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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, guys. It's been a few years since I've had working AC. I had it repaired a few days ago, (had a leak somewhere.), and now that I'm using my AC, I noticed my battery gauge is at only 33%. My Check Engine light came on this morning. Wife tells me everything electrical cut off for a minute, but she stopped for gas, and when she started the car, everything was back to normal. Does it sound to you like the AC is drawing too much juice? Probably time for a new alternator?

EDIT: By the way, I'm talking about my '95 4.6 V8 bird. I didn't have any power problems before I had the AC repaired.
 

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see if you getting 13 out of the alternator using a volt reader. if you're not getting 13 then it's your alternator another easy way is turn the car on and disconnect the battery while its running now if everything dies then its extremely likely its the alt.
 

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Do your car a favor and don't disconnect the battery while it is running. If everything literally just shut off (lights off, engine dead, nothing, nadda) then your alternator is probably not the problem. If your gauge dipped a bunch and lights dimmed, etc. then yes, your alternator could be at fault.

I had one alternator fail in that it was severly overcharging. Right now my alternator randomly stops charging. I can be driving down the road and the lights dim while the gauge dips. A minute later it will kick back on and everything will be fine and dandy. I just need to find an extra 15 minutes to change it. If this is your scenario, then yes, it is most likely your alternator.

Also, a healthy alternator puts out more than 13 volts.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
She didn't say the car shut off. I think she was just talking about the stereo, AC, clock...you know.
It isn't that I suspect the AC is causing a problem, I'm just wondering if the alt is having a hard time keeping up with the demand. I have a hard time believing it would simply be coincidence. I'll have it tested. I think Autozone does it for free. Thanks for the advice, guys. As far as replacing it goes, is it a difficult job? I'll look around for a guide. Hopefully we have one here. Speaking of guides on TCCOA, my dual piston calp's are still going strong!
 

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It might sound simple, but check your cables. My volt gauge was showing lower than normal, I popped the hood and found the positive cable was loose and I could slip it off the terminal. Tightened it and the volt gauge came back up to its usual spot in the middle.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It might sound simple, but check your cables. My volt gauge was showing lower than normal, I popped the hood and found the positive cable was loose and I could slip it off the terminal. Tightened it and the volt gauge came back up to its usual spot in the middle.
I'll check that. Thanks. I've been driving it, but havent had time to have it tested yet. Everything is normal...then I turn the AC on and it drops.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I took it to the shop, they tested the alternator, battery, and something else. Everything checked out fine. They drove it...but couldn't replicate the failure. So, I picked it up, drove it to work and it did it on the way there. Called them to tell them...and they replaced the alternator the next day for free.
Running great now.
EDIT: Go Firestone! Goodyear wouldn't even rotate my tires for free when I needed a $550 brake job...and I was on Eagle #1's! I said, "But you already have them off...what else is left to do?" Manager replied, "Still have to walk them around."
 

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I didn't quite get the last post. They replaced your alternator (for free) because they told you it was fine, but you still had a problem? Your alternater at idle should show between 13.7-14 volts at the battery with a meter. I just had to replace mine. With all my lights on, A/C on, and in drive, I was still showing 13.5 volts at the battery. Mine went south because the main feed wire at the rear had rubbed thru the rubber insulation of the throttle cable, and was shorting out against the bare steel cable inside. It destroyed the alternater.
 
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