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2003 Ford Taurus Alternator Burning

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New User

Jun 23, 2015, 4:23 PM

Post #1 of 3 (884 views)
2003 Ford Taurus Alternator Burning Sign In

2003 Ford Taurus
127,500 miles
3.0 V6 Engine

My car's battery light came on, but I had the battery checked, and it is fine. I took it into a car place, and they said the pigtail on the alternator had burnt up, which is clearly visible. It also makes sense as to why I've been smelling something burning for the past few weeks (I originally thought it was fluid burning off from a power-steering leak). They suggested replacing the alternator, which is a refurbished one that I just had put in about 5 months ago.

However, they didn't sound entirely sure that this would fix the problem, and after reading up on the internet, I just wondered if something else could be the problem. I'm afraid of replacing my alternator just to have it burn out again due to some other issue. I have no idea if this matters, but my car has always had strange electrical issues, including the car thinking the doors are open or the windows randomly not working.

Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Jun 23, 2015, 4:40 PM

Post #2 of 3 (877 views)
Re: 2003 Ford Taurus Alternator Burning Sign In

Usually pigtails burn up because there is resistance in the connection. The resistance creates heat and the heat melts the wiring insulation or the connector itself. The resistance could be caused by a poor terminal connection and/or corrosion.

I'd say replace the alternator and install another pigtail. Then run a voltage drop test on the wires with everything turned on to make sure you don't have excessive resistance going on.

Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Jun 23, 2015, 4:41 PM)

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jun 24, 2015, 3:21 AM

Post #3 of 3 (857 views)
Re: 2003 Ford Taurus Alternator Burning Sign In

That. Once warranty voided if you didn't put a new one on! Common issue with IDK why Ford products. Some come with self soldering shielded connectors that are as good as new + plug plastics resist heat better. SO COMMON THEY ARE IN STOCK, THE ALTERNATOR IS NOT!

Why: You put an alternator in already probably to a low charged or failing battery and it worked so hard it burnt it up at the plug.
Not really your fault just that you think you are all done (techs too sometimes) when the find the primary fault.

No telling if visually burnt (common) what crossed up where or voltage spikes before quitting or warning you which it might not have at all.

Do yourself a favor for just this. Make absolutely sure battery is charged up and tested before running this again or replace that too. Other odd electrical issues might have been caused by this and would tend to those one at a time.

Check warranty on a 5 month old alternator now. Might get another N/C or not as parts outlets frequently don't either care or know what or why something went wrong with something they sold. You may not have done this yourself but the shop would have the warranty. Sticky to tell a tech or shop what to do in order like really charge and check battery as the primary problem if only run low by accident much earlier it's at least low now on charge or under spec. Difficult alt to just replace in tight quarters,


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