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Old 01-06-2007, 08:29 AM   #1
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Tow vehicle electrical problem

My 1991 F150 (302 engine) is loosing charge on the battery. I have replaced the battery and the gauge for the alternator is reading in the normal area albeit on the lower end (on the N and O to be precise). What is the next step? Ideas? This is also my daily driver so I need to get this one worked out soon.



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Old 01-06-2007, 08:40 AM   #2
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Test the alternator with an external amp meter to determine if it is putting out a sufficient charge to keep the battery up. If that checks out, take the battery and have it checked. Sometimes even a brand new battery could have a bad cell.

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Old 01-06-2007, 08:45 AM   #3
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If you haven't replaced the serpentine belt lately, now would be a good time.
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Old 01-09-2007, 10:35 PM   #4
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rodney ,sounds like your alternator is not charging .If you turn your ignition key to the on position (not cranking not running ) just so your gauges and stuff come on ,look at your gauge noting its position ,then start it ,does the needle move higher? if it doesn't ,alternator is not charging .Really
you need to have the running voltage checked at the battery and alternator
if its battery voltage when running ,not charging .A poorly charged battery
can cause your volt gauged to read low ,yet its charging some .Even if its new .According to you N and O of the normal on the gauge it sounds like its not charging ,could be alternator time .Id also suggest Napa as a good source
for the part.

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Old 01-10-2007, 04:49 AM   #5
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All good suggestions, some for maintenance, some for troubleshooting, however, Scott is right on. If you don't have all that available, you can start the engine, and then unhook the ground cable from the battery. If it dies, it's the altenator. If it continues to run, then it is the battery. By all means, Scotts's suggestion for NAPA is good. If you live in the south, Auto Zone sells a lifetime altenator, and they don't haggle when you take it back. I did it not more than 4 months ago.


This is a simple remove/replace situation.
Now, if you think something is staying on, or that there is a short, get a cheap 12v test light. Go to the fuse box, and pull the fuses one at a time. If the light burns when you test across the two fuse receptacles, unless it should be pulling power all the time (computer, brain for sound system, clock etc) then you have found your drain.
Good luck.
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Old 01-10-2007, 07:26 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by steelbird312
If you don't have all that available, you can start the engine, and then unhook the ground cable from the battery. If it dies, it's the altenator. If it continues to run, then it is the battery.

Good luck.
Do not do this with that alternator, either. It also has an internal regulator, and will suffer the same fate as the GM alternator.
On that vehicle, they had a tendency to melt the connector plug where it plugs into the alternator. Check the inside of the plug when you take it off. If it looks warped, distorted, or charred, make sure you replace the plug with a new one (you can get it at Napa).

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