Is the starter and the alternator the same thing in a 1989 Ford f150?
Nope. Your alternator is up near the front of the engine and the path of your serpentine belt goes around it's pulley. The starter is on the bottom side of the engine. This is a picture of the alternator on a '89 Ford F150
And this is a picture of the starter on your truck
The starter is only used to start the engine, it turns the flywheel between the motor and transmission, once the engine starts it disengages the flywheel. The alternator generates electrical power to run the electronics in your car and keep the battery charged.
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