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Discussion Starter #1
Brand new here, could use some thoughts on my car... I know absolutely NOTHING about cars except where to put the fluids.

I’m on my third Escort- got my first one, an ’82 charcoal and silver wagon in 1984 (my favorite car- ever!) that finally just rusted away. I bought brand new in 1990 a dark blue four-door that cracked the block and also rusted away (even my mechanic brother couldn’t resuscitate the poor thing...) and my current one, a 1999 four door that I adore and is my problem.

The engine blew in April; the little thing managed to get me off the highway and into a gas station before it died. Got it towed to ProCare where they proclaimed it DOA and quoted me $4000 to replace the engine! Friend at work has a mechanic who quoted $1500 plus labor to replace the engine (I had since moved from Pittsburgh, PA to Springtown, TX and can’t access my brother, the mechanic, anymore) so I had it towed there and the engine replaced. He “thought” the alternator might be going bad, and sure enough, on the way home it croaked again.... they jumped the battery and I got it back to the mechanic and replaced the battery with a new one. I got home; it drove great for a few days, and yes, died again. This time I towed it home and there it sits.

Just before it died the last time, the car started revving, the speedometer went to zero (as I was going 60) and it started to shudder. It did get me off the highway again (God bless the little guy!) before totally stalling.
So does this sound like an alternator problem? After stranding me (although safely) three times in two weeks, I’m gunshy. And any idea what it costs to replace this? Money is super tight right now. I'm driving a friend’s truck- the gas mileage is awful! I was used to 35MPG, this thing gets 14MPG! And costs twice as much to fill up!

I would take it back to the first mechanic, but he’s 50 miles away and I can’t afford to tow yet again.... *sigh*

Help. Please...
 

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the alternator is fairly easy to remove, take it in and have it tested.

was the battery light on before it died?
 

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Sounds like the alternator. The speedometer on the newer cars will go to 0 when the battery gets too low and the engine will eventually die if the alternator isn't putting out enough energy to handle the electrical load being placed on it. It was probably the alternator the second time when they replaced the battery and after a couple days running with a bad alternator it pulled the new battery dead. It should just be a matter of putting a new alternator on and recharging the battery. If you have tools you should be able to change the alternator yourself, you just have to remove the accessory belt remove a few bolts holding the alternator on, unplug the electrical connectors, put a new one on and put the accessory belt back on.
 

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Little off topic but i did not want to start a new thread.
What is a good alternator upgrade for the 3rd gen escorts. I just installed new lights on the front and wanted to know what would be good to make sure i have enough power thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
FordMan59 said:
Sounds like the alternator. The speedometer on the newer cars will go to 0 when the battery gets too low and the engine will eventually die if the alternator isn't putting out enough energy to handle the electrical load being placed on it. It was probably the alternator the second time when they replaced the battery and after a couple days running with a bad alternator it pulled the new battery dead. It should just be a matter of putting a new alternator on and recharging the battery. If you have tools you should be able to change the alternator yourself, you just have to remove the accessory belt remove a few bolts holding the alternator on, unplug the electrical connectors, put a new one on and put the accessory belt back on.
Thank you all. I am NOT mechanically inclined (my preferred horsepower has four legs ;) ) but I will get the alternator replaced.

Thanks again!
 

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Removing it is easy remove the belt the screws and take it to auto zone for a free test. Also you can test charge on the battery with engine running 14v.
 
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