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Ford Focus Electrical and Lighting Problems



  • fordevrfordevr Posts: 2
    hmm really i didnt notice tht when i bought my car back in 2008, i guess i have to pay alil more attention lol.

    I'm concern that there could be an electrical short but if that's the case then its kool.
  • My headlights went out while I was driving down the road and then they came back on, what causes this? Also, my auto door locks and spedomoter will quit working at the same time and then come back on by themselves, what causes this?
  • Check your battery voltage with the eng running, it should be 14-14.5 Volts
    Make sure BOTH end of battery cables are clean and tight. Also check red wire at the alt, for any sign of corrosion.

    Let me know what you find.
  • bwoods120bwoods120 Posts: 1
    edited August 2011
    A few months back while driving my ECM fuse blew and my car died, I got it towed home replaced the fuse and the car fired right up but blew again while I was driving, that was a few months ago and I haven't had the time or patience to fix it, plus I have no clue what it wrong, I'm guessing a chaffed wire that's blowing the fuse, also my battery light stays on constantly, please help, it's on a 2003 focus coupe ZTS, I'll try pretty much anything, key word there is TRY.....Thanks in advance
  • Greetings,
    I drive a 2001 ZTS. I've got an odd problem: I can't get my accessories to work most of the time. By accessories I mean my air conditioning/heat, power windows, windshield wipers, brake lights, or gear shifter. However, my headlights, interior lights, gauges and radio always work.

    If I sit there and flip the ignition to the "accessory" position enough (without actually cranking the car), sometimes it will eventually come on. But lately it hasn't been working at all. The fact that it will intermittently work leads me to think it's not a fuse, all though I haven't checked them.

    I would assume I'm either having some issue with the ignition switch, or there's some sort of wiring problem. Any help would be appreciated. Not only am I riding dangerously with no brake lights or windshield wipers, it's also just miserably hot!!
  • Well your right about the fuse, the problem does sound like your IGN switch or the wiring plugin to the switch.
    You can drop your steering column which is usually held to the dash with 4 nuts on studs. You may need to remove a trim panel under the steerimg column. After dropping the steering column, you should see the ign sw mounted on the top of column with 2 - 10mm nuts, pay CLOSE attn. where the rod from the cly & key goes into the ign sw. DO NOT MOVE KEY. Check the wiring connector on top of sw for any sign of burning, if found you will have to replace. NAPA or a Ford dealer should have this part. If OK replace the Switch, If wiring connector needs replaced, repl sw also.
  • Have you found out what the problem is burning up alternators? I have a 2005 Ford Focus SE that I bought several years ago with 34,000 miles on it and now have 80,000. Recently the electrical started acting up doing pretty much all the weird things everybody else has described. Won't start but jumpstarts fine. Can drive it a few days no problem and then goes to acting up again. Had the alternator changed about a month ago and seemed ok for a few weeks and back to the same problem again. This is the second autozone alternator. Mechanic at NAPA has no idea other then to put a new more expensive 130 amp alternator on it for around $500 but I am afraid to invest that kind of money if I am going to have the same problem again. Seems many people are having this issue with their focuses but not really too many solutions. Mechanics today are weak in their troubleshooting skills and rely on computer codes that don't always correctly tell you what the problem is. They usually want to replace the alternator or the battery then after that its "I don't know" and they say we can't figure it out. Something is causing the alternators to burn up.
  • I have a 2005 Ford Focus station wagon. Last year the right tail light went out. When I went to have it fixed, I was told I had to buy the whole tail light assembly because the heat from the bulb and/or wiring had melted it. It cost us $300+ for the part and labor at a Ford Dealer. Now, the left tail light has gone out. I go to the mechanic and it's the same issue I had last year with the other light. While there, he checked the right one for me (I had NOT mentioned the prior problem) and he says it's about to melt too!!! Seriously, I cannot afford to replace both of these entire tail lights every year at $300 a pop per light. Does anyone know if there is a recall on this? This seems like some really bad design or something that the lights keep "melting." The new assembly for the right tail light was just put in last year and it's already "almost melted"? That is crazy.
  • achowardachoward Posts: 3
    edited September 2011
    I have a 05 Ford Focus ZX5 hatchback manual with 83,xxx kms. Lately iv been having alot of issues with starting the car and my headlights dont turn on automatically anymore.

    The starting issues arnt all the time but are more often than not. Ill turn the key and it will sound like its trying to start but either no fuel is getting to the engine or no spark. I have to turn it back off and try again several times before it will start. Odd thing is that even tho it is fuel injection if i pump the pedal it will start or if i leave it trying to start for a few seconds it will stutter then start. Iv done an engine clean with seafoam and dont use cheap gas.

    The headlights are supposed to come on when the accessories do, but mine dont tend to anymore. I have to drive with my highway lights on if im driving at night and other drivers dont appreciate being blinded. I replaced the bulbs and it still happens. ill have to either turn the car off and on several times to maybe get them to work or sometimes (rarely) they will come on (or off if they were on) if i go over a bump. im hoping its not a break in the wire.

    Could the two issues be connected?
  • I have a 2005 Ford Focus in the repair shop right now for an alternator problem. Our problems started about two months ago with the car acting up not starting, or when idling the dash goes crazy with lights going bright or weak and various electrical components not working such as headlights, radio, ect. We replaced the alternator for the 3rd time with another autozone warranty alternator and it lasted about two weeks. The NAPA repair facility thinks it is due to cheaply made autozone alternators and we are now installing a good quality Bosh alternator which was about $330. The battery was replaced last year. I had them check the pigtail connector to the alternator as other post I had read had found that the inside of the pigtail had serious corrosion in it that can create high resistance and poor grounding connection with the alternator and end up causing diodes inside the alternator to fail and burn up your battery. The diodes are responsible for converting the current from A/C to D/C and there are six of them in sets of two. He said the diodes are the most common thing to fail inside the altrnator and casing huge fluctuations in the current to the battery and the car wiring. We are picking up the car tomorrow and I will post back how everything goes over the weekend since this is a company vehicle we use a lot. It has 80,000 miles on it. So, this is alternator 4 in a year but the first highend one so we will see if that makes a difference plus it will now be under NAPA warranty if it fails.
  • Is it still working fine today? Have similar problems with our 2005 model.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,855
    NAPA does have a point about the quality of chain-store rebuilds. Alternators are rebuilt from random reconditioned parts. They don't rebuild each one using all its original parts. So if the process is rushed or they cut corners, quality control goes downhill fast.

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  • ? Is eng hard to start when eng is warm, Does it always turn over ok but will not fire ? You May Have an ign sw going bad causing both problems.
    I need more info.
  • haulthault Columbus OhioPosts: 126
    I have a 2004 Malibu and a 2005 Freestyle with the overheating bulbs. My solution was switch to led bulb. It flashes faster, but it eliminates the meltdowns.
  • There are after-market light suppliers such as Keystone lighting and you may also NAPA for these assys. Good luck.
  • Thank you! I'll try the LED bulb this time with the new assembly. I appreciate the help!!
  • achowardachoward Posts: 3
    edited September 2011
    Im thinking its the ignition switch as well. It always turns over but doesnt fire, cold or warm and it happens about 90% of the time and light issues are about 95%. Im changing the spark plugs and fuel filter today and will see if that helps it start. if i turn the ignition on and off without starting the car i can eventually get lights back. the odd thing is i have no other electrical or dash issues. jsut lights and starting. im also going to check the light wires witha multimeter to see if theres power going to them when they dont work to know if its a connector issue or a break or fuse.

    **just a tip for all focus drivers who think 300 kms per tank is ridiculous. the permanent air filter on the car is NOT a permanent filter. i switched mine out for a cold air intake which cost me $30 and fits right on the old pipe where the old airbox was. No modifications necessary all sensors stay where they are and i now get 600 kms per tank and have better response. **
  • You can try this, remove the plug wires and insert a phillips screw driver in each plug wtre, and hold shaft of phillips about 3/8 " from ground and have a friend crank over eng and watch spark . If no spark, check crank-posistion sensor. should be mounted at 10 or 2 oclock pos. above front crank pully. these have been known to go bad at times .
  • Hi,

    Well problem with the lights is fixed. It turned out to be a severely corroded relay. And i replaced the spark plugs yesterday and its runnning way better. Just wondering tho, Does anyone elses spark plugs read that the engine is running hot? All four plugs were completely white. I put in new ones and made sure their gapped correctly. And so far no hesitation, or surging and the car feels looser.

    Next question, Im replacing the fuel filter this week and just wondering if anyone knows which fuses i should pull as theres like 5 that are assigned to fuel.

    Thanks for the help!
  • cheesehead7cheesehead7 Posts: 1
    edited September 2011
    My headlights go out when i turn my turn signals on, doesn't happen all the time.
    2002 Ford Focus
  • You do NOT nead to pull any fuses. Your fuel system will be pressurized so do this when the car is COLD. When you remove fuel line, do not have your face inline with filter and also wear eye protection. Make SURE your ign switch is NOT on.

  • Do NOT be concerned about your plugs burning white. Now if 3 were white and 1 was black,
    then you get concerned.

  • I have a 2005 Ford Focus zx4 It has had some weird electrical problems. The trunk will unlock if the brake pedal is pushed. Also the left running lights front and back do not have any power. If you step on the brakes the front running light comes on. Now the drivers airbag light goes on and off intermittently. I
  • Well I replaced the ignition switch but it hasn't cured the problem. The wiring harness doesn't have any noticeable damage. I'm at a loss now. Is it possible there's a ground wire short somewhere? I'm close to just having it serviced.
  • In several messages I have read where people have advised someone to run an extra ground wire to the car body. DON'T DO THAT. My son had a Ford Escort (this seems to be a common problem for Ford) and he had a headlight that kept going out. He bought several and finally checked the fused. It was no good so he put in a new one. That was the beginning. His lights would go off and on. The inside lights would go off and on when he was driving down the road. Sometimes things worked and sometimes they didn't. It died on him twice and had to be hauled to a repair shop. They had to disconnect the fuses for all lights or he had a "Christmas Tree" car with blinking lights and sometimes not working at all. It was draining his battery and ruined one. The car was great - if driven during the day but no lights. (Still had signals) They found that someone had run several ground wires, to "fix" problems before and it totally runined the car. It could have been fixed if they had done it right in the first place. By the time all this happened it would have had to been completely rewired and the mechanic said it would cost more than the car was worth. Good looking car - ran great but ruined because of someone running ground wires instead of having it serviced.
  • appears alternator number four this year will be in the works. My brother just called me to say after three weeks with the new NAPA Bosch alternator the company car is back to doing weird electrical things again including trying to stall and the check engine light has once again come on. Bringing it to a different mechanic Wednesday and see what they come up with. I asked NAPA to inspect the pigtail wiring harness for the alternator for corrosion and they said they did but I suspect they didn't. Will have this next shop look at it in my presence. Something is causing these Focuses to eat alternators and batteries so it has to be in the wiring and most likely a corrosion issue. Will keep those who are interested updated on this new round of repairs.
  • rnolenrnolen Posts: 3
    Instrument panel will not come on when car is first started, then will work fine after 10-15 minutes of driving. occurs when temp is below 50 degrees. Has happened 7 out of the last 10 days. Has worked perfect the two times it was taken to the dealership. Both times it was left over nigth so it would be a cold start for the dealer.
    Odometer, tachometer, none of the guages, LED screen and turn signal indicators will not work.
    Car runs fine, exterior lights, turn siganal, Brake lights, radio and Iterior dome and floor lights work fine.
    Any ideas how to resolve this issue?
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 570
    It is under warranty, so take it to the dealer on a colder evening, leave it overnight and they can check it out in the morning on the first start.
  • I had electrical problems with my 2002 focus wagon automatic.

    1. Gauges dying, then going full sweep, then work.
    2. Fan dying down
    3. Lights dimming
    4. clicking relays from behind the dash
    5. Alternator died
    6. Battery failed to charge
    7. Finally, would not start and would only click rapidly.

    1. I started by removing the battery and cleaning the posts with 220 grit sand paper.
    2. I noticed the positive clamp had corrosion at the wires nearest the clamp. These are large, red colored wires which are obviously hot wires. I cut the wires from the clamp and replaced the clamp with a brass one purchased from an auto parts store.
    3. There are (2) ground wires underneath part of the air cleaner box, I removed them, sanded them with 220 grit, applied di-electric grease and bolted them back to the car. If the bolts break, just use a self-taping metal screw to fasten to the body.
    4. I applied di-electric grease to all connections and re-inserted the battery and tightened the clamps.

    The car started with a boost and sat and idled. I let the car idle up to temperature and turned the interior fan to max, turned on the headlights and turned up the radio. I could hear the engine labour as usual as the alternator delivered current. I drove the car home, about 2 miles and turned it off. It started up again and again after that.
    The battery charge light is still on/off intermittenly but, everything works fine. I have proper power, all accessories are fine. I will likely replace the negative clamp as well because it too looked corroded to me. This was only done yesterday and, time will tell if it was the fix.

    The theory of the problem solution is that the corroded wire cause too much resistance at that junction. Once the car operates and current flows for a while, things heat up and resistance builds. This also hinders charging of the battery and no doubt stresses the alternator. This is a relatively cheap thing to do, it's worth a shot for the rest of you.
  • Update:

    Upon further thought, it makes sense to me that the negative clamp is the problem.
    I cleaned that connection and tightened it as much as I could but still, the clamp would spin on the post. I am going to replace that clamp so that the new one grabs so tight that it will not spin on the post.

    This fault makes sense, it would hinder the charging of the battery and it would prevent the battery from delivering current as the alternator spins down and the car "browns out" at idle. It may also stress the alternator to premature failure.

    So, I would suggests that the first thing done is to make sure the battery terminals/clamps are clean and tight. That would likely solve most problems regarding a lack of current.
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