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Old 11-11-2016, 07:09 AM   #1
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Changed alternator, now car wont turn over

Hello All,

I recently changed out my bad alternator in my 2005 focus.(what a pain that was) But now, when I turn the key the car does not turn over. I can hear the fuel pump engaging, but nothing. I used to hear a click, but now I do not even hear that anymore. I have charged my battery overnight with a charger, getting good voltage at the battery, and at the alternator. any ideas?


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Old 11-11-2016, 09:50 AM   #2
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Define "good voltage" at the battery. You need to measure it with a multimeter. 12.4V +/- would be a fully charged battery. Even then you really need to perform a proper battery load test since starting an engine is the biggest load you're going to put on it.

What does getting "good voltage" at the alternator mean? If the engine's not runnable you couldn't have measured the alternator's output installed. Was it bench tested? Do you mean you've tested cable continuity?

You disconnected the battery before working on the car's electrical system, right? If yes, re-examine the battery clamps/posts for tightness and cleanliness. If no (tsk, tsk), check your fuses. There is a common troublesome part in the alternator area/engine front side of the Duratec that can short and blow the main fuse.

If you heard the starter relay clicking and it no longer does so, it's likely you simply have a dead battery or one incapable of providing sufficient amperage to start the car. "Bad alternators" can destroy good batteries if you run them long enough in that condition. Swap with a known good battery, if available.
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Old 11-11-2016, 01:19 PM   #3
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Thanks for all the help, Let me go into more detail, I had the battery tested at Oreily's. battery came out good, with the car off I am getting 12.4V at the battery, and also 12.4V at the alternator, with the car off. Re-examined all battery clamps, brushed and cleaned all of the connections. The battery seems good, all electronics work, headlights turn on, full brightness low/high. I heard it could be the starter relay, but in my manual there are multiple places that are labeled "start" or "ignition" relay, under the hood, and under the steering wheel fuse boxes.
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Old 11-11-2016, 02:30 PM   #4
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2005: In the under dash panel fuse box, far upper right corner relay R17 is the starter motor relay.
As a very crude initial test, pull it out, shake it, it should not rattle. Re-seat it making sure connections are clean and tight - or - preferably, swap with a known good relay if you have one; might be able to swap with another one in your own fuse panel for testing.

Before doing that though, ensure your anti-theft light is not flashing during an attempted start.

In the under hood fuse panel, check fuse 8 - 30A (starter solenoid power) for continuity. The underside of your fuse box cover should tell you fuse locations and functions.
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Old 11-11-2016, 03:13 PM   #5
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Checked R17, no rattle. swapped it with rear window defrost in the same location, still no effect, fuse 8 in the engine compartment had good continuity.
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Old 11-11-2016, 04:15 PM   #6
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Is this car manual or auto? There is a start inhibit switch on both gearbox types.

The red heavy cable that goes from the battery to the alternator is routed "through" the starter. Did you disturb it (twist, bend, move) in any way? Might want to clean the connection at the starter. Disconnect the battery first. Did you disconnect the main engine ground strap during your initial repair?

Didn't answer my question re: the anti-theft light.

When a system worked before you made a "repair" and doesn't afterward, you must first throughly and completely re-check your work. It's more often than not usually something trivial; like a missed electrical connection, a blown fuse or a dislodged cable/wire.
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Old 11-11-2016, 04:21 PM   #7
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Thank you for the reply, Yes I have suspected from the beginning perhaps I just didn't hook the alternator back up correctly, or made some other mistake. the battery had been taken out of the vehicle completely when I started the repair.

I do not see the anti-theft light.

Automatic transmission

I will check the starter next.
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Old 11-12-2016, 07:04 AM   #8
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Make sure the battery terminals cannot twist by hand, cleaning them often makes them loose.
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Old 11-12-2016, 01:51 PM   #9
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Thanks again everyone, The car now turns on and runs fine.... I wish I could tell you why.

Last night I was swapping around the Relays and trying to start the car. nothing was happening. so I went to bed, this morning when I came out to try again, the car just started up... I have no idea why, ran it around and it all seems good now. Battery voltage is around 16 when car is running now, is this a little high? I thought it was usually around 14-15?
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Old 11-12-2016, 03:36 PM   #10
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16 is definitely too high, recheck & test meter against another car measuring at the battery terminals.
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