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Old 06-18-2011, 08:14 PM   #1
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New battery and alternator but still no charging

So I recently bought a new battery and alternator, installed them but still not getting a charge. Both were tested and "passed."

I've been searching around in different threads and have found some info but it's just not making sense to me. Wiring is not something I understand very well. I've seen the wiring diagram but it just doesn't click for me.

I've checked the fuses in the engine box and passengers box but no blown fuses. I've looked over the wires that ran to the alternator but didn't see anything lose or broke.

What are my steps now in figuring this out? Thanks!
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:35 PM   #2
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Forgot to add that the battery gauge reads normal at times then all the sudden is has a drop in volts. Last night it almost was reading nothing. The lights would dim when the gauge would read low. If the volts dropped low and I gunned it the volts would go back up.
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:30 PM   #3
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00GT4.6:

As one electrically-challenged Mustang owner to another: I feel your pain. I am no electrical wizard either but there are some troubleshooting things that you can do.

Even if a battery is new, it could have been sitting on a shelf for a year. Also, a new alternator may test fine on the assembly line but one component may randomly fail when it is put into service.
* Check the connectors to the alternator. Maybe one of the pins is not seating properly or a wire is broken.
* Check the connections to the battery. Corrosion is often a problem in the ground wire: it looks fine at the terminal connector but there is all sorts of green corroded wire hiding further down in the cable.
* Check the grounds on the motor. If you have a loose connection then this will cause all sorts of issues. When you stab the throttle the motor rotates a little and this can improve a loose connection. Of course, the higher RPM helps the alternator to charge the battery, too. Note that the alternator needs a minimum voltage from the battery to stimulate recharging and the output of the alternator is not constant (it increases with RPM).
* Do you have an aftermarket stereo or alarm? If so, the wiring has to be checked because there might be a leak to ground. You did not mention why the battery was replaced but aftermarket electronics/wiring can be a cause of battery problems.

Get yourself a VOM (volt-ohm meter). You don't need to be an electrical genius to use it (speaking from personal experience). You can get a reliable VOM for $30 (all the way up to several hundred dollars). It will allow you to check voltage and resistance or continuity and you will need this info when tracing electrical connection problems.

That's about all I can offer. I feel pretty good when I get the batteries in the flashlight correctly so let's hope somebody who knows a little about electrical stuff chimes in.

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Old 06-18-2011, 11:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyuk98gt View Post
Even if a battery is new, it could have been sitting on a shelf for a year. Also, a new alternator may test fine on the assembly line but one component may randomly fail when it is put into service.
When I bought the battery the battery gauge read the correct voltage and the car started and ran fine. It took a few hours of driving until the voltage started dropping.


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* Check the connectors to the alternator. Maybe one of the pins is not seating properly or a wire is broken.
Those were good looking. I didn't test the wires, as I don't know how but from the looks of it the wires looked fine.


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* Check the connections to the battery. Corrosion is often a problem in the ground wire: it looks fine at the terminal connector but there is all sorts of green corroded wire hiding further down in the cable.
Connections are solid. New battery and new terminal ends. Not saying farther down is bad, just everything looks good from what I can see.

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Originally Posted by nyuk98gt View Post
* Check the grounds on the motor. If you have a loose connection then this will cause all sorts of issues. When you stab the throttle the motor rotates a little and this can improve a loose connection. Of course, the higher RPM helps the alternator to charge the battery, too. Note that the alternator needs a minimum voltage from the battery to stimulate recharging and the output of the alternator is not constant (it increases with RPM).
I didn't check the grounds yet. When I do hit the throttle the voltage increases back to where they should be.


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* Do you have an aftermarket stereo or alarm? If so, the wiring has to be checked because there might be a leak to ground. You did not mention why the battery was replaced but aftermarket electronics/wiring can be a cause of battery problems.
No aftermarket stereo or alarm. PATS is actually turned off. I replaced the battery because the battery light was flashing and voltage was dropping and inconsistent. I bought a new alternator first because the car had sat for winter and part of spring with little to no driving (probably 6-8 months long). I figured the battery needed a good charge and I figured I wasn't getting one from the current alternator (battery voltage was inconsistent with the factory alternator). The new alternator didn't work so I bought a new battery thinking it was done.

The battery is so dead I couldn't even get it jumped. Didn't even want to crank even though it was reading the correct voltage when the jumper cables were hooked up. I had just bought the battery that day and by the next morning it was completely drained.
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Old 06-19-2011, 01:04 AM   #5
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00GT4.6:

Ah-ha! The battery drained overnight means that there is a circuit that is on when it should be on. So, now you have to begin the tedious task of tracking down the short. Since your car sat for the winter, I would bet a dollar to a doughnut that a critter has gnawed through wiring insulation when the furry terror was looking to make a home for the winter. Field mice are notorious for chewing insulation so look for any obvious signs. At least you won't need the VOM for that, lol.

A low battery can kill an alternator and the low battery won't force the alternator to charge the battery. It's a vicious cycle. It is possible that the new alternator was hurt by the old battery. I can't tell from your info if you have had the alternator checked since the old battery was replaced but, if you haven't, it is worth pulling off the alternator and having it checked now. At least you can confirm that it is still in tip-top condition.

You can check the resistance of the wires (battery cables, for example) to confirm that corrosion is not a problem. But, from your description of events, it sounds like a battery drain somewhere on the vehicle.

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Old 06-19-2011, 10:37 AM   #6
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id your battery light on the dash on while driving the car?
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Old 06-19-2011, 03:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyuk98gt View Post
00GT4.6:

Ah-ha! The battery drained overnight means that there is a circuit that is on when it should be on. So, now you have to begin the tedious task of tracking down the short.

A low battery can kill an alternator and the low battery won't force the alternator to charge the battery. It's a vicious cycle. It is possible that the new alternator was hurt by the old battery. I can't tell from your info if you have had the alternator checked since the old battery was replaced but, if you haven't, it is worth pulling off the alternator and having it checked now. At least you can confirm that it is still in tip-top condition.

You can check the resistance of the wires (battery cables, for example) to confirm that corrosion is not a problem. But, from your description of events, it sounds like a battery drain somewhere on the vehicle.
The alternator was checked after installing the new battery. I had the alternator bench tested and it passed their tests.

How do I go about checking the wires for bad wiring?

And how do I figure out if corrosion is the culprit?
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Old 06-19-2011, 03:28 PM   #8
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id your battery light on the dash on while driving the car?
It flickers on every once in a while. Doesn't stay on the whole time, just randomly.

I charged the battery last night and little this morning, took the car over to the local parts store and had them test out my system. They said the alternator was not charging. So I had the alternator bench tested twice and it said it's fine yet I have it tested on the car and it's not charging. Leads me to believe this is a wiring issue, not a battery or alternator issue.
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:25 AM   #9
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I had this same problem and it turned out, I got the wrong style of Alt. I can't remember if you need a 3g or 6g. Anyways, The alt would work ok when the motor was running. Let the car sit over night and the battery was completely dead. After, I changed out the alt. Of course I though I had a bad (new) alt. That one did the same thing. I then looked at the part # call the company up and they told me the seller (ebay) was selling me the wrong alt. I got the correct alt and all was better.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:07 PM   #10
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Took the car out to the shop. They said the alternator needs to be replaced. Said it was charging but with not enough voltages. I will be making a trip back to the local parts store to pick up a new alternator.

Also, I was told the gem module was bad which was causing a draw on the battery even when the car was off. So until I get that fixed I will have to pull the fuse each time so it doesn't draw overnight.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:17 AM   #11
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00GT4.6:

Thanks for the update. Glad to hear that you got to the root cause. Please post an update if you find anything else in the resolution process.

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Old 06-23-2011, 10:14 PM   #12
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Well I went to swap out my alternator at Autozone since the shop said it wasn't charging the battery enough to recharge it. They put it on their bench test and it passed so they wouldn't let me swap it out. I'm a little livid since they handled it in a very unprofessional and didn't even try and understand my situation.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 00GT4.6 View Post
Well I went to swap out my alternator at Autozone since the shop said it wasn't charging the battery enough to recharge it. They put it on their bench test and it passed so they wouldn't let me swap it out. I'm a little livid since they handled it in a very unprofessional and didn't even try and understand my situation.
Return it for your money back! Go to another autozone store for a new alternator.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:21 PM   #14
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Return it for your money back! Go to another autozone store for a new alternator.
I tried that. They said they wouldn't return it since it was installed. I'm going to try another location. They could care less to try and help me out. I won't be going back to that store again.
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