T Nation

Boring Ass Car Question....Need Advice


just replaced the alternator and battery for an old ford focus, gave someone a jump tonight in the grocery store parking lot. black to pos, blue to neg on both vehicles, 1.) should i have or did i need to put their neg to metal? i just hooked em up to corresponding + and - for each car. 2. now my fucking battery light keeps popping on as I drove home?!?!!!?

does it just need to be reset? should I just unhook the ground for a 10+ min to reset? I'm not a car guy but i read well and am good w/ little fixes, do i leave the car off while doing so, turn it on w/ just the + connected, how the fuck do i reset it?

Ass pics to follow!!!! fucking shit box focus!!! sold my truck, wifey is almost ready to move on up in the world, getting a wrangler sahara soon, Spring i'd like to get a charger...we'll see! thank you.


mmmmm.....twin cams


2 is better than 1


The purpose of grounding the negative lead on the dead car is to avoid a spark and the potential for an exploding battery.

You can't reset a battery or alternator by unhooking the battery for 10 mins. This might work for a CEL for some vehicles, but that's about it.

I'm guessing you bought a remanufactured alternator? More than likely, it's the culprit. I've personally gone through 3 on a 79 New Yorker before I found one that lasted more than 2 weeks.


Some older cars also have an external voltage regulator which could fry your battery and mimic a bad alternator. Not sure about the focus though.


Came up with this.


Who knew there would be Focus fanatics? Whats next cavalier Connoisseur's?


Great point. In fact, the weak link on most remanuf alternators is the voltage regulator. Replacing an internal is easy, but if the alternator is still under warranty, just return the whole unit.

After going through all the alternators I have, that is one item that I will always try and get OE although the price difference makes it hard to swallow sometimes.


thanks for the input. actually the alternator went on a Sat. and needed to be fixed on a Sunday so i took the fucking thing into to Pep Boys aarrggghhhh (the only place doing shop work on a sunday). they quoted me at 300 total, 170 alternator + core removal 30 + 100 for labor = 300 bucks, when i called to pick it up they told me 735.00 total!!!! they explained that the battery was fried too so they added that on.....

long story short, i politely but directly told them what i was quoted, how long the should take on that car, how much i was quoted on the alternator...i pushed and pushed and got out of there paying 350 total...still fucking high i think.

if i hadn't articulated my points emphatically and concisely and/or looked the part to murder someone upon arrival they would have demanded more. i literally told them what i would pay and he calculated bullshit discounts to make the cost match what i said. the reciept literally says - alternator 260.00 discount applied 170.00 - how the fuck do they get away w/ that? if i were a women or weak in conviction they would have raped me no doubt.

end rant/ the light is now off, been off since i drove it this a.m. 30 miles or so, the alternator is new, apparently 260, even though i had agreed to the 175 dollar one! that's partly why the pep boy douche was upset w/ me paying what was our agrred upon price before hand, he didn't know he was suppose to use the low cost alternator.

the light is off, so my hope is that when jumped the car for the guy last night it temporarily fucked w/ the voltage reading, ford's master computer sensors got confused and have since become unconfused. thanks for the response, let;'s let this thread head to wasteland now.


thanks guys just read these new posts after typing my rant, if it comes on again...dare i say i might return to pep boys, it's under warranty, might not tell them i jumped someone yesterday though, they might tell me doing so negates the coverage. i'll look @ that link now. hoping things are ok though and i can go on w/ my day not worrying about it. we'll see. thank you.


thanks for the link....don't know how anyone could be a fanatic for a focus, but happy they exist!


I'd rock this thing so hard....


If the light comes on again the first thing I would do is make sure that your battery terminal connections are tight. This can cause your light to come on if one is loose. You may have caused one to come loose when you hooked your jumper cables up.


Always make sure that you hook up the + cables first to both cars. Then the - to the running car and finally the - to a ground somewhere on the engine or good spot on the chassis of the car being jumped. Brushing the + to ground at any time even for an instant can do damage.

How hard was the alternator to access? You could probably have gotten a rebuilt at NAPA for under $100 with a good guarantee and have done it yourself, but if you were in a jam, you did what you had to do.


LOL. My brother gave me jump start once, and that was the last time I let him touch a pair of jumper cables. He hooked both clamps to the live battery and handed me the other two leads. The two leads made contact and blue arcs of electricity jumped about just inches from my hands. Either the leads welded themselves together or magnetized (copper leads?), but it took some decent force to pull them apart. All I could think at the time was 1) "I'm glad I didn't get electrocuted", and 2) "I'm glad it's not my battery that just got shorted." Granted he was only 15-16 at the time.


Yeah, you don't want to go terminal to terminal to jump. Better to put neg on a ground. Otherwise you're charging the battery before the car will start....


There's a lot of amperage stored in a healthy battery. I saw one in a car at work that shifted over in the case (it came in on a wrecker) and it had melted a hole in the inner fender, burned a hole in the battery and fried the positive cable down to the frame. The alternator and harness lead going to it was also crispy.