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duffmane 04-17-2019 06:45 AM

2004 Focus ZX3 Problem Thread
2004 Focus ZX3 2.3l Duratec PZEV Automatic Transmission

I'm looking at replacing my Alternator. I bought this Focus at 160 K miles and have been replacing parts for a hobby and to learn basic mechanics.
I replaced the battery but I fear the Alternator was damaged. It will charge the battery but all lights flicker when idling. It will go away about 75% when accelerating. I need helping to find out which Alternator to purchase. I'm on a budget but if it has to be OEM I don't have a problem spending the money because I'm taking my time. Just was curious on the whole reconditioned part market. I hope this is enough information to help me.
ALSO side note - is there a place you guys go for new bolts? or any info on what to buy?

Smalls89 04-19-2019 06:37 AM

As far as I know, the voltage regulator is built-in the alt which is what is causing the flickering, it obviously still works but doesn't sound new by any means. That being said, if it's real bad then there is a possibility that the hot lead off the alt will simply snap off when you go to take it out. (All of this is personal experience)

As far as price, you can always source a local shop to rebuild the one you have usually for about 30%-50% the price of new. $50 for same and like new seems better than $150 for new... Lol

Smalls89 04-19-2019 06:40 AM

is there a place you guys go for new bolts?

Depends on what kind of bolt and what for... Home Depot and Lowe's can sell bolts by the truck load! Lol

Marde 04-20-2019 12:28 AM

Here is my reply to you that was placed in that other thread that you posted in.


Originally Posted by Marde (Post 11374261)
Ah! That car is the same as mine. Here is (some of) the Alt info you need.

2003-2004 2.3 Duratec engine Alternator info:
The OEM Alt is a Visteon 1S7T-BE.

I am currently using an aftermarket Alt from AutoZone: Duralast DL3801-16-2.
This particular Duralast previously had two different fitment flaws, so it was a PITA to deal with, to modify, to install. They recently (a year or two ago) addressed this and fixed the fitment problems on this model Alt. Amazing that they found the problems here in the USA and fixed those problems back in China/Mexico or where-ever. Well done.

Replacing the 2.3 Alt is not easy, and there are some "tricks to it"... a little painful to learn these tricks. Kinda like many other car repairs, its' difficult the first time, easier the second time.

Gd Luck

Located at:

The info from Smalls about rebuilding the OEM Alt is typically offered by many senior FF members and is highly recommended by me too. The only downside to this rebuild Alt advice is car downtime, while the OEM Alt is being rebuilt at a specialty shop. I am not recommending that you take this road if your Alt is not the (OEM) original Visteon.

Here is an Alt rebuild link that apply to your 2004 2.3 engine Alt:
4GWB | Alternator Starter Rebuild Kits

"The 4G white with blue voltage regulator kit is used in many of Ford’s late model applications. The on board computer controls the output voltage of the regulator. Sometimes the decision is made for short periods of abnormally low voltage (12.5-13.5VDC). This would be considered normal. Unfortunately, many 4GWB’s are mounted in a labor intensive location. When you put a 4GWB kit on your vehicle, you should never allow a battery over 4 years of age to be used in the system. As the battery goes through a failure period, you may never know by starter draw abnormality. However, the computer controlled voltage regulator will suffer drastically depreciated life expectancy as a battery goes bad."

<< I hope amc49 does and does not read this>>

amc49 04-20-2019 02:50 AM

Why? I accept 100% of that. The low volts are when the alt gets overheated, the PCM cuts way back on voltage at that time. If you check the alt output like I say you will never encounter that as the alt will not be too hot then. I checked hundreds of them and rarely ran into it even in the summer in Texas. A backup ripple check rules things out next, if volts are low due to a broken diode it shows up in ripple instantly as well as probably a simple a/c check at the battery. And, once alt gets taken apart and you instantly find the broken part, well............

When I call out a 14.0 volt check minimum it is as soon as the engine is started to barely be warmed up, you will pretty much always get 14+ at that time.

Bolts???? You will find a far greater variety to fit cars at a well stocked Ace Hardware than in any Home Depot or Lowe's on earth.

duffmane 04-21-2019 01:51 AM

Thanks a lot man for your guidance. I think I’m going to go the Duralast DL3801-16-2 route. It’s safe to buy or do I have to look out for the old ones like you mentioned?

Marde 04-21-2019 02:25 AM


Yep. Should be safe now. I doubt they have the older ones (with fitment problems) in stock now.

Side Note: Many people here hate most-all "part-store" "life-time warranty" alts due to the higher than OEM failure rates. You can win or lose, it is a gamble. Pick your poison.

I have a strange optimistic belief that the newer variant of the DL3801-16-2 is better than its' prior reputation... TBD.

Marde 04-21-2019 02:36 AM

If your car harness 3-wire pigtail does not connect into/onto the DL3801-16-2, you have bought an older version Alt. Modification with Dremel tool required.

The other fitment problem is/was associated to the (rear) air duct mating surfaces. This problem is a bit-ch, but fixable with TLC and multiple tools.

duffmane 04-21-2019 11:06 AM

Honestly that kinda worries me because I’m pretty new to car mechanics. Is there a motorcraft version I could get ? When I saw the word dremmel I got worried ha.

jeffnick 04-24-2019 10:46 AM

I'd recommend a rebuilder. Do a Google search for one in your area. I bought an Autozone alternator and because they're such a problem to get in and out, I had them test it while I watched. It failed. Would have been a huge hassle to have found that out after I installed it. When I went to get the replacement it wouldn't even turn on the tester. You know a rebuilder will give you one that fits too, at half the price.

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