 3 wires plugged into the alternator.
mjt
At the risk of stating the obvious are you sure the belt tension is correct?
johnS
[quote name='mjt' timestamp='1338978765' post='185894']
At the risk of stating the obvious are you sure the belt tension is correct?
[/quote]

yeah, the belt is tight
johnS
[quote name='artscot79' timestamp='1338959675' post='185869']
have a free battery test done could be a faulty battery or battery cell also check the 3 wires plugged into the alternator.
[/quote]

I dunno, I dont think it's the battery
Andy 1965
Also make sure you have a Silver Calcium battery installed.
suddste
touched the alternator when I was checking it. It was very very hot i couldnt have my hand on it for more than a second..This is an obvios sign of a dead alternator isnt it? Along with the whining.

I bit the bullet and got a new one..Will be installed on monday.
artscot79
not really the alternator will produce heat add to that its made of metal and engine heat if it wasnt hot there would be an issue
suddste
.....
johnS
I just want to make sure its fine as there is a journey up to scotland soon and dont want it failing on that journey
artscot79
any garage will do a free battery and alternator charge check ford rapid fit will do it also
johnS
[quote name='artscot79' timestamp='1339020837' post='186015']
any garage will do a free battery and alternator charge check ford rapid fit will do it also
[/quote]

does it sound like the alternator to you? 10.5V is pretty low even with the front defrosters on
johnH
i was going to say if you needed a 105amp alternator i have a spare one which i could of let go for a small amount lol just collecting dust here.

even that checks by some garages cannot point out some faults that give the battery charge light. mine for example, i had the battery light constant. i went and checked the voltage on the battery was a bit low so i got the battery changed just incase a cell had died, light stayed on. went to a few garages/auto electricians they checked, scratched their heads and said could be the alternator so bought a new alternator and fitted it - light still on so the alternator was ok. checked the wiring as best as i could. turned out the ECU reference wire in the wheel arch was snapped. apparently this is really common on the focus's and transits.

you will find however, the heated windscreen wont work when this battery light is on. as this take's so much juice. it is also that taxing on the alternator/battery it is timed to auto turn off 10-15 mins. the back window heaters are timed but dont take as much power and so will stay activated.

with the engine running and a few revs given, everything on, the alternator should kick around 14.5v out. engine off, battery should read anywhere between 12.5v to 12v.

if your engine is running and everything is on, and your alternator is showing as kicking out 11.5v or lower, the alternator has gone into conventional mode and should show the light on the dash. as you say its kicking 10.5v...i would use a multimeter and get someone to put it to 2k revs and see if it increases correctly. if not i would suspect these wires and carry out checks to save you some £££'s of buying a new battery and or alternator first.
johnS
[quote name='johnH' timestamp='1339023549' post='186022']
i was going to say if you needed a 105amp alternator i have a spare one which i could of let go for a small amount lol just collecting dust here.

even that checks by some garages cannot point out some faults that give the battery charge light. mine for example, i had the battery light constant. i went and checked the voltage on the battery was a bit low so i got the battery changed just incase a cell had died, light stayed on. went to a few garages/auto electricians they checked, scratched their heads and said could be the alternator so bought a new alternator and fitted it - light still on so the alternator was ok. checked the wiring as best as i could. turned out the ECU reference wire in the wheel arch was snapped. apparently this is really common on the focus's and transits.

you will find however, the heated windscreen wont work when this battery light is on. as this take's so much juice. it is also that taxing on the alternator/battery it is timed to auto turn off 10-15 mins. the back window heaters are timed but dont take as much power and so will stay activated.

with the engine running and a few revs given, everything on, the alternator should kick around 14.5v out. engine off, battery should read anywhere between 12.5v to 12v.

if your engine is running and everything is on, and your alternator is showing as kicking out 11.5v or lower, the alternator has gone into conventional mode and should show the light on the dash. as you say its kicking 10.5v...i would use a multimeter and get someone to put it to 2k revs and see if it increases correctly. if not i would suspect these wires and carry out checks to save you some £££'s of buying a new battery and or alternator first.
[/quote]

thanks for that post...I have done the load test and rev'd the engine, although I couldnt read the multimeter myself my friend said that the voltage hardly increased. I dont beleive it's a wiring issue, because there is a whining sound that changes with the speed of the engine
johnS
Mistake post please remove
johnS
i'm right in saying 10.8V is still too low even with front windscreen demisters are on arent I?
johnS
im going to return the alternator I bought, found a cheap one off ebay for £30, will keep in the car untill (if) the current one gets worse
artscot79
having 10.8v with the front window on isnt unusual its an extremely high load item the equivelant of having front lights fog lights rear demister and high beam all on at once
johnS
[quote name='artscot79' timestamp='1339327769' post='186564']
having 10.8v with the front window on isnt unusual its an extremely high load item the equivelant of having front lights fog lights rear demister and high beam all on at once
[/quote]

I guess, I mean I turn it on and it doesnt get to the point where the battery warning light goes on. Did you see 10.8V with the front window on in your car?
artscot79
it was a bit higher at idle 11.2v
johnS
[quote name='artscot79' timestamp='1339593084' post='187144']
it was a bit higher at idle 11.2v
[/quote]

Yeah mine was 14.0V with heated front screen and headlights on nothing else but at 60mph. 12.6V at idle with just heated front screen in. seems ok.
johnS
got the garage to install the alt I bought...decided to change the belt with it also but they supply the belt. They say £120 to install the alt with the belt they supply. Does this sound right.
artscot79
that sounds about average for prices mate
johnS
[quote name='artscot79' timestamp='1340282581' post='188325']
that sounds about average for prices mate
[/quote]

I thought it was an hours labour! Remember the quote of £125 is without the alternator as I supplied that
johnH
i would check the price of the belt and supply the parts, average labour is about £30.
johnS
Ive checked it and its actually worse than my old one. It might be the belt because when I have air conditioning on when the a/c clutch kicks in the lights flicker? Voltage goes down as well. Could it be that.
if in doubt...
hi guys, just wondering if you manged to sort this mate?

i have the exact same problems you describe, dimming and flickering lights, almost ready to die under full load with majority of elecs on, dials jumping like crazy and speedometer displaying dashes, engine warning light came on a few times (once for about an hour of driving)

i took mines to kwik fit for a free battery check after a friend had a multimeter on it, seems when i had elecs on inc demist and fog lights on the voltage at battery was down to below 10.1!! kwik fit confirmed pretty much what we thought and said new battery and alternator, although after reading this i feel i could be going down the wrong path and dont want to end up out of pocket (mind you it prob needs done on a 11 year old car anyway), and i had an issue orignally with a belt which tended to squeel on start up and hard acceleration or cold weather, now its pretty much not doing that anymore. strange.

so yeah just asking if you manged to sort this out witha replacement or checking cables etc as i have the time to investigate till payday when i can afford battery and alternator.

oh kwik fit also said the battery on my car is too small, should be in a fiesta or spmething apparently, i just bought this last month and been working solid so havent had time to look at it closely enough, think if i just bought the correct silver calcium would all be okay?
artscot79
with these issues its cheaper to have ford check the alternator out battery may be too small and if its not a silver calcium will giv elow readings as a lead acid battery wil boil away it may be as simple as wrong battery and too small
johnS
[quote name='if in doubt...' timestamp='1357288192' post='224336']
hi guys, just wondering if you manged to sort this mate?

i have the exact same problems you describe, dimming and flickering lights, almost ready to die under full load with majority of elecs on, dials jumping like crazy and speedometer displaying dashes, engine warning light came on a few times (once for about an hour of driving)

i took mines to kwik fit for a free battery check after a friend had a multimeter on it, seems when i had elecs on inc demist and fog lights on the voltage at battery was down to below 10.1!! kwik fit confirmed pretty much what we thought and said new battery and alternator, although after reading this i feel i could be going down the wrong path and dont want to end up out of pocket (mind you it prob needs done on a 11 year old car anyway), and i had an issue orignally with a belt which tended to squeel on start up and hard acceleration or cold weather, now its pretty much not doing that anymore. strange.

so yeah just asking if you manged to sort this out witha replacement or checking cables etc as i have the time to investigate till payday when i can afford battery and alternator.

oh kwik fit also said the battery on my car is too small, should be in a fiesta or spmething apparently, i just bought this last month and been working solid so havent had time to look at it closely enough, think if i just bought the correct silver calcium would all be okay?
[/quote]

I did get it sorted yes mate, about 6 months ago i got a new alternator and told a garage to install.

It seemed to fix the warning light comming up, that never happens now although the voltage is 13.9 where it should be 14V. The belt was changed with the alternator but for some reason its not as good as the power steering is heavier straight after changing the belt as well as the volts on the low side however after 10,000miles later its still fine
if in doubt...
nice one mate! many thanks for your response!

i just bought this car and its been doing my head in with this electrical problem! its my first car and i want it up to scratch!

well i guess ill be buying a battery first but heres where im confused?!?! reading the focus owners guide originally supplied with the car it says 'this car is equipped with a lead/calcium battery and no other battery is to be used', but when i looked about in the forums people are saying 'silver/calcium' are the ones to be used only due to the smart charge system. was there a ford technical service bulletin about this at all?

im also on pistonheads forum discussing this and one guy bought a new bosch found here [url="http://www.eurocarparts.com/ecp/p/accessories-car-batteries/car-batteries/most-popular-car-battery/063-car-batteries/?444770635&0&cc5_993"]http://www.eurocarparts.com/ecp/p/accessories-car-batteries/car-batteries/most-popular-car-battery/063-car-batteries/?444770635&0&cc5_993[/url]

says all is good with this battery (for now) so just wondering what battery you got for yours? lead/calcium or silver/calcium.
Andy Dibley
[quote name='if in doubt...' timestamp='1357546434' post='224908']
nice one mate! many thanks for your response!

i just bought this car and its been doing my head in with this electrical problem! its my first car and i want it up to scratch!

well i guess ill be buying a battery first but heres where im confused?!?! reading the focus owners guide originally supplied with the car it says 'this car is equipped with a lead/calcium battery and no other battery is to be used', but when i looked about in the forums people are saying 'silver/calcium' are the ones to be used only due to the smart charge system. was there a ford technical service bulletin about this at all?

im also on pistonheads forum discussing this and one guy bought a new bosch found here [url="http://www.eurocarparts.com/ecp/p/accessories-car-batteries/car-batteries/most-popular-car-battery/063-car-batteries/?444770635&0&cc5_993"]http://www.eurocarpa...70635&0&cc5_993[/url]

says all is good with this battery (for now) so just wondering what battery you got for yours? lead/calcium or silver/calcium.
[/quote]

I knew from reading the posts you were the guy from Pistonheads! Still having issues? I'm Camaro over there by the way. Did post to you on Xmas day hoping you were getting it sorted. Small world.
if in doubt...
Haha no way! Small world indeed mate! Yeah still having issues, as you would have seen the ongoing problems and jolly to qwik fit. Well things have moved on slightly today, after being on the phone to my local ford dealership I asked 'what is the correct battery for my car' as there have been conflicting statements regarding this, the focus owners guide with the log books etc states clearly 'this car is equipped with lead/calcium battery and no other battery should be used', a ford technician said to me directly that my car has to have the 'silver/calcium' type! So that's that finally cleared up. I currently have a lead/calcium type, one which is too small for my car according to kwik fit, also I said to ford that when I took it to kwik fit the intermittent problem of the dials jumping and all electrics flickering wasn't happeing at that moment so I put the headlights, foglights, both heated screens, radio, air con etc and right on cue all dials danced wildly up and down at which point a bosch multimeter was on my battery terminals and showed a charge of less that 10volts which led the mechanic to believe the alternator was at fault and ready to die, now I told ford this and he said I would get a false reading with the front screen on because it sucks the juice out battery and alt doesn't charge it while its on (that's why it has a cut-off point of 4 mins max). Quote for new silver/calcium battery from ford £68.42 inc VAT, cheapest guaranteed silver/calcium I can find as one on ebay is about £120! Ill go for the new bat and maybe a new set of belts as one is squeeling on cold start ups and hard accelerations. (Mind you alt belt was done 21,000 miles ago, surely its still fine?)
Andy Dibley
Is indeed a small world on the web.

Yes, Silver Calcium is required for the smart charge system fitted to your car. You may find your battery has had a few too many over voltage charges and its giving it grief.

The principle behind it is simply Ford believed that a battery can be recharged quicker and faster when cold. So the computer in your car takes a measurement of the engine temp, air intake temps and I believe the coolant temp. Working with all this, it decides whether to boost up the output voltage of the alternator. This means sometime the alternator can be hitting the battery with upwards of 15 or so volts. This has been known to cause issues with lead acid batteries, where they'll give up and die or most likely boil over.

The Silver Calcium batteries have a much higher tolerance to this higer voltage and take it far better. This may be why your standard battery is giving your electrickery such a run for its money.

Thats a damn decent price from Ford, so I would bite their hand off for it.

Regards the alternator belt, I would buy one once you've checked the condition of the old one. I had to replace one on my old MK TD lump, but that was because the power steering pump had been leaking and had deteriorated the condition of the driven surfaces. (fooked it!)

Best of luck with your new battery, failing that I guess its time to bite the bullet and hook up a new alternator. At least this way though you're going with the cheapest option first.
if in doubt...
[quote name='Andy Dibley' timestamp='1357577724' post='224982']
Is indeed a small world on the web.

Yes, Silver Calcium is required for the smart charge system fitted to your car. You may find your battery has had a few too many over voltage charges and its giving it grief.

The principle behind it is simply Ford believed that a battery can be recharged quicker and faster when cold. So the computer in your car takes a measurement of the engine temp, air intake temps and I believe the coolant temp. Working with all this, it decides whether to boost up the output voltage of the alternator. This means sometime the alternator can be hitting the battery with upwards of 15 or so volts. This has been known to cause issues with lead acid batteries, where they'll give up and die or most likely boil over.

The Silver Calcium batteries have a much higher tolerance to this higer voltage and take it far better. This may be why your standard battery is giving your electrickery such a run for its money.

Thats a damn decent price from Ford, so I would bite their hand off for it.

Regards the alternator belt, I would buy one once you've checked the condition of the old one. I had to replace one on my old MK TD lump, but that was because the power steering pump had been leaking and had deteriorated the condition of the driven surfaces. (fooked it!)

Best of luck with your new battery, failing that I guess its time to bite the bullet and hook up a new alternator. At least this way though you're going with the cheapest option first.
[/quote]

sorry about the delayed response (stupid BlackBerrys just arent compatible with this site)

now its finally all beginning to make sense!!! i cant thank you enough for helpin me diagnose this fault, for some reason i knew it was something simple! now lets just hope it lasts another week until payday so i can drive 70 miles a day to and from work (yeah im apprehensive too). the battery will be bought and i will report my progress here and on pistonheads. and i hope i dont have the same alt problem as you did but i reckon its not old enough to cause the squeeling that it has after being fitted in 2010 and only doing 20.000 miles, should i just buy a set of belts and have them done for piece of mind? for now its a battery though and need sort my squint steering wheel and the fact that its vibrating my whole body when i go over 60mph. balancing and alignment will cure this i think


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