Focus Fanatics Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today, after driving ending a 200 mile trip, I pull of the highway to get fuel for my car. Stopped at the stop sign and after accelerating to turn into a gas station, all the power in the vehicle went completely off (radio, lights) and the car engine shut off...5 seconds later, the power came back on and I tried to turn on the car (after changing gears to both neutral, and park) and the engine would not fire...After turning the ignition key, the engine sounds as though it was going to fire and turn over but it never did...(by the way, I still had over 1/4 tank of fuel in the car). There is about 120k miles on the car, oil, antifreeze, power steering and break fluids are good. The temperature today in Central California was 85 degrees and no over heating...Has anyone out there experienced this problem before? If so, please tell me what caused this to occur. Thanks
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,256 Posts
If the engine sounds like it's cranking faster than it did before- then you have a busted timing belt. If the mechanic tells you that you have cylinder head damage, then call a lawyer or have it towed somewhere else. Neither the SPI or Zetec are interference engines which means that the valves do not hit the pistons when the timing belt breaks.

I'm assuming since you said power- that you meant electrical. The timing belt would stop the engine, but not the electrical. A bad battery connection or a bad battery/alternator would stop the whole thing, although typically if it's a bad alternator then electrical devices cut off highest load first meaning headlights, then radio, interior lights, and finally engine. Typically if it's a sudden cut-off problem, that's a battery terminal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
The engine does not sound like it is cranking faster than before...definately not a timing belt issue. In fact, today, after having it towed the power seems to be diminishing. Now i just get clicking when turning the ignition. The battery posts are in good condition. There seemed to be a bit of corrosion on the positive battery cable. I used a lemon to clean the corrosion...(it is spotless), this I used a copper brush for contact. Also, the water in the battery cells were low, so I put water in it. Everything is fresh, clean and corrosion free. Now, all i get is a clicking sound. The radio and lights all come on. Well... what do you think it is??? Battery? Please advise... you input is greatly appreciated!... Oh... initially (yesterday), the cutoff was sudden! Everything shut off and as I stated before, approximately 5 seconds later, the power, and radio...lights... came back on, but the car engine would not turn over....no fire.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I'm hoping that bflesher and 150mphzetec are right about battery,[pray] etc... as it is the least expensive... I'm an artist and I do not have the resources to pay labor/diagnostic/parts etc[mecry]. I am grateful [thankyou] for the assistance in troubleshooting this problem. My son has a 1974 Chevy El Camino, everything in that car is accessible and easy to replace [wrenchin], but with the newer vehicles, everything is plugged to an expensive computer. I want to create music and art, and not be a chick under the hood of a car...Although, I am proud to have some scruples and abilities to keep myself going.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,256 Posts
To check your battery and alternator voltage you can use a function of the ECU as described in this article from our How-To archive linked in the blue banner above.

http://www.focusfanatics.com/howtos/electronicodometer/

Now in case you lose count of how many times you press the reset button- you're looking for the odo display to show [bat 12.3] for example. You can also run the test with the key in the ON position. That will tell you what the battery voltage is without the engine running. If you can get the engine to start, then you can test the alternator to make sure that it is putting out more voltage than the battery, but not more than 15v.

It could still be a loose connection at the starter, but don't forget to disconnect the negative battery terminal before cranking down on the main starter hot. You could also have a bad starter. If you have a bad starter or a bad alternator, then the most cost effective way of repairing these parts is to have them rebuilt locally. Search your local YP, or ask local shops where they get their electrical parts rebuilt. Most people will help you. The cost difference is tremendous, and we've found the alternators to be better quality on average than the rebuilt versions from national parts chain stores. Local rebuilders get their business from local shops, and don't typically advertise online or even in the paper. An alternator for these cars runs about $200, but a local rebuild ranges from $40 to $80 from what people have reported on here. The only bummer is that you might be unable to drive for a day while the alternator is being repaired.

That should help keep a struggling artist high on credit.


Even with a bad battery, you should be able to jump start the car, but not restart it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Since your water was low in the battery, you had indicated that you had just driven a fair distance and your battery power came back after it was towed, although it diminished, I'd put my money on a bad battery. What kind of water you put into a battery is important as well as maintaining the level of that water where it was originally designed to be. A low water level can actually allow sulfating across the plates inside the battery which leads to shorts in the cells (there are 6 of them) Things to address, is the battery properly secured (with the bolt and clamp) when everything is off does the voltage measure 12.5 to 13.5 (approximately) across the terminals and when the vehicle is turned on what does the voltage meter read (it can drop to as low as 11.9). An inexpensive voltage meter can be bought at most auto parts stores or places like Harbor Freight Tools. Heat, low DISTILLED WATER levels, over zealous voltage regulators and movement are all enemies of battery health. That's the best I can do given the amount of information you have provided.

Also, a bad battery with shorted cells will not jump, or require so much energy to overcome the shorted cells that it seems like there is something else wrong. Have your son or helpful mechanic completely remove the questionable battery from the car and try it with a known good battery. Remember to remove the negative terminal first when changing batteries to protect the cars sensitive electronics from surges and reconnect the positive terminal first.

Best of luck to you.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top