Electrical system goes dead

Tiny
MJCBTL64
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 FORD WINDSTAR
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 119,500 MILES
Recently I replaced my battery and my car has been driving find. Yesterday I went to crank the car up and the entire electrical system was dead. No internal panel light or sounds. I checked the battery cable and tighten. He van crunk and as I proceeded to to let down the window the entire car went dead. I repeated the cable adjustment each time and the car will crank and it's drivable but if I seek to use any electrical component the van shut down. Its as if a circuit breaker trips like in your home.
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Monday, February 7th, 2011 AT 8:13 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
First, clean and tighten the battery cables. When you're done you must not be able to twist them by hand.

If it continues to act up, we need to keep it not working so we can troubleshoot it. Do you have a digital voltmeter and know how to use it?

Caradiodoc
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Monday, February 7th, 2011 AT 8:23 AM
Tiny
MJCBTL64
  • MEMBER
I cleaned and tighten the battery cable several times. After each time the van will crank up. However, if I press the button to let down the window or turn on the heater everything goes completely dead instantly. No, I do not have a voltmeter. Would a blown fuse cause this type of behavior?
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Monday, February 7th, 2011 AT 12:59 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Nope, a blown fuse will not heel itself later, but some circuits use an automatic resetting circuit breaker. This is common for power windows and head lights where it is important for them to try to work again for safety reasons. Those circuit breakers only protect specific circuits. Other things will still work.

Ford likes to use the starter relay as a tie point for other circuits. It's common for the soft copper nuts on that relay to work loose and cause all kinds of problems. Follow one of the red positive battery cables to that nearby relay which will be bolted to the body. Tighten the nut that cable is attached to but be very careful to not let the wrench touch anything other than that nut. If the wrench touches the body or other metal brackets, you'll have a dead short and lots of sparks. If the wrench welds itself in place, it will turn red-hot.

Also look for an under-hood fuse box. If there is a fat wire bolted to it, tighten that nut. Look for a large fuse that is bolted in. That is another one that could work loose.

If those things don't help, you'll need a voltmeter or a test light to locate the break in the circuit, and you'll have to do the testing while the problem is acting up.

Caradiodoc
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Monday, February 7th, 2011 AT 8:34 PM

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