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Ford Focus Electrical and Lighting Problems

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  • It has been several months, I think it was a pinched taillight wire which made contact with the body. They replaced the wire, I'll see if I can locate my work description. Here's the recall notice from NHTSA website:

    Recall Number: 00V411000
    Summary:
    VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: PASSENGER VEHICLES. A DECKLID WIRE HARNESS CAN FATIGUE AND DEVELOP BROKEN WIRES IN THE BEND AREA OF THE WIRE HARNESS.
    Consequence:
    THIS COULD RESULT IN EITHER A LOSS OF INDIVIDUAL LAMP FUNCTIONS, OR IN THE CASE OF A SHORT OF THE BROKEN WIRES THAT CAUSES A FUSE TO OPEN, IN THE LOSS OF STOP LAMP OR TAIL LAMP FUNCTION. LOSS OF STOP LAMP OR TAIL LAMP FUNCTION COULD INCREASE THE RISK OF A CRASH.
    Remedy:
    DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE DECKLID WIRE HARNESS.
    Notes:
    OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN DECEMBER 19, 2000. OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT FORD AT 1-800-392-3673. ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).

    Happy New Year.
    Matt
  • I got a 2001 FF in May. It seemed to be driving ok until about October. The back left passenger window would no go back up, the lighter doesn't work...etc..then this weekend, It wouldn't start at all so so I got it jumped and the guy said my cables to the battery were dirty/corroded. But it was dead again yesterday, so jumped it again. I took it into a Pep Boys and they tested my battery and said I needed a new one. BUT after installing the brand new battery they re-tested and my car had drained the new battery! So, they put another one in and said they think it is electrical and I need to go to the dealer now. Also, can a car leak carbon monoxide or a weird electrical current? Since Oct I have had 5 times while driving I have had to pull over for feeling "weird" or sick while driving and it seemed to only happen in the car and out of nowhere. I have NEVER had that happen before, ever. My husband says they sound like panic attacks and that the car cannot make me sick. But, I always loved driving and why all of a sudden would that happen 5 times in 2 months and never before? And now all the problems with it starting. I am convinced when it happens my car is leaking something. Is that at al possible?? And do I need to take it to a dealer? Thank you.
  • Sounds like you have a couple of problems. My recomendation is to get the car checked out by a professional.

    As far as your battery going dead, as long as the alternator is charging, and the battery still goes dead like over night, you have what is called a "parisitic draw". This is something draining power off your battery when the key is off.

    You didn't specify if you have electric windows or not. This draining of the battery or parisitic draw might be related to your cigerette lighter not working. It really needs to be check out by a technician that knows how to trace a parisitic draw.

    As for feeling sick a few times while driving. If carbon monoxide is leaking into the passenger compartment from the exuast, yes it will make you feel sick. It can cause you to pass out and even result in death. The fact that you stated the rear window is stuck down, even if you did have an exhuast leak getting into the passenger compartment, it would most likely vent out and you wouldn't notice it. However, if exhuast fumes are venting near your air intake vent for the passenger compartment, the draft from the open window may be pulling the fumes right past you. Some of the symtoms of being exposed to exhaust fumes are; feeling sick, sleepy, shortness of breath, head aches, and your arms may feel heavy. Everyone reacts differently depending on the type of exposure.

    Any electrical problems are very unlikely to be related to you feeling sick while driving. If it is, it would be a first I have ever heard of it. Hope this was helpful. Good luck.
  • lheffelheffe Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 Focus ZX3 bought new in Oct 2000. What a piece of junk. 4 times they replaced the fuel sensor, or maybe it's an oxygen sensor. And 3 times the ignition column had to be replaced because the key would not go in. Once in warranty, twice out. Over $300 each time.
    NOW - Huge electrical problem has been building up for 3 years. Brake lights, tail lights, rear hatch release, dashboard lights, rear defroster, rear wiper, can't remember what else, all confused or not working or causing a short. If I had electric windows, I guess they would not be working either. Right now the dealer is replacing the wiring harness. Another $500 down the drain. This is the first and last Ford I will ever buy.
  • haulthault Posts: 122
    There was an updated ignition lock cylinder that was suppose to solve the key problem. I have encountered the electric problem with dash gauges going wild, but mine is usually the battery cable working loose and battery not charging. Corrosion on battery terminal has to be cleaned at least twice a year. It's caused by the way Ford grounds the electrical system. I have a 2000 since new. I consider it an average car. Will be passing it on to children.
  • Thanks, Mickeymouse2, I now have nice 15 Inch rims I purchased new off of the internet for $500 each along with a new set of 185 65s. The vehicle rides MUCH smoother.

    Before changing wheels and tires, I hit a rather hard bump with my 2000 Focus wagon and suddenly lost most of the dash lights. I still have the odometer and the warning lamps, but can't see the speedometer, gas gauge temperature etc. Also, the gear shift lamp is now out. I noticed one of the fuses is labelled "Electronic modules, instrment cluster" but that fuse appears to be ok. Does anyone have any idea what may have broken or came loose when I hit the bump? The owners manual just says to take the car to the dealer when the instrument lamps need changing.

    Thanks,

    Rick
  • How mechanically inclined are you. To change the dash lights or check if the master plug if it came loose removal of the dash cluster is necessarry. Undoing the mounting bolts for the steering colum to get the wheel out of the way ect. Sure you want to tackle it?
  • gembotgembot Posts: 4
    Hi, ive just purchased a 2001 Focus Zetec 1.4. I had it a week no probs at all. During the 2nd week I had a new stereo fitted to it as the car came with the standard tape player unit. It seems that Since i've had this fitted half of my electrical things have stopped working. They didn't stop as soon as it was fitted, it seemed to be about a week or so after. My Back windscreen wiper and the first setting of the front wipers doesn't work, the front and back heated windscreens don't work(the lights on the switches don't appear when pressed), the interior light (i've had the bulb out and tested and it works fine), the electric door wing mirrors have stopped and the noise when you leave your lights on and get out of the car has also stopped working. The cigarette lighter and the air con and circulation switches all seem to be in fine working order and all the dashboard lights and headlights and things are all fine, it's just strange that half of the things should stop working. I have checked all the fuses in tghe space behind the glovebox and none seem to be blown and there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the relay switches? Does any one have any suggestions?? Please help. Thanks
  • When you say you checked the fuses, just looking at them doesn't cut it. You have to verify power is going through them with a test light with the key on. If I was you, ask the place that installed your radio if they will do a courtesy check to see if it is something related to the radio install. With that many failures, it sure sounds like a blown fuse. However, some of the things you listed are not fused sepperate from the component mentioned and may just be a new failure. Good luck.
  • gembotgembot Posts: 4
    Hi, we checked all the fuses again and they don't seem to be the problem. I have looked into this further and there appears to be some fault with something called a gem unit?? Have you heard of these and is it a common thing to go wrong with Focuses?? My car is one of the very few that was built with this on and it is a rare part as they were built for only 3months with this specific unit so i think im going to struggle getting a new part and then pay a fortune for it, just wondered if you could give any more advise and maybe save me some time and money. Sorry to bother you again.

    Thanks :blush:
  • Sorry never heard of it. Not sure where you found out about this gem unit problem. If Ford does use this type of thing, its a first I have heard of it. I suggest at this point to get a proper diagnosis from Ford. In my experience, Ford has always been straight forward on their designs and electrical systems. If your failure of only one function of your rear wiper, dome light, light buzzer ect is managed through some type of control modual, I would be very surprised!!
  • Generic Electronic Module --- GEM --- not sure what it controls though. I thought the keyless entry/power locks, etc. But whatever it does, there seems to be a lively business in used ones on eBay. Still investigating functions.....
  • dpez19dpez19 Posts: 3
    on my ford focus my rear wiper wont work, the intermittent wiper doesn' t work, heated front and rear windscreen doesn't work, interior light doesn't work. does anyone have any suggestions as to what can be causing this and any solutions
  • gembotgembot Posts: 4
    Hi, i m having the same problem, if you read some of the previous notes ppl have been giving a few suggestions, i think its something to do with the fuses. Mine still isn't sorted as of yet, but im taking it to a guy i know who will hopefully help me at the end of the month so when its fixed ill let you know the outcome. Ive been looking around to see if anyone has the same problem on other websites, on RAC forums, alot of people are having the same thing and it is down to relay problems!! Maybe get someone to check them for you. :D
  • dpez19dpez19 Posts: 3
    ok thanks. i'll have a look. let me know how you get on. if i sort it i'll let you know.
  • Thanks again. Well, I'm Ok mechanically, just don't know if I have the time to tackle it. Guess I may have to drive the old truck while it's out of commision and either dig into it or shell out some bucks to have it done. Everything on these vehicles is difficult to get to. I did the first oil change on it and had to buy a set of ramps to let me get to the oil filter.

    Ravenman
  • :confuse: We purchased the car about 2 weeks ago - the battery light was on during the 2 hours we test drove it without any problems at all but we offered the dealer less cash with the thought it would need a battery or alternator soon. Since then, it runs fine; great even. It gets much better mpg's than our 04 Explorer so I'm driving it 15-20 miles a day to work until our teenage daughter gets her license.
    Last week when our temps dropped to below zero, it started right up but after going about a mile: the lights dimmed, the CD & odo shut off etc. I got off the road & shut down everything electrical & gently gassed it for just a few seconds and everything came right back up. Expecting that the alternator was shot, we took it to our mechanic (again, started & ran fine after the frigid night incident) - he replaced the alternator (twice) and determined that it was not the problem. He thinks he traced it back to the PCM either not giving or getting good codes from the charging system...
    Before I try to take the dealer to task on an "as is" purchase (if even possible) I have to wonder if it's worth it. The car has been fine ever since with the exception of the battery light coming on as soon as the idle drops from it's start up speed to "normal' idle. After reading the volumes of problems people are having, I feel lucky and worry that if we let Ford start messing with it, we're gong to be in the same boat.....but the mechanic tells me the PCM is something only they can do.

    Has anyone had their PCM replaced and/or reprogrammed? How much did it cost? Did it solve your problem? Did you experience any new ones afterwards?

    Any input is appreciated, I dont think I'll have a leg to stand on past 30 days after purchasing (if I even do at this point!) so I'm going to have to make a decision soon!
    Thanks!
    :confuse:
  • Try removing the batter cable, leaving it off for atleast 2 minutes.

    Then put batter cable back on and start. At very minimum your computer will be reset and if the problem re-occurs, you will know it is not a matter of rebooting the computer to solve the problem.

    I have used this method with warning lights, and even when my care would not start and was about to be towed. REmoved the cable, reset computer, and good to go. If its a real problem the light or symptom will reappear. In many cases with the ford focus its just a hickup with the computer, in my experience.

    hope this helps.
  • Thanks for the suggestion,

    Wouldn't our mechanic have disconnected the battery to change the alternator? Im no expert but the clock and radio settings had to be reset after we got it back so he may have already tried that himself.

    The temps have dropped again here in the Windy City so maybe the car will make my decision for me. But if it continues to start & run as well as it has been without trouble, I'll try your suggestion (on a warmer day!) & take my chances until something else happens.

    Maybe Im being superstitious but Ford doesn't seem to really know (or care) whats wrong with these cars and Im afraid that having them mess with it may only cause us new problems.
  • Good strategy. Even though I had a lot of little problems with my focuses (3 previous) I still came back to the ride and design to buy another. Speaking of ford repairs, I did find it best to get a good non-ford mechanic for certain repairs, since I had the same problem with what appeared to be lack of concern and ability on the part of ford mechanics in my town. Maybe its that way everywhere? Good Luck. Hope the reset battery tip can help at somepoint, or better yet, you dont need it.
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