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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, this just recently happened to me while driving on th highway. My focus was driving fine but then I noticed my headlights were out and eventually the engine died, I pulled over to the side and turned everything off. I waited for a while and tried to start my car up and no luck. My buddy was kind enough to pick me up and we tried investigating the problem. I checked the battery with a multimeter and it was at 10.25VDC. We had no jumper cables with us and it was below freezing out so we left it there. I'm trying to figure out some simple troubleshooting steps that I can go through before having it towed, my first thought is a jump but any input is appreciated. Thanks!

Info: 2007 focus @91500 miles. The battery may also be old I will update as soon as can!
 

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Old batteries can do that occasionally by themselves with no other problems.

They can "short out" internally when crud falls off the plates & accumulates at the bottom to connect across plates. Some of this normally happens as they age, it's when a lot happens at once that the sudden problem shows up.

It COULD have just died from not charging, but that usually would give you a warning light & the battery problem may not.

If you turn it on with the meter attached & voltage drops very low immediately it's another sign of the bad battery I mentioned. Often when one goes that way a jump won't help, battery absorbs more power than the alternator can supply so even if a jump can fire it up (might not work either) it will die as soon as cables are removed.

Pull the battery & get it charged/tested or use a substitute to get it going are the two easiest ways to get it running. A good fully charged battery will get it home even if it has alternator trouble once it gets light out, and if my first guess is right a battery might be the whole solution.
 

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Alt could be dead but won't know till battery is FULLY charged and LOADTESTED to be sure. Charging at home does not satisfy that, many do not charge them enough and complications strand you again. Get a free charge and test at the parts store.

A jump does not charge a dead battery whatsoever, so many think you do it and go on though, and how you strand five miles later again.

They don't always give you a warning light, mine certainly don't-either one of them. Car just dies outright or won't start and you charge battery and then find alt is dead with a voltmeter. I never have gotten a light yet though it works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Went back to the car and it started right away first try
But i only made it a mile down the highway and then the same thing happened. We hooked up a charge pack to the battery and checked it with the DMM at 11.83VDC but it wouldnt start. Any suggestions before I call a tow truck?

Edit: I also inspected the terminals and tightened them.
 

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Nothing else you can do without the original battery charged & tested or a new replacement available.

Batteries are cheaper than a tow if it's old as you described in the first post.
 

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You must have at least 12.3 DEPENDABLE volts or more to reliably run the car.............pure luck it started that low, and you got suckered when it did. Remember what I said about stranding again? Charge packs are a joke, as you found out. '...many do not charge them enough' fits in there perfectly.

You're not going anywhere until you address your battery issue then work from there.
 

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Your battery is bad. Like Sailor wrote earlier, it just happens like that with age. Pay the core, take a new battery to the car, and you should be able to get it going right away.

Replacing the battery will reset the ECU. You don't have to do this right away, but it will help if you do it once you have the car home. Start the engine without touching the accelerator. Allow the engine to idle for 5 minutes after the idle drops down- usually a total of 6-7 minutes. The idle will drop once the test is complete. This won't reset everything, but it will reduce the amount of time it takes for the ECU to complete all of it's tests. The other tests will complete in about 2 weeks while you drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just got back from the road! Had to pick up a new battery from the only place open... Walmart. I swapped out the batteries and checked the voltage before starting and it was around 12.3VDC. My focus started up right away afterwards! I managed to get home right when rush hour started. When I got home (8 miles away), I checked the idling voltage and it measured around 11.84VDC with just my headlights on. I ran the AC and it dropped to 11.68VDC. This seems a little low? To my knowledge it should be around 14.6VDC when idling?
 

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...I checked the idling voltage and it measured around 11.84VDC with just my headlights on. I ran the AC and it dropped to 11.68VDC. This seems a little low? To my knowledge it should be around 14.6VDC when idling?
Yup, that voltage is too low. Alternator is not charging.

You should see in the 14.x range with car running when alt is working.

Don't drive the car as it is now only running off the battery and will die again.

Getting the alt rebuilt by a local shop is better than buying a rebuilt from a parts store.

If you need advice on how to remove and reinstall the alt, come back to us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There's a junk yard nearby where I'm going to try to get a new alternator. I want to check the voltage and connections on it before I do that though, any suggestions/info? Thanks guys I appreciate all the help so far!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Can I only use an alternator from an 07 (if I pull it from a junker?) or could I be able to use any from the 05 to 07 range since they have the same Duratec 2.0?

Any insight is appreciated! Thanks!
 

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That sounds right...05-07 years, but I'm not sure.

I suggest that you look up correct alt for your year & model, and then compare that to other years & models by looking them up.

If they all come up with same replacement alt, then you will know what to look for at boneyard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Took it to the shop and had my charging system tested. It was the alternator, I didnt have the time to wait on a part to replace it so I had the shop do it. Costed around $400. At least it works now though. Thanks for all the help everyone!
 
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