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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First post, too long, but I need help.
Have an 06 3.0 180K or so. Normal maintenance items. Had alternator replaced 2 years ago.
2 weeks ago, son said dash gauges, radio, etc went away. Got it home and was charging at over 17V and cooking battery. Figured it was another alternator, so towed to mechanic since I'm not tackling that stupid alternator location. Also bought new battery to put in since the other was at 3 years and had just been really cooked.
Got new alternator and 3 days later, same issue. Towed to mechanic and he said was ECU. I sent it off to Module Experts and they said it was bad and had to be replaced.
Got new module in programmed for VIN, used Forscan and programmed keys. All looked good in driveway and GenMon signal was fine, 14V at battery.
Took it for a drive, and in 10 min, same issue. Luckily close to home. Disconnected battery overnight, same kind of thing where it was good for a while in driveway, but when driving, lose signal and overcharge. Disconnected 2 hours, and worked fine. Sat in driveway idle, reving motor, turning on AC and lights, all good. Drove 10 min on highway, slowed down to turn around, and same thing. Pulled cable off for less than 5 min, and drove home with it fine. Seems to be ECU issue again since just powering it off seems to fix it? Here is a pic of Forscan when Gen Mon goes away and crap happens... This was at highway speed, slowing down to turn around, and nothing.


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TLDR Description - After battery connection, all charging is good and charges at 14V. After a time of driving (between 5 and 10 min) the charge monitor signal disappears and the charge either goes to 0 (12V at battery) or runs away to 17V. Once battery is disconnected and reconnected to reset module, the monitor signal is again detected and charging is correct. I have tried different times of having the battery disconnected from overnight, to 2 hours to 5 min on last test.

Thank you for any ideas.
 

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Did you just tell them to replace the alternator, or did you request a diagnosis?

Did you see what was installed? Do you know the source? Was the regulator replaced or just cleaned up? Was the diode array replaced?
Some Ford regulators were C.r.A.P. in the middle of that decade. If they are re-used, as in a re-man, you may have the same problem as the original owner who traded off his 'bad' alternator for another.
I see two spikes, but am not exactly sure what they represent. Guessing, you get a spike in the monitored percent of capacity, followed a bit later with a big spike in the 'desired' or commanded output. Makes no sense.
My understanding is that the computer will modulate the work over time, and not go 'full boat' until the battery is completely charged(after startup), but will take its time, and fiddle with the field power to limit generated voltage. I read somewhere that the monitor may not be used in all vehicles, and that it may be disconnected and the regulator will work like the old ones. I have no source and absolutely cannot guarantee that is the case. From the graph, it seems the the voltage desired stays constant, but the voltage produced is not displayed. Did you happen to note if the output of the alternator was jumping?
tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I had them just replace the alternator at first. I thought the regulator was internal, so it should have been at least different. I guess it can be the alternator again (still) and have gotten another bad one. The fact that it fixes it when the battery is disconnected was leading me to the computer, but I'm open.
I'm sure it was a reman alternator, and since it works part of the time, would probably pass any diags that were run. I believe the command spikes are normal. Here is when it had been idling in the driveway and then we started driving.

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The RPMs and load were changing and it seems to respond correctly. I have also heard you can take off the 3 prong connector and it (should) stay charging at the 14V, but the battery light will stay on. I don't want that, but may be a good test if I can get in to get the connector off.

I don't know if the mon signal going away is the alternator not sending it, or computer not seeing it anymore. Maybe disconnecting the battery resets some diodes in the alternator and I didn't need the computer replaced after all...
 

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The ground returns via the alt body, to the engine, through a ground cable between to the chassis, from the chassis to the black wire to the negative battery post. I am not sure exactly where these ground wires and contacts are located on your model, but an almost new battery will not peak like this at 17 volts. This is usually the voltage of a battery with no more capacity (or open). A good battery will absorb a lot of energy before its voltage rises; at 17 volts, it produces hydrogen since some time. A battery whose ground connections fail will appear to be at the max voltage from the charging system.

When you read the voltage battery, is it with a multimeter between the battery posts, or is it what the scan program says?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I checked with multimeter on battery. It is 14v until mon signal drops. Then the multimeter shows it increasing up to 17v or so. Restart and it has same issue. Disconnect battery and goes back to normal for a while.
 

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So the alt goes into max charging, out of control.
It resets upon a restart. I can hardly believe that there is a latchup problem with the ecu. Or within the regulator chip in the alt.
A heat-related malfunction would also reset upon a restart.
I searched for genmon and gencmd signals. Found this site, have you seen it?
As you said, the location of the alt makes any testing a nightmare.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
There was a lot of great info on that scannerdanner page. The 40 min video on how it works was great info. I don't have a scope, and even if I did, couldn't get to the alt connection to hook it up. I understand the PCM output of the signals. Looks like Forscan shows the periodic values of that at each read time from the ECM. I think that is why I don't see all the GenCmd signals at every 5 sec interval and see them more infrequently. The sample rate doesn't hit when it is high during the Forscan periodic read. The GenMon appears to follow like his did until it doesn't... I think I'm leaning back to bad regulator in new alternator? Hard to believe 2 in a row with same overcharge issue though. I don't think I see any other symptoms of grounding issue, and think that would also appear on startup, right? There should be no way the ECM can command it to overcharge. It can say go full charge, but that has to still only be 14V.

Looks like best test is take 3 prong off and see voltage. Either way, the alternator is very suspect and I suppose it was a poor reman from autozone. If it was like my Expedition and it wasn't an all day swap, I'd just throw a different one in. I think I need to look at either a Bosch if I can find one or a Motorcraft, but really don't want to throw $500 into just the parts after replacing the ($) ECM for this issue where I think I got screwed with them saying the old one must have been bad and couldn't be fixed...

I do a longer GenCmd pulse which is similar to what he sees on his scope during some demand. Here is one where we switched on the AC in the driveway and got more demand.

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Still at a bit of a loss and only want to try to fix one more time.
 

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You may be interested in 'ford boss me' youtube channel where commentary about the mid-00's Ford alternator regulator problems is noted. He states there are 'bad' regulators escaped into the wild that surface now and again and cause no end of problems. I think he had changed the alternator several times and finally went with parts from two to make one good. Memory is sometimes worthless. Seems after all the problems he got Ford to kick in the bucks to replace THEIR part with a Bosch. Boy my memory is fogged and this was within a couple months.
I would add that re-man does NOT necessarily include a new regulator. I think sometimes it may not include a new diode array. "If it passes the tests, we wash it off and use it..." more or less. Perhaps that is why re-mans for the EMT are so unreliable. Bad parts come in the door, pass the test and are sent out again to cause more problems. If you are the re-man seller, no problem. YOU don't have to do the work over again. Sooo. Me? If I need one, I will buy the parts online, hopefully new(in real life) and do the job once. Most times, the diodes and regulator and the brushes can be replaced(bearings, too) and you have essentially a new machine. On my old junk, i have done brushes on one, and bearings on the other. Brushes just because 200k miles, bearings because I 'washed' them accidentally when I was cleaning under hood. Idler pulley bearings went also. Now both are running on their factory alternators from 1987 and 1985.
tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
You may be interested in 'ford boss me' youtube channel where commentary about the mid-00's Ford alternator regulator problems is noted. He states there are 'bad' regulators escaped into the wild that surface now and again and cause no end of problems. I think he had changed the alternator several times and finally went with parts from two to make one good. Memory is sometimes worthless. Seems after all the problems he got Ford to kick in the bucks to replace THEIR part with a Bosch. Boy my memory is fogged and this was within a couple months.
I would add that re-man does NOT necessarily include a new regulator. I think sometimes it may not include a new diode array. "If it passes the tests, we wash it off and use it..." more or less. Perhaps that is why re-mans for the EMT are so unreliable. Bad parts come in the door, pass the test and are sent out again to cause more problems. If you are the re-man seller, no problem. YOU don't have to do the work over again. Sooo. Me? If I need one, I will buy the parts online, hopefully new(in real life) and do the job once. Most times, the diodes and regulator and the brushes can be replaced(bearings, too) and you have essentially a new machine. On my old junk, i have done brushes on one, and bearings on the other. Brushes just because 200k miles, bearings because I 'washed' them accidentally when I was cleaning under hood. Idler pulley bearings went also. Now both are running on their factory alternators from 1987 and 1985.
tom
This is what I'm afraid happened. No good way to test it on the bench and have it fail, but dies in real world operation. Getting a new one won't be able to be tested either until it is installed. How much trouble is changing out the diode pack and regulator? Where do you get just those parts without the full alternator. Have never done it that way, just threw in alternator when it needed it, but this placement really complicates the issue.

Wondering if getting a 'new' alternator would be better. Not seeing any easily available Motorcraft ones online, (at least not reasonable). Do see some Delco and Remy new ones but not sure if that is really true or not. I would rather pay the extra $50 or so if that is going to be a better option. PartsGeek seems to have the best prices for those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Very strange tonight. Could not duplicate the no charge/overcharge condition. Idled for 20 min in driveway, drove for 30 min in residential/suburban area, not highway.

After seeing some of the videos on how it is supposed to operate, it should give a GenCmd pulse every 5 sec. I thought refresh rate was causing it to not register. I hooked up same laptop and OBD interface to my Expedition, and do see every 5 sec pulses. Occasionally one is missed, but gets 90% of them. The Escape seems to output at 15 sec min and many times it goes a min or more without a pulse being reported. Didn't seem to hurt anything, but is not what I was expecting. I can't trust that it is OK, but it's late and I quit for now. This one shows time from 25 sec after graph starts to about the 80 sec mark with no GenCmd pulses.


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Here is a graph where I forced some heavy load on the system by having lights on and holding window close switches. Looks like everything is responding correctly on that test. (Forgot to switch to light background to make it easier to see)
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Still trying to plug away at it before I buy something else I don't need.
 

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Did you read this on Scanner Danner's site:


Did not get through all the way, but so far seems to mirror the problems you report.
tom

Added:
Guess you've already been down that road... your post was at the bottom, and reference to it moved to another area. Never mind.
tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I did read that and one person seemed to have the same issue, wasn't a full solution for him on there, but theory of operation was very informative. I don't have an oscilloscope to monitor the actual PCM waveforms, but can see the ECM reported values. What I see different is that the GenCmd line should be pulsed every 5 sec according to that. I see that on my 2010 Expedition, but the 06 Escape, I only see a pulse when it wants a change. There is sometimes a 15 sec pulse, but may not have one for a min. I don't know if that is correct for this model, did I get a bad ECU, am I missing something? Would love to see a Forscan graph from someone else with same model to see if that is normal.
 
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