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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, just trying to self-diagnose an issue and determine if I could fix it myself or if the dealership would have to do it. I don't really want to throw more money at them...

I'm convinced there is a fairly major problem with my electrical system. I keep having all kinds of goofy little malfunctions and it's really unsettling to me. Makes me uneasy because I'm afraid one day everything will just fry and will never be the same...even though it's never really been "the same" haha. Here are some things that have happened to me:

--One day several months ago ALL my guages didn't work until I turned the car off, let it sit for a few minutes, and turned it back on again.
--All lights (guages, stereo, headlights) tend to fluctuate, pulsate when I sit at a stoplight for a few minutes--eventually they even out but it seems unusual. (I took it to the dealer for this--they reset the computer, but that didn't seem to make much difference.)
--Since they reset the computer, the interior has a strange, cut-off beeping sound when I turn the car on often times. Doesn't happen all the time, but it's right when I turn the key all the way to start--just a quick "bee-". The sound that should be happening when the door is open with the key in the ignition, but cut-off prematurely.
--When I used to lock the doors with the remote the turn signals would flash to tell me the car was locked, and then if I pressed the lock button again the car would beep once. Now, when I lock it the first time the turns don't flash (car still locks), and if I press it again the car beeps twice quickly. Very strange.
--Often times the turn signal clicking noise kind of skips a click...that's not a big worry but with these other things it just adds to the paranoia.

Has anyone had any of these problems??? In another thread I learned that Ford often uses as little wire as possible and this can lead to wires prematurely wearing out/ripping, etc. I don't really feel competent enough in car electrical systems (or at least the Focus's electrical system) to check this out myself--I wouldn't know where to start and I don't have the tools and workspace to just start taking things apart, but I have worked on previous cars (a little wiring here and there) so if somebody could tell me exactly where to look I could definitely check it out and make sure things are connected properly. Hopefully this will solve my woes once and for all.

Advice please? Thanks in advance.
 

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A couple of simple things to try. Check the main connections to the battery to see if they are tight and free of corrossion. Next, put a voltmeter on the battery and see what you get at the terminals with the car running, it should be over 14 volts. 14.4 is about perfect. After that, just pop the lid off the fuse block and have a look around to see if anything is odd. Last thing, wiggle the ignition switch when the car is on and see if you get any issues then.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Alright, thanks, I'll try this and get back.

2 things--are voltmeters cheap? I'll just go to batteries plus and have them test it for free...

And where exactly is the ignition switch? Thanks.
 

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By the ignition switch I mean the one you stick the key in. Nothing special

A voltmeter, $20 bucks for a cheapy that works at radio shack. A worthwhile tool to have, I use mine all the time, even something as simple as checking a battery or testing a lightbulb.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This is the stock remote lock system. When I press it once to lock, the flashers blink once. If I press it again within about 5 seconds, the car beeps quickly and the flashers blink again. Yesterday it was not flashing and then beeping twice, but now today I wiggled some wires around (don't even know if that made a diff) and it's back to doing what it used to do.

Another thing I forgot to mention is that, about 5 seconds or less after I turn the car off, the temp gauge and the fuel gauge shoot to the straight-up middle position. Is that normal? I don't think I've ever seen a car do that before.

Also Goose, you have a pm.
 

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CloudNine88's Man
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Check your grounds and battery cables. Maybe there's something loose.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I've been checking things left and right. I did notice one thing--under where the stock intake box used to be, there is a bundle of cables encased in a black...bundler? A bunch of cables inside this black plastic tube. Anyway the plastic tube has a long cut in it and you can see the wires inside--doesn't look like it's supposed to be like that.

I'm getting really frustrated with all this little crap. I want to start upgrading performance-wise, but I don't want to put any money into this thing until I'm sure it's working how it's supposed to be working. I hate to say this, but I NEVER had any issues anything like this with my Honda.

Apparently I'm also an idiot and don't know how to use a voltmeter. I bought one today to test the battery, put it on AC and put the probes on the +/- terminals, and it just kept shooting all kinds of crazy numbers out. What am I doing wrong? Why won't my car just work right? [bawling]

Hah...another thing to add to the list of weird things it's been doing. I don't know if this is electrical or not--if it is, it's a gauge problem--but my car seems to take forever to really warm up, according to the gauge (and the heat isn't HOT like it used to be for quite a few miles). But the thing is, after driving in the city for like 10 or 15 miles (15-20 minutes), it's only at about a quarter "warm." So then I stop at a stop sign and wait for the other car to go, and while I wait, the gauge, after about 3 or 4 seconds, shoots to the middle. Then when I start going again, it drops back down towards cold! What the heck!? Today I checked the coolant and saw it was slightly low, so I bought fluid and added it to see if that would change anything...no change.

I know I started this as an electrical issue thread, and that may be what that is, partially...but if it's not, what the heck else would be the deal with that???
 

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CloudNine88's Man
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Sounds like your thermostat is failing on you. Is there any sort of a leak there that you can see?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No leak I've seen, but my car sits outside so I can't check for drippage. There must be a leak though because there are only 43k miles on it, so it can't be burning fluid...must be falling out somehow...

Have you heard of a Focus doing that--the gauges shooting to the middle position after turning the car off? Does yours do that?
 

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CloudNine88's Man
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I've heard of malfuntioning guages. I've never had it happen to me though.
 

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CloudNine88's Man
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No, mine drop to the far left.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well what the crap. I'll call the dealer about that one then. They change my oil for free and I'm due soon so I'll demand that something be done then. Maybe I'll also get a radiator flush at the same time...

Speaking of radiator flushing, what color is our coolant supposed to be???
 

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CloudNine88's Man
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The SVT is gold. Not sure of the ZTS.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The parts guy at the dealer said yellow...looked in the radiator and it was either brown from the side or pinkish from the top...can't seem to get the right answer here.
 

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CloudNine88's Man
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They have yellow and gold. The SVT says gold, so I do believe that the ZTS is in fact yellow.
 

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I've been checking things left and right. I did notice one thing--under where the stock intake box used to be, there is a bundle of cables encased in a black...bundler? A bunch of cables inside this black plastic tube. Anyway the plastic tube has a long cut in it and you can see the wires inside--doesn't look like it's supposed to be like that.
That black "tube" just cleans up the wires a little bit. It's not a solid tube, one side is left open so that it can slip over top of a bunch of wires.
 

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I've been checking things left and right. I did notice one thing--under where the stock intake box used to be, there is a bundle of cables encased in a black...bundler? A bunch of cables inside this black plastic tube. Anyway the plastic tube has a long cut in it and you can see the wires inside--doesn't look like it's supposed to be like that.

I'm getting really frustrated with all this little crap. I want to start upgrading performance-wise, but I don't want to put any money into this thing until I'm sure it's working how it's supposed to be working. I hate to say this, but I NEVER had any issues anything like this with my Honda.

Apparently I'm also an idiot and don't know how to use a voltmeter. I bought one today to test the battery, put it on AC and put the probes on the +/- terminals, and it just kept shooting all kinds of crazy numbers out. What am I doing wrong? Why won't my car just work right? [bawling]

Hah...another thing to add to the list of weird things it's been doing. I don't know if this is electrical or not--if it is, it's a gauge problem--but my car seems to take forever to really warm up, according to the gauge (and the heat isn't HOT like it used to be for quite a few miles). But the thing is, after driving in the city for like 10 or 15 miles (15-20 minutes), it's only at about a quarter "warm." So then I stop at a stop sign and wait for the other car to go, and while I wait, the gauge, after about 3 or 4 seconds, shoots to the middle. Then when I start going again, it drops back down towards cold! What the heck!? Today I checked the coolant and saw it was slightly low, so I bought fluid and added it to see if that would change anything...no change.

I know I started this as an electrical issue thread, and that may be what that is, partially...but if it's not, what the heck else would be the deal with that???
On the temp gage issue. It's going to take much longer to warm up in your winter climate. If the needle is not up to 1/2 way, but jumps when you stop and idle, that's just the coolant temp rising (no air coming thru the radiator), and when you start again, the new cold air brings it back down. The thermostat only controls the lower temp, not how hot the coolant can go. It's possible that the sender unit or gage is a little tired. If you have no indicated problems, forget the heating problem and pay attention to the electrical crazies.
 
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