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06 Escape smart charge issue

  • DennisH
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06 Oct 2021 08:46 #51889 by DennisH
06 Escape smart charge issue was created by DennisH
I posted this in the wrong section, (tools), but it should go here...

First post, too long, but I need help.
I don't have an oscilloscope, and probably couldn't get it attached on this vehicle if I did have one.
Have an 06 Ford Escape 3.0 180K or so. Normal maintenance items. Had alternator replaced 2 years ago.

2 weeks ago, son said dash gauges, radio, etc went away. Got it home and was charging at over 17V according to multimeter and smell and cooking battery. Figured it was another alternator, so towed to mechanic since I'm not tackling that stupid alternator location. Also bought new battery to put in since the other was at 3 years and had just been really cooked.
Got new alternator and 3 days later, same issue. Towed to mechanic and he felt it was ECU since it had just gotten reman alternator. I sent it ECU to Module Experts and they said it was bad and had to be replaced.
Got new module in programmed for VIN, used Forscan and programmed keys. All looked good in driveway and GenMon signal was toggling as I expected on ECU reading in Forscan, 14V at battery with multimeter.
Took it for a drive, and in 10 min, same overcharge issue. Luckily close to home. Disconnected battery overnight, same trouble where it was good for 10 min idling in driveway, but when driving, lose GenMon signal and overcharge. Disconnected 2 hours, and worked fine. Sat in driveway idle, reving motor, turning on AC and lights, all good. Drove 10 min on highway, slowed down to turn around, and same thing. Pulled cable off for less than 5 min, and drove home with it fine. Here is a pic of Forscan when GenMon goes away according to Forscan and overcharge happens... This was at highway speed, slowing down to turn around, and then nothing.

 
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There is a lot of great info on this forum. The 40 min video linked in the tools section on how it works was great info. I don't have a scope, and even if I did, couldn't get to the alternator connection to hook it up on the Espape. I understand the PCM output of the signals and that the ECU displays the frequency.  I hooked the same laptop and OBD adapter up to an Expedition, I get the 5 sec GenCmd pulses as expected. Escape seems to send at min of 15 sec delay, but still misses several and may be a min between. Don't know if that is design in 2006 version of the 'smart' charge. The GenMon appears to follow like the video did until it doesn't... I think I'm leaning to another bad regulator in new reman alternator? Hard to believe 2 in a row with same overcharge issue though. I don't think I see any other symptoms of grounding issue, and think that would also appear on startup, right? There should be no way the ECM can command it to overcharge. It can say go full charge, but that has to still only be 14V, right?

Looks like best test is take 3 prong off and see voltage. If it was like my Expedition and it wasn't an all day swap removing the axle and motor mount, I'd just throw a different one in. Either way, the alternator is very suspect and I suppose it was a poor reman from autozone. I think I need to look at either a Bosch if I can find one or a Motorcraft, but really don't want to throw $500 into just the parts after replacing the ($) ECM for this issue where I think I got screwed with them saying the old one must have been bad and couldn't be fixed...

I do a longer GenCmd pulse which is similar to what he sees on his scope during some demand. Here is one where we switched on the AC in the driveway and got more demand. I do see the command pulse changing, so I think the wiring is probably OK, but it just continues to lose the GenMon signal in the ECM after a short drive and is OK again after removing battery cable for 5 min.
 
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1) Could be the mon signal isn't really going away, but when it does the overcharge, the ECU quits displaying it? 
2) is it normal (acceptable) on 2006 for the GenCmd pulses to be 15 sec min and up to more than a min apart?
3) Where do I go next?

I did do more testing last night and did driveway test again for 15 min, all looked good. Drove residential for 30 min, stayed working fine. 

I added a pretty good load with lights on and intermittently holding window buttons closed to see the signals change. I think it looks fine from ECU standpoint here and voltage stayed good on multimeter. Sorry I didn't change background color on this test...

 

Any ideas?

Thank you,
Dennis
 
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08 Oct 2021 22:05 #51923 by Cheryl
Replied by Cheryl on topic 06 Escape smart charge issue
What does the scanner say for battery voltage sense? Should have a pid? Have you voltage dropped the block ground and positive cable? I think if you disconnect the connector on the smart share alternator it defaults to 13.5 volts. Wonder if it would put out high voltage with it unhooked? Unplug and snap throttle passed 3000 rpm should self excite

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10 Oct 2021 10:02 #51948 by Tyler
Replied by Tyler on topic 06 Escape smart charge issue
I'm also very suspicious of your replacement alternator. The aftermarket has a very tough time getting these right. :angry: I've seen overcharge conditions on Escapes of this vintage twice - both got fixed with Motorcraft alternators.

IMO, the GENMON behavior is a symptom of the problem. The way I remember it, 100% represents near-full field. So, a reading of near zero suggests the field regulator in the alternator is trying to get control of output voltage. For whatever it's worth, I've never seen the PCM 'take away' one of the GENCOM/GENMON PIDs in response to a charging system issue.

Your GENCOM behavior also sounds normal when observed with a scan tool. The quick 'pulses' every five seconds are always there, but the scan data may or may not pick it up every time. :silly: All scan tools I've used do this, including ForScan. I think it mostly has to do with data rate and how quick the GENCOM PID changes. I wouldn't sweat it.

What's your next move? I would load the 12V pin at the alternator connector with a test light or other small bulb. Leave it installed and somewhere visible, then start giving the harness some gentle tugs all the way back to the fuse box. If the bulb dims or goes out, there's a problem. I'd also suggest at least visually checking the pins in the alternator connector for corrosion or spreading.

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10 Oct 2021 13:48 #51955 by DennisH
Replied by DennisH on topic 06 Escape smart charge issue
I have been able to do some more tests today. I am certainly leaning toward bad replacement alternator. On this Escape, you have to remove wheel, halfshaft, unhook part of the upper motor mount to even get to the alternator, so hooking anything up to it is almost impossible. Can make everything go back to normal if I disconnect battery for 5 min. Here is what I have done today... 

Car is in proper charging condition. Here is a 'normal' startup. Cmd and Mon signal look fine, Voltage reported fine.

 

When driving for 15 min around local area, issue happens and dash goes away. Caught on Forscan.

 

Headed home and can see when RPM dropped low, it tried to start working, but only for a very short time.

 

Got home, shut off, and disconnected all connections to ECU for 5 min. Figured if problem went away, ECU was probably to blame. Started back up,and same no mon, high voltage issue.

 

Disconnected battery for 5 min, and back to operational. My gut says it has to be a bad regulator in crappy rebuilt alternator. So I guess another 3 hours of labor and a Motorcraft alternator is next, right?

 

I do appreciate the help. I wasn't particularly worried that I was only seeing the Cmd pulse every 15 sec at a min, but it is interesting that same OBD interface and laptop sees it at every 5 sec on my Expedition.
 
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10 Oct 2021 13:55 #51957 by DennisH
Replied by DennisH on topic 06 Escape smart charge issue
When it is in the 'bad' mode, I can see the voltage jump around from 15 or 16 at idle to 18V when holding RPM at 3K. When it is working correct, it stays at 14V no matter what RPM is at.

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10 Oct 2021 14:24 #51959 by Tyler
Replied by Tyler on topic 06 Escape smart charge issue
I love those screenshots. B) Good stuff. I'm not there with you, but it'd seem that the problem is associated with engine bay temperature? i.e. it always happens after a specific amount of driving. More evidence for a faulty alternator, IMO.

Access is not easy, I know. If you're going to do the alternator yourself, then you can do the test I described with the alternator out and the harness in your hands. I haven't seen pigtail issues with these, but anything is possible.

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10 Oct 2021 15:07 #51961 by DennisH
Replied by DennisH on topic 06 Escape smart charge issue
I would normally replace an alternator or other things like that myself, but not this one...I have to take it in to do it. Really want a lift and more time and tools than I have. I just want all the supporting evidence I can get to pinpoint the issue. I found this forum too late and have already dumped too much into this for the problem.

I have had the issue not happen with 10 min warmups and then driving for 30 min, and have had it happen when it was cold and not make it out of the neighborhood. This was driving for probably 20 min today with neighborhood and a short highway section, My mechanic is really good at the mechanical part and has done engine swaps and several other of the bigger things, but appears to struggle on the weird electrical stuff. After replacing the alternator because it was doing the same thing, said it was probably the ECU. I made a huge financial mistake and sent the ECU off to moduleexperts.com/. Horrible mistake. They said it was tested and unrepairable, and I needed a new (rebuilt) one. It appears nothing was wrong since the replacement worked exactly the same giving the overcharge. I feel stupid for falling for it and they will not respond to calls, emails, etc. They answer really quick when they want the business...

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19 Oct 2021 09:44 #52124 by DennisH
Replied by DennisH on topic 06 Escape smart charge issue
In case anyone else stumbles on this later, the issue was the alternator again. The Autozone one had a voltage regulator issue also and was replaced with a Motorcraft and all is back good except a much lighter wallet... When the bad one was left stopped in the overcharge condition without disconnecting the battery, it would drain the battery in a day. Just adding the solution for future reference.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Noah, Mitchroberson

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19 Oct 2021 13:27 #52134 by Noah
Replied by Noah on topic 06 Escape smart charge issue
Thank you for updating us with the fix :)

-Seems to me that I could live my life, a lot better than I think I am.
I guess that's why call me The Working Man.-

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