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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-02-2016 11:51 PM
amc49 'In the past there has sometimes been a small hesitation before the starter cranks, almost as if the battery voltage was low.'

You are correct, often the only battery about to die warning one gets on these nowadays. Often you think you imagined it until a couple days later and car dies.
10-02-2016 09:53 PM
SBfocus88 Well fair enough. I rolled out some lead to make a few thousands shim, put it in there with dielectric grease and clamped down on it. I figured lead, being soft, would give more contact area than copper and would probably corrode less.

Replacing the clamps as you suggest would be even better - one less interface to worry about, but I dont have a large enough crimper handy. Actually scratch that - I see they make replacement clamps where the copper wire can just be clamped using bolts.

Well I will run it as is for a while and see what happens. It could be my imagination but I did think it started better after putting in the shim. In the past there has sometimes been a small hesitation before the starter cranks, almost as if the battery voltage was low. Hard to say though as I didnt do a careful before and after comparison.

I will try to provide an update after a while to let you know if the problem has been resolved.
10-02-2016 09:40 PM
amc49 ' I find it hard to believe that a snug but still rotatable connection could cause so many problems...'

Believe it bucko. You have messed with grounds but power supply TO the parts that need it can flaw in the exact same fashion even with the best grounds in the world. These cars give umpteen problems with the power leads off battery, one of the best mods is replacing those crap battery terminals with old school ones that positively bolt tight.

A rotatable connection will quickly oxidize to not carry power, why it has to be tight enough to not turn, that's what seals it.
10-02-2016 06:17 PM
sailor Better safe.

Rotatable gives room for corrosion between, and possible partial intermittent. Noticed mostly when trying to crank the engine.
10-02-2016 06:02 PM
SBfocus88 Thanks for the responses.

I do have the fuse your talking about - I believe it is a 160 amp located in the snap open ~6 inch long black fuse holder mounted on top of the engine. I opened it up yesterday and it seemed fine.

I did notice that the (+) battery terminal clamp can be rotate even when fully clamped (for example if I try to tighten that second nut on the clamp that holds the accessory/fusebox power lead in place). A long time ago I tried really torquing the heck out of it and managed to snap that specialty ==] shaped bolt that closes the clamp. I think ended up drilling out and tapping the fastener and brazing in a new threaded shaft - couldnt locate a replacement one if I remember.

I will throw some copper or lead shim stock around the lead terminal to try to get a more solid connection. I find it hard to believe that a snug but still rotatable connection could cause so many problems, but better to be safe.
10-02-2016 05:43 PM
sailor Hopefully some progress, remember that these battery terminals are famous for feeling tight by wrench while actually being loose enough to turn on the battery posts.

2.3 wiring for positive is from battery to starter to alternator, with a potential PITA of a high current fuse link at the front between starter and alternator. High charging current can contribute to a warm positive lead even a while after starting. Haven't heard of a similar fuse for yours, path may be the same.
10-02-2016 04:28 PM
SBfocus88 I did remove, sand, smear with dielectric grease, and replace all the grounds last night. Engine to battery (-) seemed ok but there was significant corrosion on the frame to battery (-). I did the same procedure on all the general wiring harness to frame grounds I saw.

With this intermittent problem, it will be a while before I can conclude that anything has be fixed by this.

I have had an issue with starting for a while - occasionally one would turn the key and the car would act as if the battery had been removed - no interior lights, etc. After waiting a while and or randomly wiggling battery connections, car would start normally and radio would have been reset (indicating complete loss of power). A few years ago I replaced the cable from the battery (+) to starter (there was significant corrosion) and it seemed that this problem went away for a year or so. It has slowly been coming back.

A possibly related problem is that the headlights sometimes dim periodically while driving. I have lived with this too, but a few days ago it got very pronounced. Next time I started it (it started normal) the dimming/ slow flickering was very bad. Upon accelerating to highway speed the flicking got even worse, the engine seemed to stumble, and a loud rapid clicking (relay sound?) was coming from the left side of the dash. When I finally got to a place to pull over and popped the hood I noticed that the starter cable was noticeably warm (warmer than I would have expected 5 minutes after the starter was engaged). I did not notice any indicator lights on at the time, but I was fairly distracted trying to merge while hoping my car wouldnt die.

I got back in the car and everything started and ran normally. So while I later went over the grounds because it is a cheap and easy place to start, its hard to say if anything has been fixed.

Battery tested fine at autozone. Alternator is 10 years old (replace shortly after car was purchased new due to separate issue). I would love to get back and check the alternator wires as I hear this can cause problems but that alternator is way back there!

I know bad grounds can cause very strange problems. Maybe this will be the fix, but it will take a while before I have any confidence it did anything.
10-02-2016 04:05 PM
sailor Have you tried the first suggestions from 1turbofocus?

lingardner hasn't made any posts since that one in 2013. Could have been referring to the same item though the description doesn't match exactly. PCM for yours is in the right kick panel area (later ones in the engine compartment near the grounds mentioned first here).

Ground by PCM wouldn't be a common issue for your version, but descriptions could be confused with that later version.
10-02-2016 03:34 PM
SBfocus88 ligardner-

I recognize this is an old post, but can you respond with the part that was replaced? I am having an identical problem with a 2005 ZX4 and am having trouble resolving it.

08-18-2013 07:45 PM
Originally Posted by ligardner View Post
This is a familiar story. My daughter has a 2005 Focus with the same issues: relay clicking, dash lights flicker, radio loses stations, headlights went crazy once . I knew it was some type of bad ground but she was too far away for me to help her. She finally located a small shop in NW Tennessee that diagnosed the problem. Can't tell you the name of the part, but it near the PCM and it was corroded. They replaced it and that fixed it. After two years of living with this. When she return home I'll ask her the name of that part.

Please do, I am having much the same issue.

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