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Old 01-05-2010, 07:30 AM   #1
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Alternator went bad in a year

I just replaced our alternator for the second time in a year. (1 yr and 4 days, so Ford would not warranty it). I have an Optima Red Top battery that was installed a year ago when we put in the new alternator. Everything was fine until New years day when I noticed the little red battery light in the dash of our 2004 F350 V10 Sportsmobile. I put a volt meter in the cig lighter socket and watched the battery drain down to 10 volts. New Years night I put a trickle charger on it and it repeated the same thing on Saturday so I drove it to the Ford Garage. They looked at it Monday and said that the alternator was bad. He also said that the Red Top batteries have a reputation for "over charging" alternators.
The only thing I did out of the ordinary was last week I plugged in the shore power for about two days to charge up the house battery as the van had been sitting for about a month without being used.
Do you think the one year old alternator just gave out or do you think I should look for other issues? Thanks. oclv
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:01 AM   #2
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Re: Alternator went bad in a year

Red Top Batteries OVERCHARGE alternators???? How do batteries overcharge alternators? Or for that matter, how does the alternator know what kind of battery is on the other end?
Don't you just love Ford?
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:52 AM   #3
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Re: Alternator went bad in a year

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skywagon
Red Top Batteries OVERCHARGE alternators???? How do batteries overcharge alternators? Or for that matter, how does the alternator know what kind of battery is on the other end?
Don't you just love Ford?
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because the battery is red, and not blue, that's why
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:20 AM   #4
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Re: Alternator went bad in a year

Ah ha! I should have read my 12 Volt Primer a little more closely.
Bill
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:29 AM   #5
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Re: Alternator went bad in a year

My Deka's are yellow. Does that mean I am screwed?

When you replaced your alt, did you replace both starting batteries?
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:22 AM   #6
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Re: Alternator went bad in a year

By 'over charging,' could he have meant that a defective battery might kill an alternator, by forcing the alternator to work too hard for too long? If a battery won't take a charge, the alternator will just keep trying.

Not sure if this is the case here, but just a thought.

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Old 01-05-2010, 11:57 AM   #7
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Re: Alternator went bad in a year

My alternator went bad after a little more then a year. There's a post somewhere here on the forum. My alternator ruined six starting batteries (both stock Ford and Optimas) before I insisted that Ford replace the alternator. I have had it in, hooked up to two yellow tops, for a year and a half now. No problems. Course, now that I've said that, I'm sure it won't start next time out.
As was mentioned, a battery that won't take a charge might cause the alternator to work harder, but overcharge??? One thing to be aware of, once a rig is over a year old, warranty parts are rebuilt ones, not new. Maybe your's didn't get the full treatment when Mexico, or China, or Taiwan, or ??? did the quick and dirty....
Bottom line, you might have an independent electrical shop check out the charging system. Both alternator and batteries.
Good luck and let us know the fix.
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Old 01-05-2010, 12:25 PM   #8
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Re: Alternator went bad in a year

Bummer on burning up the new alternator, my guess is you just got a bad one. Scatter is right many replacement parts are not as good as what was installed on your vehicle when it was new.

If you buy an alternator through Napa you can get one with a lifetime guarantee that way if they sell you a bad one it is their problem not yours. This still doesn't help with cost of labor if you take it to a shop though.

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Old 01-05-2010, 12:46 PM   #9
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Re: Alternator went bad in a year

+1 on what Scatter said about getting a thorough checkup of the van's charging system. An alternator should last a lot longer than one year. The alternator in our van failed within the first month - just went to zero output. Maybe you just got a "bad" second one too.

There is a way to check the charging system using the test codes on the instrument cluster (a sequence of holding the odometer button down and starting the van). I can't remember exactly how to do it or I'd post it up.

Diesels come with a 110 amp alternator standard compared to 115 amp on the gas engines. Lord knows why they would be different.... Ford also offers 120, 135, and 140 amp models, aftermarket goes up to 220 amps. With your bad luck and being out of warranty, I'd be tempted to try an aftermarket supplier that offers a longer warranty. Many are 2 yrs or even lifetime.

Heat eventually kills an alternator and it generates the most heat at full charging output. So if your battery(ies) are weak or damaged, the alternator will be working overtime trying to keep it topped off. The van engines run hot anyway because of the small engine compartment so maybe getting a higher output alternator may last longer as it shouldn't have to "work" as hard to keep things charged.
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Old 01-05-2010, 03:38 PM   #10
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Re: Alternator went bad in a year

I've had two alternators replaced under warranty. And the newest one still doesn't charge like the original did. Voltage bounces around from 13.2 to 14.2. The original was solid 14.0-14.2V. I've ordered a new, larger case 140A Heavy Duty alternator from:

http://www.alternatorparts.com/6g-serie ... nator.html

It was reasonably priced at $239. Time will tell if it lasts longer than the OEM one.

Mike
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