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Discussion Starter #1
Alrighty guys. I was driving my 2003 SVT the other night. I was fidgeting with the radio, so I was in third at about 3k rpm. All of a sudden, clunk, lurch, clunk, lurch, 0 rpm. Whaaaaaa? Coast to the roadside. Attempt to start. Nothing but an initial click.

Towed back to my house. Upon investigation, the timing belt seems taut and decent. Checked the alternator...oh boy. The coils inside it were whitish yellow.

I'm replacing that no matter what, but how can I tell for sure what my problem is? Doesn't make sense that it just suddenly failed.
 

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Let's start with disconnecting the battery, followed by charging & testing it.

That'll cover a few bases, as you'll need to get it cranking for more checks & starting with a good battery with checked & cleaned tight terminals/ground wires is a first step.

Once we work though whatever is needed to crank it, you can deal with any starting issues & then check charging once it's running.

Don't leave the battery connected between diagnostic work, some alternator problems can result in draining the battery while it sits.
 

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One more note on diagnosing starting/charging problems on these cars... If the battery tests 'good' and holds a charge, or if you can meanwhile switch to a known good battery, monitor the current running voltage via a voltmeter connected to the battery or through the "odometer test mode" (google it for plenty of explanations).

In all likelihood you need a new alternator. The thing that occurred to me is that alternator output/load is absolutely dictated by the ECU to keep up with real time and varying electricity needs. And if the ECU is getting wrong data and tells the alternator it needs 17 volts to maintain running status, the alt. will fry itself trying to do so or set a DTC depending on software programming. This is why you shouldn't charge a drained battery through the alternator, it can do it but generating that extra amperage/voltage creates excessive heat that can permanently damage it.

If you end up paying to have a new alternator installed, insist they test the charging system circuit for voltage drop and look for a valid numbers, low resistance, in the signal digits of ohms.

I accidentally wrote another book.
 

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'...you shouldn't charge a drained battery through the alternator, it can do it but generating that extra amperage/voltage creates excessive heat that can permanently damage it.'

Amen brother.

The alt rebuilders put paperwork into all alt boxes that say that and warranty voided but the people who buy still insist on using the new alt to recharge the dead battery and how many of the alts than came back in less than a week were ruined.

Ford says it takes 8 hours for a 6G alt to recharge the battery. Problem is, the alt will fail the diodes long before that and what these do first, then regulator ramps up trying to make up for the loss of charge and fries itself next.

Insisting on driving longer with a substandard battery is what fails a lot of these alts. They make a whopping amount of amp but only intended for a short period of time, stretch that and the alt overheats and fails.

Loadtest the battery or risk doing the same again in a week or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well. It was a timing skip. Valve and spark plug blew a hole in the piston, coolant flooded it. Looks like I'll be parting out the easy stuff and selling the whole thing for a regular ZX3
 

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Well, if anyone ever recommends you buy anything from Matt Rowe (Speedway Recyclers in Maribel, WI), don't. For somebody as passionate about cars and Foci in specific as he is, he should've performed a basic tune up and made sure everything was top notch. But no, he sold me a hooned out pos. Never buy from him. Especially since he sells Focus hubcaps on eBay for $90 and end caps for SVT side skirts for $300 and USED SVT bumper covers for $600. What a money pig.
 

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Hey whattya expect in a 'free market economy' as practiced by a capitalistic society????

Buyer beware, a new timing belt is NOT considered part of a 'basic tuneup', not at all.

Your 4th sentence tilted me at least toward the timing belt warning but your self diagnosis then pronounced alt as the culprit and took our eyes off the ball there. Depending then on you that could have lead to further damage by you. Self diagnosis often can be a killer.
 
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