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Old 07-21-2010, 03:54 PM   #11
niggly51
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Just to put the record straight- a 'High Output Alternator' does NOT output more volts. It WILL output more current, but the voltage is always between 13.8 to 14.4 volts.

You might want to check the pigtail wiring on the back of the alternator. This is a known weak point on the Focus and could cause your problem.
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Old 07-21-2010, 04:05 PM   #12
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Thanks for the reply-just poking around the alternator looks like trouble-is it easier to get the hands in there than it appears at first blush, or do I first need to remove everything north of the dashboard to get at it?
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Old 07-21-2010, 04:07 PM   #13
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Never done it myself I'm afraid- so can't advise. Plenty of others have, so a search on this Forum should give you the answer.
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Old 07-21-2010, 04:24 PM   #14
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Here's a "How To" for fixing the pigtail:
Pics are dead, but the info and part numbers should still be there.
http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=104396
^^^Zetec though, not Duratec.
(I don't think I've heard of this problem on the Duratecs though. )
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Old 07-26-2010, 01:14 PM   #15
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On more than just on forum, I got the distinct impression that the Ford Focus had some sort of mystery surrounding my Battery light symptom. At least four instances were cited where the post indicated both battery and alternator replacement did not resolve their battery light issues. $120 for a battery, $600-800 I read were typical costs for alternator replacements, all to no avail. From this, I concluded that there was some other potential cause for my problem.

I ended up buying a new battery, based on the results of a test by a local shop. Not the answer. I decided to put the old battery back in and drive the car till something fell out of it. Then, I would be certain of the defective component.

My alternator toasted on Saturday night. As I might expect, once the alt finally gave up the ghost, the appropriate computer shut off all non-essential electricals, providing all available power to the engine (and, I supposed fuel pump) until the battery was too exhausted. It got me as far as I needed to go.

In NJ, one of the few service agents open on Sunday was Pep Boys. They secured an alternator from NAPA and installed it in a couple hours for $472. No mystery, no rocket science.

Seems like my ST and I are back in Focus.

Now, onto the reverse light switch.

(The hidden message here-don't overcomplicate this. The way my alternator failed-lots of strange electrical issues. The grand finale-all electricals shut down until the battery was dead.)

I'd replace the alternator. If you're not confident doing it yourself-I wouldn't hesitate to take it to Pep Boys (as silly as that sounds). From what I've read-they gave me a solid price.
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Old 07-26-2010, 03:56 PM   #16
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"The hidden message here-don't overcomplicate this"
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. With all problems it is difficult to arrive at the final solution without going through all the possibilities based on the information to hand. In my experience, the only time a battery light has come on was when the alternator failed. You had a fairly recent alternator but it was proven to be faulty. We could have said- change the alternator- and the problem could have been the wiring. Glad you have solved your problem though.
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Old 07-26-2010, 05:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soccercop View Post
Now, onto the reverse light switch.

I'd replace the alternator. If you're not confident doing it yourself-I wouldn't hesitate to take it to Pep Boys (as silly as that sounds). From what I've read-they gave me a solid price.

I have a contributed to a thread on this, its quite simple and likely the switch.

I had identical symptoms to your alternator, when a load was applied it would drop just below 13v. I changed the alternator myself, it took 2h out and about 30min back in. doing it again, i could probably have it out in about 30. it is a bit of work but only nut and bolt work. Its a good excuse to change the belt and i replaced the tension idler at the same time as the bearing was trashed.
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Old 07-28-2010, 01:52 PM   #18
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I had this problem. I could not figure it out. My alternator went bad so I replaced it. After replacing the alternator the battery light came on (was not on before). I then replaced the belt and checked voltage under all different loads with lights and a/c on. Everything worked perfect. Even had autozone test it. I decided to pull the bulb out of the dash. That was my simple solution to worrying about it anymore.
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:29 PM   #19
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The battery light in my car came on while driving. After I turned the car off I noticed that the battery light came on each time about 15 seconds after starting the engine. I checked the charging voltage and amperage with a digital mulitimeter- charging system was working but rather weak. The next day I fully charged the battery and took the car out for a drive...the battery light was on the entire time and the car completely died with a dead battery about 30-40 minutes after driving. All this while my multimeter was showing alternator output (however low and weak).

I decided to upgrade and ordered a new Bosch hi-output replacement (220 amp) for $249.00 shipped from an eBay seller since I live in a hot climate, run the air conditioner, and also tend to run a power inverter and other electrical accessories inside the car. I installed the alternator myself- took me about 3hrs.

Battery light no longer comes on. Charging voltage is a solid 14.2-14.4 volts off-idle. I didn't check the charging amperage because it would probably fry my multimeter.

But now I have a new "problem". This new Bosch hi-output alternator seems to have to spin at a higher RPM before it kicks in and actually charges. My car idles at about 700RPM and I am getting less than 12.5v at the battery. If I increase engine RPM to 900 then charging voltage immediately jumps to a solid 14.2-14.4v. The Bosch alt has the same diameter pulley as the OEM alt I removed, so alternator shaft speed is exactly the same.

I mostly drive my car in the lower RPM ranges and also do a lot of relatively shorter distances in city (ie. stop and go driving), so this poses a problem - my battery now is usually discharging considering the way I drive, unless I hit the open road or something (which I don't do too often).

I never had this low rpm charging issue with the stock alternator :(
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:15 PM   #20
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Posted via FF MobileSeems like the current problem is a lower than normal Idle RPM. Mine Idles at about 900 when warm, and readjusts to that when A/C is engaged (pops higher then settles down) so that seems like the normal speed for idle. If the IAC seems to be responding normally you may have a vacuum leak or other cause for low idle.... Others may know your normal idle, I can`t see your model info on Mobile, just guessing that all models have similar std. Idle RPM....
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