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Old 06-04-2008, 05:54 PM   #21
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if you havent it would also help to upgrade your big 3 as well, meaning your 2 ground leads and your alt to battery lead, with atleast 4ga wire
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Old 06-21-2008, 04:28 AM   #22
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There's an easy way to check for alternator problems......get a digital volt meter that plugs into the lighter socket. (Walmart, other places) You can easily monitor the voltage as you're driving along.

Normal just sitting there nothing on......about 12.0-12.5V depending on the temperature.

While starting......drops way down 8-9v (varies)

while idling everything on......around 12v

while driving.......around 14v (varies with temperature and battery state of charge)

really cold weather......slightly higher voltage, maybe 14.5v.

weak battery.......slightly higher voltage, maybe 14v+ (it's trying to charge)

You got a problem start seeing voltages, or voltage spikes over 15V or so. You'll start burning bulbs, maybe hear relays clicking. The battery will boil out the fluid, you'll see corrosion around the terminals. Or your battery will start going dead.

Apparently these newer Focus models have a main ECU relay that controls other relays (might go by another name), so if you turn the key and nothing happens, your battery voltage may be too low to energize the starter relay. Check the volt meter that you just bought. Much lower than 11V and you really got a problem.

You can check the battery itself by the use of a battery load tester (Harbor freight). Do this after you charged it up for a long time with an external charger. Auto parts stores do this for free....but remember they want to sell you a battery.

If your battery tests good after charging.....blame the alternator or a broken wire like the OP. Alternators sometimes make strange/loud noises as they're beginning to fail (sounds like a bad bearing or something). But not always. A flickering battery lite on the dash is a good sign of alternator problems.

But that little volt meter can tell you quite a bit....
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Old 07-13-2008, 01:17 AM   #23
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My alternator clip looks intact, and I have all of these issues, including more than just the battery light;

1. the entire intrument cluster goes crazy, including the tach and speedometer going to zero, and the cd changer resets and has to cycle through the cds in the changer again.

2. the vehicle "stumbles" anywhere above 4000 rpm.

3. turning the car completely off and back on fixes the issue, but there is always a "dead spot" where the car will not turn on, and I have to play with various electronics in the car (ie the brake pedal, interior lights etc) to get the vehicle to bring up all the lights/guages and be able to start again.

4. after the restart of the car, generally the CEL light is on, but if I turn the car off and on again once more, the CEL goes away. This is a big problem because autozone/oreilltys/advance all have to turn the car off and back on to test CELs, and as such the light disappears and no code is given.

5. This only seems to occur when the lights, a/c, radio, and/or windshield wipers are all on. No problems unless all of these things are operating at the same time. Of course you could say "just dont run them all at the same time" but I cant stop the rain or the heat or both at the same time in Indiana.

Any help is appreciated, I want to do my homework before I start replacing things.

Edit: 2002 SVT, 72k miles
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:48 AM   #24
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I'm also having problems with my car's interior and exterior lights dimming while I'm driving. Notice the lights always go dim when I'm on the gas. I hope it's just the wiring, extended warranty expired in June. :(
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:44 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by ANTHONYD View Post
I have the same "flickering" but my car also whines (almost sounds boosted) From what I hear, this is an idication that the alternator is on it's way out.

Can anyone else confirm this for me?
I like that sound :)

Actually, on my dad's Ford Van, before the alternator went out for a few thousand miles it had a slight whine to it.

Funny thing is, when ford replaced it, it was still there.... but then it went away after a few thousand..... weird huh?
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Old 12-25-2008, 01:53 AM   #26
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I can confirm it. Mine did the exact same thing then got really loud before the alt locked up on me.
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:45 AM   #27
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Added to the 'HOW TO' Archive.....
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:24 AM   #28
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nice write up.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:38 AM   #29
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Just in case anybody missed the first two that said this:

If at all possible, solder all connections on your car. Cars shake rattle & tug, they see drastic temperature changes, etc. Your electrical connections take lots of abuse, so any connections (especially ones that have already failed once) should be soldered if at all possible.
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:50 AM   #30
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Yay....problem after problem after problem. My car was doing this last night, and earlier today with the relay clicking thing and my lights flickering, was wondering what it was. God I love this site, but God I'm annoyed crap keeps happening to my focus. Hopefully its just the relay is messed of I accidentally mess it up the other day when I was wiping things down in my engine bay. I really don't feel like having to pay for a new alternator. And now that somebody mentioned a whine, I felt like I was hearing something last night when I was driving as well.....great.
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