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Discussion Starter #1
02 ZX5 ATX, 177xxx miles.

I was having issues with the battery light coming on and the lights dimming. Replaced the alt and all the battery cables, new from Tasca. Replaced the ground wire by the alt and also replaced the alt connector. Charging issue was solved, but the battery discharging almost overnight was still happening.

I replaced the weakened battery with a new one, lasted a week or so, then it too started going flat if I didn't start the car once a day. It always jumps off pretty quickly.

I would drive it more, but I am changing the rear control arms due to the ass end snapping out over bumps. I have one side done and working on the other side. Had back surgery in Aug, so I'm taking it slow.

Looked over the threads and didn't find a problem there that close to mine, so I'm punting. Anyone have any input?
 

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2004 Focus Wagon, Zetec DOHC, Auto
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02 ZX5 ATX, 177xxx miles.

I was having issues with the battery light coming on and the lights dimming. Replaced the alt and all the battery cables, new from Tasca. Replaced the ground wire by the alt and also replaced the alt connector. Charging issue was solved, but the battery discharging almost overnight was still happening.

I replaced the weakened battery with a new one, lasted a week or so, then it too started going flat if I didn't start the car once a day. It always jumps off pretty quickly.
You have a parasitic current draw on the battery.

Disconnect the negative terminal of the battery. Use a small bulb (i.e. 194) and connect between the neg terminal to the neg terminal cable. If it lights brightly, then start pulling fuses one at a time until you find out which circuit is drawing the current and then we can go from there.

If the bulb does not light up, don't stop there, it just means that the parasitic current is lower. Now use a multimeter set to the current mode and connect it between the neg terminal to the neg terminal cable. Then start pulling the fuses to find the problem.
 

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Don't beat up your back! (grin)

Was the replacement alt. new from Tasca as well?

Try a draw test, using a meter between battery and a cable for amps when shut off & start removing fuses. IF there's a draw on a fused circuit you'll find where to look that way.

I ask about the alt., because one with a bad diode can charge adequately & still draw power to drain the battery when the car is off. Detaching that & rechecking the draw the same way would be one proof of that problem. Running it normally & checking for A/C across teh battery terminals is another (ripple).

Luck, and take care of that back!



P.S. - beat again!
 

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This is a handy tool to make out of an old bulb. Heavy current draws, especially a short circuit, can damage some multimeters. So, use the bulb for those occasions and then use the multimeter to find smaller current draws. An older model Focus will draw about 180mA after immediately being shut off...the newer models may draw more...I'm not sure there. In a few minutes that will fall to a much lower value as the PCM goes to sleep.
 

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X2 to all that, like sailor says I'd disconnect the alt harness and the main charging cable from alt as one of those 'fuse' tests. It weeds out the alt drawing down power.

Common bat draw issue can be like underhood trouble light or trunk light if equipped so yank bulb there for closer to the problem troubleshooting.

I personally yank each fuse and then leave it out to go to another rather than put it back in to go to the next. Of course that means you will have to have a clear idea of where that pile of fuses goes. That method will have car eventually to no power flowing anywhere and weeds out mistakes later like 'Did I pull that one, I don't remember'............Once the entire fuse supply is exhausted then you go on to further fun. Easier to begin with inside the car fuse box, it is further down the power chain and that may well presort some of the possibilities out.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The replacement alt is from AZ (insert snappy comments here). It was the only place that had one in stock. Originally I was only going to do the cables. so that's all I got from Tasca. THEN the alt started acting up.

I did remove a Sony Xplod radio from the car and put in a factory one. None of the wires were cut, just had adapters. Seems like maybe the drain started soon after that.....hmmm. Just remembered that.

Edit: the battery drain was happening before I changed the alt and cables. The cable from the + to the fuse box is still the original, and a bit worse for wear at the + end.
 

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Replacement alternators don't have a great rep for working right, even straight out of the box. Worth adding to the test list even if you had a brand new factory one that SHOULD be fine, as you don't want to make any assumptions to add work chasing more difficult problems to isolate.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Went out tonight after work, of course no start. Still some power, not enough to unlock the doors. The red LED anti theft light is on solid, no flash. Is that the indicator of the problem?
 

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The first thing that came into my mind when I read your first post was I wonder if he did any work with a new stereo head unit in the car. As soon as I saw your post about replacing the head unit the red flags shot up. That's got to be it. I've seen a lot of circumstances where incorrectly-installed head unit or just bad head units will cause the battery to be drained. I would take a serious look into that. If you can put the previous head unit in and see if that solves your issue you've identified the cause.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
When I put the stock rad back in it, it was just plug and play. None of the wires were cut. I know that the CD players go bad (it has), but I didn't realize the stereo could cause the drain. Learn new stuff.....
 

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Looks like the stereo is the culprit. I pulled the fuse out Thursday, and didn't start it at all yesterday. Went out just now and it fired right up.

What goes bad in the stereo that causes a constant drain like that? The CD player doesn't work ("CD Error") but it was like that before with the original one and it didn't have this problem. Opinions?
 

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Yo if it is infact the radio draining, then maybe the old radio was wired with both positives together. (The memory and ignition positives on the radio) I used to see lots of ppl incorrectly wire their radios like that when they would come to my shop asking about the same issue.

Then, when you put the factory rig back in the 2 positives are still joined from the last guy.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The wires were not modified. The aftermarket Sony used an adapter harness that I removed when I put the stock type back in. Factory harness connector to factory radio.
 

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I'd be running those leads then in that adapter harness, there is no guarantee at all it is wired for your unit regardless of if it all 'plugs in' anyway. That is asking for a messup there. Radios change way too fast now and no way are the previous older design parts that may have sat on shelf for years guaranteed to work right.

It appears quite obvious your replacement had power to a pin it shouldn't have. Stereo may be OK. Find that one wire and open the connection up and may well work fine.
 

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Check the battery fuse and the battery saver relay.

Do the draw test after leaving the car sit idle (door open) for better than a half hour.
If there is a draw, the battery saver feature is not working, hence me saying to check the fuse/relay.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I purchased a manufacturer reman 6006 stereo and installed it. It all worked fine when I ops checked it.

Left it a day or so (replacing front struts and putting the pass side axle back together, pulled apart at the carrier bearing). Went back today and tried to start the car--just clicked.

Is there something I may be missing somewhere? I guess I need to inspect the harness better to see if there's any funny stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Anyone? I have three plugs (small yellow, large black/green) plugged in with an open slot still on the radio. Am I supposed to have 4 plugs?
 
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