TomJones76-mobile no-start condition

Messages
1,251
Location
Akron, OH
I drive an '02 Mercury Sable LS with the 24V DOHC engine. I'd been intermittently hearing a new kind of buzzing from my car, especially when I was turning corners and the power steering would have been kicking in. This morning, I went out and tried to start my car. No dice.... some lights, but not many, and no radio. I jumped the car off of my wife's Neon and drove to work. During the drive, my Scangauge indicated 13.6 to 13.8 volts the whole time. I parked the car at work, turned it off, then tried to start it a minute or two later. No dice then, either. I'm thinking alternator here. I checked RockAuto, and I saw $200-300 plus shipping depending on maker for the alternator. Anyone know the book hours for that job on this car?
 
Do the lights on the dash go out when you turn the key from on to start? Could be dirty battery terminals or a bad battery. If your alt was not working, I don't think you would get 13.6 volts while driving from a battery that wouldn't start the car.
 
Messages
11,627
Location
Illinois
I'd certainly have the battery tested before I changed the alternator. Not to mention as was suggested, make sure the terminal connections are clean and tight. If it's anything like a Contour with essentially the same engine, it's a pain to reach. I'd image 1.5+ hours, given all the stuff you have to go around from the bottom. So for a shop, you are looking at a $400 to $500 repair most likely. That's why I'd certainly carry my battery into a parts store and have them test it before dropping that kind of cash.
 
Messages
36,413
Location
ME
Some batteries just go to pot in a day, particularly if you lose a cell. Oddly my Dad's Ford batteries were this way, they'd last 8-10 years (!) then die in a heartbeat. Pry off your vent caps and make sure they all have water. If you've got acid everywhere it boiled trying to take a charge that never worked. I'm chagrined (as you must be) that a part for a carline as long running and popular as the taurus/sable isn't cheaper...
 
Messages
3,094
Location
Metro Detroit
My Chevy had the battery go bad in fairly short order. It started to crank a little slow one day, then I left it to sit for a week while we were on vacation. When I came back I had to jump it to get to work. I drove to work and started it again just fine on the way home. I saw some corrosion on the terminals when I was jumping it, but when I took the positive battery cable off to clean it, the whole terminal came right off the battery. That pretty much explained everything. This happened in July 2005, BTW.
 
Messages
10,836
Location
Nokesville, VA
I get the battery in my car load-tested once a year. Autozone does it for free, so does my mechanic. If your ScanGuage said 13.6 to 13.8 volts, tain't the alternator. Though if you want it to be the alternator, just keep jump starting it. The alternator will soon **** out from trying to charge a bad battery all the time.
 

TomJones76

Thread starter
Messages
1,251
Location
Akron, OH
brianl703, Dang. So much for my plan to avoid buying a battery by just running the engine non-stop. I was even going to install a high idle switch to avoid cylinder wash-down...
 
Messages
10,836
Location
Nokesville, VA
I've had a bad battery, with a shorted cell, destroy an alternator before. I think all of the damage was done before I bought the car. It would start fine unless you let it sit for a couple of days whereupon it wouldn't start and the battery measured about 10 volts. I replaced the battery but the alternator totally died soon after.
 

TomJones76

Thread starter
Messages
1,251
Location
Akron, OH
Hmmmmm. Yeah, I'll try the battery route first. The car's battery says "Motorcraft". That MAY mean it's the factory battery, which means it was assembled in 2001 some time, in which case I am certainly due. Heck, if it was an aircraft it would have been PMed out years ago. Do a Mercury's factory batteries say Motorcraft? PS- About 2 months ago I left the lights on and drained it all the way down.. never a good thing for battery lifespan. Any reccomendations on where to pick up a good battery at a decent price? Ohio has some cold starts in the winter. I have Autozone and Advance Auto handy and nearby, as well as a (gasp) Wal-Mart. eljefino, Yeah, no poo! It blew my mind...
 
Messages
11,627
Location
Illinois
I think what matters most is a fresh battery since most are made by only a few manufactuers and then badged with Wal*Mart or Advanced Auto. In this case, there certainly is something to be said for having a store on every corner if it comes to cashing in on a battery warranty. PS, yes a Mercury would have a Motorcraft battery factory installed. You may try your FLM dealer as well. If you got 5 years out of the factory battery, it may be worth looking into another.
 
Messages
1,357
Location
California, USA
I normally dont like China-Mart, but the car batteries are from the same mfrs as Sears, AZ, PebBoys, etc. at better prices. The BMW one costs $40 there, $70-100 at the other places.
 
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