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doucetrr

Volt Meter

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Hello, I am a new member and first time Ford owner. I just bought a new 2017 F-350 XL with the STX package. I notice there is no volt meter. Are there any good after market digital options? Thanks.

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Check Amazon for voltmeters that plug into a power port (cigarette lighter socket if you are over 50).

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I started a similar thread shortly after I took delivery of my 2017 King Ranch. The responses contained very little sympathy and no solutions. Seems that I am a dinosaur for wanting one. Anyhow, the big problem for me is that there just isn't any good spot to put a gauge on the dash or console, and the power port is way off to the right of the center cluster, tilting more toward the passenger than the driver, and makes glancing over to look at it very inconvenient. I think Ford made a mistake not allowing you to swap the transmission temp for an ammeter or voltmeter, but that's the way it is and I guess I will just have to put up with having only an idiot light......for the first time since I first started driving in 1967 (my dad's 62 Ford). The above suggestion of a plug in one is intriguing, and I am considering it myself.

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I’m trying to figure out why you need one. Modern alternators rarely fail and if they do you get a warning that the system isn’t charging properly. On the battery, they rarely drop voltage when they go bad - they lose cranking amps. 90% of the time when a battery is bad it still shows 12V.

 

Is this a common issue with heavy loads or towing or is this just based on older trucks and batteries?

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I’m trying to figure out why you need one. Modern alternators rarely fail and if they do you get a warning that the system isn’t charging properly. On the battery, they rarely drop voltage when they go bad - they lose cranking amps. 90% of the time when a battery is bad it still shows 12V.

 

Is this a common issue with heavy loads or towing or is this just based on older trucks and batteries?

I put at least 3 alternators in my Chevy 2500. I like having a volt meter so you see can a problem coming. Harry, I could not find an idiot light on start up bulb check. Couldn't find anything in the menu either. I ended up buying a cig socket one on amazon. I like it, I plug into the lower socket, only use it when plowing.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000EVWDU0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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There, you see.....guess I'm still a dinosaur! I actually prefer ammeters since they show the actual load on the system. Used to be important when running aftermarket lighting and such. And yeah, modern alternators are great...but the one in my 2005 Expedition went bad last fall, at night, after 225,000 miles.....and I'd like to have had a meter as I crossed my fingers while running with no headlights and trying to get home. Anyhow, I just think that an $80,000 truck would have one, even if for no other reason than to make the gauge cluster look even more cool!

Edited by HarryTitus

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You won't like what you see if you do add one. Computer controlled alternators can vary the system voltage quite a bit, depending on all loads, battery state and age and what the vehicle is doing at the present time. It wont sit nice and still like in the old days. That's why they don't add one. There would be too many complaints of varying voltages and Ford does anything and everything to lower warranty claim costs.

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I'm one that likes a volt meter as well. While driving across country in my 2015 Yukon Denali, the voltmeter kept dropping, The vehicle was almost new at the time and I began wondering if my alternator was going out.



If all else fails, read the manual. Here's what it said:



When the engine is running, this

gauge shows the condition of the

charging system. The gauge can

transition from a higher to lower or a

lower to higher reading. This is

normal. If the vehicle is operating

outside the normal operating range,

the charging system light comes on.

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So the voltmeter didn’t help - if there was a problem the check charging system light would have come on.

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So the voltmeter didn’t help - if there was a problem the check charging system light would have come on.

While this "charging system" issue definitely existed a few years back (I was able to get inside confirmation), that is not a 100% accurate statement.

 

In the "old days", the idiot light cam on if the output of the stator/diodes was lower than the battery voltage. Ever since Ford went to their "smart charging system", the charging light is turned on when a message from the PCM is sent to the instrument cluster.

 

There is actually a custom microprocessor INSIDE the alternator that "talks" back and forth to the PCM. If either of them is sending incorrect information, you may NOT actually be charging and the light will NOT COME ON. (There is at least on video online documenting that the alternator/regulator µP is telling the PCM "I am charging as fast as I can", but it is not.)

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So that's one failure scenario that might happen but I assume there are plenty of other failures where the correct message is sent and that would show up.

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