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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Had a new battery put in on Monday night and car wouldn't start so staff at Valvoline thought it might be the PATS. Called a tech at Ford dealership who said to let the car sit for 30 minutes and try again. Sat for 1/2 hour and still didn't start.

Called Ford again who said to check fuses - staff at Valvoline pulled one of the relays (NOT starter relay) from engine junction box and car started. Started fine until today - Saturday - even in -25F temps.

Turn to key to ON and and the cluster gets power and radio comes on and lights work. Turn key to start and I get nothing, no clicks, NOTHING. Tried jumping it but to no avail.

Thoughts?
 

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Did any of your wires to the battery terminal break off? Check for disconnected or corroded wires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Checked that and all is fine with the battery. I'm wondering if it's the starter (no clicks when turning the key to RUN) or something screwy with the PATS.

Funny thing is, I didn't have ANY problems until I had the battery replaced on Monday, 1/12/09. My car has never NOT started until then.

Killer thing is, I'm stuck at my sister's house in rural Sherburne county, MN until Monday because there isn't a shop in a 30-mile radius that is open on Sundays. [scream]
 

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This is what your owners manual says about PATS:

The theft indicator is located in the instrument cluster.
• When the ignition is in the 2 (OFF) position, the indicator will flash
once every 2 seconds to indicate the SecuriLock system is
functioning as a theft deterrent. Note: On vehicles equipped with a
manual transmission, the indicator will flash when the ignition is in the
1 (LOCK) position.
• When the ignition is in the 3 (ON) position, the indicator will glow for
3 seconds, then turn off, to indicate normal system functionality.
If a problem occurs with the SecuriLock system, the indicator will flash
rapidly or glow steadily when the ignition is in the 3 (ON) position. If this
occurs, the vehicle should be taken to an authorized dealer for service.

Does it flash rapidly when the key is in the ON position? If not, the problem is probably not with the PATS.


You said earlier "staff at Valvoline pulled one of the relays (NOT starter relay) from engine junction box and car started." Have you check this relay?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks for the tip - I checked that and if the light on the PATS is a true indicator of malfunction or not, I guess it's not the PATS. <sigh>

Yep, I pulled both the black relays (air pump and cooling fan relays - go figure) today and it didn't help.

Does a starter just suddenly go out? As I noted above, I didn't have any trouble starting my car (with the exception of starting hard in sub-zero temps, which is why I had the battery tested and replaced) until Monday night. And it started fine since then, once they got it restarted at Valvoline, until today.
 

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> Does a starter just suddenly go out?

They can.

But when I see something where cold temperatures cause something electrical to go from functional to completely non=functional/non-responsive, I first check the relevant connections by loosening, cleaning, and retightening, as sometimes the small movement/tension change caused by the temperature change can affect poor connections, particularly high amperage connections such as a starter.

It is difficult and unpleasant in cold weather, but the way I would first check the system would be to get a volt meter onto the starter connections and see if power is going to the starter terminals when you try to start the engine. Of course, one must be careful doing this so that if the engine starts one does not get hurt by getting something caught in the fan, belt, or other moving parts.

If the starter is not getting any voltage, the problem is somewhere before the starter, and one must work back through the electrical sysem schematic to find out where the power/voltage is "stopping."


P.S. Check the relay/fuse diagrams in your owner's manual to find out which relays are associated with the starter system. Note the part number on the relay and, if you can find another relay for a non-essential system that has the same part number, you can switch the relays to test if the relay is the stating problem. Yes, sometimes a failing relay can be affected by temperature, working at a "normal" ambient temperature, and failing at temperature extremes.
 

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I am having a similar problem with my 02 ZX3. The car started yesterday but does not now. My lights turn on, the radio comes on, air conditioning comes on. I checked the battery for corrosion and there isn't any. Both the antifreeze and oil levels are appropriate. The car initially started to turn over and then stopped. Now when I try to start it, it just makes a kind of 'rrrrrr' noise. It is about 57 degrees outside so I don't think it is a temperature related problem. It is dark outside so I have checked everything I care to check tonight. I didn't notice any unusual lights on the dashboard when I turned it on so I don't think it is the PATS thing, whatever that is. Any other ideas?
 

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> it just makes a kind of 'rrrrrr' noise.

Is it like a rapid clicking or buzzing? It sounds like the starter relay is the source of the noise, and it is a sympton of a bad battery.

How old is your battery?

If it is an OEM battery, it probably has a clear round window on the top that indicates the charge of the battery. It is suppose to appear green when looking straight into it.

I suspect your battery is bad.

A less probable possibility is an alternator/charging system problem such that the battery is not being charged appropriately.
 

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As I stated, everything powers up. The battery is less than a year old. The alternator was also replaced less than a year ago. And, as far as the noise goes, it is not clicking. I would say that buzzing is a good description.
 

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> As I stated, everything powers up.

It is normal when a battery goes bad for everything to power-up, but for the battery not to have enough power/amperage to start the car. What happens is that when the starter relay kicks it the large current draw drops the voltage so low the relay kicks out, which lets the voltage rise enough that the relay again kicks in, etc., etc. etc. This happens so fast the relaying clicking can be so fast it sounds like a buzzing or chattering.

It is quite unusual for a battery to go bad after only a year, but it does happen.

I would measure the batery voltage with a volt meter as a first step. I would also loosen, clean, and re-tighten the battery cables/terminals if the voltage checked out OK.

Another simple test is to jump the battery from another car and see if it starts. If a jump will start the car, then the battery is discharged, either due to a weak battery, or something wrong with the charging system such that it is not charging the battery sufficiently.
 

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Ok, well, I guess I will have to try that tomorrow afternoon. Thanks for the advice. I didn't know that about the buzzing vs the clicking. I'll try to jump it off of another car tomorrow as I don't have ready access to a voltmeter.
 

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Important question. Does your odometer display a bunch of dashes instead of any mileage? If so, then you might have a serious problem.

When I first bought my focus, the battery was replaced and immediately afterwards, the car would not start. Everything powered on just fine, but the car did nothing as far as starting or turning over. I couldn't even compression start it. I took it to a dealership and they told me that the ECU somehow was completely fried. The odometer showed all dashes and everytime the dealership tried to pull engine codes, they just got an error message. Anyways, my car had less than 80k so it was all under warranty, but it was kind of a nightmare. I hope this isn't the issue, but hopefully I've helped anyways.
 
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