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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First timer here with a question about my wifes 2004 Ford Focus ZX3.

She called me on her way to work saying that her car was shutting off at stop lights. I picked it up and drove it home and it didn't start shutting off on me until 10 minutes into the drive. It happens in Drive and Park. I noticed that the coolant level was low so I topped that off. I started it up and it shut off about 1 minute later. I started it up again and ran the A/C and it idled fine for 5 minutes while I went inside, washed my hands. Came back out and drove it a few miles sitting at stop lights and whatnot with no problems. EXCEPT I noticed that the A/C was not blowing out of the dash vents. Came home, left it idling in park for a few with no problems other that the A/C not blowing correctly, but when I turned the A/c off, the engine cut off a moment later.

Where to start?[?|]
 

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Welcome

You've got an odd one going on, might be able to make some guesses as you check things & give us more info.

Anyone looking will need the engine type to help point you in the right direction. We could guess Zetec, but Duratec is a possibility. I'll go get a link to post here for our "stickie" on telling the difference.

OK, here's the "stickie":http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=337457

One general possibility I'm thinking of is that the A/C being on "bumps" the throttle a bit to maintain idle with the higher load, and you have a running problem that can mask - keeping it going when otherwise it'll stall.

First questions other than model are if it idles/runs smooth right now, and whether you know if the idle is high when starting & slows as normal when it warms up. Also, check the air setting for the A/C (vent & fan settings) as well as the indicator lights for A/C.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
All of that makes sense to me. and BTW it is a Zetec. I was going to start checking for vacuum leaks but now all of a sudden it won't start. It turns over but then starts clicking. Even with my truck connected to jump start it.
 

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AHA!

Surprised you didn't get a charging light, but it's not impossible for it to not light when the battery craps out (shorts). (charging works fine, bad battery sucks up all the juice)

Pull the battery & go get it checked, you'll prob. need a new one before it'll work again.

Had to rescue the wife once when hers died at work, it was fine driving in but wouldn't even start/run with a jump when she wanted to go home until I disconnected the bad battery from the system. Had to run a spare battery with jumpers from the passenger floorboards to the engine just to get it home & replace the battery. Bad battery can suck so much power that even if you get it to crank/start with a jump it won't stay running. ( as you might imagine, I drove the jury rigged car)
 

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Donald, you also may have a bad alternator.

When you get the new battery, put it on a charger before installation (most batteries they sell in the stores are not fully charged since they sit for a while)

When the car is started and running check the voltage at the battery terminals at low idle with the A/C off.

If you don't have at least 13.8v there then forget it, your alternator is shot.

Revving the car up makes the alternator turn faster and I would bet that yours will go to 13.8 at a fast idle or at 2k rpm. But if it won't go to 13.8 at idle, then it won't charge the battery in city driving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Alright guys.... New battery got it started. Alternator was apparently bad and the readings were all over the place. I've got that replaced now and the a/c is back to normal, but I'm gettin a reading of 23.8 volts still.
 

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I would hope so... If not that alt's voltage regulator is all kinds of messed up, hopefully there hasn't been damage to the electrical system >_<.

How is the voltage being measured? (I ask as i have seen some cheap EBAY scantools give some rather interesting numbers as well as digital volt meters when their batteries are low)
 
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