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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright so I have a problem with my Cougar(Who hasn't) I'm on my 4th alternator and have only had the car for two years. I had the 4th one put in beginning of the summer. Just over the past two months my battery light would flash the typical sign of the alternator going yet again(I knew what was happening ths time at least). So just the other day my battery light stayed on and when I checked the voltage it was around 11.3v, and steadily has decreased down to 10.8v, the weird thing is, im not having any loss of power, and the volts will still raise and drop depending on what im doing (i.e. running headlight, breaking etc.) Should I assume that it is the alternator, which I already do. Or could this possibly be another problem?

Thanks for the input.
 

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Sounds like your alt to me. Is there any flux in the voltage/ or strobing in the lights? and does anything change with the RPMS of the car?

And your yellow top might be whats saving you some what.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yea I think the Yellow Top is what's saving me. There is no jumping or anything. The battery light stays on and when doing so all lights dim down as if loss of power. But everything engine wise is fine rpms seem to have no effect on the problem.
 

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Check your under the hood fuses... i think #2? is the alt fuse. That could do it... else its probably the alt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Alright that's what im feeling but i will definitely check the fuses. Thanks for your input.

Has anyone found out why cougars can go through alternator like this? Is there any kind of fix to it or is it just an endless battle?
 

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correct. well at least thats my theory. Badly designed alternator put in a low ventilated area, put in a spot that it gets all the heat from the block and headers, and just a smidgen of water and dirt from the tires. Plus possible leaking oil from a bad head gasket or other problem.

edit: and oh ya spins at a higher RPM than the average engine ford is used to working with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So is there no way to fix the problem? I gotta admit going on 5 alts in two years is slightly depressing, it is the ONE and ONLY thing I dislike about my car, other than that I love my cougar. I wish I could do something that would fix the stupid alternator problem.
 

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Depends... my cougar had a seperate issue that took me years to track down. ...oh and 8 alts.

Its a very long story, and yes as far as i know i have the record.

Mine was finally traced to the 3 wire plug leading to the alt, it was arcing. Crossing the pins...but i had a slightly different issue with LOTS of strobing. ( twice cars in front of me go on the sholder believing i was a cop)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Strobing.. Mine (When working properly :tongue:) does alot of strobing while driving. It doesnt NOT strobe, ever. Gauges, headlights, everything. What should I suggest to my shop to try and figure out a real problem as to why my car burns through alts. I'm feeling that I will end up beating your record of 8. This will be number 5. Give it two more years (Which is feasible, i haven't even hit 100000 on my engine yet) and I could be at 10. Im hoping to not beat your record however, that would be horrible. Was there anything that Ford could have recalled on this alt? I've read that it's the design in the 99 and 00's and that they fixed it in the 01 and 02s?
 

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Well when i had my 1st set of alt problems i took it to the dealer because i was out of town. I always insisted its more than just the alt, please check for other things. This dealer saw me 4 times in the next month for new alts after they replaced the 1st one. One lasted a day, another lasted about 2 hours ... all motorcraft alts, with a brand new motorcraft battery they threw in along with the 1st alt. They never found anything, though im not sure they looked.

Flash forward a few years i replaced a few on my own... got fed up with another failed alt and took it to a mechanic before cougarfest. And didnt make it there ;( hitched a ride with sonza to get there. Anyway, this guy was checking everything and with a flash light he noticed the 3 wire plug that goes into the alt was all discolored on the inside of the plug. (wiring harness side) He chopped it off, replaced with a new one from Ford. Ever since ive had little or no strobing and only gone through one alt, another motorcraft he insisted on putting on heh. Last and longest runing alt ive had is a duracraft gold.

And as for the different alts.... im not sure how much is different, im pretty sure they have different mounts though. So swaping them inst an option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay so taking in the cougar tomorrow to get the alt fixed. My dad likes to think it's my stereo causing that problem and wants me to disconnect it for however long it takes for the new alt to go bad to narrow down the fact that the alt is my fault for installing an aftermarket headunit. So what are the chances that this Pioneer Electronics - Sound. Vision. Soul
Is causing my alt problem
(Just humor me with answers)
 

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Its very unlikely that just a head unit would cause this. If you crossed the wires the thing wouldnt work and the fuses would blow. Aftermarket head units dont put out that much more power than the factory one, some... but not alot.

Now if you had a few amps and alot of big speakers in the back ... it could hurt the life of the alt. But even that is questionable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I originally did have an amp and a sub in the back. But after my second alternator went i took it out to prove a point to my dad that it would still go, which it has multiple times. Now he's blaming the stereo, which I know isnt the case. And the shop guys at the desk tried blaming it on my yellow top battery last time for giving me the battery light saying, "It's not giving it the right amount of cold cranking amps, that's beacause it's a marine battery", I'm beginning to believe these guys at Belle Tire know nothing about cars. And on top of that my first Alt went before I added aftermarket stereo equipment as well. My dad is just being a stubborn old ox and is getting tired of having to take me to go drop my car off and then go pick it back up. Which I guess I don't blame him, it's frustrating me as well..
 

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Their are two different versions of the Yellow Top battery and one of them is really a marine battery. However, I'm sure you can probably read, since you are writing responses to this thread to what people are saying, and can see it doesn't say anything about being a marine battery. I think there is a 20 dollar difference between the two batteries and a little size difference.

I don't think I've followed along with any other posts you might have made, but your vehicle might qualify for the alternator cabling recall. To many people with similar problems to follow along any one particular person.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
but your vehicle might qualify for the alternator cabling recall.
Alternator cabling recall? I've never heard of this? Is that something that might be contributing to the problem?

(And no. My Yellow Top is not the Marine Yellow Top :tongue: You are correct in assuming I can Read)
 

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it's a battery cable re-routing to keep it from wearing on a power steering line (IIRC) that could short it out. My understanding if it's not re-routed, it wouldn't affect everyday alternator performance - if it does get to the point of wearing thru the cable's insulation, it would short out.
 

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Alternator cabling recall? I've never heard of this? Is that something that might be contributing to the problem?

(And no. My Yellow Top is not the Marine Yellow Top :tongue: You are correct in assuming I can Read)
Jank just wants everyone to agree with I'm. Where as i keep telling everyone that this RARE issue does not affect alts. Like Goldie said... if it goes bad, it shorts out, fuses blow.... nothing like what you're experiencing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This whole alt problem is frustrating enough to start shopping for another car.... I just want it to get figured out and be able to drive my cougar, I have yet to make it to a Cougarfest or a meet of any kind, which is still one of my goals.
 

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My last alt went out about 7 hours away from home... coming back from a cougar meet in canada :)
 
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