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Johnatone

Auto Repair Question

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Well, the internet has failed me as usual. I came here because I trust your guys' opinions on things, and there's a huge diversity of people with knowledge on stuff, and oddly enough if I need something answered this seems to be the place to go.

I have a 1999 Ford Ranger. On my way home from work the dash lights all came on one by one, the lights dimmed and eventually the truck died. I believe this to be an alternator problem. However, we were able to get the truck jump started and hoofed to a place where I know it won't be towed.

Now, I said I believe this to be an alternator problem because my father had the same problem a couple of years ago in his Kia Spectra. My wife's mother said the same thing because of the symptoms. However, from what I understand if it was the alternator then the truck wouldn't even start with a jump.

So the question is, do I replace the alternator or do I just need a new battery? (The battery is less than a year old, replaced in July of 2010.) The second question is if anyone of you know how easy it would be to replace the alternator by itself. I have the instructions, I just don't know how damn hard it would be to get to it.

Thanks for your help guys.

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Johnatone said:

However, from what I understand if it was the alternator then the truck wouldn't even start with a jump.

Yes it would. Battery power starts the engine, and the alternator charges the battery.

You can get alternators and batteries checked at any decent auto parts store. If you can drive it there, they can be checked at the same time without removing them.

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Bloodshedder said:

Yes it would. Battery power starts the engine, and the alternator charges the battery.

You can get alternators and batteries checked at any decent auto parts store. If you can drive it there, they can be checked at the same time without removing them.


That's what I was thinking. It's 1 in the morning here so I'll have to try and hoof it over there at 8 tomorrow. Thanks for the quick reply. Damn, I don't need this kind of crisis right now.

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Yeah, to me it sounds like you need to get that alternator checked out.

As for replacing the alternator.. one question: What engine does your pick up have in it?

It can either be a total pain in the ass from hell (my '91 mercury tracer) or an absolute breeze (my '95 f150).

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Mike.Reiner said:

As for replacing the alternator.. one question: What engine does your pick up have in it?


6 Cylinders X 4.0L EFI OHV

Which for the record means nothing to me. Auto class was one of those classes I regret not taking in high-school.

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Shouldn't be too hard. You'd be surprised how many auto videos you can find on youtube.

This video shows this guy walking through the steps for replacing the alternator in a '98 Explorer, which has the same 4.0 v6 as your Ranger, so the process should be pretty much identical. (and even then with other engines and vehicles it's usually very similar).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJ3EOB8QYvU
Note: You do not need to completely remove the serpentine belt from anything other than the alternator, unless of course the belt is due for replacement. He just removes it completely so he can demonstrate how to put it back on properly.

At least the alternator does not appear to be in a place that would make it very hard to get down in there with a ratchet.

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Thank you. I wasn't sure which video to watch last night that had a similar engine (again, I wish I were more informed in useful areas like this.) I've got an alternator on hold, I'm waiting on my ride right now and my father-in-law is going to help me install it. I'll let you guys know how it goes.

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Everything went smoothly. Picked up the new alternator and had it changed in less than an hour. One if my father in law's neighbors even had a special tool for the tension pulley so that helped. Charged the battery and its all good. Belt was brand new last year, checked it just in case. Again, thanks for all the help guys. Trying to find information on the internet was kind of a pain - not that I didn't find it, but talking to real people is much better.

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You'll want to keep that battery in check though, especially if it's old and went through a deep discharge during your trouble with the alternator, and the weather is still cold where you live. Perhaps the best course of action would be to replace it too.

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The battery is less than a year old, but yeah even so a deep discharge is never healthy for it. Keep an eye on it.

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Mike.Reiner said:

The battery is less than a year old, but yeah even so a deep discharge is never healthy for it. Keep an eye on it.


Will do. So far so good though, over an hour of driving time punctuated by an hour of sitting. I'll check it long before I go to work tomorrow.

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