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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone.. I was just wondering if this is normal for a focus.. but when sitting still and my car is idling my interior lights and headlight want to dim in and out not too bad but its enough to drive me nutz lol.. when i'm driving or give the engine alittle gas it stops.. I have a 2003 zx3 with 78k on it.. anyone think of what the problem is?
 

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C2H5OH
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If it's while the car is at normal operating temps, it's most likely the amperage draw from the cooling fans running (roughly 40 Amps).

But as with any electrical issue, check and clean the battery posts and cable ends (baking soda and hot water, wire brush).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
awesome! i'm gonna do that tomorrow at work.. hopefully it helps.. and yeah the battery looks bad.. its got all that white blue dust looking stuff on it..
 

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Oh dude, get a new battery. If there's corrosion like that on the battery then replace it and clean your terminal clamps.
 

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Yeah, if the battery is getting tired, it puts alot of load on the alt. to keep it charged, and at idle it may be cycling to keep up. Sounds like time for a new battery, especially before winter gets here.

While you are in for the battery, check the charging system as well , just to be safe... You want 14 volts or so. Anything less than 12.6 is a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I havent replaced the battery yet but i'm about to for sure.. I've cleaned the terminals and all the grounds very nicely and the problem still exists.. so next is replace battery and if it still does the flickering.. think it could be the alternator then?
 

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coffee, have some
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Look around for "the big 3" upgrade. cheap and def worth it. i have to leave work now or else i'd find it for you. i'll check back later

FOUND IT: http://www.focushacks.com/index.php?modid=31

If you have a Zetec, this will be worth doing. Unless you have a rare 03 with a D23, but it's still good info and should help out the dimming.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
yeah man my buddy suggested I replace my grounds with either 4gauge or 8gauge hes gonna help me do it one weekend soon.. and monday well hopefully monday but for sure next week i'll have a new battery installed.. and hopefully that will fix the problem.. if not.. would it be best to have someone rebuild my alternator with the more powerful crap inside(sorry I konw nothing about alternators) so that way it can putout more power? or just buy a new one?
 

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C2H5OH
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Just because there is corrosion around the battery does not mean the battery is bad or that you are in need of a new one. Corrosion is normal with a traditional automotive battery. The only batteries you won't see it with are sealed batteries or gel/dry cell batteries, anything lead acid you will.
To check the battery a parts store may have a battery load tester, something like this:



It puts a load on the battery and will basically tell you if the battery is bad. You can also use a Hydrometer, if you are able to remove the battery cell covers, and measure the acid in the battery, but it is more invasive and not always as accurate.


Also, getting the alternator rebuilt/rewound will not solve anything. All that will do is give it more headroom. It won't change the amount of amperage it puts out when at the loads you are applying right now, read: it won't fix your dimming issue. What it will do is give you more amperage under more load, large stereo for example.

I guess another problem it may be is corrosion in the voltage regulator pigtail, the 3 wire plug on the alternator, or possibly a broken wire on that same pigtail. The common break wire is the one that goes back the the cars computer and tells it how much to charge.

I still think a good cleaning of parts and you should be fine. Also it would be good to find out what the alternator is charging at when they dim and when they are lit correctly.
 
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