2002 Windstar with Battery Charging issues

About 8 weeks ago, my 2002 Ford Windstar’s battery died. I jumped the battery and drove the car for about 1 week, until the battery died again. My husband then replaced the battery and when we still had problems with the charging system, he replaced the alternator.

Then, about two weeks ago, the 5th piston in the car misfired, and the engine ran, but it “shuddered” and was really uneven. My husband took the car into Auto Zone and they did a computer check, which is how they figured out the piston misfired. Since then, it has not been a problem. (I am not sure if this has to do with anything, but I thought I would include it).

However, this week when I started the car, the headlights flickered and dimmed for about 10 seconds. Then the car ran fine, until later that night, when I was driving about 55 mph and lights started flickering again and the “Check battery/Check Charging system” light came on for about 1 second and then went back off. When the lights flicker, the engine “whines” and sounds like it is struggling to get into the next gear, etc.

So, my husband called the Ford dealer and they said “it could be anything, such as an electrical short and would be hard to pinpoint” and then they told him that “the headlights do dim at a stoplight or stopsign” which is fine, but I don’t suppose they should be dimming at 55 mph!! They suggested that we just drive the car until something really “happens”.

Any thoughts or ideas of what might be the problem? Thanks!!

Joy M

My wife has a '96 Windstar that does the same thing as yours except the misfire. The lights dim when the 2 fans on the radiator come on and I am suspecting the relays that control these. Another suspect could be the fans, but these are a bit expensive to experiment with. I am still looking for the relays.

Unfortunately, you are in the twilight zone. This can be caused by a number of problems and it will be hard to find someone to take the time with this. These problems can take more time than they can ever get paid for. The headlights dimming is your best diagnostic tool. with engine off, turn on headlights in the evening and start wiggling all wires from the battery and the main fuse block. Look for differences in intensity of the light. That my pin it down to a specific area. remove all fuses one at a time and look for discoloration that may indicate a bad connector.

Thanks for the info on the Windstar…I actually have an update that might help figure out the problem… Today, my husband took the car out and every time he idled at a stop light, the car died. It was not doing this before. Any additional thoughts? Thanks