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Old 04-17-2004, 11:49 PM   #1
brianw
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Question Problems with ignition system, weird ones!

For the last 3 months ive been having this intermintant problem when I start my focus. What happens is when I turn the ignition, the starter relay clicks and nothing; basically the gauges attempt to come on and then the electrical system starts going nuts (airbag light flashes very dimly and I will here a clicking coming from the central timer module very faint like the battery is almost dead, nothing works either, the truck wont pop, no radio nothing. Also the pseudo alarm LED does wacko stuff. Anyways if I disconnnect the battery or clamp some jumper cables to the +/- (not hooked up to another car) the problem would resolve itself and may not surface for a good week or two.

So I use this jumper cable trick for awhile and it stops working, I realize that when the door pin (the circuit that turns on the dome light, and the door chime) is activated, it grounds out the electrical system and the jumper cable trick doesnt work unless I tape the door pin closed. So I disconnect the door pin module (I figure hey I dont need the dinging anyways right) and think im a genius and go about my next two months. Now all of the sudden this [:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)]** starts happening even with the door pin fix and sometimes it takes me like 5 times of resetting the battery before my car will start. So today i was all pissed of and ripped apart (gently :) my fuse box and brought it all out into plain sight to see if i could notice anything, anyways this is what Ive checked:

Wires look fine, no missing connections or strays, very clean ford factory harness with zipties and all.

The starter relay seems to be ok, I switched it out with the defrost relay (same type of relay) so that doesnt seem to be the issue, besides why would it work no problem for so long and then give me a little trouble then work again for so long?

when I do the odometer hack, DTC reads "NONE," so its not giving me error codes

BTW, when I use this trick, I start my car and all the gauges blast to max and then fall back down, also ive notice that this happens sometimes when i just get in my car and start it up which makes me think this is some kind of short in the electrical system.

All the fuses are fine, and I tested the ignition relay under the hood and it is fine as well.

Ive tried removing the central timer module and it will still do it intermintantly, the car will start fine without the CTM sometimes and sometimes nothing.

What gets me is that its not all the time, so Im hesitant to take it to a mechanic cause they'll be all like "oh so it works fine most of the time, but sometimes the electrical system is jacked... hmm that will be a million dollars please." and maybe i get lucky and it fixes it.

anyways if anyone out there has had a similiar problem or thinks they might have a solution then I would really appreciate some insight. Im no mechanic but im not completely retarded so I'd like to fix this without getting ripped off, funky electrical problems are like blank checks for the mechanic.

My guess is that something is grounding out sometimes causing the electrical system to freak out when i try and start the car. unhooking the battery must reset something long enough for me to get the car started sometimes. I keep going back to the door pin thing and wondering why it worked for so long then stopped, its like a disease thats spreading.

I do have a amplifier hooked up to the battery but it is grounded correctly so im hesitant to think that is the problem, but who knows.

ok im done know


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Old 04-18-2004, 12:40 AM   #2
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You need to take it to a technician and have them go over the car. There are alot of electrical system tests etc but unless you have tools and wiring diagrams its not really something you can do.

Alot of times what I do is start from a specific part and work backwards.

For example, did the problem start after the amp was installed? Perhaps you can remove it and see if the problem goes away?

Any other aftermarket items hooked up to the car, I have seen some alarms do some whacky things to an electrical system.
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Old 04-18-2004, 12:56 AM   #3
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I did have an alarm installed and thought that was the problem so I took it all out (it was old and sucked anyway) but no luck on that. I'm going to take it in on monday and see what the mechanic says, i just cant handle this lack of reliability so im biting the bullet. If it does it again before monday i might try to disconnect the amp since the problem really only started a few weeks after I intalled the amplifier, but the amp never gives me trouble. I could have botched the install but its a pretty clean and simple low watt amp running some components. Oh well we'll see what they say on monday.
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Old 05-04-2005, 11:03 AM   #4
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Same here

I have the same problem, however it shows up only once in a while. Last time it was raining like hell when it happened, but then it happened again yesterday after I took it to the dealership for a DPFE sensor replacement. This morning all I got were clicks.

Let me know if you find something.
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Old 05-04-2005, 05:33 PM   #5
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Re: Problems with ignition system, weird ones!

Quote:
[i]

My guess is that something is grounding out sometimes [/B]

My guess is just the opposite... something is NOT grounding when it should be. Anytime you have really wierd electrical problems (your's qualifies) it's almost always a ground problem. The fact that one of your idiot lights is on but only dimly screams grounding problem (something is grounding thru that light because its real ground is no longer there). Check all your grounds and I bet you'll find your problem.

Somebody who is super-knowledgable about these cars should do us all a favor and post a list of all the focus's body ground locations. It'd make quick work of problems like this one, or at least we could eliminate grounds as a cause.
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Old 05-04-2005, 08:59 PM   #6
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You say that when the car will not start, you disconnect the battery....then reconnect it and it starts? Or, just clamping jumper cables on...but not hooking them up to another battery solves the problem too?

Sounds to me like you have a bad battery cable or two. Before spending a TON of money letting someone else guess what is wrong, if it was me I'd buy and install two new heavy duty battery cables and clean the posts well while I was at it. Pretty cheap and easy to do. Eliminating the easiest things first is a good way to start. Good luck.
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Old 05-05-2005, 09:20 PM   #7
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I read your initial post again and I think Recoil's idea is a good one. The gauges pegging seems to say computer restart, as if all voltage has been lost at some time since you last used the car. Checking/cleaning/tightening the cables is easy and if it doesn't work, at least you've eliminated that as a cause. Also, while you have the cables disconnected, check/tighten the other end of them too (down by the starter and wherever the ground cable goes to.

Ahem... I see nobody is willing to step forward with a list of grounding points for us.
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Old 06-07-2008, 01:58 AM   #8
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This sounds a lot like the problem I am having that I listed on another thread. Anyone come up with any solutions that worked. It seems like something that there should be a TSB on.
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