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Discussion Starter #1
I have an '02 ZX3 Ztech Manual that recently has given we problems starting. The story is:

I came home from the gf's in a different vehicle. I go to jump in the focus and run some errands and the lights are dim and it wont start. I buy a battery which I install the next morning before work and start it to make sure all is good. It starts right up. I get ready for work, go back out and it does not start. Talking with the pops, he suggests the starter is bad. I take the day off work, take off the old starter, put on a new one. Same thing, sort of (the original would make clicking noises, replacement one would not). So I decide to test the original and find out it is fine. I put the original one back on but the car still would not start. At this point I had run out of time in the day (as I ended up replacing the starter multiple times and the first time took a while).

I go to check it out yesterday and the thing starts up fine. I did not get it. I had essentially done nothing and all was good. Well ends up all was not good as later in the day the battery light lit up. So I had the charging system tested and signs point to the alternator (aside from their test, a multimeter shows 12V at the terminals while the car is idling - should be 13 to 14 right? ).

The problem I have now is that as it won't start at all. The lights in the dash take time to turn on and when I turn the key I hear a *click click click* not from the starter but like an electrical sort of sound. I have googled almost everything I can think of but found little. The only thing I have found that I have not really looked into is soemthing about a small ground cable off the battery possibly corroding and causing this problem. What is this wire?

Also I understand that I still may need to replace my alternator but the car should start off the battery alone right? I have had the battery tested at Autozone and it read 'Good battery low charge.' I also had them charge the battery to ensure it has enough charge.

Thoughts, incites, ideas? Please help. At the moment I feel like joining this guy - [?|]

-Jon
 

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Are you saying that even with the new battery fully-charged-up it won't start now?

Will it start if you jump the battery from another vehicle?

What is the battery voltage with the car turned off?

The connector to the alternator has been known to give problems. I believe Ford offers a new "pigtail" with connector to fix this somewhat common issue.

Just one possibility to check-out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am assuming the battery is now as good as new and it will not start.

I have yet to try jumping it from another vehicle. I tried one of those Black and Decker Jump Start things. It was a 300 amp unit. When this was connected, I could hear the starter trying to start the car but I do not think 300 amps was enough to do the job.

I appreciate the idea. I will look into it.
 

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Dude, there could be more than one problem.

Check voltage at battery. Less than 10v will not start anything. At the same time there could be battery defects in the battery that allow it to have a 12v charge, but not enough stored amps to start the car. If you're showing 12v, or 11v and not getting a start then I'd consider that to be a problem battery and would return it.

BEFORE doing that, try to jump it. The first thing that any battery seller is going to do is charge the battery on a trickle charger overnight. If the battery simply had a low charge, you should be able to charge it with a working alternator if you jump the engine off.

Check battery voltage while the engine is running. Something else- check the security of your battery terminals. I recently pulled my terminals off and couldn't get the negative to be secure when it was "tightened". ON mine, there was some buildup of salty corrosion inside the terminal preventing it from tightening completely. I also had corrosion buildup inside the terminal preventing me from getting the best connection.

Oh yeah, if your battery voltage is less than 12v when the engine is idling, you should see about getting the alternator off. Just be sure that it's not a terminal issue first.
 

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^^^ Only one thing to add ^^^ That was a great desciption from why not.

Make sure that your battery isn't being drained with the car turned off, light in dash is on, something like that. Do you have an amp or sound equipment?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I do have a sound system in the vehicle but I have not recently made any alterations.

I do understand that I could have multiple problems and most definitely have not ruled out that possibility.

The battery with the car off reads 12.4V. I have not had a chance to jump the vehicle from another vehicle. I will try that tonight.

I have not noticed any lights on that might drain the battery.

I found a comment about a small ground cable coming off the negative terminal into a harness is common to corrode / break and cause similar problems to what I am having. Does anyone know what this cable goes to and why it would cause this problem?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The car has 105k and yes it is the original alternator.

I have a feeling the alternator is bad. I just do not want to take the time to replace the alternator and not have it fix the problem. I do not want to just go throwing money at the problem and say well it cannot be that now.

It should start with a bad alternator if the battery has enough charge right? This is what kinda has me at the moment, as I have been told the battery should have enough charge to start the car.
 

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FUBARCUS
2003 ZX3 2016 FoST
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Maybe the points on the starter are bad. Can you push start the car?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
My brother had suggested that also. I have not tried to push start it as I have no one to really work on the car with so I can picture this not going so well.
 

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mines an 04, and it will do that --all i have to is tighten the battery cables up and it will start -- i just make sure its tight and go
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I just tried to jump it. No luck. Trying the first time, the lights on the dash turned on as typical but it did not even attempt to start. The second time the lights on the dash did not want to turn on and also nothing happening otherwise.
 

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FUBARCUS
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I suggest the points on ur starter may be corroded this happened to my sister's zts and she had to have the points cleaned or replaced I don't remember exactly.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I tested the starter twice while it was off at kragen and both times it turned up fine.

I am thinking more along the lines of a poor ground or power wire but have not had the time to check it out. I am still not ruling out a bad alternator though but that should not affect the ability of the car to start.
 

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This isnt a starter issue. Either your battery is bad or not charging. Could be either wiring issues or alternator issues. Check all grounding points, remove and clean if necessary. Take battery out of the car and charge on a charger and try again.
 

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Stalling problem

Hate to tell you this, but this is some kind of a defect that is fairly common. If you Google "Focus stalling" you'll get quite a bit of hits. We have an 01' with 145,000 on it. Our stalling problem is quite specific. It only occurs in hot weather, usually when running errands when you starting stopping re-starting the car. Although the last week the car is starting to not turnover at all. But usually after waiting 2-4 hours the car will start again and run fine. Battery is new as of Spring 08'. Ford has looked at it in the past but no one will admit to a documented defect. A little history here, back in 01'-02' complaints were made to the NHTSA and they opened a case on the stalling problem. Although what I've read on those cases seems a bit different than what we're experiencing. The case reported to the gov't were stalling while at highway speeds, so they were a little more dangerous. The gov't investigation concluded the problem was with a filter in the gas tank and closed the case in 02'. But that doesn't jive with our problem. I've also read many other posts about dealers fixing everything from EGR sensors, to alternators, the list goes on and on, but no one seems to have a definite answer. I'm planning on replacing the spark plugs, wires and maybe the starter and trading it for a Honda. I just don't want to get it to the dealer and have it stall while w're trading. I see you've taken the route of testing the systems involved to no avail. It's frustrating, combined with other repairs we've had to have done to it, it's just not worth it anymore.
 
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