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Battery light not coming on, but belive my alternator is going out again

(1997 Ford Contour)
in Boise, ID on November 08, 2010
Was on my way to work, noticed head lights dimming, then the dash was really dim as well. Shortly after that I noticed that it showed I had half a tank of gas (even though I know I was almost empty) and I noticed then that it was no longer showing how fast I was going, and then the dash lights were nearly off. Eventually got stopped at a red light where the car gave a few really bad shutters and then died. Wouldn't start again so pushed it to a spot around the corner, and about 20 min later it started again, but it was shuttering kinda hard, and then died again. It seems like it would be my alternator, but I JUST replaced it in August, along with a new battery. But we did drive on batter power for a day before the alternator was delivered. The only thing is, when my alternator went out the batter light was on on the dash, this time though, the only lights that are on are the ABS, Emergency Break light, and i'm pretty sure that its the airbag light... but no battery light. Tried to charge it up today, but as soon as i turn the lights on it dies almost right away (and goes out with the shutter) Please.... someone help me.
Displaying 3 answers & 3 comments
Popular Answer
on November 08, 2010
I am willing to bet your alternator is still working sounds like you have a bad connection to the battery
on November 08, 2010
How do you test for that? I'm not the most knowledgeable girl when it comes to cars so all the help I can get would be GREATLY appreciated!
on November 08, 2010

It indeed seems that you have a charging system issue with your Contour. Yes, having a repeat failure is frustrating, but not impossible by any means. Alternators purchased are 99.9% remanufactured units, and they vary in quality from remanufacturer to remanufacturer. Even the "best" units (or at least alleged Motorcraft/Ford remanufactured alternators...) can fail right out of the box (been there, seen that). I have had Ford reman alternators produce visible smoke upon first use...

In any case, doing due dilligence, charge your battery in full. This means trickle charge it for a long period of time. Start with a 6 or 10 amp charge, and drop it down to 2 amp to finish it off...left for hours. Then, test your charging system. Your voltage regulator (internal to the alternator) is almost certainly not producing the voltage needed to keep you running.

Hopefully you still have a warranty on your recently replaced alternator.

Good luck!
on November 08, 2010
Thanks, but does the batter light not coming on mean anything?
on November 08, 2010
Not necessarily. The wiring connector to the alternator sends the signal to the cluster to trigger the light when certain conditions are met. Doesn't mean it's foolproof.

Also, does your battery light even prove out when you turn the key on?
on August 25, 2014
I can see it has been a few years since this question was posted but my car, which is a 2000 Ford Contour, is doing the exact same thing, word for word. Did you ever figure out what was causing it?
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