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Old 01-28-2013, 10:11 AM   #1
Focuslu86
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Hello everyone! Radiator fan issue

I own a ford focus zx3, and i have been having some overheating issues! The car runs fine, but every time am stuck in traffic the temperature gauge would go up! What i did first was to see if i had coolant leak, and i had to replace the water pump, thermostat, and a hose that was leaking. I took my car to an electrician and he fixed the problem supposedly...he told me that the fans would turn on, and i believed him. After running the car, i still had the same overheating issue...so i decided to do a radiator fan test. I grabbed my scan tool, plug it into my car and checked the temperature of my car until it reached 225 FArenheits, where the fans were supposed to kick in. I let it run to 227 and still, fans werent working....what can i do to find the source of the problem? What can i check...what relays or fuses?


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Old 01-28-2013, 10:57 AM   #2
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For a couple quick hints;

If you turn the A/C on, the fans should come on. That'll check the basic operation of the high speed circuit & confirm the fans themselves are OK.

Then, the most common issue is low speed not working. That normally comes on first as it heats up, and in most circumstances does the job so it never gets to the HIGH temp needed to turn the high speed on. There is a resistor pack you can find between the fans (rectangular box with a four wire connector as I remember). The resistors inside can go bad, and the connector itself often gets "burned" from the power load especially with corrosion that's probably present at the age of the car. Both are replaceable & cause MOST of the "overheating" issues. The gauge & temp. readings get to the red & scary zone B4 the high speed kicks on if the low isn't working.... At that point the temp is rising quickly & the high speed has a chore to do to "catch" it and send the temps downwards again!

Manual would help on fuse & relay numbers (avail. on line if you don't have one), or one of our electrical experts may chime in who knows that info off hand...

Luck!

Last edited by sailor; 01-28-2013 at 10:58 AM. Reason: Sp.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:06 AM   #3
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Thanks sailor!
I turn on the ac and nope, the fans dont work at all! There is no fan movement at all...there is a thing, my ac doesnt go past level 3, at level 4 it doesnt blow nothing. I have checked the resitor and they are fine, plus the connectors to the fan! How can i test the relays of fuses? Btw when i hit the defroster for the rear, i hear a click clik sound coming from the driver side fuse box? What does that means
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:16 PM   #4
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I saw a couple dozen threads about dead fan issues that thoroughly discussed these details. This was after a friend of mine had the same problem. He bought a factory service manual and read existing threads. His problem turned out ot be a burned up resistor assembly. The Focus has several weaknesses involving the fan relays & relay sockets located in the fuse box in the engine compartment and especially the fan resistor mounted in the top or bottom of the fan shroud assembly. In later years, and for duratec I believe it moved to the bottom. Since you have an early Zetec, it's probably at the top of the shroud. You will need a voltmeter to test and isolate the problem unless you want to replace a lot of good parts for no reason. If the resistor assembly is totally cooked you may be able to tell its bad from visual inspection, but that's a potshoot. In some cases the resistor assembly will burn up to the point that it destroys the wiring harness and these parts are sold in the aftermarket. I would strongly suggest parking the car until you repair it or takie it to a shop. Driving it with no fans can cause engine failure.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Focuslu86 View Post
Thanks sailor!
I turn on the ac and nope, the fans dont work at all! There is no fan movement at all...there is a thing, my ac doesnt go past level 3, at level 4 it doesnt blow nothing. I have checked the resitor and they are fine, plus the connectors to the fan! How can i test the relays of fuses? Btw when i hit the defroster for the rear, i hear a click clik sound coming from the driver side fuse box? What does that means
WARNING: Do NOT run your A/C for any significant duration until you get your radiator fan trouble fixed. A few seconds to see if rad fans will run is OK. but that's it. Running A/C without forced fan cooling of the condensor assembly will cause head pressure to build way above normal which can lead to A/C compressor failure. This will, in turn, throw compressor guts (debris) throughout your A/C system. This is referred to as black death and it's a very expensive lesson to learn. This is how a $200 dealer repair of your cooling fan assembly can turn into a $1800 A/C total overhaul job. The other thing that may happen with continued use can be a blow head gasket and possibly a warped head and that may cost you $600 to $1200. You might want to take the car to a dealer to get the cooling system repaired before collateral damage causes this job costs you 10x.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:47 PM   #6
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^^ good warning to keep in mind!

We usually use position 4 to "force" the A/C on to do the "quick check" of fan operation, without that you would need to look to see if the compressor is cycling on to know if it's actually operating... (wouldn't necessarily turn on in cooler weather)

No operation in 4 often traces down to the switch, but electrical testing is needed to confirm that instead of throwing parts at the issue. One side of the fan connector gets power, the other grounds through the resistor pack & the switch to turn it on. That's why when folks check for power at the resistor connection they don't see any! So a multimeter is needed to check the circuit.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:52 PM   #7
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when i turn on the ac to test the motor fans, both have to work? or just one? this overheating problem is really annoying, and making me get a bat and start beating this piece of S..t! lol....
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:06 PM   #8
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Both normally turn on with the A/C, purpose is to get air flow through the condenser even if not needed at the time for the radiator.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:09 PM   #9
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i see! thanks for all your help guys, I am trying to figure it out whats going on, I dont have much experience with electrical stuff and I am trying to learn as much as I can...how can i test the fans? I do have a multimeter, and a ECT 2000, a master probe 3....
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Focuslu86 View Post
when i turn on the ac to test the motor fans, both have to work? or just one? this overheating problem is really annoying, and making me get a bat and start beating this piece of S..t! lol....
You need a Ford Helms factory service manual for your year of car, wiring diagram and multimeter. The fan wiring schemes changed year-to-year plus each year had multiple fan wiring schemes depending upon options and motor. Some years have separate L/R fan circuits and others were ganged some with or without resistors in the shroud assy, so information about fan operating behaviors provided by someone with different options or different year car may not be reliable. For example, the 2004 cars used at least 3 different fan schemes. Proper literature will set you back $35 on ebay and multimeter will cost $4 thru harbor freight.

The problem I see here is you have a very urgent trouble that beasically needs immediate attention. You are trying to learn how to troubleshoot wiring and you don't even have wiring diagrams or factory service manual. Even if you bid on ebay to buy the proper literature you won't have it for weeks. The engine may fail before then and that's unfortunate. I'd be taking it to a dealer tomorrow.
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