I’ve had this 1990 Ford F-150 since April 2014 and I’ve known there was an issue with either the battery, alternator or there was a parasitic draw that would kill the battery within 18-24 hours. I haven’t had the time to really look into it until now. I’ve done some research to get a few ideas of what to check for. I had a hunch it was the alternator after I replaced the battery and the next morning it wouldn’t even crank.
The reason that sparked this adventure was that my 2007 Nissan Frontier wouldn’t start either. I figured since I needed to head over to Auto Zone, I better make good use of my time and kill two birds with one trip. I took both batteries over and they tested them both. The battery from my Nissan turned out to be bad but the Ford’s test results were positive, so I left the battery with them overnight to fully charge it.
The afternoon of (Super Bowl XLIX) I mustered up the energy to tackle the alternator. Mind you, I am no mechanic but I managed to remove the alternator with ease. Of course I took a lot of photos to document the connections, bolts, etc… to make sure things go back the way they were removed. I also documented the socket sizes to remove the guess-work for the next time I have to perform this task. The tension and bottom bolt for the alternator used a 5/8 socket and the top bolt for the alternator used a 9/16 socket. Then there was the 8 socket for the battery brace.
The entire process including the removal of the alternator, the trip to Auto Zone to pick up the battery (left overnight to charge), purchasing and installing the new alternator took less than an hour. It cost me a grand total of $95.29 just for the part. I got a quote from a few local auto shops and it would have cost me around $375 – $440. So I saved myself around $279 – $344. A little elbow grease, a little research mixed with willingness and a can-do attitude equals big savings.