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[walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

kidfam
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Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by kidfam » Fri May 06, 2016 7:44 am

Had my local tire/auto repair shop put in a new one and now have a new Autozone warranty return for sale

wfsdno
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Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by wfsdno » Sun May 15, 2016 6:07 pm

Just got done pulling the alt out. Took me longer to get the black plug out of the top of the alternator than anything else! Apparently my arm is about 1 inch too short to reach in there. Plus. next time going to request removable eyes! Wouldn't that be nice.. pop you eye out, set it where you want!!!! :roll:

Any way... question is... why put that black plastic shield back on? It won't stop water and but maybe rocks? Thanks for your thoughts!

Plus, I think without that I would have been able to get to the plus a little easier.

Roger

arkansas.tom
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Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by arkansas.tom » Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:29 am

Has no one had issues with using aftermarket alternators? I'm a 30 year Ford Parts veteran, and we've had loads of issues with them. Whether it be from 3rd quality parts retailers such as Autozone, O'Reilly's, or Advanced, or 2nd quality retailers such as CARQUEST or NAPA, there's about an 80% chance that the non-1st quality alternator will not correctly communicate with the PCM. The problem is, 2nd and 3rd quality retailers, especially 3rd quality, procure their parts from manufacturers who build, or rebuild, their products using the cheapest procurable components on the planet. Therefore, an Autozone alternator, for instance, which was remanufactured 6 months ago versus one remanned 2 years ago versus one remanned today will share very few internal components. Most importantly, the circuitry inside the regulator that communicates to the PCM that the alternator is outputting the proper voltage, and that the regulator is properly reducing that voltage, thereby alerting the PCM that it's safe to allow the regulator output to charge the battery and perform all other critical functions. If the PCM doesn't receive this info, or receives deviating or contradictory info, the PCM switches on the "check charging system" warning in the instrument panel, and shuts the charging system down. There is a built in fail-safe, in which the PCM, if it finds the regulator input or output to be incorrect, but within parameters that don't threaten the integrity of the start/charge, or any other system, is permitted to switch on the "check charging system" warning light, but allow the regulator output to charge the battery and perform all other critical functions. For most folks, the hair pulling begins after they've replaced the alternator, but the charge system warning light remains on. They then find 1 of 2 issues. 1) If the system has gone into the failsafe mode, the alternator will show proper output to the regulator, the regulator will show proper output to the charging system, the battery is being charged, and all functions are operating properly, except, of course, the PCM, which is indicating a charging system anomaly, and switching on the warning light. 2) If the system has not gone into failsafe mode, the alternator will show the PCM improper voltage to the regulator, so the PCM shuts down the regulator, which then will show no or low output, and the battery is not being charged, leading one to believe they have a defective alternator. And worse; Whether or not to initiate the failsafe mode is a decision the PCM makes each time the car is started, and it continuously monitors and determines charging system status as the car is operated. So, day one, the warning light may be on, but the battery is being charged, and the car is operating properly, but on, say, day 3, the warning light may be on, and the battery is not being charged, and the car is acting erratically, if running at all. This has caused many batteries to be needlessly replaced, and, much worse, many VERY expensive PCM's, E junction boxes, and instrument clusters to be needlessly replaced, when all that was needed was a 1st quality alternator, costing about $100 more than the cheap autozonish one, that can properly communicate with the PCM. This issue involves several Ford models, and has been a HUGE problem for both owners and independent repair facilities since about '03 or '04. Most owners remain ignorant of the issue, and are often told that the original alternator burned out the PCM, which in turn burned out the replacement alternator, which in turn burned out this and that. The hapless owner is then faced with a $72 billion repair bill for initial diag, R&R alternator, diag bad PCM, R&R PCM, diag charge warning light still on, R&R alternator, and labor snuck in for a 3rd R&R alternator, PLUS parts; The firstly installed 2nd or 3rd quality replacement alternator, a replacement PCM, and the finally installed 1st quality replacement alternator, AND, in many cases, a replacement instrument cluster, E junction box, a battery or two, or various other expensive electronic components. The "translation" of this $72 billion repair bill is; Customer comes in with "charging system" light on. Tech diags battery good, alternator bad. Customer notified needs alternator. 2 hours labor, $175 parts. Customer OK's $375 + tax. Cheap Autozoneish alternator installed. Charging system light still on. Tech diags alternator good, battery good, but replaces battery anyway. Charge system light still on. Tech diags alternator good, battery bad. Cheap alternator removed, Autozoneish dude told alternator bad, gives tech another cheap autozoneish alternator. Tech R&R cheap warranty replaced alternator. Charge light still on. Alternator tests good, battery tests good. Tech deduces bad PCM, orders PCM from dealer, R&R PCM. Charge System light still on. All tests good. Tech deduces bad electrical junction box, orders from dealer, R&R junction box. Light still on. All test good. Tech deduces bad instrument cluster, orders from dealer, R&R instrument cluster. Light still on. All tests good. Tech contemplates suicide, but decides to call dealer and beg, beg, beg to speak to dealers drivability tech. Tells dealers DT what all he's done. DT tech explains the problem with non-OEM alternators not communicating properly with PCM. Tech orders 1st quality alternator from dealer. R&R alternator. "Check charging system" warning light is no longer illuminated. Tech tries to return 2nd cheap alternator to autozoneish, but is told "I can give you another alternator, but not your money back." Tech removes replacement PCM, Junction box, and instrument cluster, and tries to return to dealer, but is told "sorry. As it's printed on the tape you cut to open those 3 boxes, "this item can not be returned once this seal is broken." Tech goes back to shop and begins to figure out how to make customer pay for this entire adventure. Some find a way...Some don't. Tech and shop either make a boatload of money off of what should've been a simple repair, or absolutely lose their ass by apologizing to customer for having their car for 3 days, and ask only that the customer pay for initial diag, the OEM alternator, and the book time labor to R&R alternator...one time, and offers customer their next 3 or 4 oil changes free of charge. Customer of shop that makes boatload of money calls Ford's Customer Service Hotline to bitch about it costing $72 billion to repair a worn out alternator. Hotline puts customer in touch with service and parts managers of local Ford dealer. Parts manager, not wanting to snitch on independent repair shop defers to service manager. Service manager explains the "cheap alternator curse" to customer, and offers a highly trained and experienced, but admittedly speculative scenario as to why the simple replacement of an alternator may have cost $72 billion at the independent shop by telling a horror story which involves scary monsters, such as PCM's, E junction boxes, vanishing batteries, and demonic possession of instrument clusters. Service manager empathizes with customer, and offers, even though problem is no fault of his, 3 or 4 free oil changes. Dealer gains loyal customer for life. Shop that made boatload of money loses valuable customer, their friends, family, and coworkers forever. Shop that loses their ass gains a loyal customer for life, and picks up 20-30 new customers by word of mouth. Shop that made boatload of money becomes a Jiffy Lube. Shop that lost their ass more than makes up for the money they lost within a year or two. The end.
The moral of the story; If you own a Ford with 185,000 miles on it, and the alternator, starter, or any other part or piece of your trusty Ford needs to be replaced or repaired for the first time, there's a reason for that, and the reason is not that you've been lucky. The reason is, that component, that has lasted 185,000 miles and has spun at 10,000 rpm, in all conditions, everyday, and many times for hours and hours at a time, and never complained or let you down, was able to do so because it was built to the highest standards of quality. Quality costs money, but is worth every cent. Buy OEM, or buy a new vehicle. I can't begin to fathom how many times I've heard, Parts customer; "I need a (fill in the blank) for my 2009 F150. My trucks got 245,000 miles on it, and I can't believe that the (fill in the blank) has lasted this long!!" Me; "That's great!! I've got a (fill in the blank) for your truck in stock. You're looking at $119 plus tax." Parts customer; "WHAT?!?!? $119.00?!?!? I can get one at (fill in blank) for $82!!!" Customer exits stage left.

victorsledge
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Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by victorsledge » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:01 am

Mine has been going thru alternator s. I'm going to put in a new OEM this time.

pmassey31545
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Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by pmassey31545 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:16 am

So. Is the FS alternator a Denso or a Motorcraft? Or something else?
2007 Limited AWD
2009 Ford Flex SEL, 2002 F150 Lariat Supercrew, 2005 Kawasaki 1500 Classic, 1999 Toyota Camry

knowitall
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Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by knowitall » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:16 pm

7 years later and 60,000 miles I'm putting in my 3rd alternator. Fortunately I have a lifetime warranty at O'Reillys.

Once I'm done I'm going to sell the Freestyle so my daughter doesn't have to be embarrassed at college. :lol:

Is Africa_FS_07 (aka jaunty75) still alive? I hope a hippo didn't take a chomp out of him while he was swimming in water hole in Africa. :lol:

knowitall
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Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by knowitall » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:20 am

I finished replacing the alternator. A few suggestions. Have a helper with the installation of the serpentine belt. It took me and a helper 20 minutes to get it on.

I spent 2 hours on Monday getting the alternator out. I spent 2 hours Tuesday getting the alternator back in. When installing the alternator I found it easier to install the plastic shield back on the alternator before installing the positive cable to the alternator. Everything is a tight fit. I hope to never do this again.

I am charging my battery right now so I hope to have everything working this evening.

mikeincanada
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Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by mikeincanada » Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:33 am

This is in reply to arkansas.tom's great article ...... very informative.
One thing though .... as our Freestyles devaluate and deteriorate how much do we invest in them?
It seems there is an argument for fitting a good used Alternator instead of a cheap re-manufactured one. (Assuming you can be sure that the used item is an original)

Thanks again Tom

knowitall
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Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by knowitall » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:53 pm

My battery is toast. It is a Motorcraft that is 42 months old. I think the battery before that only lasted 4 years.

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mmsstar
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Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by mmsstar » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:13 pm

The factory battery in my Flex went over 6 years and was still starting every time when I decided to replace it.
Drove an 06 LTD FWD from July 08 to August 10, moved on to a 2011 Flex

NoobFreestyle
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Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by NoobFreestyle » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:50 pm

I can't believe what I'm reading. Arkansas.Tom posted a one off. But alternators do NOT communicate with PCMs. He's an idiot. Yes there is some altruism to be respected when it comes to factory part quality and all but this rant was a mistake. I know this is old, but it is still worth a response two years later. Translate to mean, this dude hates the internet.

kc4wvl
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Re: [walkthrough] How to replace an alternator on a Freestyle

Post by kc4wvl » Tue May 14, 2019 9:05 pm

NoobFreestyle wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:50 pm
I can't believe what I'm reading. Arkansas.Tom posted a one off. But alternators do NOT communicate with PCMs. He's an idiot. Yes there is some altruism to be respected when it comes to factory part quality and all but this rant was a mistake. I know this is old, but it is still worth a response two years later. Translate to mean, this dude hates the internet.
I have to disagree, at least in regard to the Freestyle. After a good bit of studying the electrical schematic and looking at signals with both a multimeter and an osciloscope, I have to agree that the regulator in the alternator that is used in the Freestyle does in fact, communicate with the PCM.

Modern automotive systems are in many ways, control-by-wire systems. Example: the accelerator and throttle linkage. There is no cable between the accelerator peddle and the throttle linkage as there used to be, in the past. Instead, there's a potentiometer at the accelerator and a digital servo to operate the throttle plate, with all signals being routed to or from the PCM. Even the EGR valve is controled by the PCM, instead of just by manifold vacuum.

As you've heard before, these aren't your daddy's vehicles. All this technology is courtesy of the EPA' s mandates and the response of the manufacturers to meet those standards.
KC4WVL
07' SEL Dark Blue Pearl / Light Gunmetal / Pebble Cloth / FWD

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