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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This happened last year but I thought I'd post it to see if maybe anyone can explain what the heck might have happened.

Last year after I put in the new engine/trans, I started the car up one random day and all hell broke loose. Right after starting the car I could tell something was wrong because it just didn't sound right. Then I looked at the tach and it was reading about 1,600 at idle. Now the car wasn't idling at 1,600 but the tach was reading 1,600! The actual engine was between 700-900 (because I know the sound at different RPMs).

So I turn off the car, wait a few seconds, and turn it back on. Now the tach and everything is fine. I slowly take off and drive on the streets for a few minutes. I was at my brother's house and needed to get home (~100 miles away). I get on the freeway and set the cruise at 75. About a minute after setting the cruise, I look at the voltmeter and notice that it is fluctuating! Nothing drastic but noticeable, and it had NEVER done this before (unless the blinker's are on, you guys all know). IIRC it was fluctuating sporadically from the middle of NORM to the N. I knew something was wrong but I needed to get home, so I continued driving.

Not a minute later, the tach once again goes crazy. I'm doing 75 in OD and my RPM is reading about 5,500! Then, the tach returns to normal and all of a sudden the car drops into neutral! While in neutral, the engine revs up probably to around 4,500. I turn off cruise control and quickly signal to get over to the side of the freeway. Then the car pops back into gear, then downshifts to 3rd, then back to OD. Mind you I'm not touching the gas while this is happening. I get to the shoulder, turn off the car, and proceed to unplug the battery. I suspected the battery 1) because of the voltage fluctuations and 2) because the battery was over 8 years old! After a few minutes, I reconnected the battery and proceeded to exit the freeway. Luckily there was a Wal-Mart right there so I bought a new battery, installed it, and drove home without a hitch. Now over 1 year later, I've had no problems and nothing even close to that has ever happened since.

Does anyone know what might have occured to cause this unusual, unholy possession of the car?
 

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:zwthstpd:
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I know the battery caused it. That's why I replaced it! I'm looking for theories as to what was happening to cause it.

i.e. Did the battery probably cause unusual drains/surges in the electrical system and make the ECM go crazy?

Sorry I should have phrased the question differently.
 

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Actually I'm betting it wasn't the battery. IMHO, your symptoms sound exactly like a bad contact to the battery (probably on the negative terminal).

I would bet that if you had just cleaned the contacts well, that you would have been fine.

Remember, a battery is only an "amperage well" and either provides current or not. Sporadic operation is usually an indication of connection issues.

But that's just my .02 based on your symptoms. :thumbsup:

I've had some of the funkiest problems you can think of when dealing with ground issues!! :beek:
 

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The battery could have had a bad cell in it.

My Uncle has an old ltd and his battery was dieing in a day. Drove it to work and the battery BLEW UP. Bad voltage regulator.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, that battery was over 8 years old. Granted it was a Motorcraft battery, but I think that is pretty long for the average car battery, isn't it?

I definitely the conditions when I changed out the battery and the terminals were on pretty tight. There wasn't one bit of corrosion either. It's weird--I've never had any corrosion on this car's terminals with any battery, but my Taurus's battery seems like it has an uncontrollable growth of corrosion. What gives? I don't use terminal protector or any of the sprays/pads that they have out there on either, but only one of the two cars has corrosion. :confused:
 

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I bet it was the connections as well. My 96 STILL has the factory battery. I even let it drain this past winter but after a day on the trickle charger, it's good as new, putting out 12.8V
 

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First of all, GreenBird i have been to forums both of computer games and car forums, 10k posts is crazy! Great job hehe
About the battery thing, I had something like that happen. The car completly lost power one morning, then started up 20 seconds later. The volt meter would drop sporatically. So i threw a new battery in and i seem to be doing ok. Does everyones volt gauge bounce around N to M? The gauge seems to move more than my previous cars, what do you guys think?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The only conditions under which my volt guage will move are when the blinkers are on, when the fan goes on/off, when the windows go up/down, when the A/C cycles on/off, and the instant the headlights are turned on.

Thanks everyone for your responses. If it was indeed the connection, I would be surprised beyond belief.
 

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i've had a plymouth sundance with a funky voltage spikes but not my bird you should look into redoing your grounds all the way around
 

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dwinthrup said:
i've had a plymouth sundance with a funky voltage spikes but not my bird you should look into redoing your grounds all the way around
I know of the 3 coming off the battery. Is there a ground from the body to the engine hiding on me somewhere?
 
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