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Old 02-03-2013, 07:44 PM   #1
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2003 Focus Electrical Issue - Running Out of Options

Ok lets see if I can keep this short:

I have a 2003 focus zx5 130k miles

After I had it for a while it the battery light came on and off intermittently. I thought it was the battery and after I lost ALL dash power on the freeway and the car almost stalled out I went and got a new battery. Well that didn't fix the issue.

Next thing I found was two broken wires running between the hatch back door and the car body, I taped them all and it ran fine for about 3 weeks. The then light was back, again on and off and seeming got worse when the car warmed up. I started looking for other shorts and I found someone suggesting to check the BSR so when the battery light was on one day I actually wiggled and pushed on the relay and the choppy idle and battery light went off immediately. Naturally I figured that would be the issue so I got a new one ordered and put it in but the light still comes on after the car comes down off of fast idle. It however wouldn't stall out any more. I have put a volt meter across the battery and at rest it was reading 11.3 volts, when the car was running it was also only 11.3 volts. When I go to jump the car it only reads 13 volts when the car I am jumping has 14+ volts (could be the cables there) got battery tested and it tested fine under load, just needed to be charged again.

Now one final wrinkle, the car has always started with a jump but now it wont. When I turn on the key all the electronics I still have hooked up brown out and it just clicks, when I hook up jumper cables I get full dash lights and such again but when I go to start all I get is clicking.

I have pulled every fuse I can think of that isn't necessary for the car to run, aka rear window wiper, radio etc. I checked all the main fuses under the hood that I though could be an issue but I didn't see any blown fuses.

Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I know one option is that its a bad alternator but if I cant get the thing started I can't take it to get checked and I doubt I can get it out in the apartment building parking lot.

Thank You for Your Time.

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Old 02-03-2013, 09:55 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Gutem View Post
I have put a volt meter across the battery and at rest it was reading 11.3 volts, when the car was running it was also only 11.3 volts.
Your alternator is probably dead. You should see 14V+ at the battery terminals with the car running and the alternator working correctly. Anotther possibility is that the wiring connector to the back of the alt is damaged or open (preventing any voltage output.)

Anything below 12V is the voltage of a dead battery so your 11.3V is indicating that. I suspect that your dead alt has severely depleted and eventually killed your existing battery.

As to your "last wrinkle" comment, you need some initial battery voltage to energize the field coils of the alternator. i.e. alternators need some 12V power before they can produce it. The clicking you hear is your starter motor relay not getting enough juice to spin the starter motor. Operating the starter is the heaviest load you will put on a battery.

If you need to move the car to get it fixed, fit a new battery. It alone will provide enough power to run the car for a short distance.
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