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Old 01-30-2011, 10:52 AM   #1
FordFreak69
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Exclamation Battery Dead, Alternator Just Replaced... HELP!

Aloha from Hawaii!

I drive a 2007 ford focus se with 52k miles on it. Recently (about 15000 miles ago) I had the alternator replaced at the ford dealer, as battery light was on and battery was not charging. I have also had the starter replaced as it made that annoying whine sound when trying to start car... The only other thing replaced before alternator was the instrument cluster computer, as tech said error code showed a defective computer, so he changed that under warranty and battery light STILL stayed on, so they went ahead and changed alternator also. After that, Car ran fine until now. I went to start the car today, and the battery is very low/dead... car ran fine previous day with no trouble/indicator lights on. Battery indicator on dash did NOT come on. Called wrecker and got a jump (it was free ,covered by Geico!) and drove the car for over a hour, 45 minutes of those on freeway at high speed. Pulled car back into driveway, turned key off, tried to start car again, not enough power to start car, starter will not even engage.
The power door locks work, but car will not start. Anti theft is NOT disabling the car, it just doesnt have enough power. Car started right up after being placed on a portable charger bt wrecker and leaving on for about 8 minutes. Car would NOT start as soon as it was attached, I think the battery must have been ultra low... would barely turn over but NOT start... after leaving charger on for about 8 minutes it started and fan fine. I was hoping it was just a low battery and driving it would charge it back up... it didnt...

Shall I assume the battery has gone kaput?! If Ive had a bad alternator recently, would the fact that its not charging the battery cause the battery to die even though a new alternator was put on? The tow driver checked the window in battery, and the indicator shows GREEEN, but he says that means nothing. I am assuming the car has a bad battery.... Again the battery light on dash did NOT come on like it did when the alternator was bad and was NOT charging battery before....

Thanks. I dont have $500 to spend on a battery and diagnostic.. and I have NO tools to check car with.

I am planning on driving car to dealer to have it checked early monday morning, after either another jump or a tow. Im concerned about having to pay AGAIN to have problem fixed, say for like the same problem (alternator!) as the 12k 1 year warranty on dealer parts has EXPIRED... should they repair it under warranty again if they installed defective parts?
I am trying to get an idea of what to expect in advance...

Thanks for all your help in advance!

And is this covered under the 6 year/60k mile FORD FACTORY warranty?

Ps - I thought focuses were great cars, but Ive had a LOT of trouble with this one! Was 2007 a bad year for focuses?


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Old 01-30-2011, 11:17 AM   #2
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OK, I would bet it's the battery first- even if that light is on. Batteries can die in multiple ways. First way, loss of electrolyte means that batteries produce the voltage, but can't handle the current. This means your battery is going to put out 12v+, but when you try to start, the voltage drops below 8v, and the starter just clicks. This is typical old battery. You might even get some lights to come on. In this case, the battery will not hold a charge at all. You will be able to get the car started by jumping it off, but as soon as you cut it off- it won't start.

Next loss of charge, if your battery is only showing 10v, then it's probably not going to start the car. If it's less than 10v, then it's definitely not going to start the car. In this case, you can jump the car, and a good alternator will charge the battery so that the car runs, and you don't have any more problems unless there's some sort of drain on the electrical system that is causing the battery to run down over night. This is what happens when you leave your lights on overnight.

One more possible issue is the loose connection. Battery terminals do loosen over time. When a loose connection is causing your battery woes, you'll turn the key to START and everything will die. Lights might come back on, like a battery that has lost electrolyte, but it still won't start. To test for this- pull the battery cover (no tools required, it clips on) then wiggle on the battery terminals by hand. If you can get one to turn, then it's loose. You might also find things breaking off the terminal- or a bad terminal. In this case you should repair it. Even if you have a good battery, a bad terminal will make the car think you have a bad battery.

There is a way to check battery voltage without having a multi-meter. These cars have a display mode where you can access some of the information the computer sees, and also do some simple tests of things like the gauges and led lights in the instrument cluster. To do this, put the key in the ignition, leave off, now press and hold the odometer reset button, turn the key to ON, and continue to hold the reset button. Very soon the gauge needles will start jumping around, and the odometer display will read [gauge]. Now, let off the reset button, and press it again to scroll through the selections. There are like 30 different selections, and I can't remember where the battery voltage display is- just keep pressing and releasing the reset button until the odometer reads [bat 12.4] or if your charge is low it might read [bat 10.1]. If you want to see if your alternator is charging the battery, then start the car with this on the odometer, and see if the voltage changes. With the alternator running you can see voltage up to 15v, but not higher. Higher than 15v, even 15.1 is a sign of a bad voltage regulator.

This is only what the computer sees. Now if you don't see anything- like [bat 0.1v] that could mean a bad connection at the battery, or a bad connection on the battery sensing wire at the alternator. If this happens, and I were you, I'd pop the hood and jiggle the battery terminals to see if I could get it to read the battery voltage. That would indicate a bad terminal, or loose terminal (most likely).
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:37 AM   #3
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Thanks bro! now that was a FAST REPLY! Your next pineapple ice cream cone is on me!
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Old 01-30-2011, 12:04 PM   #4
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Exclamation

My local sears store seems to be the ONLY PLACE that has this battery in stock. Its $109 + $15 installation.... they also say they can TEST the old battery and alternator... should I just go for it? Thanks. I have a small child I have to care for while wife is deployed and I would like to get this problem fixed TODAY if I can... aloha
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:54 PM   #5
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Problem was a DEAD CELL in battery, it had 2.0v in the entire battery.. new battery fixed it right up!
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:11 PM   #6
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Posted via FF MobileGreat! >ad batt. = shit for usefulness.....
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:28 AM   #7
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Good Explanation Alex.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FordFreak69 View Post
Problem was a DEAD CELL in battery, it had 2.0v in the entire battery.. new battery fixed it right up!
More like one working cell and 5 bad cells- LOL

For the brave, you can add electrolyte (water) to non-servicable batteries. I've done that before, but it only works in the rare situation where you have 12v- yet it won't start the car.
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Old 02-05-2011, 08:56 PM   #9
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a lot of the time when an alternator goes bad it usually takes the battery along with it...so it's a good idea to replace the battery and alternator at the same time so you don't have the situation that you had..
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