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2004 Ford Ranger Edge Reg Cab 3.0L

2004 Ford Ranger
Trim Info:
Rear Wheel Drive, Reg Cab 6' Styleside
18 mpg city / 23 mpg hwy
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July 27, 2013, 12:05 am

Lauren H

Question: Is it the alternator or could it be something else?

About a month ago the battery light came on but on the way to the mechanic, to get the alternator replaced, I hit a bump and the light went out. Periodically the light comes and goes. I have taken my truck to the dealership (as I always do) 3 times and they have told me that it is not the alternator and that it is an electrical issue that has to do with a cluster of wires. They said that I had nothing to worry about that it would not leave me stranded beside the road. Today I was driving on the interstate and my ABS light came on then all my gauges went to zero, I pulled over and put the truck into park and it sounded like something got caught in the fan. When I tried to turn the truck back on all the dash lights were on except the battery light and I had full power to the air conditioner. My dad insists that it's my alternator causing the problem. If it were, wouldn't it have drained the battery and I have lost all power? The dealership seams to think it's the starter, but why would it have gone out while I was driving? What could be my possibilities? Thank you for your time and patience during my ramble.

July 27, 2013, 10:41 pm

Ron W
Expert Mechanic

Could be the alternator. If it is sending out an AC signal (meaning some of the diodes in it shorted) then you can get all sorts of odd issues including what you are describing. the dealer should be able to diagnose it if it has an AC leak.

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July 28, 2013, 11:39 pm

Lauren H

Did you read everything I wrote? I didn't say anything about an AC signal... I don't even know what an AC signal is. If the alternator would have went, it would have completely drained the battery and I would have lost ALL power to the truck. Is it possible that it could have been something else, like the STARTER? That's why my question was " Is it the alternator or could it be something else?" This happened Friday, and I don't know when I will find out what is wrong with my truck, so I'm just trying to get some advice.

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July 29, 2013, 9:57 am

Ron W
Expert Mechanic

AC stand for Alternating Current.

Your alternator generates AC current which is rectified into pulsating DC (Direct Current) so it is usable for the vehicle. If one or more diodes shorts, you can have what is called an AC leak. If that happens, your vehicle may experience all kinds of issues because the computers cannot deal with AC voltage. It makes them act weird and can damage them,.

That is what you need to have checked. typically, if you have an AC leak you will have performance issues, light coming on and other odd behaviors, , but the battery won't go dead.

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