Focus Fanatics Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I've been having a lot of 'fun' with my electrical system lately.

Car: 2000 ZX3 Zetec completely stock, 82.3K miles.

I recently had a new system professionally installed (by Magnolia HiFi, got tired of blowing equiptment with my crappy jobs). What I am running is two Alpine 12" Type-R's rated at 500W RMS. Powering them is a Rockford T10001bd (read: 1521 "bench tested" Total RMS Watts at 1 Ohm, or rated 1000 RMS at 2 Ohms). They wired up the subs for a 1 Ohm draw, and have 4 gauge wiring running from the battery with a 150 amp fuse. On top of all that is the Kenwood Excelon X889 deck. All the speakers are still stock.

Magnolia warned me that I should seriously consider getting a larger alternator/battery, especially when I plan to put in another amp and front speakers. I noticed that while driving from my house to Seattle one weekend, about an hour into the drive my emergency brake and ABS lights started flashing, my Subwoofers started cutting out at the heavier bass parts, and the sound quality from the deck deteriated greatly. I assumed, that I had been pulling from the battery this whole time, and it had been completely drained, so I turned the system down for the remainder of the trip.

Recently I decided to do the Big Three upgrade as I was gettings some serious headlight dimming. I installed the two ground wires myself, did a good job, but held back on the positive wire for my father the next day. The next morning the car ran fine. I got home and we threw in the power wire and things just started to fall apart. We got it all wired, double/triple checked everything, no problems, by the book. Fired up the car, it started fine, then started blasting the music to see if my headlight dimming had been solved. It had however, when I got excessively loud my subs started cutting out on the bassy parts, which it had never done at a time like then. We figured the battery may for some reason be dead, threw the charger own it, which said it was low, let it charge for about a good half hour or more. When it was fully charged, fired it back up again, and it did the same thing. This time, we noticed that the battery light had come on. Figured it for a bad battery, pulled off the power wire we had installed, while screwing the bolt back onto the terminal, I bridged the positive and negative terminals for a split second, causing a nice little arc that scared the crap out of me. Then we threw the charger on it and ran to the store the next day to grab a new battery one.

Put on the new battery today, it fired right up, so we decided to check and see if it was the alternator, while it had be running for a minute or so, we popped off the negative terminal and the car died instantly. Dead alternator right?

So is it possible that the Big Three killed by battery and alternator? Did I kill the battery/alternator when I bridged it for that split second? Was it just their time, and the excessive music pulled the last straw? Where can I get an alternator that can handle the kind of power I am trying to pull?

I know that was a lot, probably most of it unnessecary, but I figured every detail may help. And thank you very much in advance for helping me at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,621 Posts
You might really want to consider a decent capacitor as well. Check with a meter directly on the battery terminals with the car running you should get 13.5 volts or more. Anything less than 12.6 and you are running of the battery...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,331 Posts
sounds like the alternator, get it checked

you can get them rewound, or buy a new one with a higher output

do a search, DetroitBass just linked a site he buys from

a capacitor will not help you with your problem
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
I agree with FocusInCali, you can get the alternator checked but you will need to get a higher output one with that amp in the car.
Just wanted to chime in that 2 people agree.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
Yup, you need a high output alternator, no real way around it. A capacitor will not help, it will just be an extra strain on the alternator. The shop right down the street from mine specializes in HO alts, www.MotorCityReman.com. I have one in both of my vehicles. Very good prices, too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, MotorCityReman looks pretty good, a lot better than the $400 + mounting kits, etc, that Schucks and Autozone were quoting me. If I were to order an alt from them, would it be any problem for a local shop to install it? Reason being, my thermostat is stuck open, and my car needs a general tuneup so since it would be in the shop anyways, would it be a good idea to have them install the alternator as well?

My original questions still stands, what killed the alt? Reason for my asking is because it becomes a money issue for me. If it was going to die anyways, then my parents (I'm still 17) will pay to replace the alternator with a stock one (I can throw in the extra money it will take to put in an HO alt). Otherwise, I'm stuck with all the cost, and upgrading to an HO could be a problem.

I'm be getting the alt tested at Schucks or Autozone today, although I'm 99% sure it is dead.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
The amp killed the alt. I wouldn't say it was going to die anyways, but when you put the extra load of the amp, especially that big of an amp, on a alt. with 82k miles on it its days are numbered. If you put another stock one in it will probably kill that one too, it might not happen right away but it will happen again. In your situation I would put up the extra cash and get the HO alt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Ok, I figured as much. I'll have to do some bargaining with the 'rents, but even if it puts me further in debt I will be getting a HO alt. Thanks for all the help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Alright, I just finished purchasing the alternator, and thought I should probably ask while it is still possible to cancel my order. I went for the 00-04 Focus 2.0L Focus-6G 170Amp custom alternator. That should be sufficient to power my system and not kill the alt correct (I plan on adding another amp for Diamond Audio components in the front)?

My Dad and I are planning on putting this in ourselves to save a few dollars, we were going to follow this guide on removing the alternator. I think we should be able to handle it, hardest part looks like dealing with the UDP.

So that should be all good right? Thanks again for the help, we would be lost and wasting money if it weren't for you guys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Alright, we ended up getting the Chilton manual for the car (we needed it for other things anyways). We followed that, it was more or less the same as that website. Anyways, be got it all wired up and everything is put back together pefect.

We started the car up, and the battery light is still on. So to check things we popped off the negative terminal while the car was running, no problem still running strong. So the alternator is fine. Stuck the car charger on the battery to see if it was low, it showed it as almost completely charged. We checked all the fuses in the engine and they were all fine (we didn't look at the fuse box in the cab). We will check the voltages tomorrow, but is there any other reason the light would still be on? If it is the voltages what could be wrong?

I am going to call the dealership tomorrow to see what they have to say, but if you could add anything it would be most appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
You installed the HO alt? MAKE SURE YOU UPGRADE YOUR WIRING. You can not run the stock wire from the alternator to the battery. You need to change this to 4 gauge wiring!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Wire was already upgraded. I did the Big 3 Upgrade with 4awg wire IN ADDITION to stock wiring and everything.

EDIT: I went to see if I could get a DTC Troubleshooting code out if it with my digital odometer, it just told me "DTC none." So that isn't any help. I've had a few people tell me that the computer needs to be "reset" after the error, any truth to this?

EDIT2: Found some posts with similar problems to mine, they recommended the user check their alternator wire harness, I will be doing that as well as doing some voltage tests (must be from 13 to 14 correct?) this weekend.
We've been having some delays because I also had part of the thermostat housing break off a while ago and jam the thermostat open, a nice little manufacture defect that we didn't notice (aside from the thermostat being stuck open) until it started leaking coolant like crazy. Went to the dealership today figuring that they would have to special order that part (the housing) turns out they had sold 5 of them in the past year (quite a few for the small area I live in), the guy knew exactly what I was showing him (what car/engine) before I told him. Apparently this was all enough to even keep that part in stock. Why the hell isn't this a recall is beyond me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Dead Alt/Bat [SOLVED] Now battery light on

Alright, here is the deal, we got it all put back together today. We've talked with the dealership they said it may be the harness. We've talked to the guys at MotorCityReman, they seemed fairly eager to make sure everything worked fine, they asked that we check the voltages.

So today, we check everything. The harness seemed to be fine, but I'm not sure. The here are the voltages:
First start (bringing the battery to full charge) - 13.5 (idle) - 14.6 (3k RPM)
After a good charge, and driving the car about 15 miles - 13 (idle) - 14.4(3k RPM)

So everything still seems to be fine (maybe on the high side) again, any ideas let me know. I'm going to start driving the car because it seems to run perfectly ok and we can't find any immediate danger.

EDIT: Drove it yesterday, again everything seems fine. We will be taking it to an auto electrician (NOT to the dealership). Just in case anyone that finds this thread is wondering, the new alt REALLY helped with headlight dimming, at night you can only slightly notice that the lights dim on really hard hits. I'm probably going to buy a small-ish size capacitor to help with that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Since you have upgraded your charging system, You just might want to install a volt and amp gauge so you can monitor how everything is working. I'm not familiar with the Focus Charging system, but usually a High Output Alternator should have an internal regulator and should/could just wire straight up to the battery. For installing extra accessories to your car. The formula is Watts X Volts = Amps. IE. If your running 1k watts total from your stereo system, you will need an additional 120amps to run those accessories. Hope this was helpful. Aloha, Victor
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
helicoil said:
NEVER! pull off a battery cable while the engine is RUNNING!
Yeah that's what the dealership said. My dad is oldschool so back in his day the computer wasn't a concern. Obviously things are different now. We only did it twice (once with the old alt, once with the new) so hopefully no long lasting damage.

I guess I should give an update. Here is the deal, we've been in contact with MotorCityReman and they have been handeling things VERY well. Basicaly what they did was order a stock alt from Ford, then rip it apart and rebuild it. Well, turns out they got the wrong alternator, the one they have doesn't have the sensor in it to tell the computer it is working OK. I've been driving it for a couple weeks now with the new alt in, we've been keeping the charging system in close check and it is working perfectly fine, so the alternator itself is fine. So what they are going to do is pay for us to ship it back, soon as they get it swap it for the correct one, and then ship that back to us. They are paying for everything, not costing me an extra dime. Our expiriance with these guys has been great, they are very helpful, this was an extremely easy mistake to make for them (it pretty much comes down to when your car was manufactured to get the correct parts). So in my opinion they are a GREAT shop and I would not have to think twice about doing buisiness with them again if we needed to.

They said I would have to ship it back within 6 months (!!!) which is really nice because it is very costly to be driving my parents jeep everyday. I am going to be gone for a week on vacation in mid-June so we will do the swap while I am gone.

Just thought you guys might want to know.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Alright, everything is done, we got the new alt in and installed it. Worked fine right out of the box. Looks like all they did was swap whatever chip was on the alt with the correct one because what I got back was exactly what I sent them except from the part behind the plug.
Like I have said before these guys are amazing to work with. I got my package expedited back to us for only $17 more to us (it cost about $40 more to expedite it) they were very quick on the turn around (recieving it to shipping it out). So anyways, just though I'd let you all know (especially anyone that searched and found this) everything is working perfectly now.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top