New Battery Drains Immediately - Car Won't Start

ford
windstar
batteries
alternators

#1

So here’s the deal: I was in the middle of driving my car one evening when all of a sudden, the turn signals wouldn’t work. I pulled over and turned off the engine to investigate, and the headlights and inside lights began to dim, and then the car wouldn’t start. When I tried to jump it, it went “click click click” when I turned the key, and the lights and everything came back on, but it wouldn’t start and as soon as we stopped jumping it, everything gradually stopped working again. I put a brand new battery in - the car ran for 60 miles or so with no problems, then my fiancee was driving and the same thing as before started happening - turn signals stopped working, headlights went dim. She pulled into my workplace, and the car was dead again. We figured this time, we should try the alternator, so I put a brand new alternator in…now, as before, the lights come on when we jump it, but it still won’t start, and the battery still drains away when we stop jumping. Any ideas as to what could be causing this?


#2

This problem requires some troubleshooting. Get a test light (Walmart has them). Pull ALL of the fuses. Disconnect a battery cable and put the test light between the battery cable terminal and the battery post. If the test light glows, there’s a short BEFORE the fuses. Search for it. Watch the test light as each fuse is put back in. When the light glows will indicate a circuit which draws power. You’ll need to determine if this is a normal draw, or from a short. How? Can’t teach you THAT over the Internet.


#3

From what you describe the alternator is not charging. The car will run off the battery until there is no power left in the battery.

An automotive battery is not designed to be fully discharged so if it has been fully drained a couple of times it might not be any good.

You had a new alternator installed but you still have the same problem which leads me to believe there is some other issue, like a poor connection somewhere.

I would have the charging system checked as well as the battery.


#4

I think you should check for a short at the starter or starter solenoid


#5

When you first turn the key (to turn the accessories on, but not to start it), does the battery light come on in your dashboard? Some alternators require an “exciter wire” in order to start charging. In my Ford, that wire comes from the bulb for the battery light in the dash. If that bulb burns out then the alternator won’t charge. The result is symptoms and problems just like yours.

I don’t know if your Windstar has the same setup, but it’s something to consider.


#6

Odds are your 95 Windstar is wired the same as my 95 Taurus.

The factory wiring diagrams for my Taurus show excitor voltage to the regulator comes from a fuse link on the yellow/white stripe wire at the alternator.

Have your mechanic check for this voltage.
It should be there key on or off.

No excitor voltage equals no charging. Probably a blown fuse link.