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Old 03-13-2015
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Help with LED/Alternator Mods

Hey guys. So as always I want to keep modding the ranger, but I'm staying away from anything major since I plan to do the full size mod in 2-3 years. Anyways, next project is going to convert all exterior lights and dome light to LED. I also want to throw on a better alternator, possibly do the Big 3 mod. I just realized recently that I might be overusing my alternator. Someone with better electrical knowledge want to chime in and see if my math is correct?

OEM = 65 amps
800W Stereo System = 60 amps
2 150W KC Daylighters = 23 amps
Total = 148 amps

This seems awfully high, and I have NEVER noticed any sort of dimming or battery drain with my stock 95a alternator (I read in a couple threads that some 4.0 rangers came with a 105a alternator. Is this true? If so how do I check).

Obviously the OEM is going to be less since I changed head lights/fog lights to HID, stereo is never going to use a full 60 amps, and I use the daylighters very rarely.

I'm hoping upgrading to LED, upgrading my alternator and doing the big 3 will be better for my electrical system, even though this setup has worked fine for 10 years.

Alright the questions... I don't want to spend a bunch on a large alternator so I am just going to upgrade to a 130a out of an explorer. Should I just pick one up at a junk yard for $25, and if so should I have it rebuilt ($70). Or buy a new one online for around $80?

For the LED replacements, if you can just double check my bulb list:
Front turn signal: 3457
Side Marker (clear corner): 194
Tail light: 3157
Reverse light: 3156
License Plate: Already done
Anyone remember the size of the Festoon bulbs for the mustang dome light? I have 3 from bugmann but for some reason they don't work with my dome light (they like to turn off and on at funky times).'

For the 3rd brake light whats the way to convert to LED or what is the best one to buy. Aftermarket ones online go for about $100. Bugmann might have some left. What have you guys done?

Am I missing anything? I think I am going to go to an 06+ tail light in the process. Thoughts? I wish I could go 06+ mirror, but I love my turn signal mirror kit too much.

Also, do I really need to do the big 3 with a 130a alternator. I guess it's simple enough and relatively cheap. Just wondering.

Sorry long post, thanks guys.
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Old 03-14-2015
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Also, I know I will need the EP-27 flasher relay for the tail lights, but after reading through a bunch of threads I keep seeing mixed answers for what to do for the front and front corner turn signals. Do I have to add a resistor or is there another way to add LEDs?
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Old 03-15-2015
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Car stereo wattage is different than say a lights wattage as far as amp draw.
Reason being is that amp makers are liars, lol, but it is also a different wattage being described.
It is about 2/3rds of standard Ohm Law calculations, so multiple result by .66 to get actual full volume amp draw.
For 800watt amp it would be 40amps for the fuse, in actual use would be less than 20-25amps at any given time.

Your '04 Ranger will have the Smart Charging system so any upgraded alternator would need to be a Smart Alternator, so not out of an old Explorer.
You also need to use Silver calcium battery's in these vehicles, standard lead acid battery won't last as long.
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Old 03-16-2015
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Interesting I did not know that about car stereo wattage. If my system is only drawing 20-25 amps then I am really not exceeding my alternators output unless (theoretically) I am at full volume on my stereo and have my KC lights on.

I was under the impression that swapping the stock ranger alternator for an explorer alternator was a common mod. Can this swap only be done for certain ranger years?

Honestly, now that I know I am not far exceeding my electrical system, I think I will just swap all my lights to LED and call it a day.
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Old 03-16-2015
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Ford started using "Smart Charging" in the early 2000's, not sure of the specific years for each model.
Look at the battery, if it is a silver calcium then you have smart charging.

Yes, prior to this change there were only a few changes in alternators.
Mid '80's saw 1G alternators get internal voltage regulators, and until the late '90's early 2000's there were no significant changes.
Ford 2G(2nd generation) alternators had internal regulators and external fan blades on the front, these were mostly for V belts
Ford 3G had internal regulators and internal fan, and pulley for serpentine belts, and came in 150+ amp models

Wiring for either 2G or 3G is essentially the same so upgrade from 2G to 3G was fairly straight forward.

I have not checked out the Smart Charger alternator, it may be fine to use a 3G alternator in it's place, just can't say specifically.
It has an internal regulator but it is controlled by the computer not self contained as before, it could just be an engine wiring harness change that allows the external control, and any 3G will work.
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Old 03-16-2015
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Well I am on my 4th battery now so looking at if it is silver calcium wouldn't help.

I am going to have to do some research on this. I have seen lots of threads and testimonies to guys who have swapped out their alternator with one out of an explorer. There is not one reported incident of anything going wrong by performing this swap.

Regardless, I probably won't end up replacing the alternator. But I do need to figure out how to get the front turn signals to work with LEDs
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Old 03-17-2015
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Anyone know the best place to pick up some 06+ tails?
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Old 03-17-2015
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eBay, junkyard.
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Old 03-26-2015
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Alright well I am ordering a LED 3rd brake light and front corner 194 LED bulb from buggman, now I just need to find a front turn signal LED and a rear brake light.

For the rear brake light, will the dual element feature still work? Where the brake lights are brighter than the driving lights? Looking at these LEDs...
Amazon.com: JDM ASTAR Super Bright AX-2835 Chipsets 3056 3156 3057 3157 LED Bulbs For Brake Light Tail lights Turn Signal, Brilliant Red: Automotive Amazon.com: JDM ASTAR Super Bright AX-2835 Chipsets 3056 3156 3057 3157 LED Bulbs For Brake Light Tail lights Turn Signal, Brilliant Red: Automotive
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Old 03-30-2015
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Upgraded to 06+ Tails and installed LEDs in them. The LED blinker module should be here later today to fix the fast blink. Also just placed an order with bugmann for an LED 3rd brake light and I have LEDs on the way for my front turn signal and corner lights.

Anyone know if I need a relay for the fronts?

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I'll get some night shots soon.
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Old 03-31-2015
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How did I miss this thread?!?

I'd suggest starting out with the big 3, then when you upgrade the alternator you'll already have the wiring ready.

I did the gigantic 3 replacing all the stock wiring with 1/0ga & adding a couple extra grounds. I got my 200a alternator on ebay a few years ago & it's held up well, voltage always stays at 14.4v+/- no matter how much stuff I have running.

You should be enjoying some buggman led goodness before the end of the week with that 3rdBL.... gonna try to get it sent out to you Tuesday :cool

Just let me know what other led's you need, I should have you covered.
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Old 03-31-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buggman View Post
How did I miss this thread?!?

I'd suggest starting out with the big 3, then when you upgrade the alternator you'll already have the wiring ready.

I did the gigantic 3 replacing all the stock wiring with 1/0ga & adding a couple extra grounds. I got my 200a alternator on ebay a few years ago & it's held up well, voltage always stays at 14.4v+/- no matter how much stuff I have running.

You should be enjoying some buggman led goodness before the end of the week with that 3rdBL.... gonna try to get it sent out to you Tuesday :cool

Just let me know what other led's you need, I should have you covered.
I got the wiring for the Big 3, probably going to tackle the job when I take out the headlights to install the LEDs. I'm still on the fence on a new alternator. I've never monitored my voltage before so I am going to do that and see where I am at.

Looking forward to my buggman 3rd brake light! I think I am good on the rest of my LEDs. I have your LEDs in my mustang dome, license plate lights and soon my clear corners.

I did end up going with the ebay projector style reverse lights which were recommended in a couple other threads and I have to say I am impressed.
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Old 04-22-2015
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Homework

Might I suggest a cruise over to YouTube for Alternatorman's channel?
Look for a video about the Big 4 grounding...it will save you batteries. If you're chewing through them like that, you should probably look into adding a second one or a Capacitor bank on your charging system (lasersaber's channel on YouTube - 12V BoostPack video)

Last edited by 01b3000ds; 04-22-2015 at 10:35 AM. Reason: more thoughts
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