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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,
Over the past month my battery light will come on for a few minutes, go off, come on again a few minutes later, and go back off. This will happen over and over the whole time while I'm driving... It will not stay on for more than a solid 3-4 minutes. I'm guessing that maybe my alternator is beginning to go out? We made a trip to St. Louis this weekend and I decided not to take the Escape due to this fact (plus the wife's Cavy gets 33 MPG!) Thanks in advanced for your help!
 

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Some auto parts stores can check your battery & perhaps your alternator.
Also, you can use the cluster diagnostics to see what the battery voltage is: engine off & engine on.
To do so......

Insert the key into the ignition switch but don't turn it - just slide it in.
Press & hold the trip reset button on the odometer, then turn the key to the accessory position. Don't start the car.
Continue pressing/holding the reset button until the LCD display shows tESt in an LCD font. Release the button.
The gauges will sweep to the maximum positions then return to their starting points, and the LCD display will change to GAGE.
Now you can press & release the odo reset button to scroll thru the various outputs.
The battery output is abbreviagted as bat. You'll have to press & release the odo reset button ~10-20 times to get to it.
I'm not 100% sure, but with the engine off it should be around 12.7 volts or thereabouts... perhaps a tad less.
At this point you can go ahead & start the car.
The bat reading should go up to around 14.4 or thereabouts.
With the car running the bat display will probably fluctuate a little by a tenth or two.

PS: the owner's manual might state what the blinking battery light means.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
hurk said:
Some auto parts stores can check your battery & perhaps your alternator.
Also, you can use the cluster diagnostics to see what the battery voltage is: engine off & engine on.
To do so......

Insert the key into the ignition switch but don't turn it - just slide it in.
Press & hold the trip reset button on the odometer, then turn the key to the accessory position. Don't start the car.
Continue pressing/holding the reset button until the LCD display shows tESt in an LCD font. Release the button.
The gauges will sweep to the maximum positions then return to their starting points, and the LCD display will change to GAGE.
Now you can press & release the odo reset button to scroll thru the various outputs.
The battery output is abbreviagted as bat. You'll have to press & release the odo reset button ~10-20 times to get to it.
I'm not 100% sure, but with the engine off it should be around 12.7 volts or thereabouts... perhaps a tad less.
At this point you can go ahead & start the car.
The bat reading should go up to around 14.4 or thereabouts.
With the car running the bat display will probably fluctuate a little by a tenth or two.

PS: the owner's manual might state what the blinking battery light means.
Thanks for the info! I might try to get a reading off the LCD screen. Yes, the owner's manual did state that the red battery light means that the battery was not charging correctly, so this lead me to think that my alternator is not working properly ALL the time. I'll see what I can come up with and maybe just take it to AutoZone and have them test it.
 

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As odd as it is, my 02 Escape had this same problem and the fix was adding more coolant (it was low, therefore causing the "battery light" to come on). Try it out if you think that might be it. Though the below forum says they had the light on startup, mine would come on intermittently while i was driving, and adding coolant fixed my problem immediately.

http://www.ford-forums.com/ford-escape/525-battery-lite.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Interesting...

Well, on that site it seems that some of the people were confusing the low coolant light with the battery light. My light is the one that's bottom center of the Tachometer.

Nonetheless, I'll check the coolant level.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
colemannd said:
I believe that's the same light that I had coming on. Let me know what you find.
So, I filled my resevoir tank up a little last night. On the way to work this morning, the battery light came on. By time I got to work (5 minute drive), the light had gone off, but I decided to pull up the battery code on the odometer. With the key in and turned forward (not started) my battery was at 11.5 and when started, stayed right around the 13.5-13.8 range. This is starting to annoy me. I have to drive to Indiana next weekend which is an 800+ mile round trip and it's going to make me nervous if I can't figure this light situation out. What I'm going to try next is the next time the light comes on, try to pull over and pull up the battery code and see if it is different than when the light goes off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Battery's less than 2 years old. Shouldn't they last longer than that? :censor:

Thanks guys for your help!
 

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Maybe your battery had a long shelf life.
After the engine is turned off, and car has sat for 2-3 hours, turn the headlights on for 5 minutes, then do the test.
A good battery should have 12.65V at 100% state of charge.
12.45V at 75% state of charge
12.24V at 50% state of charge
12.06V at 25% state of charge
11.89V or below 0% state of charge. The battery is toast.
With the engine running, the alternator should put out at lest 13.5V - 13.7V to prolly 14 - 14.5V max
If you fall below 13.5V, the alternator is starting to fail.
These values are from a BMW forum, but will have prolly same values for most cars

BTW, what did you find out with your voltage drop? Was it the battery?
Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hey Doru, thanks for the information.

Well, I have not come to a final conclusion of what really is my problem yet. I've put 2000 miles on the car in the last two weeks, and the light is still coming on "intermittently", but no major problems or breakdowns yet. I've monitored the battery voltage while driving a 400 mile stretch (you can leave the voltage reading up the whole time while driving!) and I was 13.7-14.1 the entire time. So, I may try your suggestion of leaving the car off for a couple minutes, and then taking my readings. If that doesn't turn anything up, I may spring for a new battery first. If that doesn't work, I'll replace the alternator at that point. Thanks again!
 

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If you were getting readings as high as that, most probably then the battery is at fault...warped cell or cells and can not take the full charge.
Please keep us informed about the outcome and good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Finally took the time to take the Escape to O'Riley. Come to found out the alternator is going bad. Gave a reading of 39 Amps. That's a little shy of the 110 it's supposed be putting out. I'll be calling a local shop to quote labor on Monday. I'm not going to tackle this fix myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok, this may sound like a silly question, but here it is... Would spraying the underside of my vehicle with water somehow "clean off" some gunk that may have been causing my alternator problems? I only ask this because after I had my alternator checked Friday, I took the Escape home and gave it a wash and wax. While I was washing it, I sprayed the underside real good as well. Saturday morning I changed the oil and rotated tires. Since then, I have not had my battery light come on. :confused: I don't see how the spraying would have made an effect, but any insight?!
 

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Hey, I'm a tech at a ford dealer, and for some reason, Escapes get this battery light on and bad alternator more commonly than other models. Also, if it's the 3.0L V6 it's one of the trickier ones to replace. It marks the first time I'd ever seen Ford produce a part replacement video, to show technicians how to get that thing out of there. But I've never tried washing them :lol:

The reason this light will come on and go out is because you'll have different output voltage at different engine speeds as you're driving. Some charging faults are detected only at low rpms, some are only at higher rpms, and others are at all rpms.

Definitely have your battery tested, if you can replace a bad battery and avoid the expense of an alternator you'll want to jump right on that.

Oh, and one other thing, about that low coolant turning on the battery light. That was most assuredly the coolant light that came on. It looks kinda like a battery, but it's supposed to look like a radiator with a cap on it. The battery light is right square under the tach. It has a + and a -.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
ratchet26 said:
Hey, I'm a tech at a ford dealer, and for some reason, Escapes get this battery light on and bad alternator more commonly than other models. Also, if it's the 3.0L V6 it's one of the trickier ones to replace. It marks the first time I'd ever seen Ford produce a part replacement video, to show technicians how to get that thing out of there. But I've never tried washing them :lol:

The reason this light will come on and go out is because you'll have different output voltage at different engine speeds as you're driving. Some charging faults are detected only at low rpms, some are only at higher rpms, and others are at all rpms.

Definitely have your battery tested, if you can replace a bad battery and avoid the expense of an alternator you'll want to jump right on that.

Oh, and one other thing, about that low coolant turning on the battery light. That was most assuredly the coolant light that came on. It looks kinda like a battery, but it's supposed to look like a radiator with a cap on it. The battery light is right square under the tach. It has a + and a -.
Thanks ratchet for your information. I did have the battery and alternator tested, and the battery is good. The guy said the alternator was putting out low amperage and that it needed replaced. Just from looking at the location I knew it was going to be a bear to replace (hints the $400 parts and labor from the dealer). I've driven the last two months plus with the light coming on and off and have not experienced any problems whatsoever. Call me dumb, but I'm just going to drive it until it gives up.
 
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