2001 2 wire Alternator pigtail

mikebenghp

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Feb 5, 2011
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2001 GT 4.6L SOHC- X engine code.

Recently had both the power wire and the plastic pigtail connector fry on the alternator. Buying a new alternator and everyone Ive talked to said the pigtail should have three wires. The one on this car only has two. The connector has space for three wires but only the outer two have wires in them. The center or second of the three wires is not present on the car. I peeled back the elec. tape and loom to see if it had burned back but its simply not present. When I get the new pigtail i ordered itll have three wires because thats all ford and other auto parts stores say they have. None have ever even heard of an 01 with a two wire connector. Is there going to be an issue simply not using the middle wire on the pigtail? I'm really at a loss on this.
 
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cliffyk

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Dec 29, 2006
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2001 GT 4.6L SOHC- X engine code.

Recently had both the power wire and the plastic pigtail connector fry on the alternator. Buying a new alternator and everyone Ive talked to said the pigtail should have three wires. The one on this car only has two. The connector has space for three wires but only the outer two have wires in them. The center or second of the three wires is not present on the car. I peeled back the elec. tape and loom to see if it had burned back but its simply not present. When I get the new pigtail i ordered itll have three wires because thats all ford and other auto parts stores say they have. None have ever even heard of an 01 with a two wire connector. Is there going to be an issue simply not using the middle wire on the pigtail? I'm really at a loss on this.
Hello,

I responded to your email earlier, for the benefit of others here's my response:

================================================================
That's an easy one...

Most of the OEM harnesses had three wires coming from the generator connector; however one (the middle one) was not connected to anything in the harness--it's marked "Terminates in Harness" on the wiring diagram (see below), Some, a rare few, did not have this "wire to nowhere" coming from the connector.

As it did/does not connect to anything it doesn't matter that it's not there.

You can also see that there are only two wires shown in the connector diagram for the 4.6L 2V and the 3.8L, the middle position being blacked out.

from the 2001 Service Manual:
2001-C153Generator.jpg


Also, squarely in the BTW/FWIW/WGARA category, note that Ford calls it a generator, mostly because it is--the device produces DC voltage and is therefore a generator, not an alternator. In the early days of "alternators" they were because the diodes were mounted externally to the dynamo. Making it an alternator. When the diodes went inside the housing (and later the regulator too), they properly became generators.

Start calling it a generator and see how many people will tell you your a nut case--happens to me all the time, then I show them Ford's documents...

-cliff-
 

90SILVERNOTCH

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Jan 14, 2011
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Not just Ford almost all manufacturers are calling them generators now. We just talked about this in class and I think it was something about alternators technically convert mechanical energy to electrical energy in the form of alternating current. We all know our vehicles run off DC and not AC so they started calling them generators. You wanna get some weird looks tell someone your Alternator/Generator is leaking antifreeze.
 

cliffyk

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Dec 29, 2006
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It is an odd part of our language--we call the things in cars that produce DC power alternators, and those things that produce AC power, used at construction sites and after storms, generators...
 

90SILVERNOTCH

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Jan 14, 2011
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It is an odd part of our language--we call the things in cars that produce DC power alternators, and those things that produce AC power, used at construction sites and after storms, generators...
Odd indeed. Everyone knows the English language doesn't make much sense.
 

GDawg

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Mar 22, 2002
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Alternator is just that. It creates an Alternating current. Then we use Diodes to cut off half of the "alternating current wave form" hence the output being a DC current. Generator is just a general term for alternator. Then there's the modulators... but that's a whole different story... :D
 

cliffyk

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Dec 29, 2006
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Alternator is just that. It creates an Alternating current. Then we use Diodes to cut off half of the "alternating current wave form" hence the output being a DC current. Generator is just a general term for alternator. Then there's the modulators... but that's a whole different story... :D
A true non-rectifier (or "old fashioned" if you prefer) generator is a specific device, using a commutator and brushes to directly produce DC potential. Because of this design, essentially a DC motor with somewhat different brush/commutator timing, they can in fact be driven by DC and used as a motor--20 years ago this was quite common (maybe still is for all I know?) on small riding mowers and the like; using the device as both the generator and starter.

Brush life and current capacity suffered from the constant "make and break" as the brushes made contact with one commutator segment, then another.

An alternator uses slip rings and brushes to produce AC voltage. Add the in-housing rectifiers (diodes) to an alternator and the entire device as a whole becomes a generator. The brushes are in constant contact with the slip rings which allows them to carry more power without breaking down, and greatly improves their operation life.

Modern automotive generators produce 3-phase AC, which because of the shape of the pole pieces is close to being a square wave. All three phases are full-wave rectified by 8 diodes (see the diagram above) and because of AC waveform being a near square wave the rectified DC ripple is much lower than it would if the AC waveform were a sinusoidal. The on board regulator adjusts the field current to keep the output voltage constant under the varying applied load.