1999 Ford Windstar Headlights Stay On, Wont Start

OK, so this post will be a little different from normal, but hopefully someone will find it useful.

Our 1999 Ford Windstar hasn’t been acting right lately, so we replaced the battery.  After hooking up the new battery, the running lights came on and the van wouldn’t start (the starter wouldn’t even engage).  No matter what we did, we couldn’t get the lights to turn off.  The radio would also turn on without the key in the ignition, and with they key in, the door/key chime wouldn’t turn on.  We checked every fuse and relay with the multitester, all tested good.

It turned out the problem was the ignition switch was bad.

WARNING: This vehicle contains SRS, or airbags, DO NOT WORK ON THIS AS AIRBAGS CAN ACCIDENTALLY DEPLOY AND BE VERY DANGEROUS.  If you choose to ignore my warning and still work on it yourself, YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK.  Be safe, disconnect battery and wait at least 5 minutes to reduce, not eliminate, chance of accidental airbag deploy.  Do not use any test equipment while part is still connected to van as this can also deploy airbags.

To change the ignition switch:

  1. Remove negative (black) cable from battery, then remove the positive (red) cable.  Dop not let red cable touch anything metal.
  2. Stop and wait 5 minutes (DO NOT SKIP, SEE AIRBAGS WARNING)
  3. Remove the 3 bolts at the bottom of the knee bolster and remove
  4. Remove the 2 bolts from left/right side the metal cover under knee bolster
  5. Remove 3 screws from lower steering column and remove only lower steering column
  6. Locate ignition switch and remove 2 screws from ignition switch
  7. Disengage ignition switch from actuator pin
  8. Unscrew wire harness from it
  9. Reinstall using exact opposite procedure

I suggest when reinstalling, test after screwing new ignition switch in.

Thats it!  Van works perfect.

APC XS 1300 UPS Using 2 AGM Batteries

My trusty APC XS 1300 UPS’s battery died and wouldn’t keep a charge anymore. I really like this UPS, so I wasn’t ready to give up on it yet.

Original Battery

I first set out to buy a replacement battery, APCRBC109, but at $109.00, it was almost as expensive as a whole new unit. The APCRBC109 is 2 SLA 12v 9Ah batteries, which means its 2 sealed lead acid 12 volt 9 amp hour batteries that are wired in series to product 24 volts.

An amp-hour in its basic idea would be you can get 1 amp for 9 hours or 9 amps for 1 hour at 12 volts each.

So, if we were to use the UPS at full power we can estimate how long the battery on the UPS would last. This would give a estimate to compare other batteries with. You can get the total rating from the specs, 780 watts. To figure out how many amps it will draw from the battery, use the watts formula:

Watts is voltage x amperage, w = v x a. Re-arrange it so a = w / v
780w / 24v = 32.5 amps

In a perfect condition (ignoring UPS electronics loss, heat, etc)

9ah / 32.5a = 0.277 hours

Or about 16 minutes run time at full power. Pretty good to protect against short power outages, but we can do better if we want.

Replacement Battery

I bought 2 AGM 12v 55ah batteries.

If I apply the same formula as above, I can calculate theoretical run-time.

55ah / 32.5a = 1.69 hours

Or about 101 minutes! That makes sense because our new batteries hold about 6.11 times more power (55ah / 9ah) then the old ones.

The batteries need to be hooked up in a series, or positive to negative, circuit to create 24 volts (voltage is added in series) in the same way the original batteries do.  The batteries wont fit into the UPS, so I picked up 2 battery cases from Amazon and a resettable fuse.  The fuse was tied in series with the batteries just in case too much power is being drawn.

Conclusion

You can run standard AGM batteries to increase run time.