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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm stumped.

I have an 03 Focus Wagon. The battery light came on, with no other problems. Here's a chronological recount:

I used a code reader, came up with nothing. Nothing indicating a bad alternator, or anything at all. Reader stated no active codes.

Battery light would only come on at start, car starts with no issues, light goes off eventually.

Still no codes.

Next, when battery light came on, car ran ok. When battery light switched off, dash lights and headlights (but not radio backlight) would pulse and dim. During this, I THINK I can hear a relay clicking in the fuse box -- I look at my manual, and there is such a thing as a battery protection relay, but I can't confirm what's clicking.

Used a multi-meter, battery read 12.5 off, 13 on and revving - until the battery light went off, then it would jump all over from 13-16.

Took out the battery, cleaned the terminals, cleaned the posts, cleaned what grounding I could reach without a major disassemble. Wiggle tested the hatch wiring rubber boot thing, and wiggle tested the pigtail into the alternator.

Pulsing and dimming stopped. Battery light stayed on, voltages read ok again.

During all of this, I've driven the car everyday for about a month, no drop in battery voltages, no difficulty starting, even in extreme cold (-20 Celsius, yay Canada.)

Now, with the car off, voltage reads fine still, start the car, voltage reads fine. When I turn the headlights on -- the radio quits and becomes unresponsive, can't turn it off, can't turn it on. If I turn the headlights off, sometimes the radio will recover and turn itself back on. I decide to buy a battery and see if a new, fresh battery eliminates anything -- it doesn't. Exact same issues, old and new battery read the same voltages.

So I don't even know what to tell a mechanic to look for...Gremlins? Has anyone had similar experiences? I don't mind taking it in to see a mechanic, but I don't have the endless funds for them to start playing guessing games and replacing stuff hoping it will work...hopefully you guys can help me!
 

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Did you look inside the hatch wiring boot? All kinds of gremlins live in there...
Just pry it back and see if the wires are chafed.
 
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