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alz focus 02-17-2013 08:23 AM

Gauge sweep every time you start the car
On my 2000 Focus, my daughter's car, I notice that the gauges sweep all the way to max and then down every time I start the car.
I drove this car for about six months when first purchased and don't recall it doing that then in 2011.
The tripometer doesn't reset and the aftermarket radio doesn't loose any info either. No other abnormalities that I can think of except a recurring P0171 that I can't get rid of for more than a year now.
Any ideas?

don627 02-17-2013 08:30 AM

It acts like it is loosing power while the engine is off. These cars will do strange things if the battery is weak. My battery was weak and would crank the car every time but, my factory cd changer would 'forget' that I had 6 cds' inside of it at night. So I would start with a test of the battery and charging system and go from there. Hopefully the cluster is not faulty.

johnwbr 02-17-2013 08:51 AM

My 2000 zetec did that when the battery was old. Changing the battery always fixed it. I had the car for 12 years and probably changed the battery about three times.

wannabe_svt 02-17-2013 09:07 AM

Check the battery and ground wires. I had the same issue with my mustang and it was a dead cell in the battery

alz focus 02-17-2013 09:51 AM

I'll keep an eye on the battery for other symptoms. Battery top connections are all secure and corrosion free. Standing voltage is 12.6 and idle voltage is at 14.1. As long as my daughter is not having starting issues or any other problems, I'm going to leave it for now.

a_2000_se 02-17-2013 10:52 AM

Here's great info on your P0171.

The side article is also great on explaining Fuel Trim - something I was looking for.

alz focus 02-17-2013 04:04 PM

Got in the car again today to run up to the store, no gauge sweep.
Maybe readjusting the battery cables helped or maybe it only does it first thing in the morning. My daughter never notices things like that.
Thanks for that article a_2000_se. I've tried to diagnose this issue for a while and finally gave up. Maybe once it warms up a bit I'll give it another shot before she goes off to college in the fall.

alz focus 04-14-2013 07:39 AM

Since I messed with the battery cable connections, there has been no issues with the gauges sweeping at startup.
As for the CEL, I threw in some Chevron Techron concentrated fuel injection cleaner, reset the CEL, and it's been gone for nearly a month now. That 171 code has been on for over a year no matter what I did.
I usually use Seafoam, but this stuff was on sale, Buy One Get One Free, at AZone.

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