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Discussion Starter #1
This is on ongoing, but very intermittent problem that no one seems to be able to diagnose.

One day while driving (about 15 minutes into the drive) all of the dashboard lights would flicker on and off while making a clicking noise. The more I pushed on the gas, the faster the clicking/flickering would be. After about 15 minutes of this, I pulled into a gas station and shut my car off. After about 10 minutes I turned it back on and the clock had reset and the radio was on AM (when I turned it back to FM all my presets were still there). The problem went away for a few weeks. this would happen once a week or once every other week. The dealer could not find ANYthing wrong. After about 4 months, they replaced the alternator. The problem went away for a month and a half.

Then one day while driving it started making the clicking noise while all the dashboard lights were flickering. This time, it did not matter whether I was accelerating, slowing down or simply coasting. It didnt seem to be as bad as before. Then after about 2 minutes, the car did the following things simultaneously:

  1. The car jerked really hard
  2. all the dashboard lights came on for 1 second and then went off
  3. The radio went to AM and the clock reset
  4. The car made a loud static click noise

This problem started occuring anywhere from 5 times a week to just once a week. It is VERY random. It doesnt matter if I have been driving for half an hour or only 5 minutes, it could be hot, cold, wet or dry outside. I can be speeding up or slowing down. There is absolutely nothing that seems to trigger it.

Sometimes the powerlocks wont work after the car acts up. Sometimes the only thing that happens is I will turn the car on and the radio/clock has reset.

Within the past few weeks it has started a new problem. When I turn the car off after it acts up and go to turn it back on, the car wont even turn over. It is like it is completely dead. It will work after 1 to 5 minutes. Then it will drive fine.

I have tried taking apart my dashboard and cleaning hte cluster with electrical contact spray. We have looked over all of plugs/connections and wires and everything looks good. My battery is relatively new and the connections are spotless.

And ideas?!?!?!?!
 

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DTC P0606
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3,364 Posts
Flickering dashboard lights/gauge sweeps/electric door lock problems are usually very typical signs of alternator problems; more specifically, voltage regulator problems such as intermittent voltage spikes or lack of any voltage output. (The voltage regulator in the Focus is built into the alternator.) I doubt there is anything wrong with your instrument cluster. I know you probably don't want to hear that having replaced the alternator once, but I'd suggest your alternator may be failing again possibly because the root cause of the problem may not have been addressed. The Focus charging system seems to suffer from some common problems:

1. Over time the wires in the electrical connector to the back of the alt may become brittle and break. A new pigtail connector is available. Pull firmly on the individual wires to test.
2. The cable that goes from the alt to the battery contains an in-line fuse on later models. Sometimes it fails to conduct the full current for some reason. Bypass the cable with a second heavy gauge wire for testing.
3. There is a fuse in the engine compartment fuse box you should check; pull it, test it and reseat it. Fuse 10 battery voltage sensor;
4. The alternator on the Duratec engined cars, I think, has a heat shield to protect it from exhaust manifold heat. Make sure it's in place as I've read about one instance of the alt cable melting and shorting.
5. Watch that the radio suppression do-hickey mounted on the passenger side engine compartment doesn't come loose and ground out. It can cause a short large enough to disable a car, apparently.
6. Check all the connections to the battery once more. Tug on the wires, particularly the smaller ones. Remove the terminals and clean the posts with a wire brush, if you haven't already. Clean the engine compartment grounds.
7. Finally reman alts from parts stores have a horrible reputation on FF - very hit or miss in terms of quality, it seems.

To be honest, I think you're looking for a wiring short and finding one can be tedious and time consuming. Hope those suggestions give you something to look for.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
One of the things we did find the other day was Ignition Transformer Capacitor (for supressing radio interference/static). It was so loose to the point it wasnt even connected anymore and there was bare wire exposed. We removed this part yesterday (and the car has driven fine since) and ordered a new one from Ford. We are replacing it tomorrow. Do you think that this may have been causing some of the problems?

Thanks for your help
 
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