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Contour Charging

I’m having issues with the charging system on my '98 Contour. after checking fuses I had the system load tested, no voltage from the alternator, but the battery had plenty of cranking amps. I swapped the alternator with a used one, and replaced both the positive and negative bat cables as the insulation was pretty crispy. after all that, everything seems the same, no alternator voltage. I also took the old alternator to get bench tested, one place said it failed, the other said “well it’s not up to spec, but it’s got something.” I don’t know what to check or where to go from here, please help.

Check all the connections associated with the charging system. I had a problem with a '96 Contour with the 2.0L Zetec engine where the battery wasn’t charging one time while I was on a trip and didn’t have tools and time to check it out myself, but I do remember the mechanic found a wire connector somewhere that was burned causing a poor connection. I wish I could tell you exactly where to look, the mechanic showed it to me, but I can’t remember where it was located.

If you know the USED alternator is good, then check the red wire from the starter to the 175 amp mega-fuse.


I don’t know if the used one is good, I’d have to take it out to get bench tested (which is a pain in the rear on a contour.) when I replaced the cables the part between the starter and mega fuse seemed good, but I don’t see how that would effect charging, there’s a separate lead between the alt. and bat.


I had a Contour. I also had an “intermittant” charging problem that was ultimately traced to worn brushes.

I know there’s two different kinds of alternators, but the kind i had (with the 3 bolts running back to front), the voltage regulator assembly was on the outside of the alternator, held on with Torx-heads.

Pop the plastic VR off and look at the brushes. They should both be shiny on the end from contact with the slip rings. If one is mostly dull–there’s your problem.

Also (if you have the alternator with the bots running longitudinally) an easier way to get the alt on/off is to:

  1. Get one bolt on, loosely, with the belt on the alt pulley.
  2. Use leverage to line up a second bolt hole.
  3. feed the 2nd and 3rd blots through, then tighten.