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Old 01-12-2008, 12:21 AM   #1
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Rear Liftgate Wiring Harness

Hi all,

Just thought I'd write about this as I'm sure all of you in the Northern states and Canada will or have run into this.

For about the last month or so, my liftgate latch does not reset itself after opening the hatch. I have to hit the button on my keyfob a second time to get it to reset itself so I can close the hatch. Then yesterday, my wife tells me my left tail light is burnt out. So I go to Canadian Tire and buy a new bulb and replace it. I turn on the lights and nothing. So I check the fuse. Burnt. So I replace it, turn on the lights it's on. So I hit the turn signal, it works. I turn off the signal, no light. I pull the fuse, burnt. I replace it again, turn on the lights, blows the fuse again. I take it in today, the dealer says the wiring harness in the hatch for the license plate lights/left rear tail is corroded and must be replaced. Cost $450 all said an done. My 05 ZX3 has 52000Km on it, but the warranty expired in Sept. I bought it as a demo. Dealer says this is a common failure, but no recall for it. I have had the rear liftgate handle replaced once under warranty.

My thought here is that at 52000km, I should not have to be replacing this. Ford obviously knows there is a problem, but refuses to do anything about it. Also I have an airbag light on as well, dealer says it's covered but can't find what is causing it to light.

So what do I do? Do I go to Ford Customer Service and state I do not believe that this part should have failed, and that they should be paying for the replacement? I know that the people working there can't make those kinds of decisions, but I think the dealer has too quickly washed their hands of it. They said no factory warranty left, they will not put anything through. Your thoughts.....


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Old 01-16-2008, 12:26 PM   #2
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I had this problem in my wagon as well. Mine started as the rear wiper not returning to home position at times. I found 3 or 4 broken wires in the rubber boot between the hatch and the body. I fixed it by running new wires from the hatch into the car. I soldered all connections and put heat shrink tubing on everything. I had to pull the headliner down a little in the back to get at everything. Cost about $10.00 for the wire. I found out as you did that the wiring harness is actually the harness for the whole car to the firewall.
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Old 10-31-2013, 05:00 PM   #3
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Yup. my wire harness is toast too. I am working on starting a class action lawsuit on this to expand the 2000 recall to the 2007 models. Even on cheaper cars like the Ford Escort, they never had this issue. I need everybody who had this problem with the 2000-2007 Focus ZX3, ZX5 and ZXW models to join me in this class action lawsuit.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:03 PM   #4
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Same deal here. '04 Wagon.

No problem with lights but started hearing the rear hatch lock activate on its own when the hatch was open. The insulation on the wires in that harness was brittle and worn, and had started shorting out. Did a field repair but will have to go back in.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:08 PM   #5
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Welcome to the world of cheap Ford electrical parts and wiring. You will most likely get the brushoff there, they have been doing it for many years and look at all the various electrical and fire issues, which number high enough in all their cars for last 20+ years to be very hard to count. They use abysmal cheap quality wiring now that has the insulation fail very much faster than in much earlier years. Then they often do not account for the effect of passage of electricity and the heat it brings well enough so that many parts melt or fail. Par for them as a company, pretty funny now that one has to grind the taillight sockets loose from the brake lens since they commonly melt together. Turning a bulb change into possibly a $200 dollar repair. I'm not impressed, just like with so many other electrical issues I've had with these cars. Most should have been 100% preventable given the knowledge gained over the last 50 years, the same parts did not fail nearly so quickly on cars say built in the '70s.

I drove hatchbacks of earlier cars of more than one brand and never once failed any electrical going into them, these do it on a regular basis.

I say remember it next time you purchase a car, the best way to get back there.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:28 PM   #6
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Yup, last car I owned was a 1990 Ford Escort hatchback, with a third brakelight mounted even lower on the liftgate door than the Focus, it too had a rear wiper washer, rear defrost and power liftgate release and didn't have any wiring problems. I drove that car into the ground with 175,000 miles on it when I finally got rid of it. I loved that car. I miss it. It was such a simple car and so cheap to repair and maintain.
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Old 11-02-2013, 02:34 PM   #7
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Got it fixed at the Ford dealer yesterday. $380 for 4 hours worth of work, now everything works fine again. They added about 4 inches of additional wire inside the liftgate to each individual wire, soldered it back together and taped each individual wire with electrical tape. Hope none of the wires break again. I suspect now that the wires have andditional 4 inches it should have some slack in them so they won't break again.
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Old 11-03-2013, 03:00 AM   #8
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So, $400 for what essentially cost $10 in materials. These new world costs just continue to blow my mind. Doing the job myself in say 2 hours (it doesn't take 4) has me making close to $200/hr. For sure I never got paid that well out in the field.............money is where you make it appear out of thin air.....................and all because Ford to begin with now routinely shortens harnesses too short to save costs and why so many problems now show up because of it. Not to mention using wire with substandard insulation, even the cheapest wire you can get at parts store lasts much longer. I've seen that again and again.
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Old 09-07-2014, 08:52 AM   #9
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2007 Focus wagon. Rear wiiper quit last winter. Now the electric latch release on the tailgate won't work.

I will disconnect the rubber wiring boot, at the top of the tailgate opening and check the condition of the wiring.

Since this is a known problem and Transport Canada has an open investigation of this problem, I filed on online report with Transport Canada about my problem.

Bill

Update: Took the inside panels off the wagon liftgate, to get enough slack, to examine the wiring going through the rubber boot that goes from the hatch opening to the hatch itself.
Sure enough, found three wires broken and all the wires had cracked and broken insulation.
Spliced in extra lengths of wires to fix the broken wires and wrapped electrical tape around the cracked insulation to stop any shorting out.
2 or 3 wires were around 16 or 18 gauge wire, all the other wires were very small, around 24 gauge wire.

Rear wiper now works again and so does the electrically hatch release. :-)

Last edited by ssfc72; 01-14-2015 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 01-14-2015, 03:22 PM   #10
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weird trunk problem

I have a 2006 focus zxw ses and I am having some problems with the trunk opening by itself.

Basically when I start the car I hear click and the trunk is open and I have to get back out of the car to close it and then I'm usually okay. Sometimes I start the car and it doesn't open until I go to put it in Drive or Reverse, today though while I was driving I heard click and the dang thing was open while I was driving down the road.

Luckily when this happens the door doesn't lift up it stays down but I am wondering if any others have had problems like this?

Any ideas what it could be? Wiring shorting out somewhere? I do not have any problems with anything else btw rear wiper works fine, lights work fine just the trunk latch seems to have a mind of its own.
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