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Ok. I found the proper wire at the top of the motor. I freed it, cut it, and grounded the alternator side of the wire. I left the PCM side open, making sure it didn't touch anything. With the help of a friend, I got the car started watched my new wiring to make sure we didn't have any problems. Within a few seconds, not so surprisingly, the battery light came on in the dash. My obd scanner was not working properly tonight, so the short time I got to use it, it measured about the same as my multimeter, at 12.9ish volts. That value doesn't seem to change no matter what I do. Loaded, unloaded, low rpm, high rpm. It stays right between 12.8 and 13.0.

If I keep it this way so it charges at idle, will I be sacrificing my top end 14.2v charge pattern? I'm a little nervous trying to take it out of my garage, especially with my scanner not working and therefore not being able to monitor voltage...

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Ok. I found the proper wire at the top of the motor. I freed it, cut it, and grounded the alternator side of the wire. I left the PCM side open, making sure it didn't touch anything. With the help of a friend, I got the car started watched my new wiring to make sure we didn't have any problems. Within a few seconds, not so surprisingly, the battery light came on in the dash. My obd scanner was not working properly tonight, so the short time I got to use it, it measured about the same as my multimeter, at 12.9ish volts. That value doesn't seem to change no matter what I do. Loaded, unloaded, low rpm, high rpm. It stays right between 12.8 and 13.0.

If I keep it this way so it charges at idle, will I be sacrificing my top end 14.2v charge pattern? I'm a little nervous trying to take it out of my garage, especially with my scanner not working and therefore not being able to monitor voltage...

Almost out of my pay grade here but still trying.

As I read it, you have demonstrated that the Alt is capable of charging fine at an idle. That is given the proper signal from the PCM.

As the red light is on, and the charge rate volts is fixed, it looks like your regulator does not like the ground signal and is going "default".

Starting to look like the PCM is not giving the right signal at idle.

I would try the regulator wire open and see what it does.

 

You could go on Ebay and get the older style regulator that only uses 2 wires like my '01 does.

-chart-

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I've now come inside the house, and had a chance to think everything over. And I'm starting to feel the same way; that the PCM is going awry. Any ideas on how hard that is to change? From what I can find, it looks like it's bolted right there to the firewall.

duje3une.jpg

dyne2ysy.jpg

I wonder how specific of a part that is....?

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PCM is no big deal but it has to be done by the dealer. It contains the security system and has to be taught to talk to your key.

Ford says fails rare. Cost ~$600 and ~$150 to program.

 

-chart-

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Well I've been looking into it since I last posted (bi-polar disorder can make me a bit obsessive at times, if you couldn't figure that one out haha) and I found almost the same info. I've found a couple places willing to preprogram a PCM to my vin and send two blank keys programed to the PCM. The idea is that I go have the new blank keys cut to match my existing keys, install the new PCM, and use the new keys to reprogram my old keys to the new PCM. Then I would have 4 (or 5?) Working keys for my car, all for around $200.

Now, I'm in cheap mode because of several reasons, so I'm holding off until I exhaust all avenues. I still have some questions before I do this. Such as:

I replaced my GEM recently from a donor that was not equipped with factory security, only keyless entry via keypad. Not even RKE. I've got an aftermarket alarm like I explained earlier, so no need for that. Will that effect the PCM in any way? I found a distributor that will custom program the PCM to my specs. Things like removing the speed governor, rpm governor, various things. Is this something I would have to mention to them; the fact that I replaced the GEM?

Maybe I ought to go to the dealer and pick some brains.... I don't feel as though I know enough to drop the cash for this just yet. I want to know how to what degree the GEM and the PCM communicate, and also if there's an underground way of programming the PCM myself. I know ford keeps that locked down pretty tight, but it seems there are to many smart cheap ***** out there to not have another way that's not so obvious or easily found...

Thoughts? Breeves002, you have any input being a computer geek?

Thanks again for all your help to every one chiming in here. I really do appreciate it.

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Seems my new GEM doesn't effect the PCM in any way:

http://kcss-transportation-technology.wikispaces.com/share/view/61579706

Still researching.

AltWagn_zps72f49855.jpg

Diag of the '01 Alt. It has all the workings inside the regulator and does not connect to the PCM in any way. No 3rd wire in the center. Same plug.

Seems the '03 regulator depends on the PCM to do the thinking. If you put a '01 or such Alt or regulator on the OEM alt it should work. The PCM can talk to itself.

 

But that is just info.

 

I would unplug the PCM conn and reconnect just to be sure the connection is not bad. U have the pic and know where it is. Others have reported the bolt that holds it on being loose.

 

 

-chart-

Edited by -chart-
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Hm. That's interesting. That would explain why when I grounded the middle wire on my alt it just stuck at ~12.9v. Problem is, in order to get another alt from an older year would cost me just as much as a programmer to fix/upgrade my existing PCM, with less back ache (we all know the nightmare that is changing an alt on a duratec). Still not ruling it completely out. Definitely adding this to the maybe pile.

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Another thought is the alt you have installed is for a different year and is not liking the communication from the PCM.

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Another thought is the alt you have installed is for a different year and is not liking the communication from the PCM.

That's something to consider. Although i ordered the ** alt because I was noticing a similar pattern with the factory alt, which would lead me back to the PCM.

Is there any way to tell what year the new alt is?

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Look at the regulator. It should have a Ford part number on it, the first two characters will give the first year it was used.

A slight bump in rpm causes the voltage to jump? Like 200 rpm or so? That does sound like a control issue. I use Car Gauge Pro on my phone, it reads real-time data. The pid of interest in that app is Generator F Terminal.

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Awesome. Now to figure out how to see the regulator without removing the alt....

Yes, as soon as I tap the throttle, the voltage increases. 650-675 rpm: 11.7 volts under load. 850 rpm: 12.5-12.8 volts. 1000 rpm: over 13 volts. By the time I hit 1200 rpm, it's 13.5 or more, and any higher rpm, especially while driving, I get 14.3-14.5. I've ran some other tests with charts help, and it seems the alt does work at low idle, it's just being told not to. I cut the PCM control wire and tried grounding both, one at time, sides of the wire. Ground the alt side and it pegs the voltage to 13.0 volts, with no peaks or valleys. If there is Rpm/load change, voltage stays the same. If I ground the PCM side, the alt stops charging altogether.

Now, I'm new to OBD2 stuff. I'm learning pretty quickly what can be done with it, but I'm certainly no pro. I've been using Torque Pro on my phone for real time monitoring, and forscan on my laptop for diagnostics. I will try with those to find the pid you were talking about first, and if they don't work, I'll purchase the app you mentioned.

Anything special I should know about scanning pids?

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Awesome. Now to figure out how to see the regulator without removing the alt....

Yes, as soon as I tap the throttle, the voltage increases. 650-675 rpm: 11.7 volts under load. 850 rpm: 12.5-12.8 volts. 1000 rpm: over 13 volts. By the time I hit 1200 rpm, it's 13.5 or more, and any higher rpm, especially while driving, I get 14.3-14.5. I've ran some other tests with charts help, and it seems the alt does work at low idle, it's just being told not to. I cut the PCM control wire and tried grounding both, one at time, sides of the wire. Ground the alt side and it pegs the voltage to 13.0 volts, with no peaks or valleys. If there is Rpm/load change, voltage stays the same. If I ground the PCM side, the alt stops charging altogether.

Now, I'm new to OBD2 stuff. I'm learning pretty quickly what can be done with it, but I'm certainly no pro. I've been using Torque Pro on my phone for real time monitoring, and forscan on my laptop for diagnostics. I will try with those to find the pid you were talking about first, and if they don't work, I'll purchase the app you mentioned.

Anything special I should know about scanning pids?

Ford OEM regulator -10C359-AA can be for PCM regulation or in the regulator adjustment. Same part # very different and and not compatiable.

If OEM, black case is in the regulator adjustment as in '00-'01 DOHC, and white case is PCM adjusted through the center connection in the connector.

 

The black reg has a center pin but it is not connected to anything. The car's con has only 2 wires.

 

But then there is gray and blue colors used also.

 

Since your Alt responds to the center wire signal, it is the white type no matter what color aftermarket color is used.

 

Other difference according to the diag. The '00, '01 regulator output to the idiot light is direct to the bulb.

The '01 and later have the wire to the PCM which analyzes the signal and runs the bubl.

 

Highly likely in your case the PCM is not doing it's thing. Again, check the connection to the PCM.

Alt03_zpsa9f05d87.jpg

 

 

Alt01_zps40145031.jpg

 

and published claims different pulley diam.

Just for what it is worth.

-chart-

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  • 1 month later...

So, I'm pretty well convinced at this point that is the PCM gone bad. I let it be all this time because my electrical system hasn't actually been suffering. Everything was still holding charge, even though there was none at idle. The high output alt I put in seemed to be recharging everything just fine once I actually got it on the road.

Until yesterday.

For the record, I wound up connecting the tach wire to the remote start, so there was no more issue of the car dying while in RS condition.

Fast forward, I bought the programmer for my alarm which allowed me to unlock and program what's called "Smart Start". Basically, you can set parameters like voltage and high/low inside temperature. You can also set the interval for checking these parameters. I set the inner temps at 0/100 degrees, and 11 volts.

It's been warm out here in california, so the cabin temp has been climbing to over 100. So my car was starting itself, and running for the alloted time I gave it (12 min), and all I had to do was set the AC when I last exited the car.

I came out to a dead car. Wouldn't start. Had to get jumped. It started right up, didn't even hesitate once hooked up.

so now I'm starting to suspect that my aux battery is on the verge of going bad. I have a very hard time believing that I somehow killed two batteries, one of which is a very large class deep cycle battery (the aux).

So for now, I won't be using the smart start feature, at least at the frequency I had it set to check (hourly). A new PCM is in my near future. I found a place that will program a PCM to my VIN, and send two uncut keys programmed to the new PATS. When it arrives, I take the blank keys, have them cut to my existing keys, and use the new keys to reprogram my old keys to the new PATS code. Plug and play, no dealer or locksmith required.

On a related note, my transmission has had a couple hiccups that I can't seem to recreate. Hoping a new PCM will help that, too (truly keeping fingers crossed for that one, I don't want transmission problems).

And as far as the aux battery, I'll be soon upgrading it to an Optima Yellow Top; the biggest I can find.

Go big or go home; I always say.

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Have you looked at Odyssey batteries, apparently they are better than Optima and they are sized like normal batteries, unlike Optima's which don't fit like normal batteries. My friend showed me them, once the crappy batteries die on his Power Stroke he plans on replacing them with Odyssey or the re branded Die Hard Platinum. That's over $400 just for batteries in that beast.

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Have you looked at Odyssey batteries, apparently they are better than Optima and they are sized like normal batteries, unlike Optima's which don't fit like normal batteries. My friend showed me them, once the crappy batteries die on his Power Stroke he plans on replacing them with Odyssey or the re branded Die Hard Platinum. That's over $400 just for batteries in that beast.

So I looked into the Odyssey batteries. They're nice. Powerful. But when I actually compare them to the optima, and make it truly an apples to apples comparison using similar sized (read: biggest and baddest that they've got) cells, the odyssey seems to be a superior battery.

BUT

only marginally better. 225 more CCA, metal case, potentially slightly higher heat tolerance. very nice battery.

But not worth TWICE - I'LL repeat that- TWICE EVERY PENNY, I think I'll stick to Optima.

Even though many would like to claim the odyssey has a better warranty, they in fact do not. It is an identical warranty structure.

I can't justify spending $460 on a battery that is only 10% better than the similar sized optima at $225.

As far as I can see, the optima yellow top is still the best bang for your buck.

Thanks for input though. I'm glad to know those exist. Maybe even use them in the future for something else.

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So I looked into the Odyssey batteries. They're nice. Powerful. But when I actually compare them to the optima, and make it truly an apples to apples comparison using similar sized (read: biggest and baddest that they've got) cells, the odyssey seems to be a superior battery.

BUT

only marginally better. 225 more CCA, metal case, potentially slightly higher heat tolerance. very nice battery.

But not worth TWICE - I'LL repeat that- TWICE EVERY PENNY, I think I'll stick to Optima.

Even though many would like to claim the odyssey has a better warranty, they in fact do not. It is an identical warranty structure.

I can't justify spending $460 on a battery that is only 10% better than the similar sized optima at $225.

As far as I can see, the optima yellow top is still the best bang for your buck.

Thanks for input though. I'm glad to know those exist. Maybe even use them in the future for something else.

 

I know they are expensive, its sick. That's why my friend did the research and discovered that certain Die Hard Platinum batteries are re branded Odyssey.  Price is considerably reduced and he won't have to deal with fitment issues of the Optimas. 2 of the best batteries possible will insure that his 7.3L has enough juice to start on the coldest of winter days.

 

I never knew they existed either until he mentioned them as replacements for his truck.

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I know they are expensive, its sick. That's why my friend did the research and discovered that certain Die Hard Platinum batteries are re branded Odyssey. Price is considerably reduced and he won't have to deal with fitment issues of the Optimas. 2 of the best batteries possible will insure that his 7.3L has enough juice to start on the coldest of winter days.

I never knew they existed either until he mentioned them as replacements for his truck.

I did read that the die hards were re branded Odysseys, but I don't know if they have the metal casing with all the bells and whistles?

Well, I ordered my optima last night anyways. That's what my gut told me to do. And it's a monster. D31a. Had to measure my battery box to make sure it would fit. 900 CCA.

In a few weeks I'll be ordering my new PCM to hopefully fix my charge issue.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just dropped my new battery in. Last minute change to a D31M. Same battery, better post configuration. Straight out of the box, a HUGE difference in my sound system. Next up will be the PCM. Maybe this week.

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