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Old 01-21-2017, 06:01 PM   #1
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Is my alternator going bad again...

So I've got an E350 6.0 PSD and noticed the battery light on the dash was flashing today. It doesn't flash based on RPM or no consistency to it. I jumped under the van to make sure both batteries terminal hooks ups were OK and they are… So tomorrow when I have time I'm going to have the alternator tested to see if it's going bad. Any other things I should look at?? I check both connections on the top of the alternator. Any help in trouble shooting would be great.

One other note the batteries are new from this summer as well as the Alternator.

Thanks
Mark aka MSD.
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Old 01-21-2017, 07:25 PM   #2
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Removing and having the alternator load tested would be the best way to determine it's health and eliminate it as a possible suspect. However if you wanted to do some more poking around before going through the work of removing it I would test the voltage of the van at high idle. Separate your house battery from the van if you can (eliminate that variable for the moment), run the engine at 1200 - 1500 RPM and use an accurate multi-meter. I'd test it somewhere near the batteries like the jump start post and ground bolt under the van by the batteries. Should be above 14 volts and steady. Not fluctuating up and down a volt or two. Often an alternator that has a lot of hours on it will fluctuate voltage (bad brushes) and could cause a light to flicker but you mentioned this alternator isn't that old. Odd. I'd start there and if the voltage is 14-15 and stable start adding loads like headlights and if the voltage is still stable I'd continue to look for a loose connection. Have you had other work done recently? Anything that involves disconnecting ground straps, under dash wiring, ect.

-Eric
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Old 01-21-2017, 07:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShuttlePilot View Post
Removing and having the alternator load tested would be the best way to determine it's health and eliminate it as a possible suspect. However if you wanted to do some more poking around before going through the work of removing it I would test the voltage of the van at high idle. Separate your house battery from the van if you can (eliminate that variable for the moment), run the engine at 1200 - 1500 RPM and use an accurate multi-meter. I'd test it somewhere near the batteries like the jump start post and ground bolt under the van by the batteries. Should be above 14 volts and steady. Not fluctuating up and down a volt or two. Often an alternator that has a lot of hours on it will fluctuate voltage (bad brushes) and could cause a light to flicker but you mentioned this alternator isn't that old. Odd. I'd start there and if the voltage is 14-15 and stable start adding loads like headlights and if the voltage is still stable I'd continue to look for a loose connection. Have you had other work done recently? Anything that involves disconnecting ground straps, under dash wiring, ect.

-Eric
+1

I'd check voltage, get batteries load tested, then go to alternator. The first two steps don't require any work other than popping the hood.
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Old 01-21-2017, 08:21 PM   #4
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Man I chased these gremlins for a while and replaced both the batteries (twice) and alternator (three damn times!!) and finally figured out it was a grounding and wiring issue. I have no solution but ensuring connections are good, not only tight but also clean is key for this! That being said if you do get them load tested, do it at a reputable place and listen to them, if they say the components of the system are good then believe them and move down the line of potential culprits. Oh and a side bar, the topper is AMAZING!!! Thanks for the screaming deal and assistance getting it dialed on my rig!
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Old 01-22-2017, 11:20 AM   #5
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Thanks guys… gonna get at it today.
So here is what I have had done on the van.
April 4/22 had Alternator and 2 new interstate batteries replaced.
ON 5/28 on a climbing trip to Rifle Colorado we had the Alternator fail again. I was pretty upset about this basically a month on a Motorcraft Alt. Had to be towed into Rifle to get it fixed at the ford dealer. Was super lucky that they could fix it (holiday weekend at 4pm). So the current Alternator that is in the van now is from 5/28. I might add that the Ford dealer could't get anything but a NAPA based on the time and a holiday weekend.
I might add that on 11/2 I had the HPOP replaced.
I'm going to start with what Shuttle Pilot and rallypanam have suggested and go from there… we shall see.
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Old 01-22-2017, 11:38 AM   #6
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I just had the same issues! I have been through two sets of starting batteries and two alternators in the last two years. My solar and house batteries are grounded to the frame and I am wondering if maybe I should run a ground bond to the chassis. Have a Blue Sky 7620 separator and Zamp Solar which are working fine. Also thinking this all may be caused by lead acid starting batteries and AGM house battery mix when the alternator is used to charge both when driving?
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Old 01-22-2017, 12:32 PM   #7
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I just had the same issues! I have been through two sets of starting batteries and two alternators in the last two years. My solar and house batteries are grounded to the frame and I am wondering if maybe I should run a ground bond to the chassis. Have a Blue Sky 7620 separator and Zamp Solar which are working fine. Also thinking this all may be caused by lead acid starting batteries and AGM house battery mix when the alternator is used to charge both when driving?
I'm more incline to think that constant higher amp solar charging takes a toll on standard wet cell maintenance free batteries. I went through this shortly after purchasing the van. For a time I thought it was Motorcraft batteries but the same thing happened with Delco's. During that time (diesel under warranty) Ford didn't pull both batteries to test and only replaced one. Several months later the old battery failed and it took out my alternator. At that time my old Surepower separator was set to automatically assist start the vehicle and that might have fooled the mechanics. Finally I replaced the starting batteries with all AGM's. I also upgraded the alternator to an aftermarket high amp alternator because I was maxing it out with the Starcool. From all that mess, all I can say is I'm not having issues anymore after going all AGM.
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Old 01-22-2017, 12:46 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info Dave. I keep the solar only charging the house batteries when the van is sitting. Maybe I just got some bad batteries or battery from Ford and they took out the Alternator?
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Old 01-22-2017, 01:12 PM   #9
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Well it's just a guess but switching to AGM and a higher amp alternator seemed to work for me. The Starcool (plus the standard Ford load) pulled more than what the alternator could supply, so I imagine that little alternator was probably running a bit warm. Add a shorted battery that I was driving around with and it was probably too much. I'm still trying to figure out why Ford couldn't find the problem which was a single starting battery that had shorted.
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