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Discussion Starter #1
First off, just wanted to say hello to everyone. My fiance has a focus, and she loves the thing. So i figured I'd find out some more info on the car, as i think we'll have it for a while..

Now, to my the issue at hand...

She has a 2003 ZX3, with the 2.3L PZEV engine, automatic trans.

about 2 months ago, her battery light started coming on, intermittantly. It would be once a week or so, but that increased in frequency to every time she drove it. The light would be on for a few minutes, then go out. The care never had any issues starting, so i figured that the issue was probably the alternator. Got a new alternator from the dealership.

Let me tell you, that was not fun changing.

After everything was back together, the light didnt come on for a little while. Then it started again. intermittantly at first, then this weekend, while driving to my apartment, her light stayed on. about 3 miles away, her radio shut off. as she was pulling into my driveway, it shut down completely (good timing huh, lol). That day, was the coldest of the winter so far, and it seemed like the temperature was playing a part in all of this. I tested the battery before, and it tested good, but not excellent. I took it out and had it tested agian, and again, it was marginal at best, but still passed. So, i changed the battery.

The light is still on, and a voltmeter across the terminals shows 12.4V.

I'm stumped.

Did i get a bad alternator?

Is there an issue with these cars that I'm not aware of?

Any assistance you all can provide, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks in advance,

Phill
 

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Head Hurt
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Hmm, you've changed the battery and alternator; I'm not an electrical expert but my next step would be to check the grounds. In particular the main chassis ground. But anyway, I'd follow all the grounds from the negative post and make sure they are all solid with no corrosion. Yeah, same for the positive cables too.

Welcome to FF by the way. And I'm sure you'll get a lot more advice and probably better than mine. Good look and congratulations on your upcoming marriage.
 

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BEWST AGAIN YAY!!!!!
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Check the fuses and relays, also the voltage that you are getting is that with the car running or not?
 

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do you have a multi-meter? if so run your red lead to the positive terminal of the battery and the black to ground. now start the car, the meter should have went from 12 volts and jumped up to 14.4 volts. if the meter didnt jump up in voltage, than you have an alternator problem. at this point, i dont believe it to be related to relays or fuses as someone mentioned above. check that and get back to us
 

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Fear the TurboSnail!
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Check all your wires going to and from the alt and the battery. I know when I has a battery problem in my old 84 accord I had to replace the wires between the batter and alt. Just something to test.
 

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worst case scenario, there could be a parasitic draw somewhere draining the battery and alternator.
 

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BEWST AGAIN YAY!!!!!
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Well generally alternator don't get drained all they do is charge, now there is a chance that the alternator you got could have a feild winding issue and just is not producing enough charge. do as suggested above and run the car and see what kind of voltage the alt is putting out.
 

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BodyKits=PantiesDrop
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check for corrosion built up in the wiring, especially at the positive terminal. Also look for loose cables. the battery light comes on when there is a charging issue and as you have changed the alternator already, the next step is to look into wiring. A battery issue will not, i repeat will not, turn the battery light on. A bad alternator (or lack of charging due to bad wiring) will kill a battery however.

As gonefhsn said, the battery should read 14.4 volts when the car is on and about 12.8 volts when the car is off. Anything different is due to a charging system problem
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thank you everyone for your assistance... Oh, and thank you brad for the well wishes!

back to the car...

the issue is very intermittant. the other day, when it shut off pulling into my driveway, and after the battery was changed, the voltage was holding steady, with the engine on, at 12.4V. I realize the alternator was not charging. I started it up two days later (i was disgusted with it, so it sat til then... gotta love having extra vehicles) and the alternator was working. (14.8V at the battery). Corossion on the terminals was the first thing I checked (i'm lazy at times, and this is alwasy the easiest fix lol). Terminals have always been spotless.

I am going to check the grounds... thats a good recommendation, that i'm kinda embarrassed to admit i havent' looked into yet.

I was wondering if this might be a diode or voltage regulator issue? has anyone heard of an issue or recurring problem with factory ford alternators with these cars?

Like i stated earlier, i'm lazy at times, and I really dont want to go through the hassle of changing this danged alternator again. Granted, it will be easier this time around, after figuring out all the stuff that needs to be removed from the first time around. I would just prefer to get a little more background info, before I spend a day under this thing, cursing at the engineers who made it necessary to lift the engine to remove an alternator.

Thank you once again....

Phill
 

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hah, didn't even know my focus had a batttery light on it

i'm telling ya! I learn something new on this forum everyday! [ffrocks] [headbang]
 

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i've replaced 3 alts an i rebuilt the 4th , the batt light will come an go an then eventually stay on , the first 3 literally cooked with in 2 mths , i grabbed a used one from work an rebuilt it an its been fine since ( almost a year )
even with the car under warranty ford refused to warranty it along with many other issues that have popped up. So your not the first to have this problem an neither am i

i'd get this checked quick or carry a bike with you ( my pocket bike saved me a 40km walk )
 

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Discussion Starter #12
i've replaced 3 alts an i rebuilt the 4th , the batt light will come an go an then eventually stay on , the first 3 literally cooked with in 2 mths , i grabbed a used one from work an rebuilt it an its been fine since ( almost a year )
even with the car under warranty ford refused to warranty it along with many other issues that have popped up. So your not the first to have this problem an neither am i

i'd get this checked quick or carry a bike with you ( my pocket bike saved me a 40km walk )
shoot man, that is exactly what i did and didn't want to hear. At least i know there are others with this issue. i gotta fix the thing, due to it being hte fiance's car and all. she's driving my jeep around, and with winter approaching, i'm going to want that back soon.

my first car was an 88 escort, and i went through 5 alternators in about 3 weeks with that thing... i wouldn't mind this as much either, except how the alternator is in a very unservicable location.

Thanks for the info

Phill
 

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sounds EXACTLY like the issue i just went through. my battery light would come on, stay on for a lil bit and then shut off, and would be continous. i had already changed out the alt. once before like, 3 months beforehand. turned out, the alt. i got was rebuilt and not a brand new one. i ordered a high output alt off cfm and havent had an issue with it since. my mistake was, i let the problem go for to long and i got stranded on the side of the road.
 
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