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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Its a 2004 ZTS 23 AT almost 80K miles. First start when you turn the key on gauges and FP come on OK. There has been a hesitation before the starter engages when you turn the key, it is getting worse but only for the first start of the day. It started doing this when cold out. I had a 2003 SE 23 AT that did the hesitation bit when cold but always started OK. New battery and connections are clean. Weird that two cars did this so hoping someone else has had this problem and figured it out. It hasn't failed to start yet but yesterday I had to turn the key off and on several times to get it to engage the starter, thinking maybe ignition switch or starter relay but just a guess.
 

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Connections & grounds good? Possibly new or bigger ground cables....Hows the battery? Age, volts, amp test? How 'bout the starter draw= How many amps does it draw?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My first thoughts are ignition lock cylinder and starter relay or solenoid.


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Kinda what I am thinking, weird same problem with prior Focus too but it always started. Hoping it was a common occurrence to make it easy ha.ha.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Connections & grounds good? Possibly new or bigger ground cables....Hows the battery? Age, volts, amp test? How 'bout the starter draw= How many amps does it draw?
New battery all grounds OK(Ca. car no salt /water corrosion). Starter turns over normally, just won't do it first start time. Oh well never get lucky, will have to troubleshoot it. Next time it does it I will have to check for voltage at the starter and start eliminating things. I guess I have owned the only two Foci that do this.
 

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Old weak solenoid directly mounted to starter can do that. High resistance in cables that look fine can do it too. Commonly the resistance can be down at the starter, they have been known to melt the plastic interface down there before.

You're in CA, they may not give free starter amp tests at the parts stores, but needs to be done. Anything over 200 amp is an issue for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Old weak solenoid directly mounted to starter can do that. High resistance in cables that look fine can do it too. Commonly the resistance can be down at the starter, they have been known to melt the plastic interface down there before.

You're in CA, they may not give free starter amp tests at the parts stores, but needs to be done. Anything over 200 amp is an issue for sure.
Thanks for the reply. It got pretty warm out here so it cranked without hesitation so its definitely heat related. I will try to get the cranking amps checked, but again it cranks real good when it cranks. I am thinking using a hairdryer next time it does it on the starter and/or the ignition switch. I am thinking the solenoid too but....Still weird that my prior Focus did the same thing when cold but it always cranked after a slight hesitation that disappeared in the warm weather.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I paid my $35.00 and they checked all the electrics(battery, starter, alternator, grounds etc). All good.
 

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Is it still doing it?
How long is the 'hesitation' between turning the key to START and the starter motor cranking?
How long has it been doing this?
Does it only do it when the vehicle is cold?

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #13
No the heat is getting here so its fine now. When cold it would hesitate about a second or so at the longest, any longer and it didn't work at all. It hasn't not started yet, I needed it to go so I couldn't troubleshoot it at the time. Kinda expected it to not start at all and then troubleshoot, weird. My son even remembered the prior '03 Focus SE 23 AT doing the same thing with the hesitation when cold, but it always started. Can't believe I got the only two cars that do this, hoping OP had the same problem and fixed it.
 

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No the heat is getting here so its fine now. When cold it would hesitate about a second or so at the longest, any longer and it didn't work at all. It hasn't not started yet, I needed it to go so I couldn't troubleshoot it at the time. Kinda expected it to not start at all and then troubleshoot, weird. My son even remembered the prior '03 Focus SE 23 AT doing the same thing with the hesitation when cold, but it always started. Can't believe I got the only two cars that do this, hoping OP had the same problem and fixed it.
When you say 'cold' how cold are we talking?

Paul
 

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'I paid my $35.00 and they checked all the electrics(battery, starter, alternator, grounds etc). All good.'

Par for the course, except - $35...........you need to learn to pester those guys or you don't help yourself at all. I would have wanted to know bat CCA, starter exact amp and alt ripple.......gimme a minute and I'll come up with more.

Why do people simply accept 'OK' as an answer and even more so after they PAID for more than that?
 

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I can positively say that twice I have had the same problem and it was the battery/starter/alt cable melted down at the starter. The interface there is a joke.

Starter amp could reflect that but ONLY if you ask what it was.
 

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I had this issue with my 05 2.0 until I replaced the battery. battery tested good at 400cca but in fact, that was WEAK when I asked what CCA was on the new battery was and yes you have to pester the guys when testing stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I had this issue with my 05 2.0 until I replaced the battery. battery tested good at 400cca but in fact, that was WEAK when I asked what CCA was on the new battery was and yes you have to pester the guys when testing stuff.
Brand new battery, no clicking or labored cranking it either cranks like the devil or nothing. Sitting in the sun this AM it cranked no hesitation. Looks like it will be OK till winter maybe.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I can positively say that twice I have had the same problem and it was the battery/starter/alt cable melted down at the starter. The interface there is a joke.

Starter amp could reflect that but ONLY if you ask what it was.
It looks OK but I will pull the connection apart to check it out.
 
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