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Old 09-05-2019, 05:04 PM   #1
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2005 Ford Focus Electrical Help

- [ ] About a year ago I installed led headlights on my 2005 Ford Focus. They worked great for about a week then they would take turns randomly turning of for a while then turning back on. I didn’t think much of it then I went to replace them so they wouldn’t have a problem and noticed that even though they were the correct type of bulb, they had 14v written on them. I replaced them with regular 12v halogen bulbs. A few days later I was coming home from a stay at my aunts and the headlights went dim, the rpm gauge fell to 0 (was going about 55mph) speedometer fell to 0, mileage meter went blank and radio stopped working. Kept moving untill whole car stopped. Stuck on side of the road I checked the battery terminals and they were a little dirty. Had towed to mechanic where the alternator was replaced. Car worked great for about 4-5 months then same thing happened when coming home from school. Pulled over and was able to restart the car with no problem and make it the 7 miles home. Got home and had the battery and alternator replaced (Napa free under warranty) by a mechanic friend. At this point with the money we had spent and the long commute I had to school we bought a 2017 corolla. I still drove the Ford Focus occasionally. A few weeks after having the alternator replaced I took it for a short drive and noticed the battery light came on. I replaced the battery again, battery light was still on. Drove fine and one day I noticed these two wires that weren’t connected I (idiotically) tried to connect them back with electrical tape thinking that they may not be grounded and drawing extra electricity. Tried to start the car and noting happened at all no crank, nothing. Turns out me connecting those wires blew a 20 amp max fuse that controls the ecm. Replaced and car started again with battery light still on. The two wires turned out to be to a noise filter cable that I replaced. Battery light stayed on but still drove for about 300 miles. Then I went to the lake with a friend and don’t want to take my new car because it would get dirty. Make it there and start to pack up to head home when I left it running for about 5 minutes in idle with headlights on (we couldn’t see well without it as there are no lights in the parking lot). Car started idling and sounding weird but didn’t think much of it because of the exhaust (I should note that 16 year old me thought I would be cool to cut off resonator and put straight pipe, it sounded loud and cool but made the car shake terribly). About a minute of idleing later the car shut off. It wouldn’t turn back on at all. I got out and “gently wacked” the battery terminals and the alternator with some pliers. (I don’t know why, I might have seen it on top gear or something), said a prayer and walked away for 5 minutes. Came back and it started right up. Lights, radio, everything worked fine for the 20 min drive home. This sounded like an alternator problem to me so I put car on jacks and looked underneath car. The plug that connects the alternator to ecu (not to the battery) was just unplugged, plugged it in and battery light was gone. Drove for about 20 miles and it came unplugged. (remember the exhaust makes this whole car shake like crazy)This kept happening untill I super glued the plug in place. Worked great untill I drove it a few days later and when I came outside from shopping it wouldn’t start. Every time it tried to start it the radio would make noise like it was changing cds. Jumped it using my moms car and made it home. I recharged the battery and all was well. Then got in it the other day to go to store and it barely started (long crank about 2 seconds longer than normal) (also the left blinker tick ticked twice as fast and bulb wound not blink) got to store and came back out and even longer crank about 5 seconds of it trying to crank and it finally did. Noticed it did not want to shift at all past first gear on the way home. Also on this drive the RIGHT blinker blinked twice as fast with the bulb not working and the left came back on. Recharged the battery and it shifted and worked perfectly....again and both the bulbs blinked at normal speed and both bulbs worked . I test drove it around the block for about 30 mins when battery light came on then off and finally stayed on and didn’t want to shift again and didn’t want to start(like a dead battery) tested with multimeter and battery read 11.3v. Charged battery again and it worked again. Went to harbor freight and bought a battery load tester. Battery tested fine but the charging system (while car was at 2,000-2,500 rpm) read only 12 volts when it used to read between 13.5 and 14 while the car was running on a brand new alternator. Now it is present day and I think it needs a new alternator as it is not charging right and I don’t know why it went through two alternators in less than 500 miles of driving. I checked the battery terminals, headlights, headlight plugs, it all seems to be fine and clean (minus the super glue on the alternator cable). What could be causing the extra draw. I do think both the alternators Napa gave us were rebuilt. Sorry about this being so long just want to be detailed.


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Old 09-06-2019, 08:05 AM   #2
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The LED headlights having 14V written on them is normal and nothing to be concerned about.

As for your other electrical issues, you may have a couple of things going on. Troubleshooting electrical issues are not fun, especially if they are intermittent.

First, you may have a relay that is going out. Relays can work sometimes and not work at other times. I would guess one of the relays under the dash, but could be under the hood.

Second, getting a bad rebuilt alternator is common. I went through 3 before finally getting one that worked correctly. They would work fine at times, and then give me the battery dash light. On my last one, it tested fine in the store and they didn't want to give me another exchange. I did convince them to give me another one and I am still using it with no issues now.

BTW, it is not uncommon for that 3-wire plug on the alternator to go bad and work intermittently. You can buy a new pigtail for it. They are only about $5-10. The one I ordered was Pico P/N: Part PT5751 and that may be same as yours. Check it out.
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Old 09-06-2019, 05:49 PM   #3
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Thank you for your response!
Quote:
I would guess one of the relays under the dash
How do you access these?
Also do you think I should go with a brand new alternator this time?
Quote:
BTW, it is not uncommon for that 3-wire plug on the alternator to go bad and work intermittently. You can buy a new pigtail for it. They are only about $5-10. The one I ordered was Pico P/N: Part PT5751 and that may be same as yours. Check it out.
Thanks! I typed your part number into google and got an advanced auto link that says it will fit my vehicle but it’s 38.99. I found the same thing at rockauto for only 12.19 and I think I will buy it and a brand new alternator from there. Thanks for the suggestion!
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:17 PM   #4
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The relays are located (along with the fuses) under the dash in what is called the Central Junction Box.

More relays and fuses are under the hood. That is called the Battery Junction Box.

As for the alternator, I would try the new pigtail first and see if that is the issue. If the pigtail does not fix it, then replacing the alternator again might be needed. When it comes to rebuilt alternators, they can be as good as new ones when done properly. You would likely need to find an alternator re-builder to get one done right. The auto parts stores often are not the best place to get a good rebuilt unit.
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Old 09-07-2019, 02:14 AM   #5
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The alternators you get today can cause problem after problem even being brand new, I used to sell them. They can often check as good and be very bad as well. Part of the issue is the cheap crap regulators they use to make maximum profit, they will even use them on the brand new units. Those regulators can last 5 minutes or 5 months, rarely do they go years.
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