Will not shift sometimes out of low gear

Tiny
MORJAMES
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 FORD RANGER
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 60,000 MILES
Sometimes when I start my truck, the alternator guage is barely past the low side, the windshield wipers will not work, speedometer will not work. After driving for several minutes, everything starts working! What is wrong with my truck?
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Monday, April 28th, 2014 AT 5:02 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Assuming these things are all related, the most likely cause is worn brushes in the generator. They will cause intermittent operation at first, with an eventual total failure. Other than Chrysler's alternators, this is one of the easiest units to repair. It was so nice to work on that the engineers decided to change it for the newer models. Your voltage regulator unbolts from the back of the generator with four small bolts. The brush assembly is bolted to the inside of the regulator.

To verify this is what's wrong, you'll see two additional bolts on the regulator. One might have a round plastic cap on it. The other one has a "Ground here to test" label by it. If you use a piece of wire to ground that terminal while the engine is running AND while the problem is occurring, the lights will get brighter and battery voltage will go up if the regulator is the cause of the problem. If nothing changes, suspect the brushes, but there's one more test to do first. That is to measure the voltage on the yellow wire in the connector. That must have 12 volts all the time. If you find 0 volts, check for a loose or corroded connection on the 15 amp fuse that feeds that circuit.
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Monday, April 28th, 2014 AT 5:12 PM

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