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Old 02-21-2013, 03:04 PM   #1
Avi8or
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Electrical problem, or so it seems?

Hi Everyone,
I have a 2005 manual transmission Focus ZX3. Over the past several years it has given me random cause for concern with the electrical system some examples include:
- After market stereo will sporatically reset itself
- Left side lights (with the exception of the headlight) will blow the fuse and become inoperative, after changing the fuse it'll work fine until it does it again.
- Reverse lights will not work, tried changing the bulbs and testing the output at the lamp, despite showing good output and new bulbs it still does not work.

AND...most recently the biggest cause for concern has become this---
while driving the odometer will begin to Flicker very rapidly and this is accompanied by a clicking noise similar to that of a relay open and closing at a rapid rate (approximately +4x/second). Soon there after the radio will loose all power, going completely black and any other light components that are turned on will also begin to "flicker" rapidly and sporatically. Then the car will randomally begin to feel as though it has come out of gear (i'll also hear a rev in the engine) and then magically come back into gear and lunge slightly. Keep in mind that this is a manual transmission. With this issue it comes and goes randomally. Some days it'll do this on my entire 30 min drive home and some days not at all.
Has anyone had any similar issue? I am at my wits end with what to do and most certainly do not want to be stranded on the side of the road while enroute to work.
I appreciate any information you guys can provide.
Thank you,
Avi8or


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Old 02-21-2013, 08:08 PM   #2
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ZX3 I think is a hatch
It is a COMMON problem for the wire umbilical to crack, short and open



Read this for more info:
http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=178941
It will show bad hatch wiring

Get a multimeter-harbor freight is your friend here and get the cheapest one at less than $10.00
Don't know how to use it?? then go to YouTube and type in Alternator battery multimeter, there you will find a multitude of videos of varying quality

IF your hatch wiring is shot then come back and ask 'How to fix wiring'
Basically you need to solder wires and use shrink tubing
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:01 PM   #3
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Thanks mikeeshaq. That explains the issues with the rear hatch and I forgot to mention that my rear windshield wiper stopped working too (that was also mentioned in the article you directed me to) however, this still does not address my biggest concern which is the odometer blinking at rapid speed followed by radio failure and intermittent engine speed seizures. Do you have any insist on all of that mess? I'm nervous that its a huge electrical mess and this now has me shopping around for new cars.
Thanks for your input so far.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:56 PM   #4
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Sounds like you MAY have multiple issues that accumulated over time....

mike covered one common area that is likely to cause quite a few of them..

For others I'll throw out the most common answers to check first.

Radio - past resetting issue's most common cause is in it's wiring attachment to the car's wiring harness. typically there are separate power leads for the 'on" position & the radio's memory, first is "key on" power & the second needs to be a constant source. occasional intermittent at either could be the issue.

Dash & associated "dieing" has more often been traced to battery connections, battery ground connections (multiple), and cable to terminal connections than any more abstruse issue. Battery condition & charging issues come next on the list. Checking, testing, & cleaning terminals (including battery test, rest & running voltage checks) wouldn't be wasted time since it's useful maintenance at any time.

Another "free" maintenance that often solves odd electrical "glitches" is to simply remove & replace ALL of the fuses & relays. Over time, minor corrosion that can't easily be seen can result in intermittent loss of contact that just the "exercise" of pulling them and reinserting them cures. (lost half my electrical functions one day right after going thru the car wash, windows, wipers, etc. & this cured it for the last two years!)

With luck, one of these "simple" hints may cure the issues unrelated to the hatch wiring...

cheers!
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:03 PM   #5
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37 years fixing stuff as an electronic technician

Ok fix what you know is bad, which is probably the hatch wiring. Then stand back and see if that 'cured' other stuff.
With an intermittent short, that will cause all sorts of havoc
Solder tips: Use ONLY electronic grade solder with lead in it. Do not use solder flux as found in hardware stores as it is corrosive. Use heat shrink tubing rather than electrical tape. Use either cheap cig lighter or heat gun that can remove paint to shrink this tubing
YouTube is your friend lots of videos

Take a good hard look at your battery connections. Must be clean and TIGHT but are they really tight?
Grab each battery connection and push/pull sideways HARD, it must not move.
Then bad grounds will drive the electronics crazy too! See that ground connection by the battery? clean it! maybe even if the screw/bolt is rusty then replace it.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:14 PM   #6
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^^^ - agreed!

Best advice for sure! If you don't fix known issues first, you can end up "chasing your tail" looking for problems that don't exist....

(I can see my answer wasn't clear, suggestions are for issues that MAY be left after the initial repairs...)

Last edited by sailor; 02-21-2013 at 10:17 PM. Reason: Add
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:21 PM   #7
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Ok thanks everyone. So far I've pulled back the protective sleeve around the wiring harness that leads to the hatch and you guys are right. The wires look horrible, some even look almost as though they've been cut clean. I'm going to call around to price out the wires and the repair work on it because it looks like the wires run deep into the back of the car and I'm not extremely mechanically inclined.
As for the issues up front... I checked the few grounds I could find near the batter and tightened the harness points that connect to the battery ports but other that's that I'm not seeing what else I can check for up front. A friend of mine suggested it could be a problem with the ignition, not sure I've ever replaced the igniters. Any thoughts on chasing that idea?
Thanks again.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:07 PM   #8
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Hint for the battery connections & grounds would be to remove, clean, replace, then grease. Otherwise there can be hidden corrosion in the joints that prevents proper contact.

A free battery check is a good thing, they need a load test to determine available capacity - simple voltage check only tells if it's charged.

Checking voltage at the battery with a meter, both at rest & when running, will check the electrical system for proper voltage supply. (About 12.6 at rest, 14 plus a bit when running) Different than this, get back with numbers & we'll give more diagnostic possibilities.

After that wiring is repaired, see how it acts & the folks here will help work through the "puzzle" of diagnostics step by step. Between all of us, we've seen a LOT of things happen. That's why it's easier for us, and less scary for you, to work a step or two at a time - starting with the easiest/most likely causes for the symptoms you report.

Luck!
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:03 AM   #9
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Ok guys, sorry for the long delay but I have finally had some time at home to work on a few things and this is what I got:
Went to autozone and had them test my battery and alternator, both appear to be good.
The bat tested at 100% charge and 13.55 V
The alternator varied between 14.15-14.44 when revving the engine.
Next I decided to find a mechanic to solder the broken wires for me in my trunk hatch (5 total wires broken and others with cracked insulation). It only cost me $40 to have him solder it so I figured "why not pay him". After the soldering my trunk hatch release button on my dash now works and after replacing a blown fuse for the rear wiper that too now works. HOWEVER, the reverse lights are still out.
Now for the most important issue: "the odometer flicker coupled with intermittent dead radio followed by apparent short term engine dying"--- well, since 2/25 that issue has not occurred. I went under the hood and checked the battery ground, but couldn't locate any other grounds and I also tightened a semi loose battery connector. I am hoping that that issue is behind me now however since it was very random before perhaps this is just a cooling off period. I want to check the other grounds but am thinking I may need to hire a mechanic to do that. What do you guys think?
Thanks again for all the advice.
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Old 04-06-2013, 05:31 PM   #10
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bump/another electrical issue!

I am not used to these forums yet, and I never get replies when needed, so I am trying to bump this...

Alright, so I have a 2002 focus zx3 (Zetec with MTX-75 manual transmission.) and The previous owner had linked the stereo into the fuse box (driver's kick panel) and it was an empty fuse spot, Fuse 52. Anyway,one of the wires slipped out of one slot, and stuck to the metal bracket that the fuse box is hooked too, which runs around under the dash to who knows where. After that I figured I blew the inline fuse to the radio, so I checked it and still good. Now for the problem..

Power windows switches do not illuminate, or work, along with the sunroof, front/rear wipers, and brake lights. possibly cruise control as well, but not sure. here's the catch, I pulled the whole fuse box out of the kick panel, checking every fuse and relay in there, nothing is bad. what could be the problem?!
Please HELP

-Thomas
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