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Old 07-28-2012, 08:07 AM   #1
laura408
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Idles rough, lights flicker, battery light off and on

Please Help!
I have a 2005 Focus SE. Alternator died in 2009 I replaced myself and put in a new battery. Died again in 2011, had a gargage put in rebuilt alternator. The car has always idled rough and now my head lights and clock/radio lights flicker at idle and while driving, also my battery light comes on every so often then goes off after a couple of minutes. I had the battery and Alt. checked at auto parts store and they say it reads fine on their tester. What should I check for next????


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Old 07-28-2012, 09:13 AM   #2
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Alternator connector at the back of the alternator and the integrity of all cabling. Look for chafing, burns, intermittents. Check tightness and cleanliness of battery post connectors.
The "battery light" indicates a charging system fault, not necessarily just a battery problem. The dimming lights would indicate your alternator's voltage output is insufficient for whatever reason.
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:26 AM   #3
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I will check all of that thank you for your help.
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:28 AM   #4
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I had the same problem, replaced alternator twice, alternator connector, both battery cables and sanded down all ground points. It made it a little better, but my car still has a hiccup when under heavy electrical load.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:06 PM   #5
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I have same dimming problem. My battery is only putting out 11.5-12.8 volts at idle. But after 1200 rpm then it goes up to 14 and everything is ok. New battery, new alternator, new grounds, secondary wire running from alternator to battery. I'm guessing that since the internal voltage regulator is PCM controlled then must be PCM issues??
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:01 AM   #6
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Lawson, did you disconnect the negative battery cable so the ECU can reset everything ? If you haven't , you might wanna try that . Just disconnect the NEG battery cable and leave it off for about 10 mins then reconnect it . Start it up and let it idle probably gonna idle high for a few minutes then it should drop then take the car out for a drive around 20 mins so the ECU can relearn all the parameters. But kinda sounds like a wiring issue and those are a booger to find .
Good luck
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:21 PM   #7
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Have the same issue,
-battery light came on once and went off
-so i plugged in my trusty cigarette lighter batt/alternator tester
http://images.palcdn.com/hlr-system/...03/8003736.jpg
-it basically confirmed what other are experiencing:
-when starting the car, the battery voltage goes below 12v, then slowly goes up to normal
- also when starting the car, after the battery goes up to normal levels, the alternator starts charging to 14.75
- after a little while the temp goes up and rpm lowers, normally
- the alternator starts to to drop below 13.2
- IF i turn on any consumers (lights, AC, or even headlights/taillights) it stops charging and runs only on battery
- worse, after the car heats fully, any major consumers (AC) will show as: no alternator charge, battery at 11.8
- ALL THAT happens ONLY at low rpm's or idle
- HELP?

notes: in the last year i have replaced: 4 batteries, 3 alternators, battery pos/neg wiring kit, alternator wiring fix (or so they said at the shop) and lots of lightbulbs.
Another weird thing, my headlights supposedly went so hot, that they melted the lightbulb connectors and witing insulation close to the bulb (leaving only exposed wire and connectors - i checked, no contact made), along with the internal headlamp housing!!, i had the exact same thing happening at the taillights, where i was unable to take the bulbs out due to housing being melt!!

- any way to test/ properly reset the ECU?
-any easy way to test wiring?
any thoughts?
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:57 AM   #8
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You can check your voltage while driving in any Focus using the electronic odometer trick.

Key off, press and hold the trip odo reset button, turn key on, continue to hold button until the odometer reads [test]. Now each time you press and release the odo reset button, you will scroll through one of 30 test functions. You're looking for the one that reads [bat 12.1] or whatever your battery voltage should be. If you measure your battery volts at the battery terminals, then you will generally be .2v less on the electronic odometer reading. Now the odometer will remain in test mode until you turn the key off, so you can start the car and drive with it still in test mode and diagnose alternator output while driving.

If your alternator is putting out less than 13v or more than 15v, then you need to have it repaired. I do not recommend parts store alternators any more. I don't even know if I recommend Ford rebuilt alternators, but those might be ok. You want to look in your local business pages, call your local friendly service shop, and find out who rebuilds alternators locally. There will be at least one automotive electrical rebuilder in your town, and typically the price is much less than a store bought "rebuilt" or "lifetime" alternator. The difference is business models. It is not cost effective for a small rebuilder to have a customer return under warranty- therefore they use parts that they are sure will not fail. Big chain stores eat so much in warranty returns, and use the cheapest parts bought in volume so that when you purchase one alternator, you are paying for 4. Most customers will not use 4 alternators. In the end, they make money due to volume not doing a good job. It takes longer to remove the alternator, have it rebuilt, and then install it- however, how many "free" parts store alternators are you going to use before it's no longer fun?

Yes, earlier Focis had problems with the alternator plug-in connector and the wiring to that connector. It is possible that you might have problems as well, but that should show up if you have the alternator you remove tested. Most rebuild shops will test first. You can also request a heavy duty voltage regulator, and one is available from Motorcraft.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:41 AM   #9
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I replaced the new alternator and solved all problems. Yes I ha ld reset the PCM by disconnecting battery and pigtail looked great and put new cables from batt to starter and starter to alternator.
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:54 AM   #10
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Just had my batt light come on a few times.
Decided to go to a local shop after having problems with a big corporate auto shop (will name names later)
They come out puzzled and say: "sir, they installed you a wrong type alternator"
Going back a few steps 4 months ago, being tired with all the crappy alternator problems i told the previous auto shop to install me "A BRAND NEW, FORD MOTORCRAFT ALTERNATOR"
They said no problem, i paid the difference up from the crappy Dixie one and left somewhat happy that all works.
During the last 4 months it still showed signs of weakness but i told myself it's only in my head.
Lo and behold after my problem today, taking a closer look at the initial bill it shows the following:
-OEM FORD ALTERNATOR - $322 - p/n GLV-8456-RM
I point the RM to the clerk and he goes, yes, remanufactured.
!!!! So they installed a reman alternator and charged me for a new one.
Upon the shop calling Ford, they give me p/n GL-456, which Ford claims they do not stock???. Same price tho.

Back to the current story, at the new shop, without even me telling them anything, the tech was able to tell me: "re-manufactured alternator, wrong type"
He explained:
the proper alternator for the ZTW has to have 750 to 1050 ohms between the blue and red wires at the connector and looks IDENTICAL to the ones that supposedly give 10.000 ohms
They suggested i try the following supposedly new proper alternator:
p/n 98AZ-10V346-EARM @ $260
I forgot to ask them what the RM at the end stands for :)

Any thoughts?
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