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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys. I recently purchased a 2003 Focus SVT which currently has 168k mi on it. There were tons of things wrong with the car, and currently I am trying to work on the issue of it sometimes stumbling off the line, especially when not giving it enough gas. When this happens, there is a squeal in the engine bay, and the battery light flashes momentarily and oges away. This happens rarely, but frequent enough for me to want to get it fixed in case something is wrong. I have replaced the battery recently since it was completely shot, so I know that's not the issue. I have replaced the belt tensioner, idler, and belt itself, and the noise still exists.

Other POTENTIAL symptoms:
The gauges like to go out intermittently, but I think it's only the back light. Could be a failing Aux cluster (I have a spare) or the OLED could just be burning out in the main cluster too. They both turn off at the same time when this happens. Could be due to the alternator though. The car sometimes cranks a few times more than expected to start. Could just be the starter or cables though, which I'm going to replace as well. I don't think any of those would cause the battery light to come on though.

I hear it's an absolute bitch to replace the alternator on these things, but if I have to do it, I have to do it. Let me know what you think. Heated seats, stereo, and all other electronics seem to work completely fine though.
 

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C2H5OH
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Alternator doesn't pick and choose what it wants to power.

Anything else, driver mod. Seems you are learning the car and how to drive it. Jumping at something being a problem before you've learned the car seems wrong to me. Spend some more time with the car and then make decisions.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Not sure how the battery light would come on with a loud squeal due to me "bogging" the car from "not having learned it". I know how to drive stick; been doing it for years with multiple Foci. I've put 2000 miles on this one already, so I'm pretty sure it's not me.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Battery contacts are so clean you could eat off them. I have not monitored voltage as I don't have a multimeter (I think that's the tool?) Maybe I can pick one up this week so I can keep tabs on the voltage. I plan to replace the cables regardless since the positive is starting to fray.
 

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Yank belt and look for bad bearings in the belt run, a/c clutch for instance could easily cause your issue. Belt is lagging to slip, it also puts the light on for a second, could be bad alt bearing too or power steering.

Is belt correct length and in the range on tensioner body? If not the new belt just made it worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The belt is brand new though, OEM with all the tensioners and pulleys straight from Ford. I'm pretty sure it's the right size and range. I have heard of someone having the same issue with the A/C bearing seizing, so I hope it's not that. Due to the electrical problems, I can't help but think that it's the alternator.
 

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How often do you have the extended crank problem? If it's easily repeatable, take the belt off and see if the concern is no longer present. If you can't get it to occur anymore, check the pulleys for any drag.

On my buddy's 02 SVTF we found the A/C compressor was being engaged while cranking. If you checked the pulley with the key off it was fine, but with the key on, it was engaged.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It seems to happen more when it's cold, but sometimes it really does just start right up without a long crank. When I say long crank I'm talking like maybe 5 times? i'll take a video for you guys when I get home. I'm out of town on business and took a different car.
 

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C2H5OH
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Battery contacts are so clean you could eat off them. I have not monitored voltage as I don't have a multimeter (I think that's the tool?) Maybe I can pick one up this week so I can keep tabs on the voltage. I plan to replace the cables regardless since the positive is starting to fray.

I'd hoped that this would be dead obvious ...

If the demand (Amperage) can not be passed over the cable, Voltage will suffer, or be unstable as more load is applied.
If left unchecked long enough, the alternator will fail. It's being overworked.

Get that cable fixed and go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well we can't all be as smart as you ;)

Yep that's the plan. The PO was a total [:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)]. Just found the o2 sensors hanging loose, oil pan bolts finger tight, heat shields with no bolts, etc. He did a number on the cables with his hack job sub install too :(

Thanks for the suggestions guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So this got progressively worse over the past few weeks, and I finally got around to replacing the alternator and the battery cables and it starts and runs so much better now. Thanks for the tips :)
 
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