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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm sure you guys love these newbie 'fix my car and tell me it's free!' threads.

Anyway; just bought this car (used) last January. Beginning of last month (September), I was in an accident when someone in her daddy's Camaro decided red lights were for suckers and T-boned me at an intersection going 45 mph and putting me in a 180 spin, and I ended up tapping her driver's side, hard enough to put a two-inch crack in my front bumper under the left passenger side headlight, like a tear track. The other damage? A crushed-in back driver's side door, back driver wheel axle and struts bent, along with some suspension damage.

It took almost 4 weeks for the recommended auto shop to finally get my car back to me, and I did a cursory look-over of the outside, but not under the hood. My mistake.

Anyway, I'm telling you all that for background while I get to this.
I travel for work, and I drove out about 45 miles or so to do my work thing, stopping and restarting the car frequently. It's going fine, everything feels normal. I'm heading out back home, stop briefly to pick up some things, pop back on the highway, and I barely get on the highway, getting back up to speed when the car starts shuddering and decelerating, unable to touch 70, then unable to touch 65 without shuddering and decelerating, and that limit is dropping quickly.
Both check engine and battery lights go off, so I pull over and put on my flashers and start making calls. I did not pop the hood to look at the engine at this point.
I had my car towed back to the auto shop that did the repairs from the accident, suspecting that it was damage unnoticed from the accident (there had been some suspension damage only found when they tried to do the final alignment).

I heard no noise, noticed no strange smells in this time, and the only external device I had running from the car's power at the time was an FM transmitter for my iPod, and it was going fine as I pulled off the shoulder.

I guess my actual question and why I'm making such an immense post is, what are the possible diagnoses, and can anyone offer ballpark estimates of repairs? I did not run any codes myself, I simply had it towed and signed the authorization. I'm hoping that whatever it is, it's connected to the accident, and isn't my bad luck rearing its head. I drove a 96 Saturn for 8 years(with no problems besides the dead A/C and a leaky sunroof) before relenting and picking this car, and I'm hoping to get around that length of time out of this one.

Short story:
2007 SE
81000+ miles at time of failure
Car began to shudder and decelerate when approaching highway speeds, continued to be unable to accelerate.
Check engine and battery lights came on
Car had been running for about 3 minutes at this point, after running for about 30 minutes or so at highway speed.
No smells, no smoke or other signs something was wrong.
Gas tank was on full.
Unfortunately, I don't know the engine type.
I did turn the car back on long enough to roll down a window (to battery power). The check engine and battery lights stayed on and steady, but I did not try to turn the engine and cause further damage.
 

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My first thought would be alternator, although they are normally a slow dying piece on these cars (mine took nearly a week). If that's the case you don't even want to know the replacement cost with labor.

Other than that it could be a hundred different parts, hard to diagnose without a dtc code number to go from.
 

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I'm with Lowflyn, could be any number of things .

Without any codes , its all a guess . Could be full pump related , Alternator , wiring issues .
 

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There is a function on the odometer that when you hold the reset button down while you start it continue to hold it down it goes into a "test" mode and you can cycle threw the display on the LCD one its the "alt" and it will give a voltage while the car is running.

Im wanting to say anything over 13.2 is good maybe its more. I think mine is on the down swing and it puts out about 13.5-13.8

Im dreading the day when my alt. fails because i know its not a going to be a fun fix.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
First, thanks to everyone for their help! My apologies for not getting the codes; I did not know about the handy trick with the odometer button before, and I'm remembering that for next time.
Unfortunately my car is still in the shop so I'm unable to check it out myself, and they report that it is the fuel pump and filter. So far it does not look like it was caused by the accident, which is frustrating. I found some information about a supposed faulty after-market fuel filter that was recalled, but from what I could tell of my VIN and the documents I looked up, mine was not one of the ones affected.
For now, I'm going to have it fixed, and hopefully this will only be an ill-timed hiccup and not the rapid descent of my car's life (haven't even had the thing a year, the Saturn I drove around before this in high school and college went up to 200,000+ miles with only a rusty muffler, off-track back window, and leaky sunroof to show for it!).
Thanks again everyone.
 

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just FYI: I the gas tank where the fuel pickup is. There is a 'box' with a 'door'. The purpose of which in to prevent fuel from running away from the pickup when your low (same sort of thing is race cars). As your car got quite a jolt. That door could no longer be functioning properly. If your were low on fuel, and went around a corner, down a hill etc, then it is not the pump but actual starvation. Just FYI for future if the repair does not fix the problem.
 

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I had a running problem with a work truck, a ford ranger. The problem ended up being the fuel pump switch in the pass side kick panel. Button wasn't pressed or anything. Just defective.

Ran fine then stall.


Sent from my BlackBerry 9650 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #8
And an update: I went to pick up my Focus yesterday at the shop, only to discover when I turned it on that the check engine light was still on!
I stormed right back in to the waiting area and told them my concerns, one of the employees said, 'Oh, they probably just forgot to reset the codes, I'll call and see if the tech is here to do it'.
Well I had a job interview to go to (nothing too exciting, more of a supplemental position) and said I would come back tomorrow to pick it up.

I finally got her back today, after they called me and let me know that yes, they just forgot to reset the codes (good attention to detail there, guys), and we went to pick it up.

I turned on the engine and my tank was on E (not full as I thought; apparently the gas gauge sensor was also affected by the faulty pump).

So I go to fill her up at the nearest station, and a curious thing happens; after a dollar or so in gas, the pump automatically shuts off. That's weird; I wonder if the sensor is off again or what. So I keep trying. All the way to 3/4 of a tank, I get shut off after a dollar or so. Looking it up on the internet, I found that a person with an 06 Focus and a similar problem says there's a bend in the tube that is causing this, and there is a part to order that will fix it.
Only, they didn't specify the part and because of the fuel shut-off switch, it's hard to get the results I want.

I am so pissed at the auto shop that did the work at this point that I could kick puppies. I am definitely not going there to get it inspected OR repaired, whatever it is.

Is it going to be a huge problem if I leave it? Should I definitely get it repaired? Or is it just kind of annoying and means that it will take me extra time to fill my tank?

I can put up with some inconvenience; I drove a 96 Saturn with no A/C, a leaky sunroof, and an off-track back driver's side window for eight years (now that thing was a sweet ride. never a problem, which is unusual for a GM product). Quite frankly, I'm just happy to have a car that doesn't smell like a swamp and keeps my pits dry in the summer, so taking extra time to fill up at the station doesn't bother me.
 

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And an update: I went to pick up my Focus yesterday at the shop, only to discover when I turned it on that the check engine light was still on!
Hi gr33nmachine,

Bummed to hear of your experience. Was this at a Ford dealer? If so, please PM me details, along with their name/location so I can document your situation. Thanks!

~Natasha
 
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