Couple of Issues - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 06-21-2014, 07:23 PM
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Couple of Issues

First off, thanks for the membership to the forum, I have been scouting for a few days! I just got ahold of a 1997 F250 7.3 Powerstroke yesterday with 149,400 on the odometer. On the way home, I noticed the battery light. came on. Sometimes it stays on, most of the time it flickers. The batteries are just a couple of months old. I cleaned the battery connections and checked the two top alternator plug ins. No issues that I noticed on that stuff. What I don't want is to be stranded in my new truck however. Should I watch it a few more days or is there anywhere I should look specific? It almost seems more common after warm up. It's not on until I get going. I don't want it to become more costly, but it is the weekend and the alternator shop is closed. Oreillys told me I had 12.9 amps at idle on my passenger battery(only on that they checked). On to my next question. From my understanding, your front driveshaft and drive axles should rotate freely with the vehicle in 2wd. My issue is, they will not turn by hand, but when the truck is in 2wd and you drive it forward and reverse, the axles do not move. In 4wd, they roll(watching from the front with someone easing back and forth). The truck has the auto hubs up front and I don't have a big enough jack to pick the truck up safely. Do I just need to grease somewhere? It seems as if the front hubs were still locked in, they would always turn even with the transfer case in 2wd. Sorry for such a long post, but I need some help for my day off tomorrow and have little knowledge on diesel mechanics. Thanks for all input, much explanation may be needed.

Last edited by Kawaboy13; 06-21-2014 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 06-22-2014, 04:23 AM
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The lone wire on top of the alternator is the one that feeds the dash light .Sometimes a loose connection will get it to flicker .
If you have just 12.9 volts (not amps ) with engine running your alternator isn't charging very well .12 volt batteries will have about 12.5 volts without engine running and a good alternator will put out anywhere from 13 to 15 volts or a tad more .Get you a cheap multi meter from Lowes or Home depot for about 20 bucks and test away .I rigged up mine to the power outlet for grins one day and watched the volts under normal operation ,it would hit almost 16 then the built in regulator would kick it back down to the 13s again .
Most alternators make a ton of noise when they fail but on these PS you aren't going to hear it till it's to late .Release the belt and spin the alternator by hand to check for bearing failure .
And check and tighten all ground cables on both batteries on the engine block also .
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Old 06-22-2014, 05:23 AM
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Put the multi meter on DC 50? Would cables and such cause a low voltage? What would you recommend for cleaning the cables? Thanks!

Last edited by Kawaboy13; 06-22-2014 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 06-22-2014, 05:38 AM
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Yes use the DC (direct current ) and test each battery with engine off .They should be disconnected from one another to gain a proper reading .Each one one should have at least 12.5 volts .
After this reconnect and run the engine and test for output from the alternator .You can probe the large cable on the alternator ,the positive cables on the batteries and you should see an increase if the alternator is actually charging .The alternator has an internal regulator and these can go bad too btw.
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Old 06-22-2014, 05:59 AM
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Alright thanks. Could you explain the cable to test on the alternator with it running? The one on the back, not the plug correct? Also what do you recommend for warm up and shut down times on these trucks?
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:46 AM
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The large cable on the back with the insulator cap is the one ,that's the hot one and it's connected by a nut. Use caution while probing ,you don't want any sparking going on either .
The warm up varies to most of these guys ,I usually start it ,let the glows turn off and drive it easy for a few minutes . Overdrive won't engage till fluid hits 90 degrees also .
The cool down varies as well ,if you're running it hard let it idle for a moment or more so the turbo cools and doesn't bake the oil seals in it .That's why these guys monitor the exhaust temperatures .
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:54 AM
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Awesome I just checked each battery in the truck. Both show 13.5 volts with the truck off. Now for the start up put the meter on the battery or the negative battery cable and the positive on the alternator?
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Old 06-22-2014, 07:06 AM
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just probe the positive side of a battery or/and the alternator , you should have the same reading I believe .Look for more than 13.5 with it running . To really test it turn all lights,wipers and fan on to trick the regulator for that extra demand too .
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Old 06-22-2014, 07:12 AM
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13 with the truck off. 15 with it running at both batteries and the alternator cable. About to go for a ride and see how it acts.
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Old 06-22-2014, 08:22 AM
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Rode about 15 miles or so. Battery guage dead center and no battery light so far. Could a loose or dirty connection have caused the light and the low reading at Oreillys from the alternator? When I head home I will check the voltage at idle again.

Update: Everything is well so far, no battery light after about 20 miles. At idle when I got home, still showing 15 volts., battery gauge in normal range, and no battery light. So cleaning the cables and alternator cable did the trick? Should I worry about it or just watch my dash?

Next, I jacked the truck up one wheel at a time and turned them. Brakes seem a little tight, but even at this the truck wants to get up and go at idle in drive. Anyway turning each wheel separately did not turn the front axle. Does that mean my hubs are working and I need to grease something up? I still cannot turn the driveshaft by hand besides the little slack in it. My tires on the front are a little chopped up. Not sure if the front end is tearing them up because I cannot rotate the shaft freely? Or the alignment(Ford Shop says its not off)? Or just the weight of the truck up front and needing a tire rotation?

Last edited by Kawaboy13; 06-22-2014 at 10:11 AM.
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