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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I have now 84,700 miles on the Cougar. In the past two weeks my car has been acting up, probably because he's become the cranky old man. Almost everytime I accelerate hard, to merge onto the parkway or to pass, the battery light flashes for a few seconds and then goes out. I've also noticed that, more often than not, it takes more than one turn of the key to start the car. Sunday, it took me four times to get the car to turnover. Ha, and I need an oil change, bad. And the CEL has been on for about 5 months straight.

So, I called the dealer today (since my car is under warranty up to almost 94,000 miles) and ask about the 90,000 mile service and alternator business (if that is, in fact, what the problem is). I've never replaced the alternator. Do you think that's part of the problem? If so, I'd like to get the thing replaced while it's covered, but I don't want them to charge me an arm and a leg if it's not the problem. Also, the Mercury service would include the usual oil lube, filter, air filter, gas filter, spark plugs, tire rotation, coolant system service, tranny service, etc...which would come to a total of $530. I clean the air filter myself and had the tranny serviced about 10,000 miles ago. And I can have Mavis rotate the tires for free. I should just go the the local service station and have them deal with the fuel filter, gas filter, spark plugs and such. What a rip off.

But, what are other signs that the alternator is about to go? I think Jaigh can help me on this one :thumbsup:
 

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That is a BIG ripoff....

If you had the trans fluid changed 10K ago then don't worry about it again. How old is your battery?

Check your pre-tensioner first before condemming the alternator.
 

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thats how my alternator started up. The battery light wouldn't come on until i pushed the pedal down and gave it full throttle. Until one day when i was driving around, hanging out and my radio turned off, then soon my headlights etc.
I'd say def. have that alt. checked out
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. I don't ever remember replacing the battery. I'm going to see if the service station can run an electrical diagnostic and check out both the battery and alternator when I go for my oil change.

What's the pre-tensioner and where is it located?
 

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The pre-tensioner is pretty much a spring loaded pulley that keeps the proper tension on the belt. If that spring gets weak, it doesn't keep the proper tension on the belt anymore causing it to slip at higher RPM's, I'm at 102K and when I first got my car at 45K I took it to a shop to get worked on before I knew better and they gypped me and installed a new alt and pre-tensioner. I know my pre-tensioner is going out again because I'm starting to get the battery light and when I spray it with some PB blaster it stops the light for a little while. If left long enough it will cause the alternator to over heat due to the slipping of the belt and ruin it. Personally I think this is what happens with many of the alternators that fail on our cars. I believe the tensioner is around $45 from Ford, but you can get them checked to see if they are holding at the right tension. Ford can probably check that for you but since they like to rip everyone off, I don't have a FORD CD so I don't know if they give you the specification for the tensioner.

Or you could just have someone knowledgeable at the shop you take it for the oil change check the belt tension, lol that might be easier then my long winded and probably confusing response :goofy:

O yea and the battery, you can have a load test done on it at either the place that you get the oil changed at, good idea about letting them run a whole check. Motorcraft batteries from what I've seen tend to last a while. Hell mine is 7 years old and still going strong :crazy:.
 

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IIRC, the gas filter and the fuel filter are the same, and we can do that at the meet. The part is about 10 bucks at any pep boys, and takes about 3-5 min to do. I have done mine 3x and its no problem.

If you want to wait til the meet, we can do that, as well as clean your air filter, change your cabin air filter, and rotate your tires. Let us know what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That pre-tensioner business sounds complicated!

Duh, fuel filter.....yeah, I've had that replaced already, too. One of the guys at work changed it for me (of course they fired the one dude I make friends with that works on Mustangs in his spare time). I guess it can't hurt to run to Northport Ford and pick-up another one and let you guys take a crack at it. I can buy a new cabin air filter at the dealer too, right?

I called the guy who did my tranny service last time and he also said he would run the diagnostic for free of charge. And I called the warranty company, just to cover my ass and make sure the alternator is DEFINITELY covered in my contract. And I'm so excited I found out that I don't have to necessarily go to the dealer for warranty repairs. I just have to have the shop call the National Auto Care people with an estimate beforehand. Rock on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, after getting up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and having the car spend 7 hours at the shop, it turns out it was the battery. The guy said it was filled with sulfate and that's what was causing the alternator to overcharge so that's apparently why the battery light was coming on. He also said the alternator was good. They installed a new battery and I got an oil change. So, the light hasn't come back on since.

But they also pulled the codes from the CEL before disconecting the battery and I have four codes:

P0174
P0171
P1151
P0401

He said the first three are the MAF sensors and the last one is an EGR code. If it's not one thing to deal with, it's the other......
 

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EH, i've got a cel and a misfire...you're sittin' pretty.

As for the battery, I should have recommended you to get a voltmeter and start poking around. You're smart, i'm sure you could have changed the battery!
 

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my car is still out of commission because of the alternater.

i've changed it 3 times so far. i hate my car.

well the battery light comes on at first. then your lights dim. then everything goes dark and you get stuck on the side of the 135 in freezing weather with no coat for 2 hours. or you get stuck way out east in farmland.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
True, I am smart....but, the shop already had the car for 7 hours, so I just wanted it over with! I'll just see if I can tighten anything loose around the intake, maybe that's why the CEL is still on.

well the battery light comes on at first. then your lights dim. then everything goes dark... Pretty much what happened to my Tbird before it finally died....luckily I made it home from Oceanside...Jaigh, are you drivin' the 6 around? Where's the Cougar now?
 

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Originally posted by: transient or you get stuck way out east in farmland.

HEY....I live WAY out east in Farmland :cover: :wave:

if the Alt keeps dying so soon, I'd look elsewhere for a problem. Could be a short, could even be the battery like Pony Girls....try this, if you get it started pull off the negative battery cable. If the car still runs then chances are it's the battery, if the car died then it's the alt. A volt-meter would definetly help you out here.
 

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o wow, talk about a small world....so that was your Cougar :goofy:

I used to work at a shop in Riverhead and we would take cars to Vail to get inspected. I ran an inspection there when your Cougar was in for that Alt.

I live out in Manorville.
 

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well i dropped my dirty ace cougar off at my mechanic last night to fix the alternator. hope its not too expensive. i havent driven it in like a month when i started it up it was real loud. it sounded awesome but im sure theres a problem cuz it was never this loud before.
 

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yes it was rio red with a full wings west body kit, painted dash, wheels, and the in-dash screen. It had to of been your car from your description. Do you remember if it was Vail Automotive that you took it to?

Loud how? Exhaust? Alt?
 
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