Loss of power to electrical components.

Tiny
SWEET DADDY SIKI
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL
  • 81,000 MILES
What would cause the following. ABS light turns on, power windows, turn signals, EATC, door locks all cease working. Other items such as power sunroof, power mirrors, radio, & headlights continue working.

I was driving my '98 Continental the other day when all of a sudden the EATC, turn signals, door locks, & power windows all cease to function. The only oddites that caught my attention were: A clicking noise could be heard especially when bringing the vehicle to a stop. When I did stop, the items mentioned would once again begin to work. If I accelerated, then all functions would cease working.

With the voltmeter connected, the battery reads 12.3 volts.I needed to add some distilled water to the battery as it was low in several cells. My battery charger showed that the battery was fully charged. The battery is an 84 month battery with 69 months of usgae. The only other issue that I have noticed over the past 6 months is that a 'check right front turn signal' message will appear on the display periodically.I changed the bulb and the message disappeared for several months, but then returned. This occurred prior to experiencing any of the issues that I mentioned above.

Could this be a faulty fuse or relay causing this havoc? Could it come down to the battery needing replaced?

Please offer any advice that you can.I appreciate your help!

Regards,
Mike
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Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 AT 8:25 PM

6 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Did you find 12.3 volts with the engine running or off? Either way it is not good. A fully-charged battery will measure 12.6 volts, and with the engine running you must find between 13.75 and 14.75 volts. A good battery that is fully discharged will measure 12.2 volts. All of the problems you mentioned could be caused by low system voltage. If you do find less than 13.75 volts, measure the voltages on all of the wires on the generator with the engine running. Holler back with those numbers and the wire colors.
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Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 AT 9:30 PM
Tiny
SWEET DADDY SIKI
  • MEMBER
Caradiodoc,

Many thanks for the reply. There's a new Interstate battery that was recently installed. The car hasn't been driven for 5-7 days.

I attached a voltmemter ( car not running ) and the meter read 12.35 volts. Then, I started the vehicle and the meter read 18.5 volts and dropped slightly to 17.8 volts after it ran for approximately 30 seconds. It appears that the system is overcharging. Could that mean a faulty voltage regulator? Do you feel that the alternator is the culprit?

Once again, thanks for your assistance.

Regards,
Mike
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Saturday, May 25th, 2013 AT 5:35 PM
Tiny
SWEET DADDY SIKI
  • MEMBER
Caradiodoc,

One other important detail I forgot to mention in my previous posts.I noticed that the old battery that was replaced was leaking from underneath the vent caps. I'm assuming this being from the overcharging that is occurring.

Mike
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Saturday, May 25th, 2013 AT 6:01 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
BAIL OUT AND DUCK FOR COVER!

Anything over 15 volts is too much and is going to boil the water out of the acid in the battery. Computers are sensitive to low and high system voltage so anything they do can be blamed on the over-charge condition until we know better.

Sorry to say Ford had a really nice generator with a dandy test point on the back up through the '97 models, but then they saw fit to eliminate that convenience. I'm REAL familiar with those older systems, but your voltage regulator is different and it no longer has that test point. On top of that they stuck a black plastic cover on the back to hide the regulator. If by some chance you have an early production '98 and you can see the gray rectangular regulator bolted on the back, that would make things easier.

The best I can suggest is to measure the voltages on all the wires with the engine running, and tell me the corresponding wire colors. One of them must have full battery voltage. If that wire has a break or poor connection that could trick the regulator into thinking it needs to bump up system voltage.
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Saturday, May 25th, 2013 AT 6:19 PM
Tiny
SWEET DADDY SIKI
  • MEMBER
I'm relatively a novice when it comes to voltage testing. What do you mean by measuring the voltage on all the wires. To which wires do you refer? Also, how do I go about attaching the leads from the volt meter to these wires?

Thanks
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Saturday, May 25th, 2013 AT 7:50 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You can find a perfectly fine inexpensive digital voltmeter at Harbor Freight Tools for less than ten bucks. Sears, Walmart, Radio Shack, all hardware stores, and most auto parts stores have them too, but don't waste your money on auto-ranging or other features you won't use.

The red lead plugs into the positive "volts / ohms / current" jack. The black lead plugs into the negative jack. The nice thing about digital meters is you won't damage anything if you connect the probes backward on the car. With volts, the display will just show a minus sign if you have the leads reversed.

Touch the black lead to any paint-free metal part on the engine, body, or negative battery post. The red lead is used to measure the voltages. You can usually "back-probe" the connector by sliding the probe tip alongside the wire through the rubber seal until it touches the terminal. The voltages in this case will only be accurate if they're taken while the plug is connected.

There will be a plug on the back of the generator with two or three small wires. Those are the ones to take the readings on while the engine is running.
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Saturday, May 25th, 2013 AT 8:55 PM

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