Did Jumpstart Damage Forum Member’s F-150 Electrical System?

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2006 Ford F-150 Low Front 3/4

A bad alternator was the problem with this F-150, but was the problem caused by a good deed?

F-150 Online forum member Andc45 jump-started a co-workers vehicle and immediately ran into odd electrical issues with his 2006 Ford F-150. He asked the community if they thought that his “Good Samaritan move” may have caused the electrical gremlins and unfortunately, the community believes that the simple jumpstart may have damaged some part of the truck’s electrical system.

In the end, the OP finds that a bad alternator was the cause of his electrical problems, but the consensus of the forum is that you should avoid jumping another vehicle with a late-model Ford truck, as it could cause problems with gadgetry in the running vehicle.

The Introduction

When the OP first introduced the community to his problem, he shared this input in his first post.

Howdy folks – hope someone can shed some light on this.

Yesterday evening, at work, a co-worker needed a jump so I helped them out. For whatever reason, the jump didn’t work. They got some power (lights turned on) but the car wouldn’t turn over. Tried my cables on another car, and it worked fine.

Later that day, on my way home on the highway, I noticed my interior lights were getting dim and the wipers were slowing down. Turned on my hazards, pulled off an exit and got off the road. But the time I reached a parking lot, all my lights were off, radio was off, etc, truck still running. Shut it off, couldn’t start it again. Got a jump, it worked, but wasn’t even able to shift it in gear. Got a ride home and left it overnight.

Went back today, took the battery out and had it tested. Wouldn’t charge, but had it on warranty and switched it out with a new battery. Installed it, truck started right up with no problems, but the battery light on the dash would come on intermittently; usually when I was at a stop at a light or slowing down dramatically. Got it home safely, but the light worries me. I kept all of my electronics off while driving – radio, heater, lights, etc – with the exception of the wipers (I live in Portland. Doesn’t stop raining).

So, my question, is something else wrong here? Could the alternator be bad? I opened up the fuse box on the passenger side, and looked at some diagrams, but I couldn’t figure out which one was for the alternator, but I’m assuming if a fuse was bad it wouldn’t have started …? What would be my next step in troubleshooting this?

My knowledge is very limited, if you can’t tell. I know very basic things. You may need to talk slow. Someone mentioned it being cold, but the weather here isn’t that bad. maybe 40-45f.

It’s a 6cyl 2006 Ford F-150 with about 180k miles on it. Had it for about 3 years now, only problems so far have been replacing the battery last summer. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

2006 F-150 High Angle

The Community Responds

The first member to reply was 2stroked, who recommend a charging system check-up while also being the first to speak out against jumping another vehicle with a modern Ford truck.

Take your truck to the local Advance Auto Parts store and have them do a Charging System Check. That’ll show how well (or how poorly) the various charging system components are working. They can / will also read any codes for free. That will tell you what direction you need to head in better than we can.

BTW: That’s exactly the reason I refuse to use jumper cables. I carry a jump box instead so I don’t risk my truck’s electronics by being a Good Samaritan. Hope it all works out for you.

After that, Glc, ManualF150 and Patman all posted in support of carrying jumper boxes in their truck. As pointed out by the community, the jumper box allows you to help someone else without risking any damage to your truck and if your truck dies, you can jump-start the truck without the help of someone else. The image above shows the Genius Boost Pro, one of the jumper boxes recommended in the discussion.

2006 F-150 Side

The Culprit

After a hearty discussion about jumper boxes, the OP replied to share an update.

Thanks for all the replies, folks! It died again on me last night. Took it to a shop and a bad alternator was confirmed.

Here’s the thing – I can’t afford to have this shop charge me a buttload for labor. I know a few basic things; brakes, oil changes, etc, but I’ve never replaced an alternator before. Figuring I could give it a shot. So I have two follow-up questions here.

1. Are there any recommended videos out there for how-tos on changing an alternator on a F-150? Anybody have any tips or words of warning?

2. On the off chance that I fail miserably and end up needing to take it to a shop, could I hypothetically just charge the battery up and drive it to the shop even if the old alternator is out? The point here is to not shell out more cash on a tow truck to get it where it needs to go.

Thanks again. Ya’ll have been a great help.

Fortunately, anyone who has changed one knows how easy it is, and ManualF150 replied with a quick how-to on changing the alternator.

In the end, we don’t know for sure if jump-starting another vehicle damaged the OP’s F-150, but most people in-the-know recommend against using modern vehicles to jump start others.

Join the F-150 Online forums now!

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